Shula was an especially sensitive duckling. The slightest bit of cold water on her feathers sent her in a tizzy.
I was overly agreeable in my mid 20's, especially when it came to "keeping" a love interest. I refused to show disappointment if it meant there was the slightest possibility I might lose that person by doing so.
"You're just like a human, Shula!" the other ducklings told her, "You let the littlest things get you. Why can't you just let the water roll off your back like the rest of us do? What kind of duck are you that you let water bother you?"
"You let everything roll off your back like a duck!" he said to me. "How come nothing upsets you? You never let anything bother you."
Shula endured constant badgering.
He constantly devalued me and put me down.
Shula asked them why they did this and their reply was, "We'll keep doing it as long as you let us."
I said to him once, "So what you're saying is if others kick me down you'll kick me down further?" His reply was, "If you let me, sure."
Shula eventually moved to another pond, she didn't miss the other ducklings but their message lingered in her mind.
I broke up with David on my birthday. It was a present to myself...Not a day went by that I regretted that decision, but his words stuck.
Shula decided to reinvent herself...sure the cold water still bothered her, but she was no weakling...she could take it...even on the coldest of days...her mind was consumed with proving she could endure the cold water just as well as any duckling...eventually she was numb.
I resolved to do the exact opposite of letting things roll off my back. I was not going to put up with even the slightest injustice...my mind was often stuck on the negative. I was hypersensitive to how people treated me. It was a full time job to fight those who wronged me, until none of my days were filled with joy...I was always angry.