When someone who loves you (not an abusive bully) says cruel things to you and later they say kind things to you, what do you listen to, the kind words or the cruel words? How do you prevent the cruel words from tainting everything? Grudge holding isn't a good thing but when someone says hurtful things, it makes you doubt the person's true feelings for you (especially when it is a comment about your character). You've asked them, "why did you say that?", and the person says, "I don't know, I was stressed, I was grumpy, when I'm stressed my sharp tongue comes out". And you reply, "How can I feel safe if you do this, where you jab me with words when I least expect it?" And they say, "I'll try to watch my words" and then they give you a list of things for you to do to make life easier for them so they don't turn into Hyde.
I don't know...it's a tricky thing, isn't it? I had this experience with the fun-loving person in my family, but his moods are up and down - very much a rollercoaster ride for everyone closest to him. I found his mean critiques were simply a form of manipulation. I don't think manipulators are bullies or cruel, but they are, indeed, manipulative. If they aren't getting what they want things do certainly become stressful for them. I don't know if this is the problem you're facing. Yours might be a completely different scenario, but I would try and understand the motives behind the unkind things this person said to you. That would determine much about whether or not they are trustworthy or are simply trying to manipulate you when you don't fall in line.
Also, the list you are to abide by, in order to keep this person from turning into Hyde, is this a list everyone gets, or just you? This person might have some coping problems if his/her world needs to be mitigated to such a degree that they can only be kind when you behave a certain way. Just like I tell my children: "You should never let the way someone else behaves change who you are." This person would do well to learn that principle.
Take heart. In my opinion, it sounds like a case of manipulation from a person without sufficient coping skills.
Thanks CaliMama, excellent advice as usual.
The thing I'm working on is not painting everyone with the same brush because I grew up with some really abusive people. I don't want to punish someone somebody else's crimes, where I become so intolerant of the person making any slip up that I accuse them of behaving like someone from my past. I know I've said mean things too. I do think it is important not to make excuses for being mean but I want to be a forgiving person to the people who are decent and have a good track record. That's a good point about looking at the motivation behind the words. I can be self-centered and see things from my perspective (part of being an Asperger person-though this is no excuse). It is a struggle to have a fair relationship with someone that isn't based on the other person being perfect to make up for the rotten people from the past. I also tend to hold grudges and remember something cruel that was said from nine years ago. The verbal jibes are not frequent but I think I relate it to my past and that's why it hurts even more and I become offended and don't have a thick skin. Instead of saying, "What's wrong or what's your problem?', I tend to take the jibe very personally and then I think the person never really liked me just like so and so (which isn't fair when the person in question has been pretty decent). But I don't tolerate verbal jibes and have told the person to watch their words without me being a control freak, where I take everything personally and become offended by every remark. It isn't easy. I don't mind criticisms from people I trust and I prefer honesty but not simply somebody saying something very general and mean. I will never tolerate that sort of thing from anyone and that's a good thing I think. But when people have said some nasty things and are truly sorry, I have to learn to forgive. I don't want to be an unforgiving person to someone who is decent just because I had to deal with some rotten people in my past. I think sometimes people punish those around them for the crimes of others and they can even overblow situations. Thanks again for your comments. Looking at motivations is smart.
I would say you need to learn/understand this person a lot better. Me personally, I'm a very straight forward/blunt person with a sarcastic wit by nature, I can be moody/grouchy & my sarcasm/sharp tongue comes out more. I don't intentionally try to hurt people's feelings, it's just me. Is this their personality or an attitude?
This person is quick witted like Garfield the cat. If a person said to them that they talked early as a child the person might easily say, "Yes and you haven't shut up since". There is a balance because I certainly don't want to change this person's personality but I don't want to be treated like John either (Garfield's owner). Good points.
Hey SandCastles. Love that name by the way. Very thought provoking!
Much like you, I experienced abuse as a child, especially the mental kind and just as you do, I also find it hard to accept spiteful comments.
In the past - the recent past - I'd probably snap and verbally tear them a new arsehole (Pardon my French), then proceed to kick them out of my life and bear a grudge forever!
Now, I've learned to do a number of things differently. If you can keep these things in mind and use them so much that they become new values for you, you'll be a much more confident and self assured person and comments won't affect you.
1. Regarding comments in general, don't mind them. Whether you care or not, people will go on thinking and saying them. No amount of caring will change that.
2. These comments are usually borne of frustration, resentment or annoyance. These feelings arise for a number of reasons. Perhaps they are stressed with work, they aren't happy at work, they want something more from life but aren't confident enough to get it, or they are simply moody and tired. In this state, they are akin to a volcano that is ready to burst and flood the land with its lava. However, with people, what happens is they either have no way to release the pent up frustration and so keep it in and it poisons them and eats at their self-esteem OR they find an outlet.
Unfortunately, quite often, the outlet is a person. This person will be the nearest to them at the time of the eruption or the person most likely to respond.
The reason they instinctively choose a person who will respond is because they know that person will readily soak up all their negativity like a sponge. What will happen then is they transfer all their negative energy from within themselves to the willing recipient. It works the same with positive vibes, a positive person is so enthused with positivity that this energy transfers to others around them.
Where am I going with this? Simply refuse to accept the transfer of negative energy. As soon as they start, walk away. Leave the room without a word or just do something else. When they fire that negativity bullet at you, it only hits when you allow it in.
3. Don't react to the comment. Let's put it this way, if they comment when they are angry, it means they already harbored the thoughts they are releasing at that moment anyway. They simply chose to express them as a release, to vent some anger.
There were some more but my son is destroying his biscuits so I'll have to cut it short! haha
Wow, I like that, "Simply refuse to accept the transfer of negative energy. As soon as they start, walk away. Leave the room without a word or just do something else". I remember as a teen someone said something cruel to me. I said confidently, "No I'm not". Because in my heart I knew the words were lies, the bullying person just stopped in his tracks and looked away. And I didn't care what this person thought of me either. I think reacting isn't always a good thing, where the person becomes defensive because the more angry you become, the calmer the other person becomes. And if a person is a sarcastic type and that is just their personality, the last thing I want to do is become a tyrant and make them walk on eggshells. We give time-outs to kids but with adults, we confront and try to change them. We can't sent an adult to their room but we can walk away. Good Points.
Thanks for the tips... if you have more please let me know. My husband is verbally abusive. I'm just trying to cope. Respect what he is but do not want it to affect. although, I am suffering from such abusive acts. But too tired to put up a fight...
Dear sittingduck. There has to be help for you. Do you have a relative that could set him straight? Let someone else talk to him on your behalf. Report his behavior to someone in your family who cares about you. A brother, a father... preferably a male...
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