Monday, August 24, 2009


I'm reading Penni Russon's novel Undine. I've been meaning to read it for a long time. And well....I'm finally doing it.

There's a passage in the novel I can strongly relate to. It talks about a fight between a mother and daughter.

But this fight was different. There had been something so systematic about it, so planned. But not like Lou had planned it. It was as if the argument had been inevitable, out of Lou's hands. That the argument had been waiting to happen, independent of Undine and Lou, and there had been nothing they could do to stop it. Instead they were forced to perform it.
I do wonder if some fights are SUPPOSED to happen; if they happen in order to force us to deal with issues that simmer under the surface.

Last summer, we were at the lake house for a weekend. The usual custom for Sunday is to eat lunch, and then pack up to go home. Earlier that day, Tim asked me if I wanted to leave before lunch. I thought it was a bit odd since we rarely ever leave BEFORE lunch. On top of that, we had really awesome dinner leftovers to eat. I didn't really understand why he'd suggest leaving. I told him I wanted to stay.

During lunch, a HUGE family fight developed. Tim and I later wondered if he had some type of premonition. I sort of doubt it. I think it's a matter of tension building. There had been little fights here and there. Maybe he understood unconsciously that it would turn into something big.

Still though. Are some fights meant to be?

I think so.

Yeah. I guess I really do believe so.

I think they do hurt. I think they cause huge amounts of stress. I felt physically ill yesterday because of our family's huge current fight. Each time my AOL mail thing jumps up, my heart pounds nervously. I'm afraid of getting a hateful email from certain family members.

Spiritually though....I believe they benefit us.

I think of the fights I've had in the last few years. They've all brought some good in my life.

In a few fights, I've actually become closer to the person I've fought with. The fight led us to fixing longtime problems between us. Our relationship has improved. That's probably the best thing that can happen.

In many fights, our relationship has not improved, but nor has it gotten worse. I think the fight made ME change for the better though. I learned that I can hold a grudge against an event, behavior, or action without holding a grudge against the entire person. I can think to myself. I don't like what you did to me, but I DO still love you as a person. And each time someone hurts me, I benefit in some way. Pain is one of life's greatest teachers. It teaches us how we want to be treated, and it teaches us how we should treat others.

There are some fights that have caused permanent rifts in the relationships I have with others. With some of these people, I'm no longer communicating. With other people, there's a friendly (but very guarded) truce. I think some of these fights have the role of removing people from our lives who shouldn't be there. I did mourn the loss of some for a few days...hoping and waiting to get an email that said it was all a joke. I wanted an apology, or at least an agreed upon truce. But now, months later, I'm relieved that they're gone. I realize I never much liked them in the first place. I liked them for one simple reason....they seemed to like me. I like being liked. Once they no longer liked me, I lost that obligation to like them back.

I think with most people though, we're not supposed to COMPLETELY lose them. I think it's often about seeing someone's true colors, and knowing that when they're at their worst, they can be quite horrible. Maybe it's kind of like a warning. With fights you learn who is paranoid, who will lie to get out of trouble, who will manipulate the story to put all the blame on you, who likes you for a role they expect you to play, and not for who you truly are. And who will try to exit the relationship as soon as any sign of conflict appears.

Once you have the fight, you can know the weaknesses of your friend or family member. Maybe weakness is the wrong word. Psychological weapon might be a better one.

But we can't stop there.

At least I try not to.

The next task is to look within ourselves to make sure we don't use the same weapons that we despise in others. Unfortunately, often I discover that I do. And that knowledge always stings. How could it not? If it didn't, we wouldn't need to use elaborate defense mechanisms to protect us from the knowledge.

Once we face the truth, then we can try to make a change.

So yeah.

I definitely think that fights teach us a lot. They help us grow.

Unfortunately, they can also lead to homicide, suicide, depression, insomnia, physical injury, war, and other shitty things.

So it would be great if we could find a way to obtain these psychological and spiritual benefits without fighting.

I'm not quite sure we're evolved enough for that though.