Dealing with People Like Me

Advice for me, too

For the first time in a few years, I didn’t blog for a while. I’m not back because people were clamoring for me to write (in fact, no one said anything at all about it, which is perfectly fine). I’m back because I figured out some stuff about my mental challenges that I thought might be helpful for others. What prompted it was a lot of introspection I did after seeing some of these motivational posts in social media.

Oh yeah, Nikki? Really?

My mental issues tell me that no one wants to see the unmuted version of me. It’s been backed up all my life by folks telling me I’m too sensitive, too judgmental, too negative, too…blah blah blah. And thanks to having this extra-unpleasant “rejection sensitivity dysphoria” (RSD) deal, when I hear something that sounds to my extra-sensitive ears like a criticism or put-down, my limbic system kicks in and goes into defensive mode. That guarantees I’m going to overreact and piss someone off. Nope, no one really does want to see the unmuted version of me! Consequently, I do try to make myself smaller, to avoid subjecting other people to my unregulated self.

Break!

And this week, after being told how negative I was, I fell into a deep well of self-criticism. And when I asked for help and support, I felt criticized for not asking for it appropriately, and was informed that when people tried to help me, it made it worse. You can see how a downward spiral might ensue, even when I knew in my head that I was being criticized for basically being who I am, which I can’t change as much as I’d like to. Being told not to react to things that trigger me the way I do is like telling a tree not to have bark. Well, yuck to all that, right? (Note that I know the person I was talking to was not intending to be mean. This is just an example.)

So, I was wondering how I could have the reactions in my head that my mental challenge makes me have but mitigate it somehow. One thing I thought of was for people who are forced to talk to me when I have an RSD episode to not add criticism about my reaction on top of my reaction. For example, if I react to something by hearing in my mind that I’ve been told I’m the most negative person in the world, an unhelpful response would be, “No, I just said you were ONE OF the most negative people I know.” Yep, my mind heard an exaggerated view all right, but pointing out that I heard it wrong just makes me feel worse.

I wonder what would happen if the response was empathy rather than added criticism? What if my reaction was acknowledged, but not critiqued? I was thinking something like, “I know what I just said was hard for you to hear. Just remember I care about you, warts and all. Let’s look at what I was trying to tell you, not how it came across.” I feel like that would give me a chance to get past that initial reaction and be more realistic. Who knows?

Break

I have to acknowledge, though, that just like I have no control over reactions that aren’t conscious, other people can’t, either. That’s how people end up where they each build on each other’s issues until there’s some bad result. Talking to each other and trying to understand each other’s struggles is a good way to start, though.

I’ll keep working at it, but no, I don’t think I’ll be subjecting my unmuted self to many of the people in my life. It’s just too much for them, and I honestly don’t blame them one bit. Some people are hard to deal with, and I am one of those. That’s something I have to deal with!

(By the way, in my mind, I’m a cheerful person who laughs and jokes around a lot and has a lot of fun – I wish I could expose THAT version of me!)

It’s not necessary to try to make people you are fond of like you back!

In my heart, I know that the work I’ve done here at the ranch has been good for me. I’ve felt much better about myself as I’ve been finding the beauty in my surroundings, treasuring kindnesses I experience, and working to be as kind and caring as someone like me can be. And of course, hanging around with animals who help me so much has made life much better.

The main reason I write this blog is to have a record of the good things that come through my life, like the nature, the travel, the uplifting people, and the things I learn. It may just be me talking to myself and trying to convince myself that there’s good in this messy world, but it helps. So, I’ll still be here blogging about horses, dogs, birds, and flowers.

Here I am, looking happy because I’m able to ride Drew and he likes his new saddle and pad.

You get to react to what I write however you choose to. I’m fine with that. I’m prickly, so I’m going to rub folks the wrong way, make poor word choices, and look at things from my RSD perspective sometimes. Oh well, it’s me. Who among us isn’t prickly in some way?

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

11 thoughts on “Dealing with People Like Me”

  1. I feel your pain. I was having a hard time coping earliervin the year. Avoided people to keep the critcism down.I finally tried an online therapist and realized onIy can fix me. Saddly I had to made the decision to give up my dog to help me which added to the pain but ultimately saved my sanity. Others never know what you are going through and can’t understand why things set you off. Glad you are coping better. I empathize with your muted self.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading your blog and appreciate your honesty. I can often identify with the things you struggle with. I’m really good at never asking for help, especially when I need it the most. Fear of rejection, being a burden and all that…so I sure understand. I’m glad you’ve got your wonderful animals! That saddle is amazing. Love the tack room.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BTW, I was upset when I saw you had not written a new blog. Started to think something was serious. Finally felt it
    Was ok to contact you about the china. Last thing before bed I check on hermit rest, jlo, princess kate, and brady😊
    And I just lost my Princess Lilly, cat-third beloved pet this year

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry about your kitty. Years with multiple losses are so hard. I just needed a break from negative stuff. And sorry about the china. I only check that account about once a week!

      Like

  4. Lookin so relaxed on Drew. I realized you were silent for awhile and knew you needed the time. You are Enough, Fine, Perfect and when I look at you in that gorgeous saddle, I am amazed Drew had no bit! What is a hybred saddle?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apache doesn’t use a bit, either. He is not fond of them. Drew may use one later. A hybrid saddle is a mix of English and Western styles. This one looks western on the outside but the tree(foundation of a saddle) is English. I’ll share more later in a blog.

      Like

      1. Thank you for the explanation Makes sense. I always wish I knew how to train my horses sans bit. It looks so good. Many native Americans did that.

        Liked by 1 person

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