Pat Merritt

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  • in reply to: I need help #37931
    Pat Merritt

    You are so courageous! Your desire to change for your children is amazingly admirable. I would suggest sticking with that mantra! It’s for me and my kids! Our children are so instrumental in the happiness and growth in our lives. Any energy toward helping to make you and your family whole is worth every minute. The pay off ( not a spiritual term I know) will be when they see what their mother was able to achieve for them! What a lesson you will have taught them by experience. I am a mother of 2 beautiful girls but was raised by a very mean, dysfunctional and self centered Mom. My childhood was very painful. My saving grace was my kids. I tried to love them as I wanted to be loved. I have myself to thank for not repeating her behavior. My kids are my life! Yet believe me they have their own. The both live in the city and I live in northern NJ so they are strong enough to move into their own lives and dreams. Doesn’t mean I don’t complain about missing them though!
    I am available to chat if you need to.
    Oh – regarding your physical condition. I am a nurse too. I recently went through a physical fall and I already have several herniated discs in my back. I was sick for 3 months and I became so deconditioned physically I could hardly walk up my steps to my bedroom. I didn’t feel like eating either because I was hurting, and I also was not burning any calories to desire food. I’m glad you are open to medication. I know they get a bad rap in the “natural” community but sometimes our bodies need help and just a little medication can get us to a better place. As long as you are not relying only on meds to get you there. You seem to be making a real effort in all aspects of your life. It is a lot to do! Be patient with your body – it has been really abused. It may take as long to heal it as it took to abuse it……it is worth the wait. Give yourself some type of reward system. It’s okay to put stars on a calendar every time you do something positive. Then decide that after a month of stars – you get to buy or do something special. This will give you the motivation that might not be coming from anyone else. GREAT JOB. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK>>>I”M YOUR BEST CHEERLEADER. Take care….Pat

    in reply to: Your best ways of delaing with negative people #37874
    Pat Merritt

    I am so happy that I stumbled upon this site. I spent year practicing compassion and kindness. Followed the teachings of Steven Levine and Jack Kornfield mostly. Over the past few years I have sort of stopped the process. And what a process it is! Your advise and encouragement brings me back to those philosophies. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    As hard as it is to release these patterns, I am convinced that we all want to achieve this level of awareness, but like you said “our minds” are playing a different game. If we could see our previous thoughts and actions as “not working” maybe even “not true”, it would open the path for change.
    The problem is that when we are in the trenches of these “relationship spiral” we are stuck in our pain and don’t know how to get out. Clearly if what we used to do worked, we wouldn’t be struggling.
    Another reason why this forum is helpful, is that when I read some of the challenges of others, I am able to distance myself and see the pain outside myself. I can see how I react similar to others, yet when I read their story – it is much clearer to me – cause it’s not my pain. I don’t OWN it!
    Your words were pure wisdom! Appropriate and so easy to understand and I am shifting with your help. Of course I know that letting go is best for me – I’m just in awe how in grained it is for me to feel telling my truth with change the situation. Doesn’t that seem like a valid technique? Yet I know that others are also stuck in their perception of the situation. They are just as resistant at shifting as I am.
    I realize that if I try to explain each aspect of my disappointment, my sister will likely take a defensive pattern. She has no choice because if she denies her reaction, she is denying herself.
    I have always seen change as a road to release. I examined my life – my whole life and tried to identify where I could modify my behavior to help me live a more peaceful life. I no longer long to be happy – because happiness does not exist as a state of being – it’s not a noun, more a verb – I can’t be “happy” but I can experience “happiness”.
    Hearing your words about “letting go being for me”, God I’ve read that so many times. I know it is true. It is just so amazing to me how hard wired my brain is to fight the fight. Steven Levine used to say “awareness brings healing” which is why it is so important to examine our struggle. Because it is through being aware of how we react, allows us the opportunity to learn something with each experience. Each time we have an opportunity to examine, and make a different choice. Once we do, we then live the experience of that choice.
    I know if I choose your suggested path, it will have a better result for me. But to choose that – I need to believe it – somehow convince myself – when my mind is telling me to react as I know, step out and trust for just that moment – that a shift toward letting go – will bring a better life.
    Letting go is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life! I hold on with all I have!
    Recently, I had to put one of my cats to sleep. I love animals and have had many over my lifetime. Still have 2 cats, 2 dogs. Loosing my pets, and loosing loved ones in my life is devastating to me. 25 years ago I lost my brother to murder and I have grieved everyday from the deepest part of my soul.
    I’ve seen how holding onto my grief for him – I thought somehow kept him with me but lately I know that’s not true. His children have had 3 grandchildren over the years and I now see that he lives through us all. I also see that in my deep love for him – he gave me so many gifts – mainly he taught be how to love because he loved so unconditionally. He gave me the gift of experiencing unconditional love.
    The best way I can honor him is to be that “unconditional love” as best as I can. If I can be that, I can give a piece of him to his children, grandchildren and anyone else I touch in my life.
    When I had to let go of my cat – I was able to see the action as a “gift” to the cat. The letting go was much easier because it wasn’t about me – it was for him – my gift to alleviate his suffering.
    Life is suffering and learning how to live with suffering is the best we can do. But for some reason we grow up thinking that we can prevent suffering by protecting ourselves with defensive behaviors. It is interesting to see how many of the things we were taught to do – just don’t serve us.
    But God, is it hard to make choices that are different, unproven, or tested in our lives. It’s like jumping off a cliff!
    Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! You have changed my life by giving me an opportunity to SEE my situation in a different light. I am still working with it all and thankfully my sister is on vacation, so I have this time to work it out before we meet.
    I have to say I still struggle with the “responsibility” and accountability piece. But I realize now that my sister may do that if she experiences love and forgiveness instead of anger and judgment.
    My needing to be heard – does not have to come from her! She cannot hear it because she doesn’t know it!
    You are doing great things! Thank you for being you! I am grateful!

