Friday, December 8, 2017

What Is A Promise?

With all of our stress lately from having the extra pets and being left wondering how long we'll have to care for them, I've been focusing way too much on the people in my life who have lied to me, broken promises and broken my trust. I hate that my mind is veering towards those bad memories, but I guess it's my way of trying to come to terms with my current situation. I'm always trying to see the bright side, but the darkness is creeping in more than I like lately and writing about it helps. I hate being negative, but sometimes positivity escapes me.

So, I ask you, what is a promise? 

This is something I struggle with and have struggled with since I was a child. If someone says they will do something and they find an excuse not to, did they break a promise? Or if they vow they won't do something hurtful again, and their anger takes over, resulting in them causing hurt again, is it forgivable because they couldn't help themselves or because they are family?

My mother used to always say "just accept the fact that you can't choose your family". Yes, she was right, but she said it meaning that family could do whatever they wanted to you and you had to forgive them. I couldn't choose them, but I chose to leave them.

Here is one I've heard a zillion times: It was never really a promise because they never said the exact words "I promise". Do you give them a second chance and the benefit of the doubt that the excuse is legitimate? Are they justified in letting me down if they apologize but don't make up for it?

And what if this becomes a habit? Am I to blame by placing too much trust in people when they say they'll do something, then feel so disappointed when they don't? Or does the habitual excuse-maker not take what he or she says seriously enough to follow through? If I keep trusting, am I the fool? Is it time to leave them behind?  Aaargh!!!

This is what goes through my brain when I lack gosh, it feels like I'm thinking too hard, maybe my migraine wasn't hormonal maybe it was "over-thinkish" lol...I'm sure there are varying answers to all of these questions...I wish I didn't question everything so much, I drive myself batty at times! :)

I am someone who actually listens to everything people say to me. I remember things that have been said or discussed for years, good and bad. If someone says they'll do something, then they don't, I wonder if I'm to blame because I get my hopes up too much.

I know I can't change anyone, I can't make anyone act when they say they will, when they promise they will. I can't make anyone see the value in having integrity and trustworthiness. I often wonder if people break your trust because they simply don't care that you are in their lives and they are waiting for you to walk away from them and be the "bad guy".

Problem is, no matter how much I tell a person how they are losing my trust; or how much I desperately want to, if they don't want to change, it will always happen if I let it. If I continue to let it happen, the trust and confidence I have in that person slowly chips away. At first I feel hurt and let down, but the more it happens, I get to the point where I just don't take them seriously anymore and I wonder why I bother even thinking they should be in my life anymore.

Anyway, just food for thought, I'm feeling better already letting this out! :)


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Very thought-provoking, Rain. These questions can have so many answers. Broken promises can and will compromise trust. A person's word is no longer worth anything if they don't fulfill what they say they will do. No one is perfect, we all break promises, but hopefully it's a minor offense that doesn't hurt anyone deeply. But if someone does this all the time, and leaves behind a string of emotional wreckage, then it's habitual, the trust is broken and that individual is very callous about it all. Giving someone a second chance is entirely an individual thing. For me it all depends on who the person is. There is a hierarchy in my life. Some people have more prominence and I'll give them multiple free passes. Not forever, but longer than for the ones that are not that important to me. Those individuals can quickly and easily be removed from my life, and I don't lose any sleep over it. There are no easy answers to this. Relationships are oftentimes complicated, and we each handle them in our own unique way. When I was younger, I let people get away with things often. As I get older, I realize that life is too short for toxic people. Now I surround myself with people that have earned a space in my life.

John M said...

I feel very hurt when someone doesn't keep a promise. I try to keep my promises and if for some good reason I can't, I'll do my best to explain and somehow make up for it.

If a person keeps breaking his promises I'll try to keep away from any contact with him. I won't trust him anymore.

A promise is important. If I'm not sure I'll just say that I'll do my best.

Pam Jackson said...

