Stung, or stinging?
Including a few prompts to dig a little deeper under the sting, to tweeze it out and soothe the sore skin.
A few weeks ago, I met a friend of a friend, and I don’t remember being so struck by someone in quite a long time, but not in a good way.
This person was not nice. She wasn’t even trying to be nice.
Every time my friend opened her mouth, she snapped at her, in that way one can only do with someone they’re very close to.
Her jibes were also directed at the people she barely knew, and only thinly-veiled. It felt like a warning, a sea urchin raising it’s spikes to say, ‘Come anywhere near me and you’ll get pricked.’
She was grumpy, she suited herself, she turned her back on people to make them feel excluded.
In the face of this behaviour, we all feel rubbish about ourselves and we’re made to feel small. The bully might feel superior momentarily, because by diminishing another they manage to mask their own pain, but that feeling is hollow and doesn’t last.
Ultimately, everyone suffers.
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At first, I didn’t want to be anywhere near her, but I didn’t dislike her. I felt only a deep sadness for this woman. Even as she insulted me, all I could think was she is clearly in so much pain. It was jarring to witness, the walls she had built around her were made of stone.
I felt overwhelmed by how deeply hurt she seemed to be. I wanted to wrap her in a blanket and tell her to stop pushing everyone away, to make her realise that if she wasn’t so nasty, people would actually really like her. She was a like walking textbook: How To Ensure Your Own Abandonment (even when it’s clearly your biggest fear).
This behaviour — it’s not unusual. We’ve all probably mistreated someone at least once, perhaps inadvertently, and undoubtedly it still haunts us. Most of us will drop our guard and snap at a loved one when we’re stressed or having a really bad day, only to regret it a minute later (the most important thing here is admitting it and apologising — funnily what everyone finds the hardest or manages a ‘Sorry but… [insert excuse]’).
Maybe you have, or have had, someone in your life who acts the same way; who uses your weaknesses against you, who tries to pull you down and belittle you, who can turn the simplest of exchanges into a miscommunication which leads to an argument. If this all feels too familiar, then I’m so sorry. I know how hard that can be. Ask yourself what the solution could be; can you distance yourself from the person? Can you to talk to them about how they make you feel? If it really feels like there’s no possibility of change, do whatever you can to protect yourself. I believe that change is always possible.
Or maybe, you are that prickly person in certain relationships, and you want to change it. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It simply means that you, or they, are stuck in a pattern of behaviour that needs to be broken. Our patterns are never our fault, they are something we learned or picked up, so don’t blame yourself. If you occasionally sting, ask yourself Why?
What are you trying to protect?
What shame are you holding onto, that you feel you need to hide?
What is the underlying hurt or fear that causes you to act this way?
Do you feel the need to control someone’s perception of you? If so, why?
Over the next few weeks, I will be releasing the next few Soul Sign Portraits that I’ve been working on. In March, I will be opening up my calendar to take on a few clients for this experience and I’m so, so excited. If you’re interested, send me a message so I can add you to my waiting list and send you further details in time.
Remember, my paid subscribers get access to some bonus content (for only €5 per month!) which they can also submit questions or stories to. If you have something that you’d like me to publish anonymously or otherwise, just hit respond ❤
Until next Tuesday,