I am watching my friend recover. She’s struggling to turn around a lifelong habit of people pleasing. Her progress is painfully slow. Cara is the most wonderful, awe-inspiring, amazing woman you’d ever meet. Everyone says so; except her husband and her boss. They are her only critics. Surely you know someone like Cara. She does everything for everyone else, only to be used like a doormat on a rainy day.
He should have seen it coming. Her husband is stunned. After thirty years of marriage she got crabby. She was annoyed with being annoying to the one person in her life who should appreciate her most. Harris didn’t have a clue and he rightly asked, “What happened to the woman I married, the one who never complained, and loved me as I am?” He’s angry that the rules changed so late in the game.
I’m a contributor to a woman’s advocacy group called Women Employed. It’s a very effective nonprofit, started in 1973 by Anne Ladky and Nancy Kreiter. The organization has been very successful in making life better for working women. Laws have been changed and doors are now open, to give female workers equal pay and equal rights. It takes a lot of voices to be heard in the political arena. Do the same principles apply when we see injustice in someone’s personal life?
Cara has a very large circle of people who love and admire her. It’s a blessing and a challenge. We’re all over her to be strong and change the course of her relationships. Her husband is cold and insulting. Her employer is a passive-aggressive control freak. Only Cara can make the changes she needs to get rid of the hurtful people in her life. So why don’t we all just shut up and let her work it out?
Because we love her. Because it hurts us to see her hurt. Because we’re unwilling to change the way we make change. I’m beginning to see that speaking up isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. When the factory owner changed his policy of sexual discrimination, business sense prevailed—it was not an emotional decision. Cara has factors like love and loyalty to contend with. When you’re genetically wired to put others before yourself, it’s difficult—but not impossible—to tell someone, “I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Cara needs to turn down the volume around her. She needs to listen to the still quiet voice within her. With God’s help, she’ll make the right choice.
“Arms Around Me”
I thought I knew this person,
but I have not loved wisely.
The relationship is ending;
it was toxic for us both.
Teach me to move on
without bitterness and regret.
Help me to forgive myself
while I seek a better other.
Let me feel Your spiritual arms
supporting me as I weep.
Let me gain from You the certainty:
This decision is good
and sits well in my soul.