Monday, January 3, 2011

Be Cruel, Strong, Or Sulk

I'm getting towards the end of The Spell Book of Listen Taylor.

On page 328, there's a bit that I really love.

In Fancy's opinion, a choice had to be made when your husband said something unkind.  Specifically: be cruel, be strong, or sulk.  

That really can apply to anyone...not just husbands or wives.

I wonder which of those I usually choose. 

I did a lot of sulking growing up.

With Tim, I'll sulk every so often.  It's not the way my niece used to do it though.  I don't put on a sad face, cover my face, and refuse to talk. 

I guess I just become....less talkative and less cheerful. 

I choose the strong route sometimes, but this often backfires. I bury the anger, but it usually surfaces eventually.

Maybe saying something unkind is the best route.  Then you get the grievance out in the open, and it can be settled right there.  That's hard though, because you need to quickly come up with a good response.  It's nice if you can come up with an insult that equals their insult. Then it's even. But if you come up with something worse, then they can end up angrier than you were in the first place.   You could also end up looking like someone who's overly defensive, and too sensitive. 

There's the direct approach. You hurt my feelings when you said that.  Yeah.  Let's talk this over like emotionally intelligent mature adults.  That works...in theory.

The problem is people say mean things usually for two reasons

1. They want to hurt your feelings.

2. They made a mistake, and really meant no harm.

If they wanted to hurt your feelings, you might be giving them the satisfaction by admitting it. 

If they simply made a mistake, it might make them feel anxious and sad to know that they hurt you.   But if you don't tell them, they might keep doing it, and drive you nuts.  

You know what?

I really don't know of a proper solution.  I'm hopeless.

At one time, I was all into this idea that I'd no longer be passive aggressive.  If someone annoyed me, I'd be direct with them.  But I've tried that a few times, and the outcome wasn't at all favorable.   

I guess for me personally....the best solution of the three is to be strong.  TRY to ignore it, bury it, and hope it stays buried.