Stoicism has taught me to try to temper my response and ignore the implied judgement of the comment. Because I read way too much into things. Yesterday a real world example occurred that helped me. But first, some background.
I tend to ascribe deeper meaning to everything that is said to me. This is a defense mechanism that I learned when I was young, and never could stop.
As we know, my father was a charming narcissistic sociopath. He dealings with people changed moment to moment and day to day. And he was king of the con. So I learned to understand his unspoken rules. When he talked to others - rental owners, women, police, his parents, etc., I was expected to understand the underlying dynamics immediately.
So if he told the owners of an "adult" apartment complex I was a young looking, but adult thinking 16 year old (at 12), I knew to act like an adult and talk about graduating high school. When I woman hesitated that she couldn't go out with him, I knew to say, "It's okay, I'm am my grandmother's tonight anyway". When he lied and told Deanna that I paid him for the car, not the bank account, I suggested that while I was working all day, it was easier for me to give him money than write a check (yes I know how stupid it sounds).
And so, yesterday, over a mix up with a knock at the door with Ed, I assumed he thought I was stupid until I heard my own response - which was both defensive and angry over a perceived slight.
And so, I stopped, apologized for the stupid snap at him and a possible spat was averted. Not because I gave in to anyone, but because it was my response, not the action, that escalated a comment into a criticism.
And we had a great night.
I am learning.
|People say something questioning to me and
THIS is what I hear.