A web of communication.

Yesterday was one of those days – where something I communicated resulted in an unintended consequence. It happens every once in a while, and the consequence feels like rejection. Not everything that feels like rejection necessarily is, and that is a differentiation I need to remind myself of, every so often. Communication just happens to be the House in my astrology chart that is highlighted by Kim Falconer’s blog post today.

It’s a bit like dealing with spider webs, which when they aren’t in the right places handled by the right owners, get sticky and messy and lead to interesting dance steps.

When I feel I have been misunderstood, my first reaction is to try and make myself understood more clearly – to correct or fix the other person’s grasp of what it is that I’m attempting to say. Sometimes it’s a straight-forward matter of choosing different words. At other times it gets a whole lot more messy when a bunch of filtering factors kick in that make it difficult for the other person to hear me, or me to hear them.

One such experience many years ago involved a person I counted as a friend and loved dearly. To this day, I don’t know what I was supposed to have said that caused her to reject me completely and  thoroughly overnight. I was left stunned and hurting deeply. She maintained that I “knew” what I had said (which had apparently been relayed by someone else) and refused point blank to tell me. This left me in a space where I was powerless to fix the problem. I tried apologising, but the apology wasn’t accepted on the basis that I couldn’t apologise if I said I didn’t know what I had done wrong. Something I had said most likely got misunderstood and twisted, but I have never had the opportunity to find out what it was and correct the interpretation, and it was that much more painful because I loved her and trusted her.

A second smaller experience happened just yesterday, when a conversation around arachnophobia, and stomping on spiders, led someone to un-friend me on Facebook. This was despite my sharing my own story of moving from away from fear to promoting a “live and let live” policy around those smaller members of our community. I felt perplexed that this was grounds for un-friending instead of furthering conversation.

When something like this – uncomfortable – happens, sooner or later I take a step back and look at the larger picture. It’s so easy to focus on this one thing, to feel hurt and rejected and it’s tempting to stay there – to plot and plan a mixture of redemption, revenge and reconciliation. (That said, I do love the image I had in my mind as I drifted to sleep last night, of me, standing with druid staff in hand, at the head of an army of spiders). With regard to that bigger picture, this was not the only thing that happened yesterday – and the day before, for that matter.

All around this incident of communication going awry, there’s another story – the story of how very much my work colleagues love and care for me, as they handed over the most astonishingly generous care package of fresh food and other useful items. I am currently off work, looking after my husband as he recovers from major surgery with complications. I had already had more peace of mind than Joe Average, knowing that my colleagues were looking after him while in hospital, knowing, from working alongside them, the standard of care he would get. And now this – which has left me feeling so amazingly loved.

This is communication too – it’s the result of years of working together, grumbling about each other, looking out for each other, helping, hindering, laughing, crying, back-biting and building up – everything that any group of people who work together do – only, perhaps we do it better than some. It’s as near to family as work mates can get. And it’s very, very real.

So – stepping back from the miscommunication confounded by paradigms and beliefs – and looking at the glorious affirmation all around me, I am able to ask – what is it I need to learn and take away from these instances where communication has gone wrong and I am powerless to fix it because the other won’t come to the party? The answer I find is simply this: In these cases, don’t need them and they don’t need me. Any angst on my part seems to stem from some sort of desire for affirmation, and I don’t need it. In both the examples I mentioned, the other is strong and powerful in her own right and own paradigm, living out a life that is successful and fulfilling and helping others along the way. And so am I – just as strong and powerful, with a life that is successful and deeply fulfilling, and, where I can, helping others along the way.

There may be other circumstances where this answer won’t be the right one and I’ll need to listen deeply to know the way forward, but this is my right answer for today.

~ by Dragonwyst on September 14, 2012.

4 Responses to “A web of communication.”

  1. I had a friend write me off overnight once too. In her case it was for a new man and not wanting anyone from her past who might stop her reinventing herself for him. It still hurts after more than ten years. We’d never even had a cross word and did everything together up to then. Sometimes it is more about them than you, though. It was rough of your friend not to give you a chance to say if you’d even said it or not.

    • That incident was about a decade ago for me too. Inexplicable things take a long, long time to heal and plenty work. We have such a drive for closure, but life doesn’t always grant that. We have to learn to live with broken hearts and fly with wounded wings because therein lies our glory as well.

  2. I have been on a course of action for about 7 years. All that time I was talking to a friend about what I was doing and how it was going. It was a hard and difficult quest, but one that had to be done. I shared victories and pain.

    I assumed that my friend was understanding what I was doing, saying etc. One night my friend had had a few drinks and said what they really thought of my quest. It was pretty negative and I shocked that this person had really no idea of what I was doing, and why.

    It was like walking into a door, I was stunned, felt betrayed, alone.

    As things would have it, I got a phone call out of the blue the next day, from a friend I hadn’t heard from for a while who was fully supportive of what I was doing. These people did not know each other.

    My response to the first friend, who was really apologetic after the event was, “this is what you think, this is how you feel, if we are friends you should not need to apologize for saying what you really believe.

    I never share the quest with this friend now, but we still share other important things. We have been friends for over 10 years. It was a really awful time that time, but I dealt with it by respecting the other persons right to have their own feelings.

    this s probably a bit different to your situation, but I just wanted to give you a hug and say I understand.

    • Thank you for your input an the hug :).

      Sometimes it’s a matter of adjusting the sail and continuing. What is more, things never stay the same. People change and grow and adapt and adjust and re-evaluate their ideas and responses and ways of being all the time, some more consciously than others – but we all do nevertheless.

      It’s wonderful that you and the first friend were able to still hold onto the parts of the friendship that were sustainable and worth investing in. That is so positive, and kudos to you, because you were the one left hurting and could so easily have walked away from it all.

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Julie Brett

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