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On 5/25/2022 at 10:42 AM, kim42 said:

I definitely want to change this, I want to overcome this fear and stand up for myself - I know it's strange to be afraid of this as an adult.

I think it has to do with how I was raised as child, I was told that I was being oversensitive and somehow it has stuck with me, so when I am in a situation when someone is rude to me, instead of defending myself, I start to question what's going on, and I feel bad for saying something.

Some things don't warrant an answer. An ordinarily kind and polite person may be having a tough day and snap. You can judge whether it's warranted saying anything back or whether it'll make the situation worse. If it's the same issues that seem to be triggering you also, there may be some truth to what's being said or a certain topic is particularly sensitive to you. It doesn't make you oversensitive but it would be prudent to note if you are sensitive to it - figure out ways to tackle that issue.

A lot of the time people who pick on others don't feel good about themselves. You'll spot them a mile away, bullying or picking on others because it's what they do to make themselves feel better. These are just chronic bullies or people who've never had others stand up to them before so they don't know how offensive they really are.

I find sometimes people say things they don't mean at the expense of others because they assume that other person doesn't/wouldn't care. 

I'd avoid passive aggressive comments or aggressive/rude/smallminded people in general if you can help it. Once or twice making a polite and assertive response is fine but if the behaviour keeps coming up, you're choosing the wrong company.

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Don't be upset with yourself for not reacting during the moment.  I've experienced the same.  In a way, it's good not to react immediately because it gives you time to think and become better prepared in the future.

If someone is deliberately mocking and humiliating you, tell them that they're unkind.  Say this in front of everyone because that person will be embarrassed in front of everyone as opposed to saying this statement to him or her privately which is riskier.  If the perpetrator gaslights you by telling you that you're "too sensitive," tell them again, they're unkind.  You may not receive an apology or admittance but at least you called him or her out on it.  If he or she laughs at you, know that at least you spoke up in front of everyone. 

You're not spoiling the mood for everyone.  It's actually better to speak up in front of everyone.  If you speak up 1:1, it's riskier because the perpetrator will become defensive.  If you speak up in front of everyone, it is safer because people tend to behave better or readjust themselves if they're in front of an audience. 

If everyone laughs at your expensive after you've spoken up to the perpetrator, be prepared but not hurt.  At least you spoke up.  Predict people's behaviors and use this experience for your future. 

As for anyone interrupting you, many times teaching a person not to interrupt you falls on deaf ears.  Do what I do.  If people interrupt me, I don't stop speaking.  I continue speaking while they're interrupting me until it becomes so awkward for THEM that they stop interrupting me.  They overlap and talk over me while I do the same by overlapping and talking over them.  I finish my sentence, pause and then allow the other person to speak in that order!  Repeat this tactic with the offender.  Or, if they interrupt, say, "I'm speaking."  Then speak.  Repeat by saying, "I'm speaking" every single time they interrupt you and they'll force themselves to stop interrupting you.  Both tactics have been successful for me.  I never tell anyone to stop interrupting me.  Usually, my first method of not allowing the interrupter to interrupt me works best.  Actions speak louder than words.   I've since had a lot of practice! 

I'm quiet and shy,  too.  If you're not close to people who were not nice to you and if you don't see them often, cross paths with them, an acquaintance nor part of the group, then don't fuss over this.  You won't encounter them so let it go.  They're not worth wasting your time and energy.

Due to my experience, whenever I've spoken up about rude behavior, it usually backfired sorely, unfortunately.  I was gaslighted to death (perpetrators forced to change my perception of the facts), commanded that I must accept people's "foibles" and "lack of social graces,"  told I wasn't perfect, told I was a loose cannon, told I was mentally ill, told I was judgemental and you name it, I've been on the receiving end of all ugly statements galore.  I was lambasted to defeat.  Whenever I spoke up, it caused a nasty confrontation.  I lost every time so it's useless and senseless. 

My new powerful tool is to become passive aggressive because it guarantees my safety 100%.

I keep the peace by enduring some boorish behaviors from relatives and in-laws.  The majority of time, I simply avoid them.  This is called enforcing healthy boundaries with people whom you're not fond of. 

The best way for me is to simply ignore and not associate with people whom I don't respect and admire.  I keep a polite, well mannered yet very frosty distance. 

