I recently had a little “situation” with someone I thought would have been kind, patient and would have offered a shoulder for me to cry on. A friend who would listen to me have a little whinge and impart a few words of wisdom along with a good dose of love and support. Well, to say that it backfired would be an understatement. I was told in very direct and abrupt words that she didn’t want to hear what I had to say and that it was none of her business. She then walked away and made it very clear she didn’t want to be bothered with me.
To make matters worse, it happened again when Mitchell and I caught up with someone close to us during a recent holiday. It began when I got into trouble with a shop owner for taking a photo inside her store. It was my mistake, I didn’t think before I read a clothing label that said “Made from possum fur” and decided to take a photo to show friends. The owner of the store came over to me and asked me to hand over my phone. She was rather upset, so I apologised and deleted the photo but it didn’t end there. The owner of the store and one of her staff followed me outside and continued to abuse me. I was still shaken when I caught up with a family member later that day. When she asked me what was wrong, I explained what happened at the clothing store. A few harmless comments, nothing I would have thought would land me in hot water. Instead of being told something positive and uplifting, I was labelled a “whinger”.
In both of these instances I had mentioned my man Mitchell. The first time it started something like “He is driving me up the wall”, that was about as much as I said before I was shot down in flames. The second time was after the ‘possum shop’ drama. I said something along the lines of “I was disappointed that Mitchell didn’t help defend me” At the time I wasn’t expecting Mitch to peel of his shirt, beat his hands against his chest and swing from the beams along the ceiling, but I was expecting a bit of support – you know “Don’t talk to JulieAnn like that” – that kind of thing. Retelling the story, I expected a few kind words, in reality I received nothing of the sort.
Both situations affected me to the point that I needed to sit back and have a long hard think about the way I speak to people. Do I say things that are not appropriate? Do I talk about things I shouldn’t? Both times I felt very frustrated, I didn’t understand the issue at the time, I just wanted someone to help me, to give me some advice. Was I wrong in expecting that? Isn’t that what friends and family are for? While I was contemplating what happened I began remembering all of the times I have caught up with these same people. Dinners, weddings, birthdays, christenings, bbq’s I remembered all the times we chatted about work, family and their relationships.
The more I thought about what happened and the more I remembered instances and conversations that have taken place over the years, the more I saw double standards. Why has it been ok for them to talk about the frustrations and the drama in their lives and not ok for me? I could only say one thing before I was made to feel insignificant. My memory has replayed years – Years of me giving hugs, offering my shoulder to cry on and words of support.
After reading a few books I was able to reach a few conclusions. Firstly – I do have to acknowledge an issue here, an issue that I am sure you will relate to. Have you ever thought about how you talk to your friends or someone from your family when you are frustrated? We tend to let all our emotions spill out into one great big tale. We say everything we are thinking – not so much of the good, plenty of the bad and at times a great big truck full of the ugly. We can dramatise issues to the point of absurdity. Afterwards we feel better, like a great big weight has been lifted from our shoulders – the problem is the new image you may have created of you and your loved one.
We need to be careful of what we say. Have you ever thought someone was wonderful, then you hear something about them and you can no longer look at that person the same way? Your opinion was changed all because of something that was said in the heat of a moment. Ever think that what you say has the same effect? You may not have meant for it to sound so bad (I certainly didn’t), you were just feeling so annoyed, you just wanted to get it out and have someone agree with you? But when we are angry, we can turn what wasn’t such a big drama into something astronomical. “He did what???!!!!” 😦 When everything has cooled down and you’re standing around your friends kitchen, you don’t understand why your friends are telling you to leave, or that he is no good. And when they repeat what you said – well, its your turn to say “He did what???!!!”
Secondly – I am sure many of you would have experienced the same situation and similar treatment that I have. The problem is what happens when I or you feel frustrated and need someone to talk to? Do we bottle it all up and try to forget what ever is bothering or hurting us? Do we let it fester? No, not at all. We should try to work things out with our loved ones, but sometimes it’s not enough and we need more support. Discussing problems with a close friend or member of the family can lead to you getting insights and strategies with how to deal with any issues you are facing. Yes we need to be aware of what we are saying and try not to over exaggerate or tell tall tales that could come back to bite you. But we should be able to reach out and ask for advice and to get a hug when we need it. If you have friends and family that don’t want to hear your problems – then kindly remind them when it’s their turn to vent. Support and respect goes both ways. It can be easy for people to forget when its their turn to “whinge”.
x x x