Thursday, October 02, 2008

My Fault?

As my husband and I were talking over some ...uh... "conflicts" we have had with other people (as in, when somebody bites your head off and you're not sure what just happened or why) we were struggling with how to cope with it. The best advice given to us seems to be to respond with something on the order of "Wow! That's just really inappropriate for you to say!" or "Hey, that was rude!"

In hindsight, that sounds good
because, after all, the comments we were considering really were out of line.

But in the midst of the attack difficulty, it never occurs to us to tell the person he/she is out of line. We just apologize or try to make it better or sit there dumbfounded. Why?

And then it occurred to me: our first inclination is to believe that we did do something wrong ourselves, that we offended, that we made a mistake, that we are the ones who owe the apology. But when you start thinking about it and realize what actually happened (especially when onlookers later confirm that the other person said something shockingly rude) you begin to think of all the things you might've said or should've said. But how do you go back and work out these situations? They're better dealt with when the problem arises. Thing is, we don't automatically think of the attacker as the offender, but always worry about what we did wrong ourselves. And like Gary said, would we want to be different? Do we want to have our default-response to be "It's your fault"? So how do we learn to respond with appropriate shock (and scolding?) to someone who deals with us inappropriately?


  1. My mom and I are repeat offenders of not having the correct, assertive response to meanie attacks like you describe. We like to call our behavior "catching flies". We just stand there, shocked at their behavior with our mouths hanging open "catching flies". Whenever you figure this all out...let me know.

  2. Because of my sinful nature, I know that I constantly hurt people by my words and actions or by failing to love my neighbor as myself. When someone attacks me verbally, I always assume that I have it coming to me.
    In hindsight, I realize that problems are not always my fault. Unfortunately, I don't have any answers.