I only associate with people who know how to act like consistently decent, very honorable human beings.   When you can afford to become more picky and choosy, this is what builds your self confidence.  You're teaching yourself that you deserve to be in the company of high quality people.  Everyone else in your life should be eliminated or significantly decrease your interactions and associations.

Over time, you'll teach yourself how to be a better judge of character.  Practice discernment.  Be perceptive because when you're keenly aware, you won't allow yourself to get hurt anymore.  Navigate yourself wisely.  Don't get hurt anymore.  Be smart and shrewd.  This is what will save you.

 

 

 

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Stop feeling sorry for that day when you didn’t defend yourself. It’s done, now you’re upsetting yourself by bothering about it. It was a bad experience for you, but it sure showed you that you need to defend yourself.

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Just be prepared if you decide to defend yourself.  Reactions from perpetrators will be harsh because this is human nature and nothing I hadn't experienced before.  Both parties will become defensive which evolves into a disagreement, heated argument and goes downhill from there.  Next, you will be lambasted, gaslighted, rebuked, humiliated and mocked.  Defend yourself at your own risk. 

You can't teach stupid people.  They are who they are.  (A leopard cannot change its spots.)  No one will change for you. 

If perpetrators are called out on their rude behaviors, they'll deny it, tell you that you're "too sensitive," tell you that you need to accept people as they are even if you don't approve of their boorish behaviors, tell you that you aren't perfect either and then you'll be sorry that you spoke up.  Some people told me to accept other people's foibles and know that some people lack social graces.  I'm sick and tired of hearing those types of excuses.  I know the drill all too well. 

I've had some people say to me, "You took it the wrong way."  That's another gaslighting retort.  Blame and guilt will immediately backfire onto YOU.  Be prepared.  I've heard and seen it all.  Nothing surprises me anymore. 

I can generally predict these types of scenarios and outcomes.  Been there done that.

You either risk an ugly confrontation from being outspoken or take the less stressful, peaceful route by avoiding or decreasing interactions with people who aren't worth wasting your precious time and energy. 

Taking the passive aggressive route requires less effort on your part and highly effective with results in your favor. 

My late father taught me to always use your opponent's energy instead of your own if you wish to retaliate meaning enforced healthy boundaries will keep you safe and protected from harm in the future. 

Don't feel sorry for yourself.  My mother said, "Don't get hurt.  Be shrewd."  She is always correct.   Always outsmart people whom you don't like.   Use your brain, not your mouth. 

People who lack emotional intelligence (empathy) aren't intelligent people.  Surround yourself with emotionally intelligent people who know how to interact with others with grace and intelligence.  Everyone else is a reject.  Become very picky and choosy regarding whom you wish to associate with and disassociate.   This is how you navigate yourself wisely. 

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I think it's fine if the person says "I'm really sorry I offended you.  I want you to know it wasn't meant in that way at all."  That's not saying "you took it the wrong way" and it's ok if it turns out you did.  I had a good friend in grad school.  She had mental health issues.  She stopped speaking with me completely after I said to another friend in front of her that if the goal was to work for a big firm, grades mattered a lot."  I knew my friend never wanted to work for a big firm.  She'd said that many times.  She had really good grades and could have gotten that sort of job if she wanted to.  The person I was speaking with was my cousin who had just started at the school.  My friend took it the wrong way -assuming it was an insensitive jab at her about her grades (she was a perfectionist).  She took it the wrong way, full stop.  Had she brought this up then I would have apologized as I wrote above.

She stopped speaking to me for over a year then wrote me a long letter ranting about that comment and accusing me of having taken the same class she did, after she took it, with the sole purpose of getting a better grade. I was flabbergasted.  It simply wasn't true.  At all.  So yes sometimes people take things the wrong way especially if they have a mental health issue.  And then the accused person should be able to defend herself while still acknowledging and apologizing -not gaslighting "I am so sorry you felt hurt by what I said.  When I said ____ I meant ___."

I have a friend -also a mom- who has now made 2-3 comments about my working "only part time."  Or "are you STILL working part time?"  I do not like it.  She knows full well how hard I work at my job and with child care and family responsibilities.  She's on a high powered career path.  I've explained without defending how thrilled I am with my job (it's true -been 5 years!). 

