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December 15, 2016

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Praying for you my friend! And hoping something like that doesn't ever happen to me, YIKES! I am sorry you had to go through this. Mommy War issues and conflicts in child rearing philosophies can be the worst things ever! :-(

Jamie, I'm so sorry. I seldom know what to say in the moment of conflict. It's usually all I can do not to escalate it, much less try to be a peacemaker. I give you lots of credit for that. I think that when lines get crossed, being civil is plenty from there on out. It takes two to tango; if this other person can't treat you any better than this, it's correct to pull back. I really wonder what people think they will accomplish with this kind of aggression. I truly hope it won't spoil your Advent. Love and light to you, friend. xoxoxo

You know, I think it can be a good thing to allow someone to vent their anger at you, to hear them out, to listen -- even if the anger is wholly or partially undeserved. Bearing wrongs patiently is listed as a spiritual work of mercy for a reason; and to the extent (30%) that you suspect it might have been justified anger, you could look on your listening to it ad a form of penance, something expiatory. So I would not second-guess your choice to listen.

Once is enough, though. And you get to set boundaries in the future that are informed by what you heard in the past. She has said her piece, and you have heard it, and you get to decide what kind of interactions you are willing to have and/or what kind of distance you want to keep.

Sucks! Made me think of two people in my life who have similarly flashed out in anger at me, above and beyond the situation. It is battering and you end up feeling bruised.

As a person for whom anger is challenging, I also know first hand that anger stands in for a multitude of other emotions. While adults are charged with knowing an expressing anger better, it may help to think of it as an adult tantrum. It may help you cultivate mercy toward the person in your heart. The two people who are wounding in my life are kept rather far away, though. The sad thing is that I don't think they see it or understand what a harsh tool it is.

I will pray for both of you - I'm sorry you had to experience that.

I'm always struck by situations like this - I can't really imagine doing something like this except to (gulp!) my immediate family. And they probably deserve it least of all. But that may be more a failing of fortitude than anything positive - probably I run away from legitimate times I might be being called to admonish or instruct or comfort.

Thinking back to mothering groups and helping new moms deal with difficult mother-in-laws, etc - perhaps one could frame even weird, inappropriate attempts to "fix" you and your mothering as done because the acquaintance cares about you and your family, and doesn't want to stand by without addressing what she sees as bad? Not (initially, perhaps) an attack as much as a (mangled) "I-care"? But of course that doesn't mean that you owe the person your presence.

Was this related to the dumb kid mistake from a few days ago??

I completely agree with bearing, that once is enough (and maybe too much, given your level of discomfort!). Boundaries FTW! If the person on the other end of the call was seriously interested in changing something about the way you are parenting or conducting your life (!!) she did not choose a method that was likely to be successful.

I am so sorry that you have had to go through this and I hope that you are able to feel whole and less bruised very, very soon. A long run might be helpful for your peace of mind.

I found myself tensing up just reading this. I'm so sorry you had to be on that other end of the phone.

I am guessing there are other things going on in that woman's life that she's not in control of, and for whatever reason she found it necessary to take it out on you and her perceived notion of what's wrong with your life. {Total projection here, but I have been in a similar situation, down to the 30% blame that made it hard to defend myself.}

I'm a crappy pray-er, but I'll give it shot for you.

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