Being offended is not all it’s cracked up to be.
I mean, really.
Something happens, and usually it’s something that That One Person says or does. And we totally expect it, because, you know, She’s Just That Way.
You knew it would happen and BLAMMO! There it is.
Then you retreat into yourself and review what happened. Over and Over. And Over.
In reviewing what happened, you solidify your position. You look at every angle, discovering six more ways in which she was So Wrong and three more things to be hurt about. Perhaps you call a few friends to discuss it, or you go over the situation with your significant other. They all agree with you, because, of course, that’s their job.
Plus, you helpfully tell the story in a way that makes it clear that it was The Clearly Aggrieved Party vs. the Whore of Babylon.
You probably don’t mean to tell the story in that way on purpose. It’s automatic. We see things from the context of who we are, where we’ve been and what we want and need. So everything we see gets automatically placed in that context. Things get placed without us even being aware that we are placing them in ways that reflect the context we operate from.
What does this mean? Here’s an example. Let’s say you grew up with a Dad who was always drunk and who would yell at you if you disturbed his peace. You grew up in a context where you felt threatened for being yourself. You learned that you don’t get to have respect but that instead you must always worry about bothering others. Your needs are a bother. This is the context of your life growing up, and it remains the subconscious context of your life right now.
Psychologists might call this “learned behavior” or “dysfunctional thinking” or a “schema,” etc. The point is, you interpret the world of RIGHT NOW as if it is still within the same context of the world you perceived when you were little.
So, when something painful happens, you see it from the perspective of the kid whose Dad was always about to start yelling. Not only do you assume you won’t get respect, you are probably unaware that this assumption is automatic. You are fighting the world for respect and you probably don’t even know it. You may even think that you are very, very good at getting people to respect you.
You are still stuck in that fight where you don’t get to have needs, and the people who are supposed to take care of you are the people who are about to start yelling.
Therefore, when you get offended, the offense is naturally interpreted within the context that you have put on it from your childhood. The Whore of Babylon mentioned above is therefore awful because she is somehow disrespecting you. No matter what really happened, the way you see it is what is real to you, and that reality is colored by the context that YOU bring.
This is THING ONE about being offended. Tune in tomorrow for THING TWO!