Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh, Obligation

As Randy stood in front of the bathroom mirror,  I could tell he was delaying movement.  "Got a case of Monday Denial, huh?" He laughed, saying "Of course!"  We both passed out last night when we hit the pillow and slept really good.  The kind of good that just aches for a snow day so the cozy morning can go on and on.  Though Oklahoma City is expected to get some snow before the day is through, nothing is shut down yet so business as usual, no matter how we feel about it.

This little scenario brings to mind the dilemma that continually shifts between obligation and denial, and how we can royally distort both of them.  I think we've all felt or experienced both at varying times in our life. Obligation: Somebody expects something out of you because of your position/relationship to them. Ex. Tinker AFB expects Randy to show up this morning at work because they pay him and he's agreed.  I think we would all agree that is a fair expectation and a reasonable obligation he should fulfill.  Denial: Despite a reality, you choose to ignore it.  Randy and I sleeping in a little and not getting in a hurry, even though time is slipping away.  The reality of Randy needing to leave for work was something we chose to ignore for a while.  I don't think many would criticize us because there was little consequence to minor negligence and it could be argued that we needed a little extra time - that it was worth the rush that would ensue afterwards.

So, what's your point, Amy? My point is that obligation and denial both have healthy roles in our life, but way too often they both grow very distorted and seem to increase in power over us as the distortion gets bigger.  Distorted Obligation: Let's say there is a function that I am invited to and someone specific would like for me to be there, but my husband and I have been having some difficulties lately - so much so that the kids are even feeling it.  He asks me to stay home, but I am overwhelmed with obligation to this function and friend.  Ultimately, I tell my husband I have to go, with the intention to attempt to come home early.  Distorted denial is easily seen when I have a major health issue but refuse to do much about it because I shouldn't have to or my child has multiple educational and behavioral problems but couldn't bear to consider his home environment (parents) might have something to do with it.

The hard part is knowing when reasonable starts to disappear and distortion shows up.  I don't have any grand ideas on how to ensure we're not sinking into distortion because there has been only one thing that has really brought me out of distorted times.  So, if you have any good self-check ideas, bring 'em on.  I found myself a best friend who has this uncanny knack at seeing straight through my emotional arguments and telling me how it is.  90% of the time its borderline unbearable to hear, but I've always been thankful to him later on.

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