Have you ever had fantastic exciting news and when you went to tell family, co-workers or perhaps your friends, you were met with a put down or some version of a put down?
Have you ever walked away from telling your exciting news feeling somehow defeated or dejected or feeling disappointed and rejected; as though your good news somehow wasn’t that good anymore?
I have had major issues with this in my lifetime.
People who were “supposed to love me”; family, boyfriends and people who were “supposed to be my friends” said things like;
“Well it can’t be that great”. What’s the catch?” Or “how did YOU get that award or offer?” What about; “Why you? Why would they pick you?”
These types of statements have a clear message attached to them. The message is “WHY would anyone see value in YOU?” Those statements communicated to me what the speaker THOUGHT about me and how they defined my value and worth.
There were often really devaluing questions about the motives of whoever was acknowledging me; Questions like “are you sleeping with him?” “is that man in love with you?” “are you having an affair Darlene?” Those types of questions make the statement that my ONLY value to anyone would be about SEX. And those statements “defined me” too.
Those statements hurt. They were invalidating. They made me feel dirty. Those specific statements about the motives of men who acknowledged me tagged on to my already horrible feelings about having been sexually abused and the fear I had that perhaps that abuse was my fault. Because I was not heard, believed or protected, I already believed that I must have done “something” wrong to have been used that way.
If my only value was in sex or sexuality…which is what was being communicated to me by those statements, then what was I supposed to feel about those statements. I was hurt but I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t say anything because I had always been taught that I was wrong anyway. AND because deep down I was not sure if those statements were true or false.
Put down statements like “why you?” infer other things too, like; what is so special about you? What makes you qualified to do that? And they always carry with them, a demeaning voice inflection.
Put down statements like this are insinuating that “there must be some mistake”. You must have lied about your qualifications. Or there must be some ulterior motive for them to have chosen you! It implies that if the person giving you the opportunity or acknowledgement really knew you ~ they would never have offered you the opportunity or recognition.
AND because of the grooming process that I went through from a very young age, it was not hard for me to believe that “if that person really knew me”, they would not have offered me the opportunity or acknowledgement in the first place. When a child grows up being defined by abuse and malfunction, that child believes that only people that don’t know them will “value them”. I lived with huge imposter issues, and a huge fear of people abandoning me “if they really knew me.” So when it came to statements like “why you?” What could I say? I believed enough of the statement that I accepted it. I hung my head and felt “told” I questioned myself the same way; in agreement with the put down, and in submission to the abuser I agreed; “yes… why me?”
My mother was good at this type of thing. She always had a way of squishing my joy over some accomplishment or any recognition that I got. It was like if I was recognized, that it was insulting to her, or demeaning to her and lessened HER value. I suspect that she was afraid that if I ever found out my true value, that I would not worship HER anymore because if I knew my own value, I might somehow see her value the way that she saw it. (And although it looked to me like she was in total control of her life, the reality of that was quite different.)
Here is what I found out;
The truth is that most people in my life did not pay enough attention to me to even know what my gifts were. They disregarded me as being insignificant compared to them because they wanted me to see myself that way. It was part of the way them maintained control over me. Seeing my gifts was threatening to them, so they didn’t see them. With controlling and manipulative people, they are only interested in looking at me through the eyes of what I could DO for them or how I could contribute to whatever they were working on. And the best way to keep someone doing what you want it to make them think that they will only achieve equal status to you if you do what they want. And that is where the put down statements come in. They are an abuse tactic.
This understanding became much more clear to me when I starting flying in my life; those same people were no longer interested in me at all.
In the case of my mother, and her put downs aside from the fact that she wanted total control over me, she couldn’t stand to see me recognized. My mother’s jealously of me was evident from the time I turned 13 when she suddenly turned me into her competition.
My father was never interested enough in me to even engage in a conversation about anything I was doing in any part of my life.
I had a few bosses who kept me nervous and kept me scrambling to try harder in order to make sure that I never caught on to my gifts; if I realized my gifts, I would leave them and move forward to accomplish things without them. Some of them took credit for my ideas and in the depth of my low self esteem, I didn’t fight that either.
These reactions to good news are pathetic. I never realized in the past that when people reacted like that it was a huge proof of how little regard that they had for me. They were more intent on putting and keeping me down, then they were on congratulating me or celebrating my win with me but the motive is about KEEPING me CAPTIVE and keeping me serving them. The motive is about making sure that I am always trying to see where I am in the wrong, so that I don’t notice that they are wrong. That is not love. That is dysfunction.
And you know what I KNOW for sure today? I know that the put down statements were not about ME but about them. It was no reflection on ME, it was always a reflection on them. It reveals their character, not mine. In the past I put so much energy on proving my worth and believing that the proof of that worth being was in the way that I was received and regarded that I missed the truth that put downs designed to burst my bubble are not a statement about me; they are a statement about the person putting me down!
Today the conversation would be very different. I have a reply to this disrespect and disregard. Now that I am out of the fog on this whole issue and realize that these put down statements have nothing to do with my value, but everything to do with putting me down and beneath them, here is what I say;
“Why not me!? What exactly do you mean when you say ‘why would someone pick ME?’ What a nasty hurtful thing to say to me. I am shocked at your lack of support and encouragement. Your opinion and reaction to my good news shows me how little regard that you have for me.” (see note)
And they are speechless because finally, they got BUSTED; they got “told” and the truth (ABOUT THEM) emerged.
NOTE: If you cringe reading that statement I understand; I had been told for so long that I was “too sensitive” that when I first thought about speaking the truth in any of these situations, that “too sensitive” label jumped up and squished my conviction that they were wrong. Those days are gone.
Please share your thoughts.
There is freedom on the other side of broken…
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