Yesterday I got an email from a friend (you know who you are *waves*) terribly upset because she’d been yelled at by some douchebags in a passing car again, and wanted to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such bullshit.
My heart hurts for her, because yes, it happens to me pretty regularly, and I know how it can really pierce through to a very vulnerable spot. I remember the humiliation, the hurt, the shame, the tears, the shock very clearly. And I remember just thinking “Why? What do you have to gain from being so hurtful to me, a complete stranger?”
I sent her an email telling her what an awesome friend she is, and how the opinion of random douchebags on the street is no reflection on her as a person. But I know it’s still hurting and that her self esteem has taken a pretty full on hit.
The thing is, knowing why someone has to randomly hurt a stranger doesn’t help. Even if you were given the opportunity to ask knowing that the answer you would get would be honest (and let’s face it, douchebags are not really forthcoming with the honesty huh?) the answer wouldn’t be enough to you and I, to those of us on the receiving end, to justify being targeted with such hate and humiliation. Because usually, it’s such a pointless reason that we can’t imagine someone would hurt another person for it.
My friend asked me how I stopped it happening to me, and how I got to the point that it doesn’t hurt any more.
It doesn’t happen any less to me now that I have stronger self esteem and confidence. It still happens pretty much on a daily basis. Sometimes it still hurts for a bit, usually with the shock, you know? Though why I still feel shock when it happens, I don’t know. You’d think I’d be used to it by now.
But what has changed is me. I’ve found a resilience I didn’t know it was possible to have. Though I didn’t just lift up one of the sofa cushions and there that resilience was, I had to learn a lot of lessons and practice. I still do, believe me, I fall off the resilient wagon from time to time.
Plus any of you who blog will know, having a presence on a blog as a fat woman is always target to trolls and douchebags. Thank God for WordPress huh? It cleans up so many of them so effectively.
A valuable lesson I learnt is that when someone treats you badly, it’s not your fault and it’s not your baggage to carry. It’s not about you, you’re just the whipping girl/boy they’ve singled out to dump their baggage on. You’re not the one that is flawed or broken… THEY ARE.
I have an analogy I like to use. I was sharing this one with another friend recently, it’s a little more blunt than most therapists and other professionals would express it, but it works for me so I’m going to share it with you.
When someone is hurtful to you, think of that hurtful behaviour as a big steaming turd. I told you it was blunt! Think of the hate, or anger, or nastiness they are slinging you as a big steaming poo. Now ask yourself “Did I do anything to earn this big steaming turd? Was I nasty or rude to this person? Did I say or do something to them that would have hurt them?” Usually the answer is no, because hey, they’re a random douchebag right?
When the answer is no, as it usually will be, think to yourself “No, that is not my big steaming turd. I didn’t produce it. It’s yours.” and metaphorically hand it back to them. Refuse it in your own mind “I am not taking on your shit. It is yours to carry.” Imagine yourself handing them back that big stinky poo, on the end of a shovel so you don’t get any on yourself, and washing your hands of it.
It works. In two ways. Firstly you hand back all the hate, negativity, anger, prejudice and bad behaviour to the person who owns it. And secondly, I always get a giggle out of thinking of some douchebag standing there with a bit stinky turd in his or her hand! If the douchebags of the world knew what I was thinking about them!
It’s wrong that we have to deal with this. It’s wrong that we have to suffer through people treating us badly for whatever reasons – but it happens and you can only deal with it as best as you can.
Feel free to try my method – if it works for you, I’m really happy to have shared it. If not, have you found another method that helps you get through douchebaggery?