I dated a guy that was always making plans to see me, travel from Fla....was it a promise? Not really but it hurt when that plan was altered or broken, somewhat like a promise. So I finally started asking when the talk started to get BIG...was that a plan or a thought. Finally he started saying, here is a thought! Is this making sense? haha....sorry. When you date long distant a promise, plan or thought has to be spoken so you are not let down. It was hard teaching him that. But as for saying something and it is set on concrete or the words promise are said, it is hard to except when that changes for no good reason. Rain, I had to learn, to teach myself that I am who I am, I expect people to accept me for in turn, I have to do the same for them. I have to accept that some folks just don't stand by what they say, or they are negative etc. I might not like that part of them but I accept that. One thing I can't stand is someone who lies because it sounds better than the truth. One right after the daughter is like that. I don't like it, I don't trust it but I love her so I accept her as that being who she is. I know maybe some of this is off topic but yet not really. But if you have someone in your life that promises all the time and never comes through, that is basically a lie! But....I read your blog, I read between the lines and it appears to me that you are loved, you have a great relationship with Alex....try to let the rest go. I know not having a family must be hard, but in your heart and head, accept that they are who they are, you don't have to be around them...but consider the source and let it go! Clear your head and your heart, let go of what you can't change and if you come across someone in your life that lies, makes plans and promises and don't keep them, walk away!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Hmmmm. This is a very thought provoking post. I cannot trust anyone who breaks promises. Do it once, then perhaps but do it more than once and forget it. I hold grudges big time and if you knock me around with empty promises forget it. You are a good, decent soul. Try not to overthink. I suspect you are correct, you are stressed because of the added burden of someone else's dogs not to mention the upkeep with them and cost. I'm stressed for you guys! Those who have commented above all have very valid, incredibly true comments. Keep the faith!

Rain said...

Thanks Martha :) I agree with you, that we all break promises, it can't be avoided. I am just someone who always tries her best to keep the promise, and if I can't, I bend over backwards to make up for it. Being trustworthy is one of my greatest values and I work hard for it! I have that hierarchy in my life too, but it mainly just revolves around my relationship now. Luckily promises are rarely broken here. I have such little patience for anyone other than Alex who breaks a promise. I guess I've gotten to the stage in my life where the things that are important to me have shifted. I hate drama and I don't like begging a person to keep their word either, so I kind of let them drop out. And you're right, life is way too short for toxic people!

Rain said...

Hi John :) We are very much alike. I do the same and I really feel betrayed when a promise isn't kept to me. Trust is the basis for any fulfilling relationship. I had someone in my life once who continually said he'd do things, then not to them. The excuse was that "nobody's perfect"...but that was ALWAYS the excuse! Once the trust goes, I really lose interest!

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) Well, even if that guy from Florida didn't say the words "I promise", his ideas and plans that he shared with you gave you hope. Hope dashed is hard to take. And yes, you're making sense! I'd much rather someone say "here is a thought" rather than I'm going to do x, y, or z. I started dating long distance with someone on the West Coast before I met Alex. He was brilliant at making plans and not following through, blaming this and that, and really I had no way of knowing if it was true or not because each time, I felt a breach of trust. You're right about the lying. In definition, a broken promise was a lie. But I guess we tend to forgive those we love. Someone who isn't all that important in my life, well, it remains a lie and I figure they will always lie so I stop contact with them. My biggest problem is that guy who left the dogs. He, in my opinion, is a liar. We have to keep him in our lives temporarily until our ultimatum is given and we get an answer from him. Until then, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth!

Rain said...

Thanks Dianna :) That's sweet :) And you are right, I DO overthink, but especially when I'm worried. I can't seem to help it. Then memories come flooding back...gosh, no wonder I bake so much, I need comfort lol...I think that I give too many chances, that's why I get hurt so much, but I really have hope that people will be decent eventually. When I finally reach my limit, I'm pretty apathetic, so letting the person go seems easy. I don't hold grudges, but I have a hard time letting go of hurt...I wonder if that is the same thing!

Toni said...

I've made it a rule to completely trust myself. If someone makes me a promise and breaks it, I might have my feelings hurt for a day or less. I realize that broken promises say so much more about the person who broke it.

I think I'm a loving, patient person but I truly believe in the old saying, "Fooled my once, shame on you. Fooled me twice, shame on me."

Forgiving, yes. Forgetting, no.

Michael said...

