For example, she told me about how her step-siblings bullied her when she was little. They called her worthless, beggar, said her father was a good-for-nothing. They did this day after day. She is fifty five now, and when she talks about it there are tears in her eyes and her voice shakes. She tells me how she still can't forget.
I've asked myself multiple times: Why do we let people do these things to us?
When we are scarred by something, we simultaneously give that thing the power to scar us. When someone makes me cry, I have given that person the power to make me cry, n'est-ce pas? When someone makes me feel small, or stupid, or hurt, I sit back and ask myself: why would I let him/her do that to me?
Now sometimes I do something genuinely stupid, and I get what I deserve. Sometimes I don't realise I've done something wrong, or at least something that could be interpreted that way. Then people snap at me or scold me, and I have to decide whether I have done wrong, or whether the person's just acting out because he's had a hard day. Should I change, or should I treat this as one of those inevitable incidents which occur when millions of people are crammed into a small space and asked to work their asses off?
It's so much easier said than done. Sometimes I spiral into despondence: How could I have made that sort of mistake? I'm an idiot. Maybe I deserve all of this. But from this spiral, things can only get better. Also, I refuse to choose the other narrative: What's up with this idiot? How dare he scold me when it's obviously not my fault and I'm the awesomest? That's called 'poor insight'.
But I'm learning to bounce these things off. And next time will be different.