Posted by: Marie | June 27, 2012

(657) Healthy negotiations – Part 2 of 4

Post #657
[Private journal entry written on Monday, July 18, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: Well, the big piece of news this week is that I didn’t sign up to work at the bus barn this coming school year. They invited me to work as a substitute driver. I had to make a decision one way or the other by this last Friday.

On Thursday, I stopped by the bus barn and had a conversation with my boss. I told him that I didn’t want to take part in the annual training next month for two reasons . . . because I don’t have the time available in my teaching schedule to train for two weeks straight this summer . . . and because I don’t think I’ll have time to be a substitute driver during the school year. I told him it makes sense for him to spend that money on someone else who can be more available. He agreed that was the best use of his resources.

Flower by Martin Chen

We agreed that we’ll touch base if things change for either of us . . . if he gets desperate for a short-term driver or an aide . . . or, if my business drops too low. At that point, we can see where things stand with both of us and see if we can make something work.

I’m still licensed and certified on everything through this school year so it would be easy to step back in – I could spend an afternoon doing some refresher training and I’d be ready to go . . . so it is still a back-up plan for both of us.

But, he’s going to spend the funds allocated for my training on someone else’s training. That means I am one more step removed from the safety net provided by that back-up employment plan. I’m further down on the preferred sub drivers list . . . it will now be a bit harder for me to get my foot back in the door if I ever need to. That’s a bit scary; but, really, I’m okay with that. I’m ready for that to be the case.

I remember when, a while back, you suggested there might be a day when I could let go of the back-up plan and trust in my ability to earn a sufficient living through my teaching . . . I remember how impossible that sounded at the time . . . and now, that has come to fruition.

Edward: That is awesome! Well done! Congratulations!

Me: Thank you!

(Looking at my sticky note again) Oh, and, I’ve been in contact with my cousins and they are looking over their schedule to see when it would work for them for me to visit them. It sounds like we are aiming for sometime between late August and early October. So, plans for that trip are moving forward.

Edward: How are you feeling about that trip?

Me: I’m excited about it . . . I have a gut feeling that visiting with them will be a very healing experience . . . it will likely be a very unusual trip, but I think it will be good.

Edward: Good! I also think it will be beneficial for you.

Me: (Looking at my sticky note again) So . . . moving to the next item on my list . . .

In the last session, we talked about how I could set an effective boundary around religion with my cousins if I start to feel pressured by them to convert back to Christianity.

Edward: Yes . . .

Me: I’ve been thinking about your suggestion . . . which was to say something like, “My purpose in coming here this weekend is to learn about the two of you and your relationship. Discussing my relationship with God does not help with that intention – so, let’s move the discussion back to you.”

When you suggested that, it didn’t feel like a good fit for me – it doesn’t seem to accurately reflect my thoughts and feelings on the matter.

Edward: Okay . . . I’m glad you can recognize that!

Me: I’m pretty sure I will share at least some of my story with them. Assuming that is the case, I’m sure my relationship with God would likely come up in our conversation – because my relationship with God is a significant part of my life and of my story.

So, if that is how things unfold, I can’t very well draw a boundary around that topic and declare it “off limits” if I have already brought it into the conversation.

I wouldn’t feel comfortable making that statement to my cousins . . . I’d have a hard time looking them in the eye and saying those words in a powerful way . . . partly because it doesn’t feel accurate to me . . . partly because it is debatable.

I wouldn’t be there just to learn their story – I’m there to share at least some of my story, if possible. And, God is part of my story, so a discussion about God would be relative. If they are so inclined, they could argue to the point . . . much like Mark felt justified in arguing that point with me . . . much like other family members have felt justified in arguing with me . . .

What feels more congruent to me is to saying something like, “I don’t feel comfortable having that discussion right now.” That feels more accurate and powerful for me – and they couldn’t argue with me about it. It would cause a debate – if one occurred – to be concluded without my having to cave in, insult them or prove them “wrong”.

Edward: Great! I can hear and see the congruence in your voice and body language as you are saying it in here. I think that would be a great way to handle the situation.

Me: Thanks!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. Great news on the business front. Hope it has stayed supportive for you.

    • Thanks, Evan! Yes . . . my business is still doing very well!

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