When I shared with a friend that I was considering Crossed Off for the next blog subject, she paused a moment, then said “Oh, I get it. Yes, I just love crossing things off my list.” When I said that I had in mind those who feel like they’ve been crossed off someone’s ‘friend’ list and the flip side, whether we have ever crossed anyone off our friend list, she said thoughtfully, “Oh, that’s quite different.”
Another friend responded, “I felt crossed off from a group of school friends who used to meet for lunch, and I heard by way of the grapevine that they had met without telling me.” We chatted about ways that she could discreetly find out why she wasn’t alerted or if someone had a problem with her participation.
At times, unhappy kids like Carolyn, impulsively resort to a ‘Crossed off’ solution. “I crossed my mom off when I was young because she was impossible to please. She made me remake beds if they didn’t suit her and re-scrub floors if she saw a missed spot. I had to empty out my dresser drawers and straighten them. She yelled at me about the least little thing and used a paddle on my face. When my parents divorced, rather than choosing one parent, I chose to stay with the house which fortunately turned out to be my dad’s choice. But the court ruled that I had to visit my mother. During a visit, she invited me to go along with her to see a neighbor’s new baby. While there, the woman asked, ‘Why don’t you live with your mother?’ Before I could answer, my mom spoke up and said ‘She has her reasons and they are all good.’ That statement took me by surprise and helped to change my attitude toward her. I took care of my mom in her last days.” C.
Parents hear their older teenagers declare about friends, “I’m through with ‘Martha’, Sam, etc.” The word for that when I was in school was “I broke up with….” Or I’m never going to speak to her again.”
Unfortunately, Crossed-Offs occur in extended families: "I have an older cousin who has nothing but hurtful things to say every time I run into her, so that I avoid every possible family contact. I enjoy keeping up with my relatives but any possibility of her presence at a gathering keeps me from attending because I cannot subject myself to her critical and unkind talk. I have crossed nasty cousin off for my own emotional protection.” J
Disagreements or differences in opinions that evolve into crossed offs are not the end of the world but they tend to linger longer in our minds and hearts than is emotionally and spiritually healthy, especially if tied to a family member or a long-time friend. Sometimes, hurt feelings occur when a spontaneous family get-together didn’t reach your ear. Or a family member or friend’s seemingly unavailability for an extended length of time possibly indicating an upcoming crossed-out decision. Social media accomplishes the same thing by privately pressing ‘delete’ or ‘block.’ Adjusting to being crossed-off requires patience and wisdom.
Some parents struggle for understanding and recovery when an adult child would without any provocation cross off their family and friends and move thousands of miles away, never to return. Another term for crossed off is cut-offs. Many helpful books are available.
Feelers (heart-logic people) suffer differently from neglect, disrespect, and criticism than Thinkers (Head-logic people) because Feelers must have harmony—at all costs. Thinkers can tolerate and work in spite of disharmony. They conclude that just because someone disagrees with them does not mean that that person is right. Thinkers are not easily pried away from their opinions. Remember, Feelers get hurt, first, then angry; Thinkers get angry first, then hurt. Feelers are wise to learn how to accept disharmony, think past the disruption by being discerning and focus on positive solutions. We are wise to accept that it is mature and perfectly normal for people to agree to disagree. If socializing results in friction, then agree to be friends who can chat occasionally but not run around together or vacation together.
When we become aware that we have shifted someone into a crossed-out category, set up a visit with that person and admit that you have been negligent about contacting him/her or honestly sharing what they had said or done has been difficult to get over. Inevitably, crossing-off friendships creeps into every avenue of life. Gathering the momentum of time further extinguishes healing and reconciliation.
If you sense that someone is avoiding you—maybe crossed you off—by all means, courageously check it out as soon as possible. As I finished this sentence, an account that I heard about last week popped up. After their father died, the siblings gathered to dispense his belongings. Floyd, who had been living in the house with their dad, made it known that he would like the collection of old radios. His older sister assured Floyd that he could certainly have the radios. However, after returning from a brief trip he discovered that all the radios were missing and that a brother-in-law had taken them. Floyd decided right then and there that he was through with the family and crossed them all off. That was 20 years ago. The separation of that family could have been solved with a phone call or visit to untangle the mix-up.
Many families have no idea why they do not associate with other family members. Uncovering the reason for family feuds has been fodder for writers for as far back as we can remember like the Hatfield's’ and McCoys’ feud over the ownership of two hogs, escalating to Hatfield’s interest in Rose Anna McCoy, Ole Ran’l McCoy’s daughter. Many reasons were very small to begin with and could have been rectified, but because no one attempted to unravel the disagreements, they grew so far apart they could never be reunited. Many like-family-problems as simple as word battles, hogs, business deals, radios, etc. are needlessly taken to the grave.
A special caution: do not be dismayed by being crossed off by a narcissist who when offended, not given his/her way, who must be in control and is impossible to please, not only easily crosses off family or former friends but deletes the offending person(s) forever. Experts in that field of behavior advise that the narcissist behavior falling into a very low minority percentage, normally resists receiving counseling or emotional help. We are wise to remind ourselves that what a person says or does, reveals more about them than you.
Jesus said: In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matt. 7:12 (NIV)—the golden rule—helps tremendously in dealing kindly and wisely with precious relationships. The Apostle Paul urged the handling of disgruntled situations in the first church with Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2. (NIV).
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; Therefore, he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him. Isa. 30:18 (NIV).
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens, the God who is our salvation. God is to us a God of deliverances. Ps. 68:19-20 (NAS)
Help us Father to bring our relationship problems to you.
Thank you for giving wisdom and peace as we
live and work together in harmony. Amen!