It's always interesting to me (dare I say appalling?) when people burn bridges between each other. I know that sometimes people get mad at each other, may even be unable to speak to each other at times, but to totally burn a bridge between them is a senseless act in my opinion. I have family members who have been burning bridges lately, and it has caused me to think about this whole idea.
We all have heard the term "fight or flight". This is the human response to stress. I find that I kind of do both. When I am angry I fight, when I am hurt I withdraw. Some people withdraw with both anger and hurt. Maybe they are unsure of how to show their anger, or maybe they are unsure about being able to keep control. I think I withdraw from hurt so that I can go lick my wounds awhile and heal.
As I thought about the family member who has been burning bridges, it occurred to me that burning bridges is the easy way out. When you burn bridges, you don't have to talk anymore, or try to work things out. It also gives a superior feeling of control...because the person who burns the bridge, in a sense, has the last word.
I have a couple of very close friends who are quite outspoken. When we talk, they both tell it like it is. Sometimes they say things that are hard to take. Sometimes it makes me a little angry. Today I was talking with one of them and they said that they would like to be frank, but they were afraid I couldn't take it. I told them to go ahead, I would probably say something snotty, but we could just go on talking anyway. They did, I did, and we did. :)
I think it takes alot of patience to keep bridges intact. It takes patience to not overreact when someone says something offensive. It takes patience to keep talking even if you don't see eye to eye. I think it takes love, because if you love the person, you will continue to try to work things out, even if it might sting a little at times.
I think I determined long ago that I would never burn bridges between family or friends. I might get angry at times, I might blow up, but I don't view that as the end. I should clarify that there are things that a person should burn bridges over...such as physical abuse, or danger to them. But the normal day to day struggles that we have with each other are worth the price to keep the bridge intact.