On hurt feelings – part 2

I recently posted this:

“There’s a fine line between holding your tongue so as not to hurt other peoples’ feelings, and letting people hurt yours..

I’m too sleepy to be articulate right now, but I’m pretty sure I need to work on finding that line and learning to walk along it.”

I thought I’d written, albeit sleepily and inarticulately, about being fed up with letting people (= everyone who feels like it) trample on my feelings instead of putting up boundaries and telling them to be nice to me.

After a rough evening I had had enough, and had decided to start working out how to go about protecting myself from future verbal attacks.

Everyone who read and commented apparently took it to mean I regretted saying something mean to someone else….

***

Don’t get me wrong, I love that you commented, hey, I love that people read my posts at all! Thank you 🙂 You’re awesome and you make my day – I love it when there’s that special ‘pling!’ noise and that small orange dot appears next to the bell on my WordPress app 🙂 I love and appreciate that you tried to put yourselves in my position and help me. Really. I’m just a little bit confused about how I should’ve written what I meant, in order to be understood.

(St. Francis would tell me to aim to understand more than to be understood, but I like being understood too)

***

It’s not that I don’t have foot-in-mouth moments, because I do. I think everyone does. Sometimes I say mean things. Sometimes I’m cutting, sometimes I’m hurtful, sometimes it’s accidental, sometimes it’s on purpose. But it doesn’t happen often. At least not that often… I try not to let it happen at all.

More often, I hear people say mean things to me.

I am too polite to cover my ears when someone’s still talking.

I don’t even get up and leave when someone’s yelling at me.

Instead, I listen when people rant.

I very rarely rant back. I will probably argue if pushed and as long as no one’s actually shouted yet.

Usually I’m the one biting my tongue and not the one being bitchy. I’m the one crumpling up inside and trying not to cry in front of yet another person who believes that they ‘ate all the wisdom with a spoon’* and can tell me what I’m doing wrong. I end up on the receiving end of a lot of advice and back-handed compliments and bad-tempered yelling and condescending head-patting.

Some people are presumably self-confident enough to ignore the barrage, some people fire their own right back. Some people tell you you’ve gone too far. Everyone has their own survival strategy.

I make excuses and I let things slide.

Generally, I keep quiet. I tend not to say anything when things other people say and/or do hurt or annoy me. I stop functioning when people raise their voices. The natural response to stress is fight or flight. Mine is ‘roll up in a ball and hope it goes away’. It’s a strategy, but not a successful one. Hedgehogs aren’t known for winning battles with cars.

They are people and people are never perfect. I know that because I’m not perfect either. I tell myself they didn’t mean it, that they have too many other things going on, that they’re not good with words, that they’re having a bad day… and tell myself not to make things worse for them.

After a while of having my own feelings battered, the frustration-dam bursts and floods everything.

At this point I might snap at someone.

I regret the [hopefully few] times I’ve hurt anyone. Knowingly or otherwise. (Really. If I’ve hurt you, please let me know and I’ll apologise profusely.)

I also regret not telling people to mind their own business. I regret taking people’s rants to heart. I regret believing that other people have their lives worked out and that they have the right to tell me I don’t. I regret permanently putting myself on the receiving end of other peoples’ bad tempers and mood swings. I regret letting other peoples’ insecurity place restrictions on my dreams. I regret taking the time to listen to people let out their frustration on my ears. I regret swapping my priorities for those of those who shout loudest. I regret putting people on pedestals at the cost of digging myself into a hole.

I regret not being strong enough to walk away before I’m too weak to stand up  [by and for myself].

