Once again, I saw that I was making someone wrong. I will call this person Molly.
Everything started out fine. We were supposed to lead a call together, and I thought we did. So when she called me the next day and told me how upset she was, I was surprised. She said I was being a bossy bitch, had taken over the call, and she didn’t like it. That’s why she didn’t say anything on the call.
I pretended I was ok with it. We talked, laughed and hung up the phone.
I really liked Molly before this incident. She is real, generous, kind and a great person.
Not any more, I thought. I don’t need anybody that’s going to insult me like that.
This lack of affinity went on for a couple of weeks. Molly got another chance to lead the call (without me) and I noticed I was making her wrong and not participating in the discussion she was leading.
Enough, I thought. I need to get into communication. I did it by email.
“I pretended I was ok with our discussion, but I just have to tell you I was hurt when you called me a bossy bitch. Telling someone I am hurt is not easy for me,” I typed, “but I am telling you anyway.”
Her response was surprising.
“Well, I can assure you that’s not what I said. I do not use the word bitch. I might have said I didn’t like that I felt you were being bossy, but I would never say bossy bitch.”
I realized what happened. She said she didn’t like being bossed around like when she was a child, I was surprised and immediately felt stupid. To cover up my hurt and surprise at her upset, I made a joke and blamed myself. I SAID “I guess I was being a bossy bitch. I guess I get that way sometimes. Gee, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the impact on you. I’m really sorry.”
I pretended I was fine with the conversation. Obviously, I wasn’t. The funny thing is that I held “bossy bitch” against her like SHE said it. And I really thought she had. That was the truth in my mind.
That is really scary. Where else do I ADD WORDS MYSELF and then get mad at the other person when they never SAID IT?
I know of many instances where I’ve added MEANING to what they’ve said, but I never realized that I added WORDS too. That was amazing to learn.
I can see how wars and divorces get started. By misunderstandings about stuff that never was said or never happened.
That’s why I have been taking on the practice of “checking it out.” Just today I checked out something:
“When you said ‘you’re not acting crazy today,” did you mean that I normally do?”
“No, I meant that you weren’t acting crazy just now.”
“But sometimes I do? Do you think I’m crazy?” I asked, needing to find out.
“No. You are fine. I’m sorry I said it that way. You are perfectly normal. Not crazy at all.”
Ok, phew. I had been triggered by the crazy comment. I kept asking what the person meant until I could see that I was adding “I’m crazy, there’s something wrong with me, and no one can love me” to what they said.
As needy and pathetic as that used to make me feel, I now do it FOR ME. So I can be calm and get clear what the person REALLY MEANT instead of my disempowering context and story I add to everything.
I do it FOR ME. So I can feel ok. Maybe one day I won’t have to, for now, it works. And I’m ok with that. It’s a practice I’ve taken on to create freedom for me.
Thanks for listening.