Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Standing Up For Yourself

Years ago I attended Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, even though neither of my parents drank. My partner at the time did grow up with an alcoholic mother and he attributed many of his problems to that. One day he came home after attending one of these meetings with a handout - a list of characteristics children share who grow up with an alcoholic parent. I don't remember the entire list, but the two I remember distinctly were:
* We guess at what normal is
* We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves
I don't have too much trouble with the first one, since it no longer matters to me what someone else's definition of normal is. I just need to make wise decisions for myself that meet my own code of ethics and fit my values.

The second one, however, still plagues me. I am so afraid of hurting or angering someone else, I tolerate inappropriate behavior for way too long. Then when I finally realize I need to do something about it, I feel guilty because I might upset someone else. Recognizing that this is an old, automatic response, I came up with this: It is not my intention to hurt you. It is my intention to take care of myself.

How do you handle standing up for yourself in situations where someone gets angry or defensive?



Anonymous said...

Ya just gotta do it, Karen. And the sooner the better. Nip it in the bud before it becomes a gigantic issue.

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I don't like making waves myself, so I understand where you're coming from. Of course, though, you need to stand up for yourself. Your response sounds like a good one. Best of luck.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Helen Ginger said...

I am a lot like you, Karen. I didn't grow up with an alcoholic parent, though, so I'm not sure where that comes from.

I so like your attitude: "It is not my intention to hurt you. It is my intention to take care of myself." I'm going to remember that.

Straight From Hel

The Practical Preserver said...

Women especially have this problem. We're trained to please and want people to like us. A gal I know said once, "I stopped caring what people thought about me after the 6th grade." That line has given me some courage.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Getting older has its advantages. Nothing ever builds up in me any more because I speak up early, while I can still be civil. I used to be somewhat of a doormat, so it feels good to take care of myself.


N A Sharpe said...

Sometimes standing up for yourself is just plain HARD, but it sounds like you have a wonderful philosophy about it.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

Galen Kindley said...

Well, I’m still pretty much in the avoidance category. As The World’s Most Boring Person (TWMBP), is easy for me to stay away from contacts where I’ll be uncomfortable. I don’t much like confrontation, so, when I can see it coming, or, can guess it will occur, I just exit or don’t go. Otherwise, I just tough it out, or leave. Pretty gutless, huh?

Best Regards, Galen.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

It depends on the day, my mood and the subject of the confrontation. If I care deeply about something I’ll probably speak up otherwise I’ll walk away. Overall, I try to avoid confrontational situations.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Anonymous said...

This makes me think... I am good at standing up for myself, but sometimes I do hurt others in the process! Since I'm a very straight-forward person, I have to remind myself that not everyone else works that way. Sometimes subtly is a virtue.