At some point I feel I will say more like "I'm glad you're happy with your career.  I don't see myself as working "still part time" -it is what I've chosen for my path even though it is different than yours".  Truth is I feel like pointing out things that might not be so "diplomatic" about certain of her choices but I will hold my tongue. We've been friends for over 20 years.  It's hard!  Does she know how inappropriate her comments are? I really do not know.

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Saying "You took it the wrong way" or "I'm sorry if I offended you and it wasn't my intent" is indeed gaslighting to the core because gaslighting means changing your perception of the facts.  Gaslighting is deflecting admittance, blame and guilt from the perpetrator to making you feel that there's something wrong with you.  Hence, "you're a loose cannon," "mentally ill," "too sensitive," "you're not so perfect yourself" and nothing I hadn't heard before.  Gaslighting is denial from the perpetrator and making you look like as if you're the one who has issues and not they.  It's very sick, manipulative, psychological warfare.

I know these types of typical sneaky strategies, tactics and responses all too well courtesy of my cousin, mother-in-law (MIL), mother, siblings and two brothers-in-law (BIL).  Unfortunately, the majority of them reside locally.  Dealing with gaslighters is a war you will definitely lose every time so don't even bother engaging in the first place.  Should you try to defend yourself, you'll be worn down to defeat and actually start to believe that there's something wrong with your perception.  Never fall for that trap because if you do, they've won.

Fortunately, my friends and acquaintances treat me well.  They're gracious, mindful, considerate, very conscientious and kind.

The reason why "You took it the wrong way," "I'm sorry you were offended, it wasn't my intent," or "You're too sensitive" responses are insulting and unacceptable is because those types of statements are not humble admissions of guilt.  There's no ownership of responsibility,  no sincere apology for wrongdoing or transgression and it's denial on the perpetrator's part.  Those types of inadequate, insulting statements fall flat and it's short of making humble amends.

Mastering the art of gaslighting takes years of practice and gaslighters honed their skills.  It's their convenient excuse forever ad nauseum.  They do it because it works.  The real question here is will you tolerate it?  Is this the typical tricky rhetoric you wish to engage in at the expense of your dignity?  Do you deserve insincere friendships and relationships which lack integrity?  Are these types of people good enough for you or do you want more?  Does high quality character matter to you or are you willing to settle for less?  Do you want to be played for a fool?  Do you wish to be their puppet?  Gaslighters are puppet masters and you are their puppet if you allow it.  Those are hard questions you need to ask yourself.  Doing the delicate dance with gaslighters is exhausting. 

When I was younger, I was in the "Put up and shut up" mentality.  I actually believed my MIL's statement that some people have their foibles, "you think you're so perfect," "you're too sensitive," etc type comments.  Then one day, the light turned on and I told myself, "NO, I will control my life.  I will choose what I want to hear and not hear.  I don't have to tolerate and accept what is crazy thinking and whack.  I will create new boundaries, give myself space, protection and safety from people who don't care to make others feel as if they matter."  I did and I've never felt more relieved and safe. 

What I prefer to hear is this:  "I'm sorry.  I made a mistake.  I was wrong.  I'm sorry I was unkind and disrespectful.  I'm sorry I hurt you.  I feel very bad for it.   I hope you'll forgive me.  Thank you."  That right there is the proper, very humble, sincere way to express you've been disrespected, they want to move forward and put hard feelings behind both of you.  That's how you patch things up.  Any other way is ambiguous and unclear.  People stew, hold grudges, become bitter, resentful and people never forget how you made them feel.  Perpetrators must sincerely and humbly articulate otherwise the relationship or friendship is not healthy and it's not going to work. 

Often times it's a fantasy to expect or hear those types of sincere apologies.  Therefore, it's best to enforce healthy boundaries for yourself.  I'm very peaceful with tricky, complicated people.  I'm polite, respectful and very civil towards them whenever our paths cross or during social settings with them.  Fortunately,  uncomfortable social settings are deliberately few and far between.  I deliberately and greatly limit my interactions with people whom I intuitively do not like.  Due to past history or negative experiences, some people are red flags to me.  I steer clear.

I no longer engage back and forth with gaslighters.  It's so much easier and far less work to enforce strong boundaries which is passive aggressive yet highly effective with great results. 

