“If someone is cruel to you
because of your soft disposition
respond to their poison
with equal parts sweet honey,
equal parts dangerous ferocity.”
This is one of the hardest lessons for those kind souls who find themselves on the suffering end of a toxic relationship, especially when the abuser is family.
And difficult to understand too. How can a loved one repay kindness and generosity with cruelty? It sounds like something out of a Greek tragedy. Virtues bestowed as gifts of love, like sweet honey, upon someone unworthy, someone who only sees virtue as weaknesses to be cruelly exploited for their own selfish ends.
However take heart – those who have a kind heart and soft disposition do have choices when responding to someone else’s “poison”.
What kind of choices?
Here’s the bottom-line. You can respond with:
- Mostly ‘sweet honey’. Continue suffering a cycle of abuse within that toxic relationship and become a co-dependent, enabling doormat for your abuser’s foot fetish.
- Mostly ‘dangerous ferocity’. Impossible, it goes against your nature.
- ‘Dangerous ferocity’ coated in ‘sweet honey’. Summon all the courage, determination, and tough-love you can muster. FIRM boundaries must be declared in order to thwart future abuse.
- Neither. Some toxic relationships cannot be rehabilitated, no matter how hard you try. Preserve your own well-being and walk away.