One of my pet peeves is when someone tells me something that someone else said about me and asks me not to tell the person who did the saying. I don’t tell the person who did the saying because I don’t intentionally want to stir up trouble. So, I stew over it and the resentment builds up and ends up coming out sideways. What I mean by “coming out sideways” is that like a pressure cooker, the anger, hurt and frustration build up until it blows, often directed at the wrong person. Its a no-win situation. I have started letting people know that I am not open to hearing what others say about me, especially if they are going to ask me not to say anything to that person. My grandson once told me that his friends said I am fat. I told him that it didn’t hurt me that they said it, it hurt me that he told me about it. I told him that I would have thought he wouldn’t want to hurt me like that. It seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other. He has heard adults gossip and stir up trouble and is waltzing down the same path.
A counselor I went to had a really good grasp on gossip. Here is what he shared:
When someone tells me a piece of gossip, to ask myself why they are telling me this and why are they telling me at that time or to ask them these questions. Most often, the real answer is that they want to create chaos but if nothing else, it will make them stop and think about what they are doing. Another suggestion was to ask the person who is telling you something another person said about you, “I really would prefer to hear this from them.” or “I really need to hear this from them.” This suggestion could also be used in regard to gossip about other people.
Do I gossip? I would have to say that I am a work in progress. I have consciously avoided gossiping recently. The thing I have learned about gossip, besides that it hurts the person or persons being gossiped about, is that it is an addiction like any other addiction. Here’s an experiment: Notice how you feel when you repeat gossip (if you do). Chances are you will get a high from participation in a gossip session. Also, try to stand by and listen to a gossip session without saying anything. And then, see what happens when someone tells you a tidbit of juicy gossip and you try not to tell anyone
I think you will find as I have that it is, indeed, an addiction. You see, if you have had chaos in your life, that becomes your comfort zone because it is what you are accustomed to. You become addicted to chaos and because you need it to feel alive, you will cause chaos either unknowingly or knowingly. It’s sad really because you might have been a different person had you not experienced all that chaos. Understand that most of us don’t even realize that is going on within us.
When I was in elementary school, I made fun of a girl who rode my bus for being pregnant. I was repeating what I had heard and obviously didn’t care if I hurt her reputation or feelings, nor did I stop to realize that it was just gossip. Her mother called my mother to let her know what happened. My mother took me to their house and we sat down with her and her mother to talk about it. I don’t remember what was said but I remember being made aware of the seriousness of what I had done. I had to apologize and really meant it. I think my mother handled the situation very well. There was no screaming or punishment, I was made to face the girl and her mother in front of my mother and to face up to the hurt I had caused and the damage that was done. Even after the meeting with them, my mother didn’t treat me badly or stonewall me. My parents did not punish if you were honest, so for the most part, we were honest kids.
I didn’t gossip much in high school because we were a pretty close-knit smaller school. I was friendly with the different groups, from the overachievers to the underachievers and hung out with the achievers even though I was an underachiever. Another reason I didn’t gossip was that my boyfriend “told” me not to. I was surprised at how easy it was not to gossip back then. I wish I could say it lasted but it didn’t.
I had a moment of epiphany recently after reading a post by nutsrok.wordpress.com about child abuse. I have known for a very long time that I am emotionally stuck at 15. When someone experiences a trauma, they stop growing emotionally at that age and I went through a very difficult time starting when I was 15. I shut down emotionally at that point and couldn’t even cry for at least a year. My epiphany was that the 15 year old inside me is defensive, needy, angry, insecure and fears abandonment. It is not me, the real me, that acts out and the adult in me is responsible for reining her in. I have gone through therapy after therapy and I know what needs to change but I don’t make the effort. I come to a point in therapy that I quit going because it doesn’t do any good if you don’t use what you learn. However, I still can’t keep myself from chasing the problem to find the answer. Children of Alcoholics often become self-help junkies. Then, there comes a moment of epiphany and I embrace the problem and take baby-steps, one day at a time, to overcome the negative thing that is ingrained in me. That is where I am today.
I no longer want a life of chaos! I have had a taste of peace and crave more. I know now how important it is for me to parent that 15 year old girl. To stop her from destroying both of us and love her through the tough times. My question is, why did it take until I was 63 or is it 64? I truly don’t know how old I am because Danny and I are both young in our minds and hearts. Does it even matter?