Don't think too hard about what you have to do, how you should respond, defend or explain yourself.  You'll lose every time anyway.  I'm being realistic with how human nature reacts and I've had decades of experience with interpersonal relationships or friendships.  You'll waste your breath and energy whether verbally or electronically. 

I had a recent appointment and I overheard someone in public say, "That George Floyd uproar was from people who were so sensitive  regarding racial injustice."  I practically fell out of my chair!   Telling a person that they're "too sensitive" is outrageous and unforgivable gaslighting.

My MIL told me that "I took it the wrong way," "I'm sorry if I offended you, it wasn't my intent and I'm sorry you feel this way."  If that's not more infuriating, I don't know what is.  I've since written her off long ago.  If you confront, some people will cry in front of an audience so you look like the bad guy as she did.  Gaslighters want sympathy and they'll get it while again, you look like the crazy one.  You've been gaslit.  She is smart in a sneaky way.  I'll give her that.  I'm nice to her but am I close to her?  No.  Despite residing locally, do we see each other often?  No.  Same with my local relatives and other in-laws.  They have mouth problems so I stay away!

I have two local BIL (brothers-in-law).  One is foul mouthed and the other says very inappropriate, rude comments.  Our family reunions are deliberately infrequent courtesy of me!  

You can't change nor control people to your favor.  All you can do is control your life, limit or eliminate your interactions with them.  Create your own safety net, your own safe haven, safe bubble and protect yourself from questionable characters.  You have the power to change your trajectory and readjust yourself with dynamics.  It's your choice.  Take it!  Enforcing healthy boundaries with others reign supreme. Be more self confident and strong.  Play your cards smart and you will be fine.  It's all about awareness and taking control back into your life. 

 

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Note to all mothers-in-law or future mothers-in-law (MIL):  Always be kind to your son's girlfriend or  daughter-in-law (DIL) otherwise you won't be allowed to see your son and grandchildren often!    Is this the price you wish to pay?  This is for life.  Beware. 

Be careful with what you say verbally or electronically otherwise it will come back to haunt you and you'll sorely regret it.   There will be harsh consequences. 

My MIL is living proof of this.  This is an example.  When you don't treat people with utmost respect, they'll react harshly and passive aggressively.  It's retaliation or punishment which is human nature.  It's also a form of enforced healthy boundaries. 

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Posted (edited)

I don't agree. I apologize if I have hurt someone- if I am told I offended.  And if they misheard me and/or I didn't intend to hurt I will add that after the apology.  Not to deflect, to add - there's a huge difference and it all depends on the acknowledgement and not detracting from the acknowledgement and then adding what you feel and what you meant.  I do not say "you took it the wrong way". Nor do I mean that I don't tell someone else how to feel.  I say what I feel and what I intended and then the person is entitled to feel what she feels.  I definitely want to know if someone is flabbergasted that a joke turned out to offend me.  Because I factor that in and appreciate the genuine apology.  

And in the OP's case we weren't there.  It is possible to mishear, it is possible to overreact and be triggered in a way that would be highly unusual.  I am not saying that is what happened.  But it's possible and I think valid to consider if you're in a situation where you're unusually triggered or feeling extra sensitive that day even to completely harmless commentary or commentary that wasn't directed at you at all.  In her case I believe from all she said these people are rude and she should stick up for herself!

I'm not going to be blamed for something I did not do.  With the example I gave I did not take the class to do better than my friend.  She made that up in her head not based on anything I said or did - she saw me sign up for the class and assumed I had motives I did not have.  So no I am going to feel badly that she somehow made that up and felt hurt but no I will not take the blame.  To me that's gaslighting too then -someone trying to convince you that something you said that was harmless is somehow not politically correct or insensitive in some alternative universe.  There are limits on the other side of things too.

And I have made decisions to distance myself from people who will bend over backwards to read into things I say that aren't there/to be ready to be offended (and not just with me, in general).  It's not worth it.  

