To grow is to change and to have become perfect is to have changed often.
John Henry Newman
My friend Veronica’s dad, Ed (names changed), had a heart attack last month. Veronica’s mom didn’t tell her until a week later as she didn’t want to worry her.
Veronica was ready to dash over but her mother said, “Don’t come. If you want, stop by on Saturday.”
Veronica felt frustrated, but decided to honor her mother’s wishes.
On Saturday morning she called her dad and asked if she could bring him anything. He told her not to come over. Upset, thinking he didn’t want to see her, she went over nevertheless.
Her mother’s car wasn’t in the driveway and when she rang the bell there was no answer. Worried, she called her dad’s cell. Not realizing she was at the door, he told her to stay home.
“You’re not going to let me in?” she pleaded.
“Oh, you’re here?” He sounded surprised, which annoyed her.
“Yes, I’m here. I’m outside.”
“Why did you come?”
Exasperated, she said, “Because I wanted to say I love you and give you a hug.”
“Oh, you didn’t have to do that.”
And, yes, he did sound touched.
Later, Veronica told her mom the saga. Her mother sighed and asked, “Why do you pay attention to what he says? You know how he is!”
Veronica laughed because her mom was right. Her dad doesn’t like anyone making a fuss over him and he’s never been an affectionately demonstrative guy.
Why would she think a heart attack would change him?
Well, she thought it would change him because she wanted it to change him!
Veronica has shared numerous stories about how exasperatingly independent her dad can be. This latest fits within a pattern, so I asked why she’d been hurt when he told her not to visit.
Veronica knows that his first reaction in time of crisis is to rebuff people. Why take at face value what he says?
He was happy to see her and was touched by her care. Why does Veronica always allow herself to feel hurt when he initially rejects her help?
Old habits die hard.
When people are in a relationship, communication patterns develop and take on a life of their own.
This is especially true in families.
Veronica continually gets tripped up by her dad’s fear of imposing on her and so she finds herself trapped in a cycle of worry, hurt and relief.
Veronica’s dad most likely isn’t going to change, but Veronica can.
She can change her attitude and more readily see through her dad’s fear (and her own).
What about you?
Are you trapped in a dance that is continually tripping you up?
Don’t wait for the other person to change – make the first move!
now THAT’S the business of confidence!
Do you want to break through the old habits that are preventing you from being influential and heard?
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