Rules and Stability

Even though it’s 4:35 on a Sunday morning and should be sleeping, I feel more pressed to write.

Rules matter, especially to someone like me who needs boundaries that will be respected since mine rarely were.  I like rules.  Not too many or overly strict, impossible ones but good, clear rules that work.  Not just ones about walking in crosswalks or parking lot speed limits but also ones about not talking with your mouth full or using something without permission.  Social etiquette I guess I’m saying.

So when someone violated a rule and then excuses it (sometimes even using God as an excuse) or doesn’t even care, I am really bothered.  Especially when it is blatant and repetitive by a person.  Especially when someone uses God as their validation for breaking that rule.  I just don’t get it.  It’s mind boggling to me.  Right and wrong matter even in little things. 

It kills me that people think it’s okay to steal as long as what they steal is used to worship God.  No, it’s stealing, which is a SIN and a crime.  God doesn’t condone that.  I still honestly cannot understand how someone can do something like that, excuse something like that.

It reminds of when I was told my sister was having a child out of wedlock and my mother was so excited while she accused me of being an alcoholic for having one beer after I had turned 21.  It’s messed up. 

Rules matter.  Small or big, they matter.  And social etiquette.  If you say you are going to do something, then do it.  Otherwise you are just lying.  If you say you are going to call, call.  If you make plans with a friend, don’t change them at the last minute because you got distracted and made other plans that could have waited.  You just make your friend feel like they’re unimportant to you and that they don’t matter enough to you to keep your promises.  And don’t wait to the last minute to make plans either.  Respect your friend.  He/she is a person, too.

Rules provide stability.  Surprisingly, even with the abuse and neglect I suffered, I had stability growing up.  I was never homeless and we only moved three times.  The first due to family growth, the second due to job transfer, and the third was a result of legal issues of the previous owners that we hasn’t been made aware of. 

My dad had the same job and worked for the same people for nearly forty years.  We always had food to eat, even if my mother burned it or made spaghetti, again, for the fifth time that week.  (One reason I hate the stuff now and can’t eat it.)  I had clothes.

I had stability even with my mother’s threats, the yelling and screaming, the no respect for my boundaries.  My mother may have abused me but she also gave me the necessities.  I may not have been loved but I was taken care of.  I learned manners and how to follow the rules. 

I may not have had the emotional support I needed but I am not emotionally needy either.  I don’t break down if someone doesn’t like me or something I’ve done.  I may get angry but I don’t act like my mother and take it out on others.  Unfortunately, I take it out on myself.

I know this group of people and see how their parents are, even today, and can understand and see how they turned out the way they did.  The mother wonders why  her one child acts the way they do and I can see it’s because of the mother’s behavior.  And the father’s.  I can see it so easily.  And hearing about how they grew up also points out where their parents just didn’t provide stability.  It seemed like the family constantly moved, that the father was wrapped up in certain activities, that the father changed jobs frequently, that both parents were a bit neglectful.  I can see the effect but them I’m seeing it from the outside which makes it easier to see.

Rules and stability matter.  If these don’t exist, or are only partially there, then problems occur.  Short and long term problems.  People crave rules and stability because it helps you feel like things are going to be okay, that you are going to be okay, that things are manageable, that you have some kind of control. 

You feel like life is worth living.  You feel like you can get along with people.  You feel like you can manage the fear and that’s the  biggest reason of all.  Knowing you can beat fear.  Stability silences fear.  It provides reassurance, support.  Rules help you keep that stability.

So stability and rules matter.  They cannot be ignored or excuses or set aside.  They are necessary.  They help us live and live well.

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