Edited by Batya33
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Posted (edited)

If someone said to you that your son is short, will be a short man, the majority of your current life is being a SAHM (stay at home mother) or part-time employee, made a comment regarding your race, residing in an apartment, commented on your religion and you were offended and disrespected, you will never forget it.  Then should you approach or confront whoever said this to you and they told you, "You must've misheard me, I didn't intend to hurt you and I apologize.  You overreacted, were triggered, you are extra sensitive and whatever I've said was a completely harmless commentary.   I'm not going to be blamed for something I did not do."  That's a backhanded apology.  You've been gaslit. 

Keep in mind, I grew up all my life hearing those typical gaslighting responses from my mother, sister and later, my MIL (mother-in-law) and two BIL (brothers-in-law). 

Yes, stick up for yourself but be prepared for scenarios which won't always end well.

If both parties fail to communicate on the same wavelength, it's best to go your separate ways.  Oil and water do not mix. 

You're right.  It's not worth it.  This is exactly why I tend to avoid people who are not compatible.  They can be with people who speak, write and think just like them while I do likewise.  It's a win-win.  No harm no foul.

 

 

 

Edited by Cherylyn
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8 minutes ago, Cherylyn said:

If someone said to you that your son is short, will be a short man, the majority of your current life is being a SAHM (stay at home mother) or part-time employee, made a comment regarding your race, residing in an apartment, commented on your religion and you were offended and disrespected, you will never forget it.  Then should you approach or confront whoever said this to you and they told you, "You must've misheard me, I didn't intend to hurt you and I apologize.  You overreacted, were triggered, you are extra sensitive and whatever I've said was a completely harmless commentary.   I'm not going to be blamed for something I did not do."  That's a backhanded apology.  You've been gaslit. 

Keep in mind, I grew up all my life hearing those typical gaslighting responses from my mother, sister and later, my MIL (mother-in-law) and two BIL (brothers-in-law). 

Yes, stick up for yourself but be prepared for scenarios which won't always end well.

If both parties fail to communicate on the same wavelength, it's best to go your separate ways.  Oil and water do not mix. 

You're right.  It's not worth it.  This is exactly why I tend to avoid people who are not compatible.  They can be with people who speak, write and think just like them while I do likewise.  It's a win-win.  No harm no foul.

 

 

 

That has nothing to do with what I wrote.  I would want to know if I misheard, I would want a genuine apology and if the person didn't intend to hurt me I would want that additional information.  I would know for sure I wasn't being gaslit.  I would never tell someone they overreacted. Or that they were being oversensitive. I explained all that in my post. I would explain if the person misheard as in "I didn't say you look fat. I said you look fab".  Why in the world would I apologize for a person thinking I said "fat" - I would certainly acknowledge the hurt feelings "I am so sorry you felt hurt.  You thought I said fat. I said fab.  You look fab".   I checked with someone who is familiar with what gaslighting is and it aint that.  In my opinion.  We can agree to disagree.  

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1 minute ago, Batya33 said:

That has nothing to do with what I wrote.  I would want to know if I misheard, I would want a genuine apology and if the person didn't intend to hurt me I would want that additional information.  I would know for sure I wasn't being gaslit.  I would never tell someone they overreacted. Or that they were being oversensitive. I explained all that in my post. I would explain if the person misheard as in "I didn't say you look fat. I said you look fab".  Why in the world would I apologize for a person thinking I said "fat" - I would certainly acknowledge the hurt feelings "I am so sorry you felt hurt.  You thought I said fat. I said fab.  You look fab".   I checked with someone who is familiar with what gaslighting is and it aint that.  In my opinion.  We can agree to disagree.  

It depends on what was said and the dialogue after that.  In many cases, when a person is told that they misheard, were triggered, over sensitive, told it was a harmless commentary, told it wasn't the intention for your hurts and those types of typical excuses, suddenly, those types of apologies aren't humble and sincere.  You just killed the apology.  It's what you say and how you say it which matters in order to keep relationships and friendships afloat otherwise they're bound to fail sooner or later.  People won't tolerate creative head trips and mind games.  They want clear cut verbiage and if not, it's a real permanent deal breaker.

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15 minutes ago, Cherylyn said:

It depends on what was said and the dialogue after that.  In many cases, when a person is told that they misheard, were triggered, over sensitive, told it was a harmless commentary, told it wasn't the intention for your hurts and those types of typical excuses, suddenly, those types of apologies aren't humble and sincere.  You just killed the apology.  It's what you say and how you say it which matters in order to keep relationships and friendships afloat otherwise they're bound to fail sooner or later.  People won't tolerate creative head trips and mind games.  They want clear cut verbiage and if not, it's a real permanent deal breaker.

