I KEEP GETTING CAUGHT UP
in these messes with people!
PREVIOUS: “What just happened” (#1)
NOTE: See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
Part 1 was about a painful encounter with someone who is insensitive, abusive, narcissistic, disrespectful, attacking….
1. It can be a:
a. person we don’t know very well, or at all – a one time event
b. family member, with similar recurring painful episodes. We keep going back for more abuse because we’re still don’t have good boundaries & self-esteem.
c. long-time friend who is in many ways like our damaged family, likely not in any kind of recovery, OR has not done their FoO work. They have been there for us in some ways over the years, but the relationship is co-dependent, where we are more the people-pleaser / rescuer.
d. spouse or mate, with whom we have periodic flareups. They may be someone we want to keep in our life or someone we really should leave but are not ready to.
** This is not to ignore the fact that we may indeed love some of these people, & will continue to have a relationship with them. What kind & to what degree will depend on how well we are able to protect & defend ourselves around them.
However, we’re told & believe that “They did the best they could”, which is rarely accurate!
• This message makes it too easy for us to white-wash bad behavior. The reason this saying is so insidious for ACoAs is that it reinforces our denial AND it teaches us not to hold others accountable. The combination feeds our S-H. Just because someone doesn’t ‘mean’ to hurt us doesn’t exonerate them from being responsible for their actions & words.
• At the same time we need to help the WIC get it that very little that is said & done AT us is about US (about our personality, our identity). We don’t cause how others react to us, even when we are ‘at fault’ in some way & we know this because a different person will have a totally different reaction to the same behavior from us. The more we understand & believe that the easier it will be to stand up against the thoughtless, the insensitives or the aggressors.
Healthy people (Hp) evaluate themselves, monitor their interactions, so that:
• they catch it when their side of the street is as NOT as ‘clean’ as it could be. They are more likely to acknowledge it & make a correction or give an apology.
• when confronted with an objection, a question bout their behavior &/or hurt feelings (Hp) are able to hear the other person out, evaluate their part in it & make whatever adjustments are possible, especially if the other person misunderstood or misread an interchange.
The inventory can offer a way to break thru both our ignorance of what we’re feeling
& thinking, as well as putting a dent in our blindness about others, especially non-recovering people we’re been dealing with for a long time. Since everyone tells us about themselves all the time, it is up to us to pay attention to what we experience & admit “I KNOW WHAT I KNOW”.
2. SOME interchanges which leave us angry & hurt:
a. are not even remotely about us
EXP: Mona is an acupuncturist & is at a banquet honoring a prominent friend of hers. She starts talking to a man at her table & eventually they exchange business cards. While he was relatively friendly at first, looking at her card he becomes quite hostile, bad-mouthing her profession. She is shocked & hurt. Excusing herself, Mona moves to a distant table. After mulling it over for a while she goes back & asks him “What just happened?”. Slightly calmer, he tells of a very bad experience the only time he ever went to get acupuncture – when he almost became paralyzed from a cramp in his back & could hardly breathe. He didn’t apologize, but Mona was satisfied.
b. occur when we accidentally step on someone toes
EXP: Sandi gives Joe a CD of Edith Piaf for his B/day, knowing how much he loves her music. He’s thrilled & puts it on speaker. Sandi ‘hates’ Piaf (which he doesn’t know) & asked him to play it later. He wants to know why & she admits Piaf doesn’t suit her. He gets hurt – taking it an insult to his taste (taking things personally & being ‘over-sensitive’) Then he gets angry & attacks her for being insensitive to him & having no taste in music!
Sandi explains that Piaf’s voice & music are too painful to listen to, which has nothing to do with him or his taste! This only moderately mollifies him.
c. are actually meant as a positive, but said ‘wrong’
EXP: While visiting a friend, Pat mentioned that she goes to her dentist on Sundays, since he didn’t work on Saturdays. Her friend said “Only you could have found a dentist to see on Sundays!” Pat was hurt & angry, but didn’t say anything for a week. It reminded her of being teased in school.
After going thru the 30 Qs in the next post, she called her friend. “Bobby, remember what you said last week about my dentist?” -pause- “No”. “You said…. & what I heard is that you were making fun of me, like – I’m so weird…” -pause- “No, what I was saying was that I admired you for your cleverness…” -pause- “OH!. Well, thanks. But it would have been clearer if you’d said that!” (It was an unclear communication)
NEXT: “What Just Happened?” – 30 Qs