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Glutton for Punishment?

Updated on December 27, 2014

Strength isn't always easy to see.

As I sit here about to embark on another foray up to the house my ex-husband and I bought together to put it on the market again, and this time it will be to take a loss on it, I'm left thinking of our 12 years together.

Ours didn't start out as a horrible union. The circumstances of life caused us to grow in two different directions, which led to the armed truce that is in place currently. If there weren't children involved, we would have gladly gone our separate ways without further contact, more than likely to never cross paths again.

The marriage disintegrated slowly over time, to the point where I almost ended up taking my life, due to the almost daily verbal assault on everything about me. I'm no angel, but I could never bring myself to fight back as dirty as he was doing. It's not who I am as a person, it's not how I was raised.

I am still nice to my ex-husband, I allow him to come and see our kids any time he wishes, I allow him to use my computer and other things since he doesn't have them at his house, due to being out in the middle of nowhere, and I guess for lack of a better word, being friendly.

All around me, friends and loved ones, get angry with me because I do this. They say why are you so nice to him after the way he has treated you? They tell me I should be just as mean, he doesn't deserve your kindness. Over and over, I get various statements along those same lines. I know my friends and family care about me, and it frustrates them that I still allow my ex-husband in my life on any sort of basis after what I've been put through, but I just can't be mean to him, or anyone actually.

This morning as I was doing some little things about the house, I let my mind wander through the myriad of thoughts that have taken up residence in my brain. It dawned on me that even though my friends may think I'm being a glutton for punishment, because the ex will still say mean things sometimes and will still try to control what I say or do. Sometimes maybe I am, but they all seem to forget that when I've had enough from anyone, I will say something to end the transgression.

I got to thinking about the values all who are Christian are raised with, for example, turn the other cheek, forgive those who trespass against you, even your enemies deserve kindness, treat others as you would want to be treated, and so on and so forth, and I realized I'm doing those things to everyone no matter who they are. But because I'm doing those things, I'm the one in the wrong and I get what I deserve? I know that Christ didn't condone abuse and violence, which I'm not accepting anymore, I will tell the ex to leave or I will end the conversation once things cross that line.

Maybe I am a glutton for punishment, but to me, those thought processes are all subjective and in the eye of the beholder. We all have our own tolerance levels, our own thoughts on what constitutes being a good person, and how we are to achieve that goal. I can't be cruel to someone, even though they have been cruel to me. It is one of the things my dad told me he had always worried about me. That because I am such a gentle person that the world is going to chew me up and make me bitter. Daddy said he then later realized after seeing some of the things I went through and how I dealt with those things, that the strength I have comes from that place of gentleness, and he had seen that I know when I've had enough and I will stand up for myself and those I love without a care of the consequences. Something else he said I needed to watch out for and that I needed to learn balance. I'm still working on that balance part. But I'm learning to not be afraid of saying no, and that my limits have moved closer so that in the end, I don't get hurt as easily.

For me, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything that happens, whether good or bad, does so for a reason, to teach me something I need to know. The reason is not always immediately revealed, and sometimes there are a series of things that I have had to go through to know the whys. But each time I've discovered the reason or what I think is the reason, I've felt blessed at the revelation. So I know there is a reason. One day the reasons will be revealed and if I don't get it, I will have to repeat the lessons, not something I want to do in this case, so I'm paying attention fully. In the end it will all work out as it should.


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      vonda g nelson 5 years ago

      You are soooo right! I will agree with your last comment 110%!!! Some folk will take your civil and decent ways for granted and sure nuff (as I can only speak on my behalf) that's not a good lOOk, but folk will tend to push the limits as though they are a glutton seeking punishment. In any case I enjoyed chattin wit ya as well...CiaO

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 5 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      Oh don't get me wrong, when the same hurt has been done once too often, I am not as friendly, but I'm always civil and polite, some may mistake civil and polite as friendly, but it is not. I'm actually in the process of weeding someone out now because of the same actions over and over. Everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect, and I remember that in my dealings with everyone I come across. I'm just a very tolerant person, some call that a glutton for punishment. Those that are in my inner circle have been there for a long time, and yeah some have hurt me, but we have all hurt those we are closest to at some time. It's just how much you are willing to tolerate from someone and how much you feel that individual is worth. After a while I may change my mind on whether I want a person as close as they are, and I will start backing away. Some think too slowly. But we all have our own limits and have to recognize what they are, and deal with them in a manner that we feel is best for us in the long run. I appreciate your commenting Vonda.

    • profile image

      vonda g nelson 5 years ago

      This may be so...... but In all essence how many times should you speak to the same person about the same thing. I hope you do not think that I was trying to change your thinking, I am just speaking my peace btw I do believe this is a perfect world, but people's attitudes, the chips that's edged into their shoulder and that need to obtain things that they may never possess makes it extrememly imperfect. I swear....anywho, nevermind!

    • LEWMaxwell profile image

      Leslie Schock 5 years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma

      In a perfect world, everyone would get what they deserve. But the reality is quite the opposite. It's how we choose to react to what happens to us or how we are treated that make us who we are. I don't feel I'm extending the hurt because overall I am not afraid to tell someone that how they are treating me is not right. They either change their behaviour or I walk away. If that individual chooses to change how they treat me, then I forgive and there are ground rules set, and we go from there. It's all about knowing and realizing who you are and having the strength to not cave into how others feel you should behave towards someone else.

    • Michael Toole profile image

      Michael Toole 5 years ago from Gainesville, Missouri

      I highly agree with Vonda, other than that Great Hub, and keep up the good work! :)

    • profile image

      vonda g nelson 5 years ago

      Hmmm.... I respect as well as understand everything that you are saying, I really do but I made the choice to comment on this because I see that you are extending the hurt that you choose to entertain in the name of ?!?!? to those that truly care and love (respect) you. I don't necessarily believe you should be mean in return, but as you said you have your own level of tolerance in addition to practicing whatever you choose to believe. Being a glutton for punishment does nothing more than allow you to be tolerant when concerning receiving whatever "punishment" in its severity without complaint. I believe anyone that is kind and deserving, deserves all that is kind and deserving, whether you choose to believe something else.


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