More threads by Cat Dancer

Someone can say something to me, a hurtful thing, and I just can't seem to get it out of my mind for several days. I go over and over and over it and think about all the possible meanings of it and what could I do to change this person's perception of me.

How does one stop doing something like this and just let things go?


It takes practice, Janet. Depending on who has said the hurtful thing, I might confront them with something like: "Can you elaborate on what you just said? I'd like to be sure I understand your meaning." If the person didn't mean to be hurtful, this can help them to think through what they're saying and try to put things in a more reasonable, effective way.

However, if it's someone I know is just trying to be hurtful, I try to consider the source. If it's a person who's trying to be hurtful, I have to assume that they enjoy hurting other people. Is this a person whose opinion is going to matter to me? I think not. Therefore, I can let it go because it means nothing to me. I will only listen to those for whom I have respect, and I can't respect a person like that.
I was thinking maybe you have to gain some self-esteem or self-value before you can really refute hurtful things in your mind? And therapy can help with that?

If you've always thought of yourself as being like garbage then you let people treat you that way, but if you can start to think of yourself as worthwhile then it would be easier to throw away those words inside your head.

It seems it might take a lot of hard work and time.


Yes, Janet. I think gaining self-esteem does help with the issues you mention. It also takes a lot of time and effort to build self-esteem when you're coming from behind the eight-ball, so to speak. Yet, as therapy goes on, you'll learn new coping methods, and new ways of thinking about everything, including yourself. While it seems really slow at first, momentum builds with every lesson learned. :)

I think I understand where you are coming from. Try as we might sometimes to overcome what folks say to us and not take it to heart it is really hard a lot of the time not to accept hurtful words as almost validation of what we think of ourselves. What comes to mind for me recently is my annual evaluation from my boss where he focused a lot on my emotional instability, which for me fed into what I most fear about my performance. Right or wrong, I bought into the negativity, even though it seems to me in the few moments when I can back away and gain a modicum of objectivity about my performance and the good things I have done this year, I go over and over my inadequacies instead. Bottom line is that I hear what you are saying (I hope!) and I also hope that you are able to gain some objectivity in how you view yourself that is more tied into if nothing else what you bring to people from your own really good insights, which for me have been most helpful to the relatively short time that I have been with this forum.

I wish you the very very best.
Thank you, texasgirl. What you wrote is exactly what I meant. It is SO hard not to take critical words to heart as much as I tell myself not to. I hope in time we both can gain objectivity.


ThatLady said:
Yet, as therapy goes on, you'll learn new coping methods, and new ways of thinking about everything, including yourself. While it seems really slow at first, momentum builds with every lesson learned.

This is what I'm so hoping will eventually happen. My therapist said something almost exactly like this and that it WILL be a slow process, but gradually I should change my ways of thinking. I hope so.
Well Janet, if it's any consolation, I read your posts and always am impressed by the sheer honesty that comes through. And honesty is the first step, in my view, to true mental health and personal strength. In truth, there are so many people who lack the ability to be honest and your honesty seems to me to be evidence of your strength. Unfortunately sometimes people don't recognize it for what it is, the best starting place for moving on from the confusion that is associated with dishonesty and inconsiderateness. I look forward to reading what you have to say every time, no matter what.
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