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When others judge: how we may feel and what we can do to help ourselves

Last week, I experienced a bit of disappointment over an outsider’s judgment.  Several years ago, I came to terms with the fact that some people will understand what we have been through, and others simply will not.  I brought myself to the place where I didn’t really care what anyone else felt or thought about my situation.  I forgave myself for choosing dysfunction and worked through the host of other issues associated with that choice.  Then, I moved forward.

Part of my momentum had to do with the fact that I chose to take other’s beliefs and thoughts out of the equation.  There is a fairly accurate saying about opinions, what they are like, and how everyone has one.  So I came to realize that as long as I clung to what those who were not “in the know” might think, I could not do what was necessary to thrive.  However, because we do not operate in a vacuum, from time to time, regardless of our resolve, the opinions or judgments of others may influence our feelings.

Ultimately, I suppose, whether or not we allow another person to make us feel bad is our choice, but the truth is that there will probably be moments, when perhaps we feel vulnerable or exposed, that another’s words or actions may simply leave us feeling lousy.  When negative feelings strike, they may hit hard because what we encountered was so personal.  Naturally, we have all encountered judgment at one time or another, but there is something about this that is different to me.  We may find the closed minded, often ridiculous, opinions of others highly offensive.

What just happened?    

For some reason, my recent brush with judgment got the best of me.  For a few days after the occurrence, I felt as though I was functioning on automatic pilot, doing what had to be done, but still stunned, almost like a little bird who resumes flying after hitting a glass window.  The incident began innocently enough, I think, with a quick question regarding something I had written about psychopathy.  As I answered, I felt as though I was viewed as being “flawed” for allowing myself to have had such an experience.

Were my feelings accurate?  Who knows for certain.  Perhaps they were.  Maybe they were not.  However, I am able to interpret what is happening around me appropriately, so I say they were.  Initially, I was disappointed in the individual for being unenlightened.  I was also unhappy with myself for allowing someone’s ignorance on the subject to influence me.  Either way, I walked away from the interaction feeling unhappy and a little frustrated.

Within a few days, I brought myself back around to the “good place.”  I reminded myself that we are all different and that not everyone is able to understand psychopathy as we would like.  I thought back to my earlier days, prior to my experience with an individual with psychopathic traits.  Would I have passed judgment if I heard only bits and pieces of a story like mine?  Unfortunately, I may have.  Why is that?  Well, I am positive that my imagination could not have conjured up the facts that became my reality.  It’s not something most can relate to.

Creating good from bad

The more I thought about this, the more I realized that my feelings were probably not unique.  I figured that if I occasionally struggle with such feelings, others may, as well.  As a result, I created a short list of ways that can help remedy such feelings when they arise, or even prevent them from occurring.

Be kind to yourself.  Make every effort not to engage in negative thoughts.

Do something nice for yourself.  Promote wellness by doing things that make you feel good or that you enjoy.

Talk to a trusted friend or therapist.  Try not isolate yourself, but talk to those who understand.

Simply expect to encounter some individuals, from time to time, who believe that your involvement was your choice, thus your fault.  Some cannot comprehend the degree to which these individuals lie, con, and manipulate.

Accept that there will be some individuals who will not ever understand your position.  Protect yourself from their views.

Try to learn something valuable from the experience.  Determine what you learned and create a plan for future situations.  If you walk away from a negative with a positive, then the encounter was not all bad.

Try not to dwell.  Allow yourself to feel, but then release the negative feelings.

Hopefully, these help.

 



68 Comments on "When others judge: how we may feel and what we can do to help ourselves"

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  1. Babs says:

    Hey

    Wonderful post. Good for the ravaged soul. I, too, have had many a moment of trying to convince the “un-understandings” of the motives of the spath (bad thing to do) and it worsened things by far. Just this morning upon removing my coffee from the microwave I remembered a time I bumped into someone who knew the same “spath” (we had all worked together). I seized the opportunity to rail about this spath (girl) and at first this other woman agreed with some of what I said. Then I continued…she got angry and defensive. I was clever though…I established my “value” first by mentioning the guys at the company who had paid a lot of attention to me…and I name-dropped. Her mouth hung open. She clearly had been duped by the spath and probably made her believe I was jealous. She seemed stunned and then said, “She better not be lying to me!”
    Then she defended the spath by saying, “Oh, the guys loved her…they went ga-ga”. So I went back to my own story and she did admit, “Well, she did start dressing more provocatively…” but did not want to make the connection.

    Anyway…this might be a poor example but what was more disturbing than anything else was that the spath was a “Born-Again”. Manipulative, conniving, controlling, envious and bizarre in her interactions with me. When I had to leave the company due to downsizing…I saw her gloating. “Miss Born-Again” was not Christian like at all … not with me. I have read this about some of these people. Religion becomes their “front” and they are extremely hypocritical. It is “do as I say and not as I do.”

    I heard she became a mother and I said a prayer in my heart for that child. Oh…and she became a realtor as well…anyone see the irony to that?

  2. Louise says:

    Babs:

    Ditto. I experienced somewhat the same thing. No fun AT ALL. :-(

  3. betsybugs says:

    Kim, What a fantastic dream. We have to flush that man right out of our hair. LOL

    Sky, Love it, the problem was the turd in the bathtub.

    This analogy and dream interpretation is so absolutely what it is all about from where I see it. My daughter is in AA and trying so hard to fix herself and her psychopath father has convinced her that I am the the turd in the bathtub instead of him. I admit I am a bit of the bubbling in her bathtub but not the floating turd.

    This will keep me going for weeks on the positive side.

    Thanks so much to all who have posted here too. Great topic.

  4. Babs says:

    Louise…

    Thank you for your support. This is a powerful feeling because it validates my feelings. I am sorry about your “ditto” experience. This was just one example; there were others and they were worse.

    A friend gave me the book “Sisterhood Betrayed” and it was a good portrayal about this problem…and some people out there are just so insecure.

  5. fight says:

    What a nice article from the past to read.

    It made me think of something it took me too long to figure out about sociopaths. I tried forever to tell people when something they were doing or saying upset me. I still fall into that. I finally know that people with critical, judgmental, and unkind ways truly don’t care if something is upsetting someone else. In dealing with spaths, I find that they love to repeat over and over specifically the ugly/mean/unkind things I’ve specifically asked them not to do or say to me.

    Some people want to believe their illusion and they just don’t care how it might hurt others if it makes them feel important. They are called sociopaths.

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