Last Straw

People seem to expect that the final reason a person leaves a relationship is something big.  Sometimes this is true.  However, many times it is a matter of ‘the last straw that broke the camels back.’  The term refers to the piling on and piling on of events or behaviors that put so much stain on a relationship that only a small thing is needed for the situation to collapse.    Emerging from broken shared her story of what caused her to go no contact.

From the outside looking in people consider the one walking away being unreasonable and harsh.  I had two distinct experiences that I can share.  In my previous job, I was changed from one boss to another.  The first boss hired me and had a vastly different expectations than the second boss.  The second boss criticized me, evaluated me differently, and basically made my job miserable.  He set me up to fail.  The whole department had problems.  I went to HR.  The told me if I didn’t like my boss, get a new job.  Equal opportunity reviewed my case and explained, “If he was this way with just minorities or women, we would have a case, it is not illegal to be a jerk.”  Finally upper management became involved.  When I was asked about the situation, I tried to explain that it wasn’t one big thing, it was a bunch of little things.  They asked me to write it down.  I asked, “With or without documentation.”  They wanted both.  6 pages without documentation and 30 pages with it, ending it is like being attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes no one thing by itself seems like a big deal but all together it creates a hostile environment.  They finally gave me a new boss.  Months later they fired the nasty boss.  I didn’t want to know what happened because I knew people would want me to tell it.  If I didn’t know, I couldn’t be accused of spreading rumors.  I wonder….if it is true, is it still a rumor?

The other incident was within my family of birth.  Thanksgiving is a high stress holiday for my mother.  She has this vision of what it should be like and hell or high water it is going to happen.  Year after year I was the person she unleashed her frustration.  After I was in counseling for awhile, I realized I didn’t deserve what she was dishing out.  I didn’t deserve being her personal emotional punching bag.  I decide not to go to family dinner.  My children were teenager or married and one of my daughters offered Thanksgiving dinner at her house.  I accepted.  Informed my parents I wouldn’t be there and invited my sister along with me.  When I picked up my sister, I didn’t go in the house.  I didn’t see my parents or speak to them at all.  My sister understood but others in our family criticized me for being unreasonable.  For me, it was such a relief not to have someone rag on me and then tell me to do it any way I want.  Thanksgiving was a much nicer day for me.  I haven’t had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents since then.  When I tried to explain to someone, they pointed out that all the issues were minor.  The following year, I received a phone call apologizing for the criticism.  I was no longer there so my mother need a new target to unleash her frustration.  Yea….it was not at all pleasant for the other person and they understood what I was talking about.

Relationships are important to maintain.  One big event or many pokes can both lead to braking off a relationship.  I learned not to criticize someone’s decision to go no-contact because no one knows what goes on behind close doors.  Years of subtle corrosive behavior can destroy as surely as a big bomb.  The big event doe it faster.  I work hard at checking in, asking and working at relationships.  If you want a relationship with a person in or out of your family, it takes time and effort to maintain good relations.  Sometimes counseling will help improve relationships.  I believe it is an investment in your self and relationships when going to counseling.



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