As I read Jo's post today (A Majority of Two) I was reminded of the power our words have. Thinking before you speak is age old advice that is still (and, no doubt, always will be) relevant.
I often write my thoughts down that I would never say (unless overly provoked by someone). Recently I spoke my mind and in doing so I think I offended the people that I shared my view with. This is a couple I see every weekend and speak to them on the phone. Individually they are pleasant to talk with, but together, one is treated to a sideshow of hostility. They have two children and are constantly sniping at each other and putting each other down...........in the presence of the kids. It bothers me a great deal and prompted me to ask them why they chose to stay together.
They told me they stayed together for the sake of the children. I laughed at them and not because I was amused. Before I could stop myself I asked if they though their constant bickering was good for their children and was told that they didn't fight in front of the kids. I was astounded that they thought that and told them so. They put each other down and refer to the others less than desirable qualities in sometimes vulgar terms.....all with-in earshot of the ones they proclaim to protect by staying together. I know they were offended by my scolding. I am sure that the sniping has become a habit. I want to say that if this offense that I have committed gives them pause and they start to edit their words it will have been worth it.
Unfortunately, this weekend hasn't seen any change in the atmosphere. I feel for the kids. The oldest is ten and is wise beyond her years. Hungry for attention, she tends to want to hang out with adults and will do any thing you ask of her. She is right at that stage of innocence before puberty wins out and turns her into a teen determined to prove adults to have inferior knowledge of life. I fear that she will then begin to play one against the other in that age old game of outwitting one's parents. She has been watching and learning and it will not be pretty when this happens. I have noticed of late that she has also become a target and is told that her flaws are making her just like her mother.
All this is easy to see from the outside looking in. I don't think that this couple stays together just for the sake of the kids. I think that maybe they feed off the hostility of each other in a perverse manner and don't know how to stop. The negativity can be contagious and it takes a conscious effort to not be affected by it. I wish my words could have made a difference.........