PREVIOUS: Dealing with Toxic People
REVIEW: “Effective Responses” Heal & Grow website
FRUSTRATED: ACoAs are often stumped when others say something unkind, controlling or ridiculous. No matter how smart, educated or competent, we’re often rendered mute by what we hear. First we’re shocked by the comments, not expecting such outrageous or boorish remarks. Then we can’t figure out what to say.
• So, here are some ideas that may be useful – some straightforward, some tongue-in-cheek. You may be uncomfortable with them if you think they’re rude, confrontational or hostile. Actually, they are not – because: a. they are statements of fact
b. when said with humor, from our Adult ego state, & NOT in anger – they are very effective
TOXIC RULE: “Only other peoples’ feelings count”, which really amounts to:
• not holding others accountable for stepping all over us. Why do we let them get away with it, but condemn ourselves for being direct?
• being willing to abandon our Inner Child in favor of others, instead of protecting it using a Loving Parent ego state?
SUGGESTION: Use these lines as is, or modify them to your personal taste. They represent setting boundary & teaching others how we want to be treated.
Pick 2-3 phrases that suit you & memorize them. Say them to yourself all day long, to get them set in your brain. Then, when you really need one – it’ll fall out of your mouth without having to think about it!
THEM: That was a long time ago / just get over it, let it go / stop dwelling on the past / why are dredging up old ……
YOU: That works for you, but it’s not where I’m at right now. I’d appreciate your support, but I understand if you can’t //
— That’s exactly what I’m working on, it’s just going to take time, & I want to do it right
— I understand you don’t want to talk about this, so we don’t have to
— Getting well is the beat revenge – that’s what I aiming for
THEM: “That’s just a lot of psycho-babble”
YOU: “If you think that’s psycho-babble, you must not understand it.”
THEM: You’re too sensitive // YOU: And you’re too insensitive
THEM: You’re crazy! // YOU: Maybe, but I’m never boring!
THEM: You laugh a lot at everything I say // YOU: I’m easily amused!
THEM: You’re too emotional
YOU: You mean I’m too happy? // Well, at least I can feel! // maybe you could be more sensitive // You could use Compassion Lessons
THEM: Why don’t you …. / you’re just…. / if you…. // YOU: That’s not helpful
THEM: You shouldn’t feel that way
YOU: Do you mean what I’m thinking or my emotions?
THEM: You should……
YOU: I try never to ‘should’ on myself. So please don’t ‘should’ on me either
THEM: You have to do (XXX) for me! (or else you’re bad / I’ll die…)
YOU: I’m sorry, but I can only take care of myself right now
THEM: That’s a stupid way to….. You ……. YOU: I don’t talk to myself that way
THEM: Why don’t you get (another cat) / why don’t you do…..?
YOU: Thanks, but I was talking about how I’m feeling. I wasn’t looking for advice or suggestions
THEM: —- (fill in the blank) // YOU: Don’t talk to me that way
THEM: You really like that…..? / do you actually believe in that….?
YOU: Why did you ask / why say it that way?
THEM: If I were you, I’d…. // YOU: Thank you for sharing your way of doing things!
THEM: If you don’t —– You’ll never see me again / I’ll kill myself / I’ll end up…. (& it’ll be your fault)
YOU: I’m sorry to hear that. But do whatever makes you comfortable
THEM: I ne-e-e-ed you…. you’re the only one who can do…. who understands me….
YOU: Well, actually, I have my hands full taking care of my own life. And there are lots of other people, groups, books… that can help you
THEM: If your mother says something provocative (or dad)
YOU: “Oh, mother!” – accent on ‘mother’, with at smile, then zip-the-lip
THEM: I’m just trying to be helpful
YOU: I’ve already tried that / I didn’t ask for help / That doesn’t work for me / Your suggestion doesn’t apply to my situation / That’s not who I am / I was just expressing emotions
—> Add your own
PS: Yes, there’s a time & a place to know when to respond to insensitive comments & when not to. That takes practice, information & self-esteem based on knowing our rights.
And for those of us who are still dealing with the severe form of dysfunction – the malignant narcissists in our midst – the ONLY way to cope appropriately is to be a GRAY ROCK around them!
(from “Psychopathfree” Forum)
NEXT: ACoAs – Dealing with Criticism (Part 1)