I recently wrote a post called, “Why Someone May Not Want to be Your Friend.” There were too many reasons to list in that article as to why someone may shun you, so I decided to write this article on the number one reason why someone may not want to be your friend- offense.
I have noticed a growing issue with people being offended. It seems that offense is now the accepted norm. Working with, living with, or being kin to an offended person is extremely hard because they have many expectations of you, many of which may even be unspoken.
What’s worse is when someone is so easily offended that you can’t do anything right in their eyes.
This seems to be a particularly serious problem among siblings.
Both of my sons have been working together for the past week and all I’ve heard from the youngest is, “Mom, I can’t work with him because he bosses me around and treats me like I have to do things his way. “
From the oldest all I’ve heard is, “Mom, he acts stupid and doesn’t seem to be motivated to do anything.”
The youngest says the oldest is the one who acts stupid. He claims he does his part but don’t want his brother dictating his every move so he rebels and refuses to do it his brother’s way, which of course, makes it appear to his brother that he doesn’t do much.
They are both easily offended at one another for being different than what the other one expects. Easily offended people are extremely hard to be around especially if one of them is your sibling, as in the case with my two boys.
Usually the offense is caused by jealousy, envy, greed or something that either one or both parties refuses to deal with or talk about. And then many times talking about it makes it even worse because then there are hurt feelings over what was said.
People tend to stuff it all inside and the envy, jealousy or whatever the problem is grows larger and larger until there is finally an explosion and the two get into an argument.
Many times the offensive weapon is intentional and deliberate designed to push your buttons or make you look bad.
Like for instance, I have seen my children set each other up for failure just so that they can rag on the other for being a failure; to make themselves look good.
My sons have done this to each other more than once and it always makes me so angry to see this kind of unloving behavior from them.
Why would you intentionally set someone up to NOT be able to fulfill their duties, and then bad mouth them for not doing it?
Another big problem I have noticed is when one of my sons has unspoken expectations.
He expects more out of his brother than his brother is willing to give. Or he expects things that are unreasonable, or are just simply against the other’s personality type and it makes no sense to them.
You see, as most siblings are, my boys are complete opposites.
The oldest is a giver, but also a showy attention-getter. Life to him is more complete when he is in the middle of everything, in charge of everything, and on top of what needs to be done but only if it gets him recognition and especially if it makes his brother look bad.
He feels fulfilled when he is the one that everyone sees taking care of business. He is loud, likes to talk a lot and thrives on looking like he is getting things done. Even if reality is he does very little or does it for selfish reasons.
The downside to that is he also tries to make others look like they are not doing their part so that he looks better, especially better than his brother.
The youngest, on the other hand, is quiet, doesn’t care about recognition, and minds his own business. If you ask him to do something he will do it, otherwise he minds his own business and stays to himself. The drama created by others just isn’t worth his time of trying to be in the middle of everything.
If you ask him if it bothers him that he isn’t being like his brother he will tell you in a quick second that he doesn’t want to be like his brother. He will do whatever you ask him as long as he feels its worth his time and its something that’s necessary, but then he immediately goes right back to doing his own thing.
He would rather be where his environment is what he created it to be, and where his brother isn’t judging what he is or isn’t doing.
Like mother like son. I’ve always been that way. If my family needs me, I try to be there if I feel its necessary and if it makes sense to me. Otherwise I am in my own element doing my own thing.
Whatever I do for my parents or my other siblings or anyone else is usually done without sounding an alarm for attention.
For instance, I spent the first 32 years or so of my life taking care of my mother, her house, and helping my step dad out with things he sometimes needed.
I cleaned her house on a regular basis even after I moved out. Cut, washed, and styled her hair, did her laundry, helped her move several times and so many other things that no one even knew about.
The reason I did all of this is because it wouldn’t get done otherwise. Her laundry would pile up for weeks if I hadn’t went by and washed it. Her house would get so dirty that I wouldn’t want to visit.
Up until I was seventeen years old , I was the one who kept the house clean and the laundry done and I knew it wouldn’t be done after I moved out if I didn’t go by there and do it. So I did it until I became a single mother and could no longer handle the burden of it all.
I never sounded an alarm or told anyone. It didn’t matter to me that I got recognition for all of that. I didn’t do it to get attention or to look good, I did it so that it would get done.
The biggest problem with siblings is they have expectations of one another forgetting that their sibling is also a person with their own interests, families, jobs, personalities, or convictions. And they forget to give each other credit for their good qualities.
