Impossibly High Standards

When it comes to how you expect the other woman to behave, could you meet those same standards?

Never say a single bad word against you. Always do what’s best for the children (according to your private interpretation). Never be late (come hell, high water or bad traffic).

Never get angry,

be snippy,

play the victim,

be a flake.

Life is messy. You solve three or four problems and twelve others line up to take their place.

We all know it: everyone drops the ball on a daily basis.

Doesn’t life just seem impossible, in some ways?

And one thing we do that helps is to vent about it. To our friends. To co-workers. To perfect strangers. Yes, even with the kids in our lives.

We connect. We gain support. Comfort and reassurance.

If we’re doing it right, we use venting temporarily to release pressure, just like a pressure cooker’s bobbing weight lets off extra steam. We let off steam with sympathetic friends so that we can then take action. We take action to hopefully, fingers crossed, fix the problem (while 11 others unravel in the background).

We’re trying!

So if you nail the other woman’s ass because she has the audacity to vent and present a skewed analysis of “the situation” as you see it, you will always be unhappy.

If you nail the other woman’s ass because she dared express one of the “negative” emotions, such as anger, frustration, superiority, competitiveness, self-pity, or vengefulness, while refusing to consider whether she might actually be trying to find a temporary, empowering response to a difficult situation, then your own emotional reactions to her will constantly remain on Red Alert.

If you nail the other woman’s ass over mistakes and situations that you would easily excuse in yourself because of the natural messiness of being human, you will constantly feel under siege, as if she’s doing these things on purpose to make your life miserable.

She is, after all, just a person.

Like you.

Why is she expected to be perfect — and you’re not?

And what might happen if you held her to the standards you normally apply to yourself and those you love?


© 2011 Jennifer Newcomb Marine    All Rights Reserved

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Comments

  1. One thing I have been thinking a lot about lately is the standards which we set and also how darn nasty we can be, in general as women, toward other women. It really is a problem in our gender set and it contributes so much to an unhealthy atmosphere all around – throw in an ex-wife/stepmom and that same dynamic is just propelled to the nth degree!
    What I have been trying to do when I find that inner voice being critical and snide I think, okay, where do I fit here and is there a standard higher than my own (and their always is) that someone could be snarky about me???
    Using cursing as an example…. my mouth dropped when I heard a bunch of women that I consider “good mothers” talking at a playdate and laughing about their use of the “F word” in front of their children and actually, to their children. Enter nasty voice in head: “what, WTF??? I would NEVER us that word in front of my children, let alone to my children…. what the heck is wrong with these ladies. *righteous indignation* that is a form of child abuse. Those POOR kids, what is WRONG with these ladies….” OMG, now imagine that dialogue about the ex!!!! LOL
    But, now, what I am trying to do is to stop that little dialogue with questions: “Okay, I don’t find that acceptable, but what do I find acceptable??? I say sh*t in front of my kids and have been known to tell my children I was going to “beat their a**” if they didn’t stop something…” So, there is my standard.. which leads to the natural conclusion that there is probably someone out there who finds that standard ridiculous and who has questioned my viability as a mother based on the use of the word a** in front of my kids.
    I have to say, each time I stop myself with the questions it stops the snarkiness almost immediately.
    Now, I am still friends with those women. I don’t approve of their language in front of the kids, but heck, they can raise their children any way they want! Am I better than them???? No, just different. I try to remember this with the ex… I’m not better, just different and much like these other women that I don’t hate for their differences, I don’t have to hate the ex either.

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