    in reply to: Your best ways of delaing with negative people #37741
    Pat Merritt

    I have 2 similar comments regarding responsibility, enabling hurtful behavior, using conflict as a way to see patterns of behavior which offer possibility for change. If I just keep forgiving and never make myself known, then no one has learned from the experience which is truly a waste of time.

    in reply to: Your best ways of delaing with negative people #37740
    Pat Merritt

    I have been reading some of the comments. Can you speak to the issue of responsibility in relationship. Conflict being a vesicle for change and awareness. I believe sometimes we are in someone’s life to mirror to them something they can change about themselves. If you learn through experience, and grow in relationships through conflict and love as well, do we not offer someone – a mirror to see themselves for who they are at that moment. If they project pain – why can we not show them the results of their pain – there fore they might be able to experience it from an internal space.
    Owning your actions? Learning from dysfunction. Do you think when we take the higher road, we enable people to cycle into old behaviors. Hurt is personal, it is painful, as we are human beings who have the capacity to forgive – yes , but we can also hold up a mirror to our conflict buddy – he/she may for the first time see the results of their words. Words are the most powerful tool given to us to express ourselves into this world. We owe it to ourselves and others to use word with truth and respect and not use it to condem, curse, judge or millign others.
    Bigger question which sums it up – what about taking responsibility for your words and actions.

    in reply to: Your best ways of delaing with negative people #37739
    Pat Merritt

    Dear Matt,
    I so appreciate you taking the time to give me your input about what is a very challenging relationship for me in my life. I know that my sister is teaching me what I do not want to be and yet it is very hard to not come from a place of defensiveness.

    My whole life I have treated everyone with love, compassion and strived to not judge. As a nurse, I have nurtured without expectation more people than I can count.

    At this point in my life, dealing with accepting limitations, and my daughter’s MS diagnosis, I guess I am disappointed that what I have sowed in my relationships did not grow to return the same compassionate treatment. I know that must sound like wanting a pay off, but I have turned the other cheek my whole life with my family because I wanted to take the higher road of love.

    Your words definitely make sense. I know I should let go and yet there is a part of me that feels I want to be heard. This has been a pattern in our relationship where my sister comes from a place of – it’s my way or the highway and if you don’t agree – I will hurt you.

    I realize that defending my position will be futile because she is coming from her own perceptions of me and the situation.

    Yet at this point in my life, I feel like my needs and feelings should be honored. Is it not part of self compassion for me to refuse to accept someone throwing me toxic reactions. I am willing to sit down and hear her and ask her what her expectations are for moving forward but I don’t want her to feel that she can continue the same cycle of hurting me. I am willing to learn the lesson, but I want the behavior to change from the experience. I know I am wanting to control, and wanting to be heard and deep down – I know you are absolutely right but I’m not sure that I am so spiritually empowered to lay down my humanity and rise to a level of having no personal needs in relationship. I hear the wisdom in your words, I’m just not sure I can act so justly.

    I don’t want to hurt her by carrying the torch of anger, I want to set compassionate boundaries to protect myself and ask her to own and examine the consequences of her actions. Honestly although your words represent the epitimy of acceptance, it doesn’t feel like something I could do (right now). I am however, going to revisit and reread your comments over the next couple of days and meditate on your suggestions. Maybe as I work through my feelings, something in me may shift.

    I have just given so much of my self throughout my life and always tried to treat people with love and kindness, I feel somewhat slapped down at a point in my life when I needed others to be the wind under my wings.

    Truly I thank you from the bottom of my heart and it has been extremely helpful to have you “hear” me without judgment. Thank you.


    Patricia Merritt

    On Mon, Jul 01, 2013 at 11:27 AM, Tiny Buddha wrote:

    Matt wrote:


    Sometimes when we are in chronic pain, we can become absorbed by “our side” of the situation. As you said, it is difficult for you to do certain activities, which is just how it is.

    Consider that perhaps the responses you receive from your family are unskillful, but motivated by genuine love and warm feelings. If they had not cared, they would not have lashed out. Instead, it sounds like their feelings were hurt, they felt unimportant to you, and in their pain said things that hurt your feelings. Now, when your sister wants to let go and move on, you wish to club her in the heart by telling her that her words were cruel, mean, and so on.