They also forget that their relationship with their parents is different from one another’s.
My relationship with my oldest son has always been different because he is more outgoing, talks more, and opens up to me. My youngest is an introvert, doesn’t say much, and talks to me about only the most important issues.
I am constantly having to tell my oldest son that he doesn’t have the right to have expectations as to who his brother should be, or what he should be doing. He isn’t his boss, parent, or really any other authority figure in his life, so he has no right to have certain expectations of him.
Yet, no matter how much I say that, he still treats him as though he is less of a person just because he isn’t like him.
His brother is his own person and doesn’t have to be a certain way to be accepted in this family. They are both equally loved no matter who does what.
I want to let you in on a little secret that may help you if you are dealing with someone who tries to usurp authority over you or who has their own expectations of who you should be.
Before I give you my secret, I want to tell you about a particular person in my life who stayed offended at me no matter what I did.
For years I tried to get along with them, do things their way, and tried to be the peace keeper. I couldn’t do anything well enough to please them. They always saw me as wrong even when I tried my hardest to do everything they wanted me to do.
I tried for a number of years to please this person, get along with them, and even hoped that at some point they would be happy with me and who I am.
It never happened.
I am now in my forties and their negativity toward me has never ceased. What I finally realized is, they aren’t happy with who anyone is, or what anyone does. A person like this can’t be pleased.
I finally had to pull away from that person and purposely avoid them because I realized they were like poison to me.
Even a little dose, hurt.
Offended or toxic people are not necessarily bad people, sometimes they are people who love us. Loving us, however, does not make them less toxic for us to be around. Whatever that person is offended at you for is not going to go away just because you try to please them.
A friend of mine helped me to see that just because someone loves you or claims to love you, that doesn’t make them good for you to be around.
People who love you are many times the very people who are out to hurt you. Not intentionally necessarily, but their jealousy of you, inability to accept you for who you are, or just outright offense makes them treat you in a negative way.
My mother has always made it very apparent that she prefers my brother over my sister and I. She enables him to be a drug addict. She has even taken the money that we’ve helped her to get and handed it to him.
I have been disrespected by her more than once in order for him to be made comfortable. So, I now keep my distance. I make my visits short. And deal with it by minding my own business and choosing peace over trying to force my way into their lives.
Sometimes there is nothing you can do about a situation but accept that that’s the way it is. No matter what, I choose peace and if I am judged for that, so be it.
People are always going to expect things from you. Whether it be your daughter or son, who expected you to raise them a certain way, or a sibling who isn’t satisfied with what you have chosen your priorities to be in life.
The best question to ask yourself is this- “Am I doing what I know I should be doing?” If the answer is yes, don’t worry about what others think of you.
What Should Someone Else Be?
When you put another person down for not meeting your expectations, what you are really saying is, “I don’t like who you are because you are not just like me.”
What the other person hears is, “I don’t like you.”
The simple fact of the matter is, we all have our own expectations of how we feel others should be. I’ve always had an excessively strong drive to succeed. My brother, on the other hand, was satisfied with nothing. Literally- nothing.
He is a drug addict and chooses to live a life that I am honestly ashamed of. My expectations of him were never met and probably will never be met because I expect him to at least have a little drive to succeed, to do better in life, and to continue to grow.
But he doesn’t meet that expectation because he doesn’t want that for himself.
He instead wants to drink himself to death. I have minded my own business all these years and allowed him the room to be who he is no matter how much it hurt me to do so and no matter how much it affected our family unit for him to be that way.
Because who he is, is not up to me. What is up to me is to love him. Period.
I am logical enough to realize that people are going to do what they want to do so I don’t spend my time trying to change him.
I try not to be the Martha of the family unit. The Martha of the family is pushy, bossy, dominating, distracted, ill acting, sour, and offended.
The Mary of the family unit, on the other hand is helpful but quiet, caring yet minding her own business, nice even when others are not, and is a peace keeper.
I call what happens to families the Mary and Martha effect.
The Mary and Martha Effect
I am not religious but I will sometimes relate real life issues with what I have learned from the bible. I may have just confused you by telling you that I am not religious but then that I read the bible, so please let me explain.
I spent the majority of my youth, from about the age of 15 to 32 years old studying my bible. I’m not talking about reading the bible. I’m talking about studying like I was trying to pass a college exam. Cramming, if you will.
I was trying to understand the way life works because I wanted to pull myself out of the less than mediocre life I was born into. Where better to find those kinds of answers than the bible?
