Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hot Coals

I am an impulsive speaker, and often I say the first thing that pops into my head.  As a result, sometimes people get upset with me for something I've said.  If someone calls me on it, I most likely will apologize.  I may not like what the person has to say, but I will at least listen, because they've shown me the respect of talking to me.  Sometimes I will try to explain what I meant, to emphasize that no malice was intended. 

But I can't correct my mistakes if I don't know about them.  

There are people out there who have been angry with me for something I've said, but they haven't ever said a word to me about it. One person has been angry at me about something that only she remembers, something that happened over ten years ago!  These people have said some pretty negative things about me, but never to me. 

I used to get upset about this.  I used to have hurt feelings, and cry, all because someone was angry at me and I had not the slightest clue why.  I would lie awake at night and wonder what I had done and how I could "fix" the problem.  And then one day, I decided that it wasn't worth the trouble.  It was a liberating decision.

Holding onto anger is like holding onto two hot coals, the saying goes.  The only person hurt in this situation is the one holding the anger within them. Part of good conflict resolution is talking with the person you have the conflict with. The right thing to do when someone does something that makes you angry or hurts you is to say something, such as "When you did/said___, I felt angry, because____."

If you are angry at someone, and you never say anything about it, never give the person a chance to explain or apologize, then the problem is YOU.  If you are so angry that you can't even talk about how angry you are, something else is at work.   If a person chooses not to do anything to address the reason for their anger, then we should wonder why, but we bear no responsibility for their issue at that point.  There's nothing for us to fix here.  If I don't even know there's a problem, it's not MY problem. 



  1. I'm giving you a standing "O" here, Tina! Exactly! I don't get in trouble for the things I say. It's more a misunderstanding of the things I do or don't do. I always say I'm not a mind reader. You have to clue me in.

    Hope whomever is acting this way is not causing you stress (sounds like they are not) and that they get over themselves. AND 10 years...just silliness!

    1. I know! It's kind of ridiculous to be mad at someone for years and years but never say a word about it, isn't it?

  2. Funny. I just wrote my angry post today to my stepson. He knows I'm mad, but I don't think he gets it, and when I write it out I can edit it so it's just enough but not too much, ya know? Of course, I have a lot more to say, but since I don't want to trash his mother (she's a good person, and a good mother, we are just very different parents) I can leave it at what it is.

    And he knows I am mad, and can chose to not listen. But at least he will know.

    And now, I can let it go.

  3. I heart you. This just further proves my reason behind moving away with my little family is the best decision we could possibly make. MY side of the family likes to be silently angry, we never know what we've done or how we've "hurt" them and more times than not the anger from their side has been petty and downright ridiculous. When you're literally surrounded by people like this, it is so very very toxic. I don't want this trait to rub off on my children when I've tried so desperately hard to NOT be that way. Fabulous fabulous post as always.

  4. As a foreigner living in the land of the passive aggressives, I love this!


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