What do people mean when they declare in an exasperated voice “Well sorry! I’m not perfect”
There are different versions of this statement said in different ways, with different voice inflictions so for the purpose of “fog busting”, here are a few of them:
“I’m not perfect” This is stated as though “perfection” is what I am asking for and implying that the problem is not their actions but in fact my expectations.
“Well sorry I’m not perfect”; Stated as a plea to make me sorry that I made this person feel bad. Once again this is turned around on ME indicating that I have done or said the wrong thing and that the problem is actually NOT theirs, but mine.
“I never said I was perfect” Stated a little heavy on the sarcasm indicating that once again I have asked too much and indicating that my expectations are unreasonable as though I am the one who is causing the problem and as though there wouldn’t BE a problem if it were not for me.
“Sorry I am not as perfect as YOU”. This statement also casts the focus back onto ME as the problem person in the relationship for the purpose of getting me to back off on my “overly high expectations”
Each of these statements deflects from the problem that came up in the first place. Usually in my own life, this statement was used against me when I was upset about something and the other person didn’t want to take responsibility for what I was upset about. Instead of engaging in a discussion about the actual problem, they made it look like I was being unreasonable and deflected the focus off of them by bringing a new subject into the conversation. In this case, it is the new subject (communicated by the phrase “I’m not perfect”) is about my “expectations” which are too high.
As a child I learned through a series of grooming processes, spoken and unspoken messages that if I wanted to be safe I needed to find a way to change me. I survived by trying to figure out how not to upset the adults in my life. That became my habit; to search my mind for ways that I could either change or be more compliant, always trying to anticipate what someone else wanted or expected from me. This was survivor mode. Putting all my thoughts and actions through that survivor mode grid for so long made it very easy for everyone to get me to put the focus back on me instead of on any fault they might have had. Statements like “I never said I was perfect” deflect focus OFF the person who actually caused the problem, without looking at the original problem.
For instance if I reacted to being put down in front of other people, my “complaint” would be side tracked by statements like this one I am highlighting today “Well sorry, I’m not perfect.
Here is an example; I always got a lot of compliments on my hair. Even in my twenties I had this long thick naturally curly beautiful hair and I got a ton of compliments on it. But if the compliments were in front of my mother, she would make sure that everyone knew that I coloured it even though the compliments were not usually about the colour of my hair but just about my hair in general. She would say something like “well it comes from a bottle”. If I complained about her comments for example saying; “mom why do you have to make a point of telling people that?” she would say “well sorry I’m not perfect” which really has nothing to do with WHY she felt the need to make sure everyone knew that I dyed my hair. Her statement worked however, as I never pursued the answer to my original question, which was “why do you have to tell people that I dye my hair?”
When this kind of manipulation is used to deflect the focus off the person who is responsible for causing the undesired reaction (including reactions such as crying or anger reactions) starting from a young enough age, it is very easy for these statements to have the desired “back off” effect immediately and without question on the part of the person they are directed at.
Today when something like this happens, I respond in a very different way; instead of jumping to my old default mode which was acceptance that my “expectations are too high” I simply respond with a counter statement such as this one; “what does making sure that everyone knows my hair colour comes from a bottle have to do with whether or not you are perfect? Often this kind of statement will be met with that “fish out of water look”; don’t expect to get an answer to those kinds of questions but it sure stops the bully from excusing her behaviour by placing the focus back on ME.
Please share your thoughts about how this statement has effected your life or how statements like this one can deflect from the real issue.
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