    What that really says is “I do not accept your feelings and the way you acted on those feelings.” It is like passing the hot potato of anger between you and her, right now you feel stuck with it and want to get rid of it by throwing it at your sister. Consider that it is OK to just set it down and forgive her without needing to tell her that her words were unacceptable.

    Were I to have that conversation (and I have had to have it plenty of times before) I would tell her that family is very important to me. I was sorry for all of the causes of me not being at the party, and all of the effects of my not being there. Then, I would say that I understand why my sister would lash out like that, because it is painful when we feel unloved or unsupported. Then I would assure her that it is the furthest thing from the truth, and that the connection to her was so important it had tied me up on knots, and how beautiful it is to be connecting with my sister again.

    Can you forgive them for feeling hurt and doing things like ignoring you or judging you as they healed that hurt? Do you HAVE to make it about you? Can you let go without trying to punish her for the feelings of hurt you felt? Your heart seems strong and bright to me, and I am confident you can put the anger down and love them without reserve. Let go! Its done, gone, passed!

    With warmth,

    Post Link: http://tinybuddha.com/topic/your-best-ways-of-delaing-with-negative-people/page/2/#reply-37685


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    in reply to: Your best ways of delaing with negative people #37666
    Pat Merritt

    My sister and I have been in conflict most of our lives. She tends to get angry about petty things and claims that I intentionally hurt her and have an agenda against her. Many times I have asked her to at least allow me the opportunity to explain my side. That rarely happens because she becomes silently resentful but puts on a social face of acceptance. She can be quite cruel with her judgments of me. Recently I was invited to a family event, to which I had to decline because I have severe degenerative disc disease and have been in much pain for years. I am unable to walk for more than 10 minutes before experiencing nerve pain in my leg. The result is that I must modify my activity based on my pain. This means turning down some invites because of the challenges that an environment can present to be.
    Recently her daughter had a party at a stadium (which would require a long walk to my seat, even if dropped off at the door. Then sitting on wooden chairs is painful. The other invite was a trip to her daughter’s shore house, which is 3 hours each way – and long car rides are not comfortable.
    I declined the invite saying I was not up to participating and have been in the dog house ever since. I sent several e mails to my niece to explain my situation, and I even acknowledge that I certainly did not want to hurt or disappoint her with my actions. I also offered to talk face to face. She never responded to my correspondence. Oh I forgot to mention that 4 weeks prior to one of the events my daughter was diagnosed with MS. I was in no condition physically or emotionally to attend a party.
    I never even received a call from anyone in my family expressing concern for me or my daughter.
    My sister claimed that she was aware of my physical condition, but I seem to be able to do things with other people. A very cruel and unsympathetic statement. Anyone suffering chronic pain can tell you that what you can do differs from day to day. I have had to decline many invitations of the course of 12 years and it has been a difficult thing to accept. My own children seem to understand when I cannot physically do something with them – so this problem is certainly not exclusive to my relationship with my sister. And quite frankly I think it is hurtful to suggest that someone who suffers with any limiting condition, could be accused of using their illness as a way to reject someone. I certainly would not choose to be limited in my function.. I can chalk some of this up to ignorance and the inability to see another’s point of view but it just seems that she is always thinking the worst of my intentions. The few time we have discussed – she doesn’t believe my explanations and seems to want to remain angry. I feel it is her way of punishing me. Prior to this I felt the only way to have a somewhat social relationship for my family sake, I kept my self slightly distanced from her – seeing her usually at Christmas time. I always treated everyone with respect and kindness.
    Now I am really upset that both her and her daughter seem to want to punish me by ignoring my offer to communicate. After making all these accusations about my choices and intentions, she then says she want to wipe the slate clean and meet for coffee never acknowledging any responsibility for her actions.
    I finding this hard to swallow. I feel she is toxic and taught her daughter to be toxic and unforgiving. I don’t want to play the victim, but I want her to know that her assumptions were wrong, her words were cruel, and that unless she could treat me with respect and empathy, I don’t see anyway to exist other than to keep a safe distance. I feel like I now need to practice “self compassion”. Regardless of who did what – when someone tries to heal the relationship with honest communication and that is met with anger, resentment and denial – I can’t imagine me accepting that – would be a road towards a happy and health sister relationship. I feel life is challenging enough without allowing people to dump toxins and judgments into your soul – and then expect YOU to turn the other cheek and rise above the pettiness. Anyway, I would love to hear some comments and suggestions from strangers because I know we often cannot see too clearly when we are close to the situation. I have a large capacity for forgiveness – but I feel that unless she acknowledges her responsibility for her own actions – I feel there would not be a genuine healing of the relationship – and I would be enabling her to continue to treat me that way in the future. Hurtful behavior has consequences and I feel I’m best to set boundaries that if she can’t treat me with love and respect – I cannot engage in relationship….Thanks for listening…..

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