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Monday, May 1, 2017

Mired In The Muck


Six years ago in the post above, I asked about knowing when the time is right to challenge someone who routinely says things you find offensive. I'm obliged to admit that remaining reasonable with the person I had in mind when writing that post has become more difficult for me over the years. I have largely failed to go high when this person goes low.

A common sense definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way over and over again and expecting different results. More than a few times, I've tried examining this troublesome relationship to assess how successful I've been attempting different things in different ways. On the days I think I've been successful, that feeling leads me to hope the next face-to-face will be civil. But as soon as ugly words or offensive statements are made, things deteriorate. My challenges sound shrill; my silences shame me. End result: I walk away liking myself less.

Then I immediately adjust my expectations for the next encounter, and start planning different things to be done different ways. Is this loop familiar to any of you? If so, I'd welcome hearing strategies for escaping it. Because as chagrined as I am by my failure, remaining mired in this muck for another six years would be really pathetic.


  1. As a mother, a teacher and a generally (a try to be) good friend, the right and only time for me to challenge is AFTER I have cooled from the initial trigger. My kids (biological and educational) know my phrase, "I will need to think about how I can respond to that." all too well...and 'think', I do. Said kids know that I will get back to them and the conversation, and when I do, it will be with a level and even head and tone. And until I can state my case without the emotion attached to my counterpart disagreeing, rebutting or even getting upset, I do not state it at all. It's more about me being in control than me making my point. I know that even my most logical and reasonable ideas will not be well received if I am out of control during delivery.

    In that thinking time that I take, I confront what it is that makes me so angry, upset or confused...it's about me. The reality is that this other person's "stuff" is not mine to adopt or change. But if it is making me uncomfortable, that is about me...or if it is his/her inability to see my point of view that bothers me, that is also about me. These are things I can work on and change.

    Not sure that makes sense...but it is good that you are working to guide yourself through this. There will always be folks with their opinions that rub us the wrong way...sometimes we just need to laugh and say, "Well, obviously he/she is wrong!" and in our hearts, we can silently chuckle and know we are right. :) d.

    1. d; As always, good insights grounded in common sense. Best takeaway for me ""I will need to think how I can respond to that". Thanks for commenting and reading

  2. Is this person someone you need to engage with? If not, why not avoid that person and the muck?

    1. Ines; Unfortunately this is not someone I can avoid 100% of the time. The price I'd have to pay to do that would be much more painful than me being occasionally mired in the muck. Thanks for commenting.