"If someone says they will do something and they find an excuse not to, did they break a promise?"
YES! And it does not matter whether they say, "I promise" or not. In fact, I don't even like that as it implies the rest of the time one doesn't mean what one says. Rather, let your word be truly your word, right? :)

"..if they vow they won't do something hurtful again, and their anger takes over, resulting in them causing hurt again, is it forgivable because they couldn't help themselves or because they are family?"
- While I think anything Is possibly forgivable once we know a person's background and story (walking in their moccasins type thing), it still doesn't make it OKAY! Especially if habitual liars or abusers. Letting anyone do that to oneself when having the chance to say no (as opposed to being trapped in a situ), only means one ends up abusing oneself and it doesn't help them seek help either.

That refrain from your mother may be true but sadly it is used WAY too much to justify abuse. Just b/c ,say, "Uncle harry" is our uncle does not give him a right to demean me or touch some kid in an inappropriate way even if for humour. We create monsters that way and that phrase can lead to make excuses for otherwise entirely unacceptable behaviour or language or what have you.

Michael said...

AS I read your post here, dear Rain, I reflect back to this "abusive" family who were our friends as their kids were friends with ours and we shared many of the same friends, knowing each other before either had kids. Because we truly loved them and appreciated many things about them, we would always overlook some controlling things and warning signs, making excuses, etc. They would never deliberately hurt anyone but seemed clueless how often they would essentially take advantage of others' good will and rely on "grace" all the time.

A classic example: one Christmas, as with every year, we invited people who, like us, had no family around or were single, over for xmas dinner. Needless to say we invited this couple too and asked them to please bring the veggies which they offered to do along with the mash. After agreeing to a time for dinner (5:00 pm), xmas day came and we all waited for them to show up for hours, letting the turkey dry out, the food start to burn that was in the over and the other stuff on the stove top go cold. 2 hours later, with no returned phone calls and thinking they might have been hurt in an accident or such, we ate and fed the children present too who were really hungry by then. At around 9pm when everyone was leaving, this couple showed up and not only that, totally empty handed! Adn their reason? They decided to go to the wife's parents for a bit and knew we would understand! When I said politely, "Ah, Just wish you had called and then we would have known you were ok and could have fed everyone on time (minus any veggies or mash)." To which, he actually replied, "Michael, you are having a spirit of control about you! you need to let things be." no apologies or what have you.

Anyway, we still remained friends for years to come after that, but never invited them for xmas again. Eventually though, we called them of some disturbing things that concerned us with the kid (let alone the the treatment of their dogs who they fed their dead horse carcass to) and rather than consider our decades long friendship they upped and left and were never seen again. Wow. They had apparently had someone call social services on them and were convinced it was us-- it was not but I can see how that might have happened to them. Sad but it taught me a lot about boundaries. While I am always willing to give ppl the benefit of doubt, I am more mindful now I think.

Finally, sadly, some ppl hurt others but truly don't want to but don't know either how not to as that was all that was modeled to them. Tricky.

Rain said...

Hi Toni :) I agree with that, a broken promise says much more about the person who broke it. I tend to fall into a trap where I think I'm not worth anyone's effort to keep their promise, but then I shake myself out of it quickly and realize I trust myself, I trust what I do and decide and I trust that I'm an honest and good person. I do have a lot of self-doubt, but it always comes down to me knowing I'm a good person and deserve better. Thank you for your comment. :)

Rain said...

Hi Michael :)

I agree with what you said. I'm forgiving, but it doesn't let that person off the hook. If they break a promise over and over, I will forgive them just to help myself get through the pain, but I won't forget that they cannot be trusted. If it happens once in a while and the person is genuinely concerned that they did break the promise...AND they make up for it, then I can forget.

That is so sad, but so common, what you wrote about the abusive family you knew. Inconsideration is a broken promise too. Not showing up for dinner as planned, WITH the veggies and me that is just like a broken promise. And for them to turn it around on you and somehow make their behaviour your fault? I heard that a lot growing up. Always deflecting...people like that never change. I can't handle any kind of animal abuse or neglect...I grew up with parents who had little care for the family pets...that could be why I care so much myself and want to save them all. I try to give the benefit of the doubt to people but sometimes I try too hard just out of hope. I'm learning to be more guarded and protect myself from hurt now though.

Michael said...

I think you get an A+, Rain! :D