The Tipping Point

We all have it.  That point in any given situation where you throw your hands up and say “enough”.  Of course we like to tell ourselves that we have a line, cross it and that’s it buster.  Unfortunately most of us don’t really have a line we vehemently stick too.  It should be drawn in permanent marker somewhere that is impossible to move.  Usually it’s drawn in chalk and when we or someone else crosses that line, we wipe it down with our fuzzy sock covered foot and drawn a new one.

We do, I believe, all have a tipping point.  It’s a mystery like any other…it most often has no rhyme or reason to it.  It could be 5 mins from now or twenty years.  You might reach that point listening to a song on the radio, or a look someone gives you, or the worst possible heartbreak imaginable.  No matter what you think or tell yourself, you really don’t know when where or how you’re going to get there…but you will get there.

With my mother it was 44 years.  Ouch.  Well maybe that’s because mothers really do deserve more time to get things right.  It was almost that time when I was 32 and she grabbed me and pushed me up against the counter…while I was holding my baby. Again almost when she went to my soon to be ex, bought him a new hot water heater and told him how she was not going to help me out cause I “needed to suffer”. Nope. It could have been when I said that all I wanted was her to respect me as a mother, and she told me I didn’t deserve any respect. Nu uh, it was when I finally sucked it up and asked for some help, and instead of just telling me to go fuck myself or saying yes….she made it all about her, in front of my child….again.  Enough.

With my ex husband it was 17 years of marriage and 6 months of counseling.  Of course my relationship with him was not nearly as toxic as the one with my mother, but still they had a lot of similarities. So, it wasn’t the time in the first few years we were married when he said we should get a divorce because I didn’t do the dishes enough or put all my shoes away or want to have sex.  Perhaps it should have been that time I said I loved him and I just wanted us to be happy, and he said he couldn’t give me that. To be honest I don’t even remember the specific incident that finally lead me to my tipping point, but I remember staring at a pile of dog poop as I was about to scoop it up and it hit me…Enough.

I’ve watched friends play out relationships that fail over and over and over…As an outsider it’s very easy to say “oh yeah, I totally would have bailed at that point.”  It’s not hard to point out that you told them so and you saw this coming…and they should have known waaaaay back when.  We’ve all been on both sides of that scenario even if we don’t want to admit it.

I’m hear to say…be gentle with yourself.  Stop beating yourself up over giving that person, or that job or that project one more chance even when everything in your gut is telling you it is never going to work out the way you want.  Be patient.  It’s all a process we need to go through so that in the end (the real end, not the pretend end like last time) we are finally able to walk away knowing we did all we could.

If I haven’t actually reached the final tipping point yet…I am as close as you can get just before.  I let the words and the actions really really sink in this time.  The fog lifted, the rose colored glasses fell off…what ever, but this time I allowed myself to see and feel the truth and what I was trying to avoid.  For a moment I sat there in fear of my feelings…afraid to open my mouth and admit any of it was real.  I gave myself some time…to make sure this time it wasn’t about emotional reaction, or drama or avoidance. I did what the educators all tell you to do, I slept on it.  When I woke up I talked it over with myself.  If I was going to do anything at all I wanted to be sure it was going to be something I would stick to.  It didn’t take long to realize I had had…Enough.

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