Hello. My name is Amanda, and I am chronically insecure. I once said, in reference to a certain member of my family, “I really need to grow a set and stand up for myself,” and guess what? I never did.
Word to the wise: do not be like me. Your thoughts and your feelings matter (I am not talking about politics here—I have very deeply held convictions regarding that shit. No, I’m talking about life in general.). You have a right to them, just as much as the other person does. They do not, however, have any right to belittle you and get away with it, so don’t stay quiet and let someone else say hurtful things to you.
The other person here—so we’re clear, they are not the same person mentioned above—has their own set of issues. They do not deal well with their own emotions and struggle with displays of emotions in others. I am a very emotional (some would say volatile) individual, so it’s a powder keg kind of situation, and from time to time, explosions happen. It’s inevitable, unfortunately. I love this person dearly, but I am intimidated by them. They possess a quick wit and a viper tongue, and when they get angry, they have a tendency to say things that really sting, so I generally go out of my way not to piss them off because I can’t handle it when someone is mad at me, nor I can’t handle biting remarks aimed in my direction. Worse still , I can’t do anything about it.
My shrink tells me that the ability to be assertive is not innate. It takes practice. Well, part of my problem is that I cry when I get upset. It’s involuntary. Reflexive. I hate it, but I can’t stop it from happening, and it makes me feel like an overgrown baby in situations where I really would prefer to feel like a fearless Amazon warrior. The other part of my problem is that I most decidedly possess neither a quick wit nor a viper tongue. At the critical moment, I stammer and stumble and forget everything I need to say, and it really does suck. I don’t want to look like a bumbling moron. I am not a moron in any way, shape, or form, but you wouldn’t know it if you overheard me trying to defend myself or argue a point of any kind. I am emotional, and I am overly sensitive. It’s not a good thing when you want to stand your ground, and it gives the other person a very definite advantage.
Take last night. The other person and I had a disagreement about, of all things, a baseball player. I dislike said player, but the other person does not, and when the player played poorly in a must-win situation, I voiced my displeasure. I said,” I’m sorry, but I just don’t like him.” Granted, I was, as usual, overly emotional at the time, but even so, I had the right to my opinion on the subject, didn’t I? The other person responded with “I don’t care if you like him or not—you don’t like anyone when they aren’t playing well.” (which, just for the record is completely untrue).
I thought the last remark was unnecessary and not very nice, but do you think I was able to tell the other person so? Do you think I was able to defend my position? Hell, no. Of course not. As soon as this person vacated the area, I started to cry. I am nothing if not predictable under these circumstances.
This is hardly the first time something like this has happened. I let others walk all over me all the time, and I have a long history of it. I don’t know why I have this problem, but I do, and I am evidently unable to solve it to my own satisfaction. In hindsight, I know exactly what I would have liked to say last night. I wouldn’t have aggressive been confrontational (the root of the issue is that I hate confrontation, and I avoid it at all costs. Even when that cost is my right to speak up when I feel that I have been wronged). I would have been all diplomatic about it. I would have practiced the effective communication and conflict resolution skills that I have discussed so often in therapy, but instead, I clammed up. Someone talked down to me. Someone made it clear that they do not see my opinion, even on something as trivial as a baseball game, as valid, and that is not okay. But I let it happen—again.
In a way, it’s my own fault that I get bullied by some of the people in my life. I just sit back and allow them to treat me like crap when I should be politely telling them to fuck off (obviously not in those words) because I have a right to my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Are my displays of emotion over the top at times? There is no question about it. But that does not give anyone license to invalidate what I am thinking or feeling. It’s just that simple, and yet… it’s so much more complicated.
I said that in a way, it’s my own fault that certain people continually treat me like crap, but really, IT IS NOT MY FAULT! Should I stand up for myself? Duh. But these same people know damn well that I struggle with confrontation. They are not so dense as to be unaware of my emotional vulnerability. Yet, they continue to do what they do, and that is on them. They have a kind of power over me, albeit one that I allow them to have, and they do not hesitate to use this power. The way I see it, it’s not all that different from schoolyard bullying. It is someone strong choosing to pick on someone with a clear weakness.
They say that bullying stems from insecurity, and maybe that’s the truth. Maybe these individuals are just as insecure as I am, in different ways, and if that’s the case, I am sorry for it, but a bully at their core is still a bully. The reasoning behind it does not matter. They still have no right to knowingly make someone else feel like shit. I’ll say it again: it is not okay.
I hope someday I will find the courage to tell them that it is not okay.