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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: Jelly On Your Toast (Civilian Comments)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jelly On Your Toast (Civilian Comments)

Do you ever find yourself marveling at how clueless some people are when it comes to your hurt? Or your eating disorder or addiction? I am not, for the moment, talking about mean people, bullies, or the general population. Or your family. Though certainly there is a lot to talk about there alone. I am talking about friends, mostly, who are maybe well meaning at best, clueless at worst. And they make accidental comments that can nick you right in the heart, or feel like a gong in the chest.

Words so light, that fall so heavy. Like asking someone who is the throws of her eating disorder what kind of cereal she likes, or if she wants jelly on her toast. Or telling someone who gets hit by a parent to just hit them back. Or asking out loud in front of a group of people, "hey, what's that gauze wrap on your arm for?"

Words can hurt. Words can heal. Depends on how and where they are said. And by who. Absorbing the blow of hurtful statements (in these cases) can take a bit of resiliency training. I think there are a few ways to go: first you can allow yourself the full on recognition that what was said hurt you. That you were impacted. You can give yourself a few moments (or more) to reflect on why it hurt and what thoughts it triggered. Did it launch a really bad negative thought parade in your brain? (Like: "see you would like cereal but you can't cuz you are fat, and you won't stop and you better not go out anymore and everyone is staring at you and no one understands, they all know you are sick, they don't get it, they don't care and this is awful and you know you want to eat and you are pig anyway). This may sound harsh, but I am all too familiar with negative self attacking thought parades that lead to more bad feelings, and that usually lead to more self attacking behavior.

Relief seeking, but self attacking too. For a lot of people, brain default mode is to have a reaction and then have a reaction to the reaction. Like feeling hurt, and then feeling guilty for feeling hurt. Or feeling angry and then feeling guilty or frightened of feeling angry. Maybe we get it on a brain level, that people say dumb things. Everyone can be clueless at times. But we get disappointed that they don't know better, or seem so well when we feel so crazy. Our expectations are often out of whack, and usually our hopes are too.

Point is, that somewhere between honoring our experience, recognizing and validating our own feelings, and giving the clueless some slack for being clueless, relief can be found. They are not terrible. You are not terrible. And someday you will be able to have jelly on your toast.


SaddleBumRN said...

Just stopped over to take a look since you gave your link at Everybody needs therapy blog. Really like your content, very informative. Will be coming back often. Thanks for all the help!

Melissa said...

Thank you, and welcome! Glad you are here!