I agree.  Not at all what I was talking about. I agree the excuses, the backpedaling are inappropriate even if not outright gaslighting. I've experienced what you described. It's awful and I'm sorry you've been in that situation too.  I treat apologies and the people who offer them as individuals.  I don't like the over-broadening of "gaslighting" to include perceived gaslighting.  Because then the person who is assuming that also isn't acting respectfully or adhering to appropriate boundaries.   

I have had my jokes misunderstood completely and twisted and turned beyond recognition.  I take full blame for not attending to the other person's sense of humor or lack thereof.  Or our incompatible senses of humor.  Because I offended someone. But then I know to keep my distance when it's to the extreme that I can never joke because it invariably will be misunderstood. I'm not going to change their minds nor do I wish to.  But then I am forewarned. 

I had someone in my facebook mom group get really offended for my asking a question about a post she had with a link to an article.  I either had read the article quickly or not at all - it's typical in my world to comment based on a title "I didn't read it but from the title....".  She was offended.  She said it was offensive to comment at all without reading the whole article.  In fact, she wrote it which I did not know.

I apologized and told her how awful it was of me to write anything without reading the entire article.  She thanked me for my apology.  She agreed that it was awful of me not to read the whole article and dare to comment about anything to do with it. 

I never ever commented on any of her articles again because I didn't want to risk skipping over a sentence of her article and failing her standards. This FB group had nothing to do with evaluating articles or author's writings.  It's a parenting group.

I found her reaction fairly ridiculous so that was my way of dealing with it -not telling her she overreacted - she's entitled. And I'm entitled to react by not dealing with her nonsense.  And that's the risk of reacting in that way so sometimes -sometimes -the person should check in with herself from time to time to assess the oversensitivity.  Not because someone tells them they should -because it's good to evaluate every once in awhile on ones own.  In the OP's specific situation I hope she sticks up for herself and it also doesn't hurt to evaluate every so often.

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Fortunately, I do not need to consult with anyone regarding what gaslighting is because I've been on the receiving end of it all my life.  I did not know what gaslighting was until several years ago.  Apparently, gaslighters are such experts at their craft and their manipulative psychological warfare that the victim doesn't realize what is happening to them.  Victims believe that they must be hallucinating, delusional and crazy just as the gaslighter repetitively pummeled into them. 

Unfortunately, should the OP speak up, often times gaslighting responses are all too typical.  It's a natural defense mechanism to fire back with gaslighting.  It's called fighting dirty.  There is no reasonable exchange.  It's all about attacks until the victim retreats. 

I've been told that I misheard, too sensitive, it was a harmless commentary, a joke, I overreacted, I'm a loose cannon and my new favorite buzz word as of late was being called "an alarmist."  I swear, gaslighters grow more tricky by the minute!  It's ok though because I know every trick in the gaslighter's book. 

I'm actually thankful and grateful for complex people in my life such as gaslighters because they gave me an education and they've taught me how to navigate myself shrewdly.  I'm no longer confused.  Gaslighters taught me to spot red flags and steer clear for my own safety and protection. 

Unfortunately, gaslighting is more common than you think. 

OP, speak up at your own risk and peril.  I hope when you speak up, everything works in your favor and that you are dealing with emotionally mature people.  If not, be prepared for backlash which is typical human nature.  Gaslighting is the norm. 

I find it easier to walk away or decrease my interactions with people who are off, rude, inappropriate, weird, predictable, unkind and unacceptable.  Or, I eliminate them from my life and if estrangement is the result, then so be it.  At least I feel safe from harm.  I don't make myself vulnerable anymore.  I'm unavailable and inaccessible because it's my protective mechanism. 

My enthusiasm is tepid and I decline a lot.  This is called enforced healthy boundaries.  I don't get involved with off putting people because they're a waste of my precious time and energy.  

Many people lack emotional intelligence (empathy).  Stay away from them because they're toxic and dysfunctional.

