Written by: Tracey Farrah Laroche, M.A. ED, M.S.
Tray of Life With Tray And Jea!
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Tray: I want to talk to you. I know I hurt you. We hurt each other. Can we please talk?
Tray: Your silence hurts me. Fine, I’m going to go ghost to protect myself. Wait, ghosting didn’t solve this? I’m hurt, hurt about this. We don’t talk so I shouldn’t be mad. But when I hear your name, I clearly have feelings, even if my pride won’t let me show it.
Cue the pride-filled anthem by Jay-Z, “Song Cry”. (By the way, yes I’m that girl from Brooklyn that loves Jay-Z!) In “Song Cry” he is talking about a love he held dear to his heart and lost it due to negligence, disregarding the feelings of both parties, inability to access emotions, and lack of perseverance. More specifically, he lost the relationship holding tight to the blame game. He recognized that his pride made him shift the blame by insinuating the dissolution of their relationship was more her fault than his. Eventually, he comes to the realization that he also played an active role.
“I can't see 'em comin down my eyes
So I gotta make the song cry”
For nearly 5 years, I have been trying to get in contact with a family member to talk through some major hurts that have manifested into a volcano of silence. This volcano’s peak is filled with hurt and pain. Oftentimes, I wonder how and why we decided not addressing things was a better solution. I do recall believing silence was best in fear of an eruption between us. But, have you ever gotten to the point where you’re ready for it? Like, let it erupt already! Let’s just talk about all of this.
I’ve recognized that anger is a secondary emotion. The primary emotion is the actual hurt that when unaddressed leads to anger. Actively steering away from addressing embarrassment, abandonment, disappointment, frustration, and miscommunication equates to emotional passivity. When we choose not to acknowledge our feelings about a life occurrence, we are communicating to our heart that its feelings/emotions aren’t good enough to be addressed.
Backstory - In May 2014, this family member believed I betrayed them by dismissing their real feelings (I did...wrong and strong style). Silence ensued and got easier upon removing myself from mutual relationships. In June 2015, I reached out to talk as prompted by the personal development course I was on through Momentum Education. February 7, 2016, I got baptized and reached out to ask my family member to attend, but I received silence. August 2016, my friend got married and her formerly close family member came to her wedding which caused her friend to cry tears of joy because she attended. In that very moment, the Lord showed me what it would be like if I didn’t allow Him to KILL my pride in this area. August 27, 2016 (my birthday) we spoke on the phone for almost 6hrs and that conversation was prompted by my cousin. We made plans to meet up but silence ensued once again. September 7, 2018 my sister got married and my family member was there. Afterwards we made a plan to meet up, but it didn’t happen again. And that is what brings us to the present day.
We discuss “Difficult Conversations” in Episode 2 of Life With Tray And Jea! In this particular episode, I am talking about my family member that I’ve been trying to sit down with to discuss our real issues with one another. Below are some of the things I’ve been walking through in preparation of this conversation. Although I do not have a date for our conversation nor have we had a real conversation since 2016, I’m still preparing my heart for it to happen...in His time.
5 Things to Consider – BEFORE Difficult Conversations
1. PRAY – Isaiah 65:24 /”Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear”.
It may seem like there isn’t a lot happening in the midst of you praying to have that conversation, but know that the Lord hears you! Prayer is about actively seeking God so we can align to His will over ours. Pray over your readiness to have the conversation when it happens, pray for vulnerability and real connection to take place, pray for your heart to be softened to hearing how you’ve hurt someone, pray that your pride doesn’t make you react by not taking ownership of things. Simply put, PRAY FIRST and CONTINUALLY around this conversation!
2. Journal It – Write it out.Video record it. Paint it. Release it from your brain. Philippians 4:6 / “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”. One of our most invaluable gifts is the intimacy that lives in our heart. When there is a hurt that’s occurred, getting it out of our brain can be monumental. It allows us to release the energy, clear our minds, relinquish the control of it living in our minds, and ultimately, state that we are open to acknowledge all the parts of this situation. Oftentimes our perception is our reality, but in having it written out, we are stepping closer to the full picture instead of only what we’ve internalized.
I’ve done all of the above, except for painting it, which I have a date on my calendar to do. Releasing this isn’t always a one-shot deal as there are layers to peel back. One of my prayers is that when we meet up my heart will be in its rawest form. Therefore, stages of release affect the impact of the conversation.
3.Pull Up on the Root – As you pray, seek the Lord for the root cause of the disintegration of this relationship. John 5:15 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing”. If you have a therapist (HIGHLY RECOMMEND), you can also talk through this with your therapist. The purpose is to get to the root of your feelings/emotions. When we actively pursue the root cause within ourselves, the conversation shifts from the minutiae of the details to a microscope on the root. Recognizing the root is far more powerful than simply addressing the leaves. For example, a root is: because of this situation (name the moment in clarity) I no longer felt my heart was in a safe space with you. To compare, a leaf could be: you were talking about me to someone I don’t get along with.
This has been the hardest to address in prayer. The Lord revealed so many areas in which I was diminishing and dismissing my own feelings that I’ve sometimes felt exhausted in praying around this. But, I’m clear on Romans 5:3-4/ “... but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,”
4. Forgiveness – Have you forgiven you for the part you played? Luke 7:47-48 “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little”. Before any real conversation can happen, we must forgive ourselves. As we forgive ourselves, we are able to own the things that happened which caused the breakdown in the relationship we once cherished.
I was a very guarded and surface-leveled person who didn’t allow for depth in relationships because I was very unsure of myself. That was my double-edged sword because it “protected” me, but it hindered me from the reality of my deepest desires to experience heart-to-heart level relationships. I had to actively forgive myself for settling for such a space for my heart. Therefore, in building authentically transparent relationships, I’ve continued to articulate my need to be vulnerable.
5. BEWARE of Being Emotionally Deaf – People are looking to share their inner feelings with one another as that’s how we build intimate relationships. But, your time together will be laced with resentment for if you are unable to own some of the things said to you. In 2 Samuel 12/ Nathan expresses to David his wrongdoings while David was living life like nothing ever happened. If this person is a family member, you may see them at the next family wedding, funeral, baby shower, 1st Communion (I’m Haitian ya’ll and that’s a HUGE deal...lol). You and said person/people may potentially be in the same space together. Therefore, it’s emotionally deaf and irresponsible of you to act as if nothing happened. Be mindful not to act like “we all good” just to ensure you’re not uncomfortable in their presence. – Whew that’s a word ya’ll!!
Imagine my level of anxiety right before getting to my sister’s wedding reception. I surely didn’t act like all was well because it wasn’t. But, it was my sister’s wedding day and I needed to be both physically and emotionally present. It was great to be in the same space, but I knew looking to unpack years at her reception wasn’t going to happen. Therefore, saying hello, dancing around one another, taking family photos, etc. would suffice.
I’m praying for all of us