So far we’ve talked about how being offended 1) happens in a context, and 2) comes from us putting meaning onto the event: meaning that we create based on learned behaviors and memories that we are stuck in.
We talked about the idea that you have instincts that can create feelings and you have choices in what actions you decide to take.
We discussed how people can cling to a position they have taken (e.g., I was offended because she was Wrong). You can use your contextually driven memories (i.e., memories that were created by your worldview, your past, your assumptions and opinions, etc.) of the offending event in order to create a solid story (e.g., of her Wrongness) in which you can be RIGHT and the other person can clearly be, well, the WHORE OF BABYLON.
You somewhat unconsciously selected story elements and history that support your logic so it’s unassailable. You daily wash yourself in being the victim or martyr to the One Who Offended You. In order to feel even more right, you may righteously note that of course the other person is probably merely suffering from a case of Colossal Stupidity or Being Ridiculous, and feel a sanctimonious sorrow for them.
Yet is there any rapprochement? In other words, have you worked to heal the relationship?
If not, you are committed to being offended and staying miserable.
We’ve all been there and done that. How many us hold to the belief that we can’t help it when we get offended — that it’s the other person who did it to us?
The big idea for today is this: Being offended requires an expectation.
In other words, you are required to first think that a person SHOULD NOT do the thing that they are doing. If you aren’t “shoulding” on the person, you can’t be offended.
When you are “shoulding” on a person, it means that in the moment of your shoulding, you are wishing you could control that person’s actions, feelings or thoughts. This is just misery for you.
Now you may cling to the idea that it’s good and moral and appropriate for you to should on someone. That’s fine. My point is that it happens and when it happens, this shoulding makes it so you are unable to see the other person in any light that might provide true understanding, connection and love.
So here are six common expectations in relationships that create being offended. The person being offended may believe one or all of these things:
- You shouldn’t create hardship for me (or annoyance or disappointment or discomfort).
- You should never hurt my feelings.
- If you were a good person you would know how to help me and what I feel.
- You will never betray me.
- Because you are family means that you have to love me and accept me.
- Loving me means that you behave the way I want you to behave and you don’t upset me.
Everyone I know gets tripped up in this at times. It’s part of being human. What matters here is that you can choose to see this and make steps toward change, or you can choose to remain oblivious and keep your head in the sand.
The price you pay is the quality of your relationships.
How does expectation work for you?