It's actually easier to do nothing.  It requires too much work to think so hard about what to say and how to react.  Remove yourself from the equation entirely because it requires the least amount of effort on your part.  Let the perpetrators consume their energy, not yours as my late father had taught me.  Let your opponent wear himself or herself out.  Let them sweat and struggle while you relax and take it easy. 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Cherylyn said:

Many people lack emotional intelligence (empathy). 

I’ve found this to be true. A terrible and sad reality. It’s unbelievable to me that some people can say, let alone think the things they do. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Rose Mosse said:

I’ve found this to be true. A terrible and sad reality. It’s unbelievable to me that some people can say, let alone think the things they do. 

Yes it is.  "Some people" do many things.  Good, bad, clueless, all sorts of things.  I try to be realistic though and not go down the path of being a gullible pollyanna or closed off/cynical jaded. Or overuse "gaslighting" - I find especially on social media people hang on to those labels with an extremely broad brush with the result that those who are truly victims of that or heaven forbid abuse or harassment are swept in with this too broad assessment and aren't heard/supported as much.  

My son was harassed this past week by a teacher in charge at the cafeteria.  When I described the incident I refrained from adjectives and did my best not to exxagerate although I was seething. 

In describing his inappropriate behavior I supplied the information I had about their interaction - obviously I wasn't there but I didn't pepper it with my own assessment.  The interaction stood for itself and to me was a much better way of getting help.  Same if you're advocating for yourself - to me it's much more powerful to be calm and specific. "I felt disrespected when you said in front of everyone "are you STILL working part time?"  And that way it's an opening that might lead somewhere as opposed to "you are gaslighting me" -leading with that even if true can end any sense of getting your point across.  JMHO.

I received a response that ignored what I wrote about my son and his teacher -so my follow up remained diplomatic and pointedly expressed that I knew what version she had heard and knew I wasn't there and I was reporting what my son had said happened, knowing I wasn't there, so that it could be included in a follow up investigation of the incident if one were to occur. 

I share this because I had to stand up for him.  I had to be polite but firm and assertive and not let her deflect. I was not going to permit her to ignore me.  OP -it's hard and it might take more than one conversation but I would practice -it's empowering to be firm yet polite and calm -at least to me.

Edited by Batya33
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I'm not going to just sit there silently while someone insults me or tells me my opinion "isn't true".  That is victim mentality right there.

I'm using a sassy comeback or letting them know it's not acceptable.

My brother's best friend posts his opinions frequently on Facebook on controversial topics.  One of his "friends" continually belittles and insults him.  Yesterday he wrote that my brother's friend is "ignorant and immature".  Right on his page, where all his other friends and family can see it!  But my brother's friend just stays silent and takes it.  His excuse is "well, he's my classmate and I can't unfriend him".  Um, yes you can, and the fact you don't shut him down is why he continues to do it, because you allow it to happen.  You act like a victim so he's going to treat you like one.

I don't care how the other person takes my response, I'm not going to just sit there and allow someone to treat me poorly.

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I defer to the basic message in the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” 

I think the important part is knowing the difference. There are individuals who are too burdened with their own issues to ever change, obstinately or willfully continue their path of destruction or are just sociopaths (low empathy, disturbing behaviour or inappropriate behaviour displaying lack of care or consideration for others or well-being or emotions of others, abusive language, name calling, belittling, disrespect and so on). 

 

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1 minute ago, kim42 said:

I gave a sarcastic reply, and the next time I told her that I would like to finish my sentence. Then she stopped interrupting me, and later that day she texted me to apologize. I feel much better than last week when I was just sitting silently.

Good job!

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That's awesome!

See, these people are usually cowards and will only behave this way if they think they can get away with it.  Since you spoke up and (I presume) no one defended HER rude behavior, she had no choice but to back down.  And the fact she apologized shows she realizes what a jerko she had been.

And now you know speaking up won't result in a lightning bolt striking you down (lol) or in everyone ganging up on you to accuse you of being "rude" or of ruining the gathering.  I bet they were happy to see you speak up for yourself.

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18 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

That's awesome!

See, these people are usually cowards and will only behave this way if they think they can get away with it. 

