A very wise young woman once told me that. “Feet don’t lie so disregard what someone says – watch what they do.“** In other words, actions speak louder than words. I wonder why it is that we humans tend to hang onto words that are said and completely disregard the way people act. I don’t understand that.
My soon to be ex-husband told me for a year that he loved me and wanted to work out our marital problems. When I look back at it though, he did nothing to change anything. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
I just kept telling myself and my friends that “he’s so passive, blah, blah, blah”. I made every excuse I could for him. I lied to myself for a year. It was easy to lie because he never yelled at me, never hit me or threatened me, never disappeared for days on end, never got drunk or stoned.
I lied to myself because he told me he loved me. He said all the right words – well mostly. He did the minimum. The whole time I knew something wasn’t right but I kept hoping that everything would work out.
To be truthful, I remember the moment I really knew, in my heart, that it was over. It was my birthday and we were at the beach for the week. As soon as he handed me a birthday card, he began complaining about how much it cost. I think it was $6 or $7. I remember thinking to myself, “We make *** dollars a year and he’s bitching about a stupid $6 birthday card for his wife whom he says he loves!?!?!?!”.
Then we went to my favorite restaurant on the island. We sat down, ordered drinks and he began to complain about how uncomfortable he felt there. The restaurant was too “upscale” for him. And again, I thought, “Are you kidding me? It’s a freaking Italian restaurant on a beach island. You want hoity-toity? I’ll be glad to fly you to New York and we can go to Le Cirque!”
(I ate at Le Cirque once with my Uncle Paul. I think I was all of 16. It was fabulous. That’s the hoity-toitiest restaurant I can recall.)
And then it hit me. Full frontal. Classic Narcissist – he was just making my birthday all about him. It’s what they do.
Slowly over the next few weeks, I began to understand exactly what was happening and what I was dealing with. It would take a few months for me to wrap my head around it. I have wondered since then how long it would have taken me if I had only paid more attention to what he was doing – or not doing – instead of just relying on what he was saying.
Have you ever been in an abusive relationship? Have you ever had someone shove you around or hit you then say they’re sorry and tell you they love you?
Have you ever had someone betray you, cheat on you, lie about you, etc. then say they’re sorry and tell you they’ll never do it again? How long did it take before they did it again?
Have you ever had someone say something hurtful to you then when you call them on it, they say, “Geez, I was just kidding!”? Were they kidding?
Have you ever had someone say how important you are to them or that they want to see you or spend time with you but they never actually make time for you?
How about people who promise you repeatedly that they’ll do something you ask them to but they never get around to it?
Certainly we should give people the benefit of the doubt. We’re all doing the best we can. That’s not what I’m talking about. Anyone can forget to do something or forget an appointment. But don’t you really think if someone felt that you were a priority in their life then they’d act like it? Consistently. In public and in private.
To me, it’s a fine line between genuinely giving people the benefit of the doubt and being taken advantage of and/or used. Dr. Phil says we teach people how to treat us by what we allow them to get away with. I agree with that.
But it seems to me that there comes a time when you raise your price tag. There comes a time when you decide what your life is about. There comes a time when you value yourself enough to walk away from anything that doesn’t enhance your life.
There comes a time when you simply don’t allow people to abuse you – no matter how softly it’s wrapped.
Congratulations if you’ve reached that point! Your Warrior Spirit is awakening. Listen to it. Heed its call! Raise your price tag! Start thinking of yourself as a High Value Person. Once you begin to value yourself, others will too.
Just remember, feet don’t lie!
(** Thanks, Kim Honeycutt!)