January 6, 2012

Knowing When Enough is Enough

"You're being unreasonable." Something I say way too often thanks to my lovely children. But unreasonable people lurk everywhere. I often wonder, did their parents never tell them they were unreasonable? As a result, their sense of reason continued to get more and more skewed. Or, is reason beyond some people's abilities?

My friend and I started a group of girls under a national organization. We love the group, and the organization has overall been helpful and supportive. My friend and I started off with high expectations and wanting to make all the girls and parents, as well as the organization, happy.

Now we realize our mistake.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." Bill Cosby

You cannot make everybody happy all of the time. And in most cases, it's all you can do to make some people happy some of the time. In the end, you give your best and base your decisions in kindness and move forward.

I won't get into specifics, I've read the headlines about bloggers getting in trouble, but we dealt with a parent that only got more demanding as we got more accommodating. The cycle was never going to end. When we wised up and stopped, the mother panicked. We were her lackeys, and she was losing us. She went up the chain. Thankfully the chain supported us and we have parted ways.

But it taught me a valuable lesson. I only have so much energy in this world, and I need to conserve as much of it as possible for my family and true friends. My children alone use up 75-80% of it. But they are worth it!

This goes back to my original point... you can't reason with unreasonable people. You can try, but it takes an awesome amount of energy and rarely offers results. The more you give, the more the taker will take.

I'm in no way suggesting you give to get. But, we all must realize that giving drains us and we can't do it to our, or our family's, detriment. At some point, like it or not, the rubber band snaps.

My new resolution (well-timed with a new year, but I'd be making it regardless): give wholeheartedly, but stop short of giving past the point of reason.

What's your best technique for dealing with unreasonable demands or unreasonable people?


jennyschallenge said...

I've come to realize over the years that all you can really do is agree to disagree. It may sound like a cop-out, but you have to pick your battles. Is it really worth your time and energy? My husband and I learned that very same lesson the hard way, when we started a 200 + person youth football organization under a national name. We lasted one season.
Great post!

MommaSachs said...

I tend to be a "pleaser" and it does suck when you just want everyone to be happy. It just can't be. Hell... I can't even make myself happy somedays!

I only give my energy to those who I choose to keep in my life. If you start to become a vampire sucking my energy and still asking for more then you have to go.

Unknown said...

I can relate. I have dealt with unreasonable people so many times. Dealing with the insanity of others can make YOU feel like the crazy one! I say move on & good rid-dins.

Unknown said...

How funny that you'd post this right now. I've been experiencing a struggle with this myself and reached the point where all I wanted to do was shout out loud, "Enough!"

The only way I know to correct this is to speak up. Say what you need to say, remove any guilt, accept that you've done all you can, and move on. Whatever that means. Oh, and get better at saying no.

Bridgette Booth said...

Oh yuck, yuck, yuck. I am such a pleaser that I always land in trouble when I organize something big. Good for your organization for backing you and good for you for drawing a line for the parent.

What I've finally learned is that if I am in charge then there must be well-defined rules. The rules are for me, so I don't go soft and allow wiggle room. If I can point to a rule and say, "uh-huh" then I'm okay. Otherwise, I'll turn it into a mess.

Just who I am. I'm a much, much, much better as a follower. Give me an assignment and let me go, but don't put me in charge. lol!

Kate @ Teaching What Is Good said...

Great thoughts, Tia!

Alicia said...

Thanks, I've printed it and gave it to mu DH - been trying for ages to tell him we can't possibly please everybody!

My experience with people is that even the reasonable ones can turn into unreasonable: just give them enough and in time you'll have some "I'm entitled to this and that!" attitudes.

The way we dealt with these situations: we part ways. The trick is to know when to do that so you don't burn any bridges. We are still learning :)

Tia Bach said...

A huge thanks for all of your comments. I wrote this to try to deal with all my feelings surrounding dealing with this person.

At first I was afraid it would come across as a ranting, but the more I wrote the more I worked through it.

I truly learned something... now let's hope I can apply it!

family of 6 said...

Tia, well said. I too tend to be a crowd pleaser and always end up being the bad guy. This experience has really thought me a valuable lesson; you cannot win with unreasonable people, no matter how hard you try. I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments. It has been my morning therapy. Thank you.

Tia Bach said...

Family of 6 - I am a pleaser, too, as is my oldest daughter. I caution her all the time about it, but she's going to have to figure it out for herself. I'm 39 and still trying to draw the line in the sand.

Thanks for visiting!

Unknown said...

Well said, and something I should take to heart. All too often I try to please everyone, and it only ends up making ME miserable in the end.

Tia Bach said...

Melissa, I never seem to learn. I learn for awhile, and then slip back into old patterns. I need to work on the art of No, and truly putting my energy into people who appreciate it.

Wishing you luck with the same efforts!

Eloise Currie said...

I am a reformed "pleaser". After years of trying to make the world happy, I saw the light. Pleasing is exhausting, both mentally and physically.

I now present my position and stop with that. I no longer allow myself to get sucked in to heated verbal exchanges. Silence can work wonders; it takes at least two people to argue. I've also found that countering a question with a question can be useful.

Great post! I've spent decades dealing with this.

Tia Bach said...

Eloise, Thanks for stopping by! I'm still not reformed, but I'm working on getting there. ;-)