As humans we are so diverse and that’s what makes the world so interesting. Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all the same. Whilst we will have some things in common with another person, we still have different strengths and views. But that can lead to us to making some hurtful actions or remarks when we disagree. It doesn’t have to be like that, and often the person doesn’t mean any offence. In my previous post Dodge behaviour related misunderstandings provoked by brain injury. Tips from a survivor , I talked about how others might take offence from our behaviour. So today I thought how it feels when the boot is on the other foot.
We all can say something unkind at times, and usually people just brush it off. But my brain injury makes me more sensitive and less resilient.
Don’t get me wrong, I realise how easy it is to put your foot in it. Recently I was trying to pay a friend a compliment when it backfired. She’d posted on her social media about how she was about to start in a new role she had been promoted to. Knowing her well, and the journey she had been on, I knew what an achievement this was, more than most. There was a time that she seriously considered resigning because she was going through a tough patch. To recognise her determination and tenaciousness, I wrote that she was a true “British Bulldog” for how she turned her situation around.
I thought I was showing her my support, but it was misread as an insult. My friend and many who read my comment, thought I was calling her a “dog”. It’s not a term I would ever use, so it didn’t enter my head that it could be seen as hurtful. Once we talked about it and I explained I took it for granted “Bulldog determination” was a well known saying. Therefore I assumed the good intention would be understood. I was genuinely mortified that they took it the wrong way.
We smoothed it over and moved on, but I’m still reeling from it really. I’ve run over it so many times. I’m angry at myself for making a stupid assumption. And I hate the idea of people I don’t know but she does, thinking I was taking a swipe at her when I meant the opposite.
Sometimes the faceless world of the internet makes hurtful comments stick faster.
As a blogger I am a fan of the wonderful resources and opportunities the internet gives us. But, as with everything, it does have some less admirable elements too. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me if they have kindly taken the time to read my articles. However I’m still surprised now some people react.
I’ve had some people take aim at me for grammar errors. Believe me, I do try to make things easy to read, it’s not that I don’t care. There are times some people pass judgement before reading the article. And that’s their right to do so. When you open up your thoughts in this way, not everyone wants to hear them. (I feel the same way about reality celebrities, although I hope that’s not the way people see me.) But if you don’t want to know what I’m saying, just leave it there. I’m not forcing anyone to read, them. It’s fine to have a different point of view that you want to raise. But don’t just take me down because me need someone to aim at.
I even had a troll for a while.
They say you haven’t made it until you have a troll. This person would send me messages telling me how awful I am, and that no one cares or will help me. They didn’t even explain what I had done to upset them. Each hurtful message was sent more than once to try to ensure I saw them.
I so wanted to retaliate, but I read the best way to deal with them is ignore them. That way like a petulant child they will get bored and look for a new target. My site has filters on it which do a good job of stopping spam and nasty comments making it into my site. I can check them like you can look at your junk email folder, but unless I OK them, they don’t get published. That meant they didn’t get any attention from me or my other readers.
Luckily, it worked and they gave up. But I was left feeling like I’d been on an unfair trial, not knowing the charges or being able to defend myself. But I hate the idea that they got away with it. Typical bully behaviour, being a coward they don’t have to face their victim or any consequences. Worse they are free to subject someone else to their mindless acts. (If you want to learn more about Trolls and how to deal with them, I found How to Deal with Trolls on Social Media useful.)
Putting it to one side doesn’t mean I don’t care, just that I won’t focus on it anymore.
We all have our right to have an express our opinions. I have to toughen up. If I was to take all differences of opinion to heart, it wouldn’t end well for me. When you have a brain injury you have a big enough battle on your hands as it is. So I need to get better at just letting things go.