***

Now, if you’ve got this far (thank you :)) and have advice for building a protective shield around my feelings, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

‘Pling!’ 😉

***

* fantastic German expression 🙂

See also:
https://notthrowingstones.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/on-what-we-say-v-what-they-hear/
And
https://notthrowingstones.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/on-plans-mice-and-men/

0 Replies to “On hurt feelings – part 2”

  1. Sorry I got the wrong handle on that post!
    Why be a doormat Jesska? There are “nice” ways to say, “Mind your own business, and not mine”…”Leave it alone please”…”That’s not up for discussion”…”I can’t believe you said that to me”…”I don’t wish to talk about that and neither should you thank you”…”Are you having a bad day? can you please keep it to yourself?”…”Sorry, but you just breached my boundary, back off now”.
    Maybe you need to work out your own catch phrase for such situations and remember to use it.

    People who verbally abuse , yell… take it as their right that THEIR way and words are best… are really only bullies and need to understand that.

    Please don’t allow yourself to be so treated! It made me sad, and my heart ached when I read your post.I truly hope you conquer this kind of situation and let others know that they must respect you as a person or lose your company.
    All the best to you.
    Effy

    1. *hugs* Thank you 🙂
      I think I’ve got a long road and a lot of work ahead of me before I can say I’ve conquered the situation, but you’ve given me lots of suggestions for the way 🙂

  2. Hmm, well in my head I felt like I was answering for more than one scenario. But my mind wanders when I write so yeah…

    As far as that barrier…It’s a boundary that takes practice to establish. People used to your usual responses of course may not take to it as quickly as others. Again, forgive the old standards if that’s what you hear in my words. You gotta look out for you. Doesn’t mean you have to live on defense. I agree with skybright1 on having a strategy.

    People will be who they are; an emotional wall is partial security. Forgive yourself. Yeah I know how that sounds. The regrets, try not to give them anymore bits of your soul (easier said than done). Right now they seem like they’re eating you up. The stronger you feel, the less you’ll put up with these situations. You literally won’t be able to anymore. I know because I’ve gone through many iterations of this.

  3. You wrote: “Really. I’m just a little bit confused about how I should’ve written what I meant, in order to be understood.”
    I too thought you were writing about yourself . When I re-read the post I realised that for me, all it would take for it to read clearly is for you to swap the sentence structure around – put you first: eg: “There’s a fine line between letting people hurt your feelings and holding your tongue so as not to hurt theirs.” This tells me it is your struggle not to get hurt.
    Funnily enough, the strategy to stop it happening is something similar (in my personal opinion) – it is putting YOU first. I know we are raised to be polite, respect others, not be selfish -all those good things, but I think sometimes the good things we think we should/need to do allow us to get into situations that are not good for us.
    Everyone must find their own way, the most important thing to remember is to love yourself, and to show others that you do, by not letting them disrespect you. (Pop psychology really – but true nevertheless). Perhaps you just need to think “I will not allow myself to be disrespected – I am worth all the good in the world” – or something similar.
    In truth I don’t know the answer, it is easy to try and avoid conflict by being quiet, but in the end the way it makes you feel is a good indicator that this is not healthy. Perhaps you just need to think about the health of your self, and how you can help it improve.
    All opinions are solely my own, and your situation may vary! 🙂
    Wishing you well.

  4. I don’t have much to add to this conversation, except that I, too, am inspired to come up with a catchphrase. I appreciate both your honestly and your conundrum. I have a friend who struggles with a boatload of health issues–more than any one person should have to bear in an entire lifetime–and it is near impossible for me to assert myself because I can ALWAYS make an excuse for her. Yet her comments very often make me terribly upset, and I’ve tried to keep my distance as my defense…but consequently I lose out on what could be a great friendship if I could just step up and speak up.

    1. Thank you for joining in 🙂

      I think recognising genuine problems is the hardest thing to work round….. DB’s given up smoking, and I find that hard enough to deal with, but at least I know it’s a finite problem. (I damn weĺl hope so anyway! ;)) If your friend’s issues are long term, then I hope she’s better tempered than he is!

      I wish you all the best with it and with your friend, and I wish your friend more tact and less pain(?) (or at least fewer problems) in the future.

      Let me know how you get on with your catchphrase 🙂

Leave a Reply