I spent countless hours looking up scripture and trying to learn what each verse meant. Along with other books such as English, motivational, and life skill books, I crammed as much knowledge in as I could get a hold of as an attempt to better myself.
One thing you will learn about me is that my number one turn-off is when someone chooses to not excel in life. Growing is supposed to be a part of life. It’s what we were put here to do.
People are like trees. We start out as seeds. We learn and we grow. Knowledge and understanding waters us. The more we learn the stronger we get and the deeper and stronger our roots are.
No one else ever took the time to teach me very much when I was younger, so I realized that I would continue to be ignorant if I didn’t get an education.
That education has never stopped. I still continue to learn, do things to better my skill set, and soak up as much knowledge and understanding as I can possibly get.
During those early years, I studied Hebrew and Greek and learned how to translate. I translated the Hebrew and Greek bible line by line to be sure that what I was reading was as closely accurate as possible.
All of that digging actually helped me to succeed in life. I learned to love more, forgive more, and how to handle the daily pressures of life better.
I found the history of the bible to be very intriguing as well which caused my desire to study it in depth to increase. The Hebrew bible is written with text that reads backwards as compared to the English language.
Intriguing enough, then I found something called the bible codes or more commonly known as the Omega Code or Torah code.
Due to the fact that I have always liked puzzles, and LOVE to be challenged, I studied the Torah code almost day and night trying to find inconsistencies.
The code was real. Much of history was accurately depicted in the old testament written in code. I realize that sounds flaky and I felt flaky for believing it but the proof was in my own translations.
I found several codes that actually told history, history that hadn’t happened yet when this text was written.
What was I looking for?
After being neglected and abused, I didn’t feel my life was valuable. I was searching for anything that would give me meaning, help me to feel loved, or give me some understanding and knowledge of what my life was for and an explanation as to who I am.
That time period between the ages of about 15 and 32 developed the foundation for the majority of what I now know. That foundation made me who I am.
During that time I didn’t find a religion. Actually I found quite the opposite.
You see, I’m turned off by religion.
I grew up with a mother and many other family members who were obnoxiously religious, but because she and all of the rest of them didn’t live what they preached, I decided I didn’t want to be that way.
I don’t see the point in organized religion. It really just seems like a set of rules that some man pulled from the bible, but they don’t pull all of the rules, just parts of them. And then they seem to argue about which ones are correct.
So I didn’t find a religion when I studied the bible. What I found was a picture of God. Not in a religious way. Not in a loud obnoxious way. But in a very real and personal knowing deep down inside that He is real.
That knowledge has literally given me life anew.
It’s why I share breakfreedaily.com with you. I want to share the knowledge I have received, because it is in that knowledge that I have learned to be free in many areas.
I didn’t find it in a church building. A priest didn’t hand it to me through a little window. I received it from building a foundation; a foundation that has went with me throughout the years.
So, no, I am not religious and have no desire to be because what I found was something better, something real, something I can hold onto forever and share with others to help them as well.
Back to my subject:
One of the things I learned when I was “cramming” is what I call The Mary and Martha Effect.
It is a very well known story found in the New Testament in the book of Luke. It is a story about two sisters; Mary and Martha. When Jesus arrived, Mary, although appearing to be unhelpful, had chosen to do the peaceful thing…she had chosen to learn.
Martha looked at Jesus and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!” Jesus replied to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The Mary and Martha effect is a great story that paints a picture of sibling rivalry. It seems that all siblings fight and squabble about who does what but usually it is because at least one of them is focused on the wrong thing.
When my boys do this I remind them that siblings are not going to be like one another, are usually not going to agree, and in order to get along with one another, will just have to agree to disagree most of the time.
You see, peace isn’t found in running around and staying busy. It isn’t found in trying to get recognition. It also isn’t found in being in charge or having the upper hand.
My secret is this- peace is found when you are minding your own business and keeping yourself in a position to learn and grow. Peace is found when you are in an environment that you have created.
I am available to my extended family whenever they need me and I have made that very clear whether they have heard me or not, but for the majority of the time I mind my own business. And I am happy that way.
For once in my life, I am truly happy.
Mary had chosen the correct path despite how it appeared to Martha.
Before we expect others to be just like us, let’s make sure we are not simply distracted with busy work or with trying to make others look bad. Let’s also be sure that our expectations are not out of offense.
Let’s meet our own expectations and allow others the room to do the same.
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