Mariellen my stepmom died this week. She was my stepmom for over 40 years. She loved my sister Connie and I fiercely. She never had children of her own, maybe this enabled her to focus on us more passionately. She always created festive celebrations for our birthdays and helped plan my wedding.
When my niece Anna was born, she was a devoted and passionate grandmother to her. It was beautiful to see her playful nature with her.
And if my sister or I did something that bothered her, we’d get the silent treatment for months at a time. She would complain about my dad endlessly, but if she thought someone hurt him, they would get the angry cold shoulder.
I used to take this very personal. I’d forget all of the loving acts she did throughout my life and focus on how I thought she should be acting. You know, I had a script for her, just like she had for me.
I now understand that when people get caught-up in insecure thinking, they may act out in defensive and protective ways. That is all. Full stop. Before I saw this deeply, I had volume of thoughts about people’s behavior and made it very personal about them and how it was harming me.
Insecure thinking can also deceptively tell us we ourselves are the offender and have many flaws that need correcting to be a worthy human being. Insecure thinking is never trustworthy.
She, like all of us, when not caught up in fear-based thinking, was loving and lovable. Jack Pransky says it like this, “All we are is peace, love, and wisdom, and the power to create the illusion that we are not.”
Understanding insecure thinking brings wisdom to relationships and keeps us out of the soul sucking land of victimhood.
We can come to know that when someone is acting out in a defensive way, they are caught-up in their thoughts. They are still the same person we love, just immersed in fearful thinking. It will calm down in time.....could be a lot of time.... could be a lifetime.
To me this feels wiser and calmer than the stories I innocently believed. The most loving thing we can do for them and ourselves is see through the fear, not add to it.
Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t. We are all human, moment to moment, doing the best we can.
I don’t know what happens when we die, but I hope we are free of the brain’s endless defensive chatter. I hope it falls off of us like a parka on a spring day.
I wish Mariellen all the peace, love and wisdom and thank her for all of the love she was and gave.