Master the act of ditching the hurtful but inconsequential things. Battle of brain injury survivor.

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.

I need to stop thinking about hurtful comments. I need to focus on dealing with this brain injury.

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.)

Hurtful comments can get to you. But we must brush ourselves down and move on. If we can fight a brain injury, we can take a thoughtless slight.

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.

Other related articles:

Do you find you can brush off hurtful comments? Are you better or worse at this since your brain injury?

My blog on living with brain injury: I dwell on silly things that I allow to hurt me. But I just have to let them go.

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12 Replies to “Master the act of ditching the hurtful but inconsequential things. Battle of brain injury survivor.”

  1. Woah! I never thought by putting a blog up about your brain injury would attract negative comments. It’s a difficult thing to open up your life to others and share your vulnerability.
    I have gained so much from your blogs, I see your braveness, your perseverance and honesty in your experience.
    Everyone is so different with brain injury and yet we also have so much in common. To explain some details of how you cope with this new life is turning a horrible situation into something of great value, it’s certainly helped me and even given me a voice at times to comment. Many times I have thought, I was alone thinking as I do now, then a word of wisdom comes from your blog and I don’t feel as alone.
    I do think I overthink comments made to me, I read a lot into everything. And that’s because I live in a world now where my brain understands life differently, most things seem black or white, there’s no shades of grey. Either you are for me and make an effort to understand me or your against me and I am better to have distance from you. It’s made me come to some difficult decisions, but my life is different now, I cannot cope with complicated people, it drains me, fatigues me and worries me too much. For my own wellbeing and survival I need to be on top of what and who I allow in to my life.
    There are always going to be those narcissistic people who make everything about themselves and have no empathy and consideration about others.
    Maybe brain injuries make us more sensitive to criticism, I think I am taking more things to heart now, I have become a perfectionist sometimes and get annoyed that this brain once again has let me down, but as I was told by two professionals this week ‘You are doing far better than you think you are, everyone makes mistakes, stop being so hard on yourself and start being kinder to yourself ‘.
    I am extremely grateful for your blog, don’t take on doubts, keep the good work up, be kinder to yourself!!!!

    1. Thanks Jo, don’t worry I know there’s many people out there who have no interest in anything I have to say. I whilst there are some who find my words beneficial, I will continue (as long as writers block doesn’t get me first that is 😉)

    2. Jo I think you put it perfectly, l too can’t understand why someone would want to troll Michelle. I think it must be a nature of our injury that makes us more sensitive to what is said or done to us. My lowest point was when someone accused me of being a retard because of my brain injury. I no longer have contact with him. One of the high points was when I went to a walk in clinic to have one of my prescription’s renewed. The older female doctor attending to me made two small comments that made me feel better than any medication could. She looked me in the eye and said “you look remarkably good for all that you must have been through” after finding out I was working she said “I’m glad to hear that because I know of too many sufferers who could never go back to work, stick with it your doing a good job”

  2. I find I can avoid misunderstanding by simply writing my feelings clearly first, followed by whatever analogy I choose after. For example, “I’m so proud of you” before writing anything else will help the reader understand my intentions, even if I mess up after that.

    But it’s not always about the words. Like Jo said, there are people who have no empathy. They become enraged when we change and are no longer able to provide them with the same type of friendship they demanded in the past. This happened to me, with a longtime friend. It was ugly and unexpected.

    I used to write a blog (now dormant) to help me remember the early part of my recovery. The only people who read it were a few family and friends. Although it’s public, I didn’t have the courage to promote it like you do, and open myself up to criticism. And I applied for Social Security Disability, and I didn’t want them to discover it and read it. But that’s in the past now, so I’ll include the url here.

    1. It’s so hard when you find you can’t turn to that person anymore. I like your idea of starting off clarifying your intention, before going into the details. Thanks I think I’ll use that.

      1. I hope that doesn’t offend you? I didn’t design it like that, it’s just how the WordPress “theme” comes.

  3. I’ve learnt to be thick-skinned but I’m often the one telling someone else(someone who is supposed to love me unconditionally) that I’m not being over sensitive they should consider my social isolation and to tailor what they say not to offend and sound like a critisism. If I’m the one with the brain injury then I can’t change my way of receiving critics. They should be more aware of the damage they inflict. Love your work. Cheers,H

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