Anyway, this is what I witnessed growing up, and from this I learned. I learned to do the opposite. I learned that it is not good to be a door mat and a servant to everyone, because you get taken advantage of by wicked people with selfish intentions or greedy hearts. I learned that it's important to stick up for yourself, and to defend your loved ones, because they matter more than the acquaintance down the street who badmouths everyone behind their backs. I learned that I deserve to be treated with respect, and must assert myself when this respect is not given.
Or so I thought. Apparently, I am not as different from my mother as I had once imagined, much to my chagrin. Sure, the stories abound about my notoriously aggressive and arguably cruel treatment of incompetent service-providers, but even those have become fewer and farther between as I've mellowed with age (and with Hubbs' restraining holds). Unfortunately, I have discovered that I do make a lot of excuses for people, I do bend over backwards and neglect my Hubbs in favour of doing something spectacular that will bless others, and I am far too forgiving when I am insulted or mistreated, rationalizing away poor behaviour towards myself, Hubbs, or others whom I care for.
I suppose that the argument exists that my mother's approach is the better one; after all, she is a sweetheart and everyone loves her, and she is "bearing her cross" daily. I'm sure Jesus will give her a big beautiful mansion in heaven while I'm stuck in my little one-room shanty, and I know she sleeps well at night in spite of the horrendous ways in which she has been treated, both by "friends" and by family (her own flesh and blood included).
However, I cannot help but wonder where the boundaries must be drawn, both out of love for others and out of self-preservation. I am rereading Cloud & Townsend's book Boundaries and it seems to me that there is a Biblical reason to lay down boundaries, and to refuse to tolerate mistreatment or people who seek to take advantage of your generosity and kindness. Hubbs' parents have pretty solid boundaries and I see how issue-free Hubbs is as an adult; he has no emo baggage that drags him down or weird unspoken obligation or guilt that compels him to have to act in certain ways with certain people. Hubbs lives in freedom, whereas I - not so much.
I think about my future children, and the lessons I want them to learn from observing Hubbs & I. Will I want them to say that they want to be the opposite of what we are when they grow up? No! Would I infinitely prefer for them to see us model Christ-centered, disciplined living within healthy boundaries, and wish to emulate that as they grow up? Of course! In my behaviour, do I want my Hubbs and kids to feel like second-class citizens relative to complete strangers? No! Would I rather that they know they are loved, they are my first priority, and I would lay down my life for them above all else? Without a doubt. Do I want my children to put up with being beat up, insulted, disrespected, and abused? Hell no! Would I want them to be assertive, confident individuals who respectfully stand up for themselves and know how to protect themselves from mistreatment? Absolutely.
And so, my lines must be drawn in the sand once more. No more excuses for others, no more saying yes when I want to say no, and no more putting up with the consequences of other peoples' poor boundaries or inappropriate behaviour. I might not have children yet, but the life I start living today needs to be consistent with the one I plan to live when they do arrive.