Friday, July 27, 2007

Stretching my brain

I have a new camera and now I have a new lens for it. Here is my gratuitous pretty picture of a dragon fly.

On our homeschooling camping trip , nearly two weeks ago now, something happened to me.

I had an "exchange of words" with another parent.

(Picture taken by me of lake in the early morning.)

And, it has set me to thinking.

The Dad, lets call him Dkhd, is someone newer to our circle, had never been camping with us before. I didn't know him that well, mostly just from hanging out at the park and some of our homeschool meetings, that kind of thing.

He is the kind of guy who likes to tease and joke, which is good because that sort of fits in with the rest of us and the give and take that we do.

It was after the group breakfast, when I walked into the cook shack to get a drink and he backed hastily away from me, I lamely joked that he reacted like that in fear of me, because he was using the water from "my" jug.

The next thing I know, Dkhd is leaning into my face and in low but clear tones, telling me that I am extremely passive aggressive and have been needling him all morning and he wants me to stop it.

I am so freaking embarrassed and horrified and shocked.

With my face burning with shame, my words came spilling out.
I offer him a heartfelt apology, I had never intended to upset him and had no idea I was and then sincerely promised that I would make every effort to never do so again.

I could barely breathe. I felt so bad that my actions had upset someone else so much and I was quickly slipping into that whirling vortex of ohmygod-i'msostupid-howmanyotherpeoplehaveibeentreatingsobadlywithoutknowingit -everyonemusthateme!

Which is when Dkhd says:
"So, you agree that I'm right, you are passive aggressive?"

I don't get what is going on. So, I repeat my stil heartfelt apology, but this time I tell him "don't label me" ask him, not snarkily, but because I really I want to know, if by calling me names when I am saying I'm sorry, isn't he being passive aggressive?

He doesn't answer me.
Instead, he just waves his hand around to indicate the cook shack and all the people milling about in it, who oddly enough don't seem to realize that anything momentous is happening - and says:
"Well anyway, I'm just sorry that I had to address this issue in such a public place."

I ended up sitting in the woods, crying and crying.
I was a mess.
Depression was yawning in a big, black hole at my feet, I swear.

It took me a while to really put it all together and not want to hide from everyone.
I found my husband first and he helped me calm down.
He wanted to know who had upset me so much but I wouldn't tell him. It was his thing it was mine to deal with.

Spent the rest of the day with my sunglasses on and hat pulled down low over my face and avoided Dkhd as much as possible.

It was beautiful and sunny.
Saw a bear during my first paddle on the lake. Really enjoyed the company of my friends.
A momma and a baby moose swam through and I had my camera nearby!

Oh and my dog ratted out Dkhd to my husband.
It turns out that she kept creeping up behind Dkhd and grabbing a mouthful of the flesh from right behind his knee. Not biting him or piercing the skin or anything like that. Just....holding on. She did this FIVE times before she had to be shut up in the trailer.

Not that Cabana Boy did anything, that isn't really his style but he lost all friendly feeling he'd had previously.

I admit that I'm not quite over it all yet.
It shook me too hard.
The feeling of being emotionally attacked in a place that I thought of as safe.

Such a small thing in some ways and yet with such deep reverberations.

I have since been reminded that Dkhd had done the same kind of thing to another woman I know.

When she tried to tell me about it, I kind of brushed it off.
I didn't know what it was like. What she had meant.
And because I felt like I kind of knew him, I couldn't imagine it was as bad as all that.

I also found out that my youngest son had seen Dkhd 'be really mean" to my woman friend.
Those are his words. Buddy says that my woman friend kept apologising about having offended Dkhd and that Dkhd kept telling her that she was admitting that she had offended him.

Buddy was witness to it at homeschool swimming lessons and he never mentioned to me until I was telling him and his siblings why I wanted them to be careful around Dkhd. That he can seem nice but that I don't feel comfortable with them getting too close to him.

The guy is spooky and has problems, especially it seems, with women and not in particular with me.

I have to see him more than a few times a week.
He is usually at the swimming pool, the park and a couple of other places that my kids and I like to go to.
I'm not going to change our routine just to try and avoid him.
Still I have been finding it uncomfortable and I want that to stop, so I'm writing it all out here.

There are things I want to remember from it all.

Just because someone says I am the problem, it doesn't mean I am.
That I am stronger than I ever thought I was.
I want to listen better when a friend is telling me about something that upset them and to take them seriously.
I need to talk even more wiht all my kids about not keeping upsetting stuff to themselves.

Living with my youngest kids for the last year has been really great for training me when it comes to knowing the difference between real communication and manipulation.


FosterAbba said...

It sounds like he is definitely the problem. I mean if your dog was pointing out the problem, then it's pretty clear.

If you don't listen to anyone else, listen to your dog.

If I'd listened to my dog, I never would have married my ex-husband, and what a mistake that was!

Granny said...

What a marvelous name you chose for him.

Not that I want him reading your blog but I kinda wish he could see it.

Kikilia said...

Sounds like he has a major problem with women. Too bad he chose your group to be a part of.

Those are great pictures! What kind of camera do you have?

cloudscome said...

What a horrible experience. I always have had a hard time believing that people can be so mean, especially to me. I am glad your family, including your dog, was there to back you up and affirm your experience. Talking to your kids and not keeping upset to yourself... hmmm I could use lessons in that.

Glad you are being brave and not letting the jerk take away the places you like. Stand up to him in public and he will slink away. Bring your dog.

ipodmomma said...

I love how your dog was giving that guy what he needed...

some people are dangerous, in very subtle ways. sorry that you were the recipient of his nastiness. but good you gave your kids the heads up, and just keep an eye and ear out for things along the pipeline...

love the pics!!! oh my goodness... gorgeous!!!

cebii said...

I would have really been thrown by that interaction as well. I'm glad you have found some perspective - it is always hard for me to break out of the self-hate spiral.

LOVE the pictures!

Lionmom said...

whoops - that was me above

cebii said...

okay this is REALLY me...
lets hear it for your dog!! And it is great to see that you worked it out and got support from your family.