Just finished a conversation in which I was trying to calm down someone close to me (he) who has been hurt by someone else close to both of us (she). He is hurt by the manner in which she has spoken. I am in full sympathy with he in this instance and know well that she is capable of uncomfortable degrees of venom. Nevertheless I am able to handle she and do not take her immaturity seriously. He expresses bewilderment at she’s behaviour, because of who he and she are to one another. He feels she should apologise and is angry that she cannot even recognise what she has done wrong in the instance.
What he fails to comprehend is that others do not operate according to our perceptions of what is appropriate behaviour, or even to any objective standard of appropriate behaviour. They can be wrong until you are blue in the face, but it is your face that will be blue. Almost inevitably you (or one which is he in this case) will focus your (one’s/his) attention on bluing (if there is such a thing and there seems to be because the computer did not flag up a spelling error). Apologies are important and fundamental in relationships, but a face will grow intensely blue as shoulder and neck muscles harden and bitterness and anger subdue a person into misery if one doggedly insists to the universe or anyone else who will or will not listen that you/one (here he) are due an apology.
He argued that she was wrong, out of order hurtful and all the things that she was. That’s the human race for you, I tried to point out. But she is she and I (he) am who I am who is someone she should treat differently. You are right that she should treat you differently, he, but will she do so, simply because you are hurt and deserving?
He was advised to learn that certain people will not play ball. Don’t, therefore, keep tossing the ball to them and feeding the agony when they fail to cooperate. Learn to take a step back and focus on reminding yourself that they (she) are wrong/hurtful/immature/silly/whatever but that is no reflection on me. Let it be her issue not yours.
But then when the conversation was over my muscles were taut and my hackles were triumphant. His doggedness in his anger at her inevitable behaviour left me frustrated and feeling almost resentful at his resentment to her because it is unnecessary despite being justified. Trying to calm him down has left me unbearably tense.
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