I am a person who believes strongly in modeling kindness through my actions and teaching the next generation the importance of being kind to one another. As a teacher I run school wide assemblies and programs to help students understand the impact being kind can have. With my children I have conversations and read books about why we are kind and how we can show kindness to other people. This is something I pride myself on and work hard to maintain.
John knows that this is a quality that I hold close to my heart. That makes it the perfect character trait for him to attack first when he attempts to manipulate me. It used to be so easy for him to make me question myself and doubt myself. Even if I felt as if I was not being unkind, I still believed him when he would attack my character to get me to agree with what he wanted. One of John’s favorite go to statements was, “You preach constantly about kindness but you are full of hatred” or, “And you think you are such a kind person” (as he makes some kind of scoffing noise). What usually triggers these statements is me disagreeing with his opinion or holding firm to something I want to do in a different way than he would like me to.
This tactic, along with all of his other mind games, used to work. He used one of the above comments just a few days ago because I told him I did not want to invite him to something I was doing with the children on my parenting time and he wanted to go. I was very calm and clear in my response and at no time did I utter a single word that resembled hatred. In the past that would have been enough to make me cave… and he knew it. (I did end up caving but that was because he used the children as a weapon and made the kids feel badly that he wasn’t coming. More about that to come in later posts…)
But you know what? You do not need to be weak to show kindness. I’m proud to say that I now know that and I’ve internalized it as truth. I know, with my entire heart and my entire being, that I am a kind person. If you ask anyone who has met me to describe me in a few words, I am certain that the word kind will come out of all of their mouths. Just because John questions my kindness does not mean that I am unkind. The words that leave his mouth are not bible verse and the last person you should trust when you hear about another person is their abuser. Not to mention, he has proven that he does not exhibit or understand kindness himself. I am kind. I was weak. Now I am learning to be strong. My kindness stands in tack … but kindness is not the same thing as weakness. I will stay strong. I will continue not to give into things I don’t agree with or have strong objections to and it will not make me any less kind.