Causing That Which I Hate

When we first meet Charley Underhill, he has arranged to "tutor" some young, single women in their "studies," at a time when no such arrangement would have been undertaken by a respectable man with honorable intentions. Despite her mother's warnings, he and Katy become engaged. The event which causes him to end their engagement is her sickness. He declares that he cannot stand to be around anyone who coughs, as it reminds him of his dying mother.

Later, once Katy is matured and long married, she re-encounters Charley with his wife, her former best friend Amelia. In due time, Amelia develops a horrendous cough, which rouses Charley's hatred of her, and causes her eventual death. One detail is included which struck me and has gotten me thinking... when Charley would come around her deathbed, he did so while puffing heartily on a cigar. Certainly, this horrid habit perpetuated her coughing, the very thing he so despised. (This story is from "
Stepping Heavenward.")

It causes me to ask myself, as Charley apparently never did,
what do I do that causes, motivates, or encourages others to engage in behaviors or respond in ways that I dislike? Here are some things that I've been turning around in my head, that you might also consider:

* Do I participate in any level of gossip or discussion that might encourage a person prone to gossip to do so with me?
* Do I cook such rich and fattening dishes that my husband or children have a weight problem?
* Do I habitually criticize others and thus cause others to have the lack of self-respect and inability to make a decision that so frustrates me?
* Do I decorate my home or dress in such an extravagant way that people don't feel welcome?
* Do I dress in such a way that makes other women view me as competition rather than a friend?
* Do I avoid inviting people into my life but then bemoan that no one wants to be my friend?
* Do I avoid honesty and intimacy with others but then get frustrated with a husband or friend who doesn't seem to know me?
* Do I overeat and dress unattractively or avoid intimacy, and thus set my husband out to be lured into sin?
* Do I horde my children and prefer to keep them close and then get frustrated that they cannot entertain themselves or be with other people?
* Do I pursue base interests in life but get frustrated when people treat me as a shallow person?

Perhaps there are other things that you can think of? What other ways do we sabotage our own lives by encouraging or causing someone else to do things that frustrate, hurt, or anger us? This is not to excuse others, but rather, to examine our own lives to determine if we are engaging in behaviors or attitudes that are self-defeating and other-defeating. To determine if we are the cause but don't like the effect.

So, talk with me: what other behaviors might someone engage in that would cause unintended or frustrating behaviors in others?

4 comments:

the blackwells said...

Looks like you have covered most of the bases...several of those were quite convicting. It just reminds me how important dying to self and taking up Christ really is!

JustJana said...

For myself, I think the biggest one is the way I interact with my children. I think sometimes I have such high expectations of them, that they feel helpless - like it's impossible to please me. And then, they begin to act in ways that are very frustrating to me. But I find that, whenever I recognize myself falling back into those expectations, I give them more grace, and they are much more prone to live their lives in a way that is pleasing to me because they like the peacefulness and affirming nature of our relationship.

Di said...

Hello, slighly off tpoic, but I am reading Stepping Heavenward at the moment too! I managed to get hold of an original copy from Ebay. I have been reading other blogs where the ladies have been reading at the same time, and it has been such a blessing. I look forward to reading more of your insights and analysis.

Love Di x

dcrmom said...

Excellent questions! Love your blog. :-)