Friday, February 14, 2014

Words Are Weapons...

Words hurt. They stick with you. Even though you may know that what is being said is not true or said out of anger, spite or jealousy, they are agonizing. Even words that are said out of sympathy can be hurtful at times. Especially when you feel the person needs sympathy, and they do not. And, we are often so busy worrying about what we want to say that we do not listen, even when we are asking for help. This is my introductory paragraph. I have made my 3 points. So here we go with the body. Maybe I should just do this in outline form. I would. But, I fear I might age myself. Do they even teach outlining, anymore?

This is hard for me to write. Partly because I am afraid that it will come out as bad mouthing my ex. I am not. We have both changed a lot since our divorce. But, I am sharing because I want other people to learn from our mistakes. The prompt for this was when a friend shared that she was told she was a bitch and needed to shut the hell up. I immediately flashed back to years ago standing in the kitchen getting scolded for an improperly cleaned kitchen.

I did not communicate very well in my marriage. I am to blame for the problems, too. But, this is about things that we say that hurt. Especially when they are said over and over again. The phrase that I heard over and over again was, “If you don’t like it pack your stuff and get out.” It was always said in anger. It was only said when we fought. But, it still hurt. I never responded much to the statement. I couldn’t. Those words hurt far too much. I think there may have been once that I actually said, “No. You leave.” If I had started expressing my wants and desires in the relationship from the very beginning, it never would have got to that point. But, I didn’t. The words hurt. And, they stick.

Your value as a person is determined mostly by what you contribute to the world. When I heard my spouse leave, I heard, “We would be better off without you here.” And, he was surprised to hear I had suicidal thoughts and was shocked when I left. My value as a wife and mother mattered more than anything. And, I took the words to mean that I had no value. I felt that it meant I was in the way. (Hearing “Get out of the way.” Or “You’re in the way.” when I was where he needed to get at something has lead me to feel like I am always underfoot or a nuisance. I am slowly moving away from feeling that way. But, there are days that I can’t escape it.)

So, if I ever say I don’t understand why anyone would want to be around me, I am working on it. But, it’s going to take time.

We don’t think about the things we say when we are mad. That doesn’t mean they aren’t what we are thinking.

Next point, sometimes we should just keep our mouths shut. As human beings, we always assume that people want to hear what we think. OK, I am a blogger, so I think and hope that people want to hear what I think. But, I am not going to walk up to someone and start spilling my guts. (To be honest, I tend to get ran over in conversation anyways and make mental notes of what to talk to Mr. J about when we get alone.)

And, you know, sometimes it is OK. But, when it comes to subjects like healthcare, having children, relationships… tread lightly. It is perfectly fine to tell the person that you are there to listen and to talk. But, do not assume they need to hear what you think. There is a blog going around stating that people would not have to give you reasons why they are not having children. Had I been a responsible blogger, I would have stashed the site and shared it here.

The blog is based around the idea that how many children we want and why is our business and that people shouldn’t be expected to spit babies out like a pez dispenser. But, it goes both ways. We shouldn’t judge people or comment on families with lots of children, too. The comments about “Why haven’t you had any children yet? I bet you just can’t wait to have children!” and others of the nature are often meant to show concern or interest. But, generally, it is a sensitive issue.

In other words, remember that we do not know what is best for other people. It is arrogant of us to think otherwise.

My last gripe stems from my job. But, it flows into the rest of my life, too. Sometimes, we need to shut up and listen.

I am the receptionist in an office where people pay debts. A majority of the time, the callers are so wound up with trying to remember what they think they need to say that they get themselves all worked up about it and end up rambling loudly and making a fuss. Then, I still have to make them start all over because I do not know who they are and I have to find them in the computer. When we are so busy regurgitating what we have on our mind that the person we are speaking to can’t keep up, we are fight a losing battle so to speak. A majority of the calls take several minutes of them fussing over something as simple as stating, “I will be able to take care of this on such and such date, if that is sufficient.” All because they decided the person on the other end of the phone is going to be rude and overly demanding.

So, stop. And listen to each other. This is the one thing Jerry and I really have a problem with. Mostly because we are both ADD and our minds wander of the train of thought A LOT. But, we both know we do it and are patient with each other.

So, to wrap things up... 1.) Be kind and choose words that will continue to lift people up. The ones that tear them down will do more damage than you can ever imagine. 2.) Be mindful of what is actually any of your business. 3.) Listen and be patient. Enough said.

And, one last thing. If you are reading this and think that people who get hurt by people’s words need to get thick skinned or get over it, there is a good chance you are part of the problem.

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