hurt

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As I have written recently, I am currently taking very deliberate steps to learn to be more transparent, forthright and definitive — in my communications, specifically, as well as in my life, generally. This is particularly difficult for me when I have a negative reaction to something that has been said to me (or someone else reacts to something I have said).

With the help of a few very wise people, I am starting to understand the difference between REACTIONS and actual FEELINGS. If someone says something that makes me feel bad, even though there are many different varieties of “bad” feelings, I tend to categorize that experience as feeling “hurt.” In reality, what’s often going on is that an exchange with someone leaves me feeling left out, insecure, embarrassed, jealous or misunderstood. These are reactions, and, although my reactions may feel uncomfortable and I may not like them, guess what? I’m not actually being damaged. 99 times out of 100 (just to leave a little wiggle room), there is no hurting taking place. By the same token, if someone has a negative reaction to me, while I may have provoked an unpleasant reaction in them, I have not actually damaged them.

This is a big distinction for me. I have walked around for most of my life feeling as though my communications with people are quite dangerous. That I have the ability to truly hurt someone or be hurt by someone just because I don’t choose exactly the right words or make exactly the right decision. I’m learning that I can react to someone, and someone may react to me, and both parties are still fine – AND most of the times my reaction to someone has nothing to do with that person. More likely, the exchange with that person just triggered an old feeling or experience.

So I’m taking baby steps and starting to risk sharing my reactions, and inviting other to share their reactions with me, with the knowledge that everyone is going to survive it intact.

ice

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It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve written. I don’t have any particular schedule for posting on my blog. Usually, I get struck by an idea and then find myself starting to write it in my head. If the writing in my head part seems to be working, then I head for the computer and actually try to turn it into a post. more…

re-wendeled

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I had SO much fun this past Friday. I went on a shopping spree with the inimitable (which is funny to say, since I copy her all the time) and totally delightful stylist and fashion blogger Tiffany Wendel. more…

fuzzy

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One of the big things I’m working on right now is being able to stand for myself. To be able to share my thoughts and feelings openly — even when they may differ from the thoughts and feelings of those around me. I have seen improvement over the last few months, but there are still numerous times where I can feel myself shutting down or backing away from saying something that might come into conflict with someone else’s plan or point of view. I get robotic, my brain gets foggy and I hear things coming out of my mouth that I don’t mean and that I didn’t plan to say. more…

bill

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While David and I were going through the mail this evening, I discovered we had been sent a “False Alarm Bill” from the City of Los Angeles. $151.00 because I chose to be safe and call the cops when my burglar alarm went off a few weeks ago.

I understand, from a public policy standpoint, why the city creates a disincentive to calling the police. But opening the envelope and finding that notice felt like getting in trouble (You can probably guess that I haven’t “gotten in trouble” much in my life) — an authority scolding me for overreacting, for making a big deal out of nothing.

Given how much angst I had about calling the police in the first place, the fact that I also got my hand slapped makes me mad. I wasn’t frivolous. I wasn’t rash. I was alone in the dark with my son and I had no way to know whether there was an actual threat or not.

David thinks I did the right thing and he told me he hopes I would do the same thing next time. But I know that if and when I am ever in that situation again, the “False Alarm Bill” will be added to the scale on the side of Reasons Not to Call the Police.

better

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So far . . .a little better. I have had several moments during the days since my last post when David or one of the kids has done something frustrating and have I felt myself start to descend into that darker, more victimized place. In most of these cases, I have felt it start to happen (it literally feels like a trickle of hot lava that starts in my throat and flows into my stomach) and I’ve caught myself by thinking: “This is it! This is me going into upset.” more…

upset

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In my seminar this past Wednesday, we had a discussion about various ways that people “dominate” others. Certain ways are more obvious. For example, some people dominate with arrogance or money or authority or information. Other ways are less obvious, such as dominating through withholding, cynicism, humor or victimization. Essentially, we all have tools (conscious or unconscious) that we use to control situations, steer conversations or manipulate others. During a break on Wednesday night, I asked David how I dominate. more…