Develop a Thicker Skin

Karen Madej

Is the advice given by a good friend.

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Image by Danny See Chuan Seng from Pixabay

Wouldn't it be fantastic to simply make up one's mind to knit a protective shield around your emotions to ward off any rude, nasty or plain mean people's comments, shouting, and demands of you?

How, exactly, should one go about weaving that hero's cape to master your fear and protect your vulnerable raw neural pathways and chemical transmitters?

Where personal relationships are concerned, discovering men who could switch off their emotions when they ended a relationship, always baffled me. The receiving end of a break up can crush a soft-skinned person.

Betrayal, however, is a powerful motivator. When one is betrayed by a significant other, we can choose to be a doormat covered in their dirt or turn our backs on them and demonstrate our contempt.

The different forms of betrayal and contempt experienced may vary from situation to situation. For example, a husband never lifting a hand to help around the house. When the wife leaves, he has to call her to find out how to operate the washing machine and learn where their child's doctor's surgery is.

Some people are blind to the discomfort and misery they cause. That husband used guilt to achieve his wants and needs. His wife allowed him to with her silence. Compliance and the programming she received and lived by, from childhood to motherhood, had not prepared her for any alternatives.

Alcohol also played a major role in their relationship. Great fun drinking vodka and smoking cigarettes so often you don't recall much of your marriage. Her requests to share control of the joint bank account were ignored countless times. And when her husband was more interested in watching the football than paying attention to her, she left.

All her feelings for her husband were erased, switched off after years of her efforts being taken for granted. She had worked full-time, kept their home, and cared for their child. He had used guilt to subdue her rather than support, encourage, and foster kindness and love.

She had a good job, a monthly salary, and set up on her own. Quickly meeting a new guy while out with a friend at a nightclub. As a modern woman, she offered to buy him a drink. He let her. This one needed a mother and she needed a manchild to care for.

He always made sure she paid for alternate rounds in the pub, and more often than not she drove him home. He was looking for a woman with a good salary to sponsor his money-making schemes.

He also drank copious amounts of beer and spirits. They survived many of his self-sabotage escapades. Including limping on after she caught him and her friend in the act on the living room floor while three children slept upstairs.

She sent him money every month. First, while he tried to sell some product or other in Stuttgart, Germany. Then houses in Spain. Distance is supposed to make the heart grow fonder but not this time. She arrived in Spain to spend the weekend with him and he expected her to pay for the hotel room. That weekend ended up being their final three days together.

On arriving home, she emailed him to say they were over. The next day she started her third and final long-term relationship. Heartless. Thick-skinned.

What she couldn't do was resist a man who pursued her relentlessly. When she made up her mind she was all in. She cried in front of her soon to be new lover in the pub. Then buried any feelings she had for the one she had loved most.

This latest one had everything a girl needed. Except for conversation. A good chat was only possible after he'd drunk six pints of beer and she'd had a few glasses of wine.

At least he paid for all the drinks.

Forming a thicker skin means learning how to take what you want and leaving who you don't.

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Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.

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