Because I talk to folks about recovery a lot, I run across issues with self-esteem (in addition to my own). It’s not unusual to find situations where someone is obsessed with a remark they heard and blew all out of proportion by projecting their own fear onto it. Often these are comments that the offended party perceived to be “rude” and regarding which they believe that they are entitled to an apology. (Translation: “My self-esteem is damaged and I have to shore it up in any way possible without threatening it any further, therefore it’s the other person’s job to fix it.”)
I try to point out that everyone is rude on occasion, for a variety of reasons, and that even though some people behave like jackasses a good deal of the time it doesn’t mean that we have to give their remarks any more than minimal weight. I often mention that what other people think, even about us, is really none of our business. That doesn’t usually penetrate far, at least at first.
I’ve seen this a lot over the years. Some folks just don’t understand that (a.) we can’t control what people think about us, or what information about their lives they choose to share with us; (b.) that those things really are none of our business; and that (c.) we aren’t “entitled” to anything, outside of a legal framework. Our entitlements are strictly in our own heads. You get a lot of push-back when you say that to folks, but consider . . . Continue reading