I love that LeAnn talks about non-negotiables in her book. I unfortunately figured out my non-negotiables after going through a divorce. I realized after my marriage ended, that I had recognized (during my engagement) qualities in our relationship that I didn’t like. But because there were so many others that I loved and appreciated, I chalked up the things that bothered me as normal differences that every couple needed to learn to overcome; after all, none of us are “perfect.” I focused only on the good, disregarding—out of lack of self-awareness and understanding—the things that churned my insides.
But, those things that bothered me were big things that should have been non-negotiables, things that we should have talked about and explored to figure out whether or not we could work through them. But that didn’t happened. And in the end, a marriage with strengths and beautiful memories, ultimately dissolved.
Today, I share my second question for LeAnn, and her answer:
Debby: How do you recommend people discern between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors/habits/challenges?
LeAnn: My value system is what determines my non-negotiables. I will not be in a relationship with people who lack compassion or kindness. Nor will I tolerate racist, bigoted, or misogynistic behaviors. If you disregard the dignity and humanity of others, I will sever ties with you. I also refuse to tolerate abuse in any form. As children, we are too vulnerable to defend ourselves against people who bully, abuse, or exploit us. As a middle-aged woman, I have worked hard to take back any power I lost in my younger years to these types of people.
There is someone in my extended family who I am very close to and who I love very much. Unfortunately, when this person drinks, they are verbally abusive. I have had a pattern of getting upset, not speaking to them for a few days (or weeks), and ultimately sweeping their bad behavior under the rug. One day, after a particularly harsh interaction, I had an a-ha moment. I thought, If Jimmy (my husband) ever spoke to me that way, I would leave him. My husband is my favorite human being—my absolute soul mate; and in that moment, placing him in that verbally abusive role became my channel marker for my non-negotiables. I said, “Never again,” to the one person who I still tolerated abuse from, by understanding that I would not tolerate it from my husband, the person who held the longest history of loving and caring for me.
See tomorrow’s blog to read LeAnn’s answer to:
Can you provide any insights or suggestions on how to navigate through conflict well?
In the meantime,
and stay momentous.
I dedicate this month’s blogging in support of April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. See RAINN.org for resources and to learn how to provide positive support to survivors.