Being Pleasant

The last two days I have been screaming at my ex-husband.

I’ve had about 25 years of pent up resentment and anger and it’s just been spewing out.


Because I have been living under a false belief that I have to be “pleasant.” And just take whatever is given to me. And because I haven’t admitted that having my ex live with my mother is sometimes very hard to deal with.

You wouldn’t have known it was difficult these past two years. Because I was “fine.” I was a good girl who put others before myself. And if I got mad, I was put back in line by my mother who would always take Mark, my ex’s, side.

“Stop it, Hilary.” She’d say. “Just stop it.”

So I would be a good. I still went to see my mother. And I’d be pleasant. And I would drink an entire bottle of wine and eat more than I had planned to.

I wasn’t conscious to it. I just knew my weight was creeping up. And I couldn’t figure out why until very recently.

“How bad could it be?” you might ask.

I’ll give you an example just from tonight. I called my mother to say I was not coming for dinner. She asks me every night. My son, who’s in town, wanted me to come since he’s staying there. But the thought of going would have involved drinking the entire bottle of red wine I left there over the weekend.

Compared to going home which does not involve thoughts of wine at all.

So I told her I was going home. We talked.

“Mark wants to talk to you,” she said suddenly without asking me if I wanted to talk to him.

“I just wanted to say hi,” he said.

Silence on my part. I had nothing to say to him.

“Are you going to the seminar tomorrow?”

“Yes. Jesse and I are driving alone,” I said.

“I’d like to come with you. I enjoy seeing you with our son,” Mark said.

“Well, I’d like to spend some time with him alone,” I said.

“My take on this,…….” Mark started saying in a tone I knew well. I was going to lose the argument as he told me how this was going to be.

“I don’t want to hear your take,” I interupted. “I simply want to spend time with my son. Why can’t I do that? Why does this have to be a fight? I don’t barge in on your time with him. I’d like to spend some time alone WITH HIM!!!” I yelled. “Why do I have to defend myself? Why is this the inquisition? This is why I am not over there for dinner.”

This went on for a while, escalating until my throat was sore.

“I think I should just hang up,” Mark started saying.

“Fine,” I said and pressed end.

And I was shaking. I drove home realizing that, although I don’t like yelling, being able to speak up is a hell of a lot better than being a pleasant phony and numbing myself with wine.

I’m not used to this new me. And it’s a little weird I have to say.

But it feels pretty great to take care of MYSELF and MY FEELINGS instead of trying to take care of everyone else and sacrifice myself in the process.

Why should I worry about Mark or my mother being upset? Why do I feel obligated to go there even when it doesn’t work for me? Why should I think their questions and accusations are correct? Why can’t I be upset and be alone if I want to be? Or just be alone?

And sometimes I have a higher tolerance for being able to take it than others. A few things have happened in the last week that pushed me over the edge. And I saw my paradigm of thinking I needed to be pleasant. And good. And how limiting that is for my well-being.

And who said pleasant is the right way to be. Plenty of people don’t worry about that. So why should I?

I’m going to experiment with this thing. See what happens.

I can always revert back to pleasant if I need to!!!!

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