This is something I didn't realize before, and I would be intimated in such situations.  Now that I see that the outcome is not scary, I feel more confident. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kim42 said:

So I saw this “mean” person again this weekend – it’s a group of friends and she was there, so it’s not like I was looking for her company. She tried to behave to me in a similar way like last time – she interrupted me twice as I was speaking to say something “funny” or to talk about herself. I wasn’t quiet this time – at first, I gave a sarcastic reply, and the next time I told her that I would like to finish my sentence. Then she stopped interrupting me, and later that day she texted me to apologize.

Thank you everyone for your comments, it really helped me to have more confidence in myself, and to trust my gut. I didn’t know I could speak up for myself without feeling guilty or like a bad person. I feel much better than last week when I was just sitting silently.

I'm glad it worked out for you, kim42.  It was very decent of her to apologize to you.  Some emotionally mature people will readjust and correct themselves whereas others selfishly continue their bad habits permanently. 

Whenever anyone interrupts me this is how it goes:

If they interrupt me, I'll say, "I'm speaking."  They usually pause and allow me to speak.  If they interrupt me again, I'll say, "Let me finish."  Generally, they'll allow me to finish what I have to say.  If they chronically interrupt me, then I don't say anything to them.  Instead, I continue my sentence or sentences without stopping for them even if they're talking over me or interrupting me.  I continue speaking until it's eventually so awkward for them as we're both speaking simultaneously that they stop speaking from defeat.  I wear rude people down.  Then they realize that they can't get away with whatever they're doing to me because I won't allow it.  Velvet gloves are removed.  Those three tactics work for me.

Keep in mind in the future that gaslighting type responses from the emotionally immature, emotionally incompetent and those who lack emotional intelligence will forever give you grief.  Even though gaslighting is not a well known term for many, unfortunately, it's a typical response should you confront those who will only give you backlash as opposed to improving behaviors so relationships or friendships can thrive instead of flounder into an abyss.  Should you experience and encounter typical gaslighting responses, don't deal with people who are well seasoned in this arena because they are hopeless and you can't fix them.  Yes, you can speak up but you'll end up talking in mad circles to no avail.  It's better to avoid and eliminate people who don't pass muster in the high quality character department than waste your life on them.  If your paths must cross due to mutual social circles, then bypass them altogether and remain aloof.  It works.  Doing nothing works in a passive aggressive way which is highly effective.  There are no heated words exchanged and the atmosphere remains civil. 

I don't buy into the excuses of someone having a bad day, you're triggered, it was a harmless commentary, a joke, misheard, overreacted, you're a loose cannon, what is wrong with YOU?, you're an alarmist, I'm sorry you feel this way, it wasn't my intention, etc because the offender is deflecting and dumping responsibility and blame back onto your lap.  This is typical gaslighting and all too common and familiar.  No one wants to admit this broad brush of typical gaslighting but it is what it is and you have to become smarter to know what they're doing to you.  Once you catch a whiff of this type of psychological warfare and wordplay, beware and your instincts should kick in.  Gaslighting seems innocuous but it's really insidious.  Never be fooled.  These types of people are tricky red flags.  It's better to avoid them because you'll never win.  If they're in your mutual social circles, be polite while maintaining an aloof, frosty, cool distance.  There is a way to handle these types of complex people. 

If they're not gaslighting, it runs the gamut.  Some people are foul mouthed, vulgar, obnoxiously rude, inappropriate, risque, raunchy, deranged, unhinged, psychotic, etc.  The world is full of them.  Learn discernment.  Some of my extended in-laws fall into this category.  My husband, sons and I avoid them like the plague.  It works.  Enforce healthy boundaries with unacceptable people in your life.

Personally, I prefer to engage with gracious, honorable, well mannered, conscientious, very moral, simple, humble, sincere, uncomplicated, highly emotionally intelligent people.  They possess highest integrity.  They're so much easier to have relationships and friendships with.  They never give me trouble and dialogues with them are smooth and very pleasant.  These are the types of people who deserve to be in your life and the rest?  They're rejects.  Place people in categories and those who deserve to be at the top of your list are there for a reason.

Edited by Cherylyn
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53 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

See, these people are usually cowards and will only behave this way if they think they can get away with it.  Since you spoke up and (I presume) no one defended HER rude behavior, she had no choice but to back down.  And the fact she apologized shows she realizes what a jerko she had been.

 

Sometimes I'll give a retort and humiliate perpetrators.  That shuts them up very quickly. 

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