Watch What You Say!

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Sometimes the people we love the most are the ones we hurt the most.

Words are so powerful when spoken aloud and when spoken within, don’t you think?  Words said aloud can’t be taken back after they’ve been heard ~ an indelible mark is etched into the mind of the person to whom you are speaking when they are unkind words.  Believe me when I tell you that I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it and sadly, I have also done it.

Growing up, my Dad said words that I know he regretted a lot.  I’m not talking about cursing (although he did that too), but rather, hurtful, stinging words of failure which poked right through to my soul and to my self-esteem.  He meant them in the heat of the moment; he said whatever came to his brain at the time in order to add more blunt force to his already powerful voice and his harsh words tore at my heart just the same.

I’m telling you this because I think many people speak without thinking of the impact their words have on the intended listener.  It’s hard to step back before throwing a verbal punch sometimes, but I can attest that it is well-worth it because you can’t take back those words once they are said.  Like the smell of a skunk, their stench lingers in the air, poisoning even the most kindhearted listener.

It’s taken me a long time to erase those bruises from my self-esteem and I will confess to you that the little girl whose Dad called her a failure in 4th grade because she didn’t have straight 100’s in school, still feels ashamed even though it’s more than 30 years ago.  In my head, his words still chatter, shredding my self-confidence at the most inconvenient of times even today.  It’s interesting to me as my Mom and I had a conversation recently about him and she told me how proud he was of me which I never really heard from him, although I’ve heard plenty of times from his friends now since he’s passed.

Failure in 4th grade (by the way I was an A student, but not 100’s every time) is just one example of a litany of weekly put-downs.  He would get a laugh from everyone around him when he called me an airhead starting when I was in high school, especially when friends came to our home.  He’d reach up and grab my left ear and pull and make a hissing sound ~ telling everyone that he let the air out of my head!  He berated me to get a laugh and it broke my heart every single time.  He put me down in order to raise himself up.

I loved my Dad, but I didn’t like him for many reasons.  As I got older, I was blessed to have others who held me with their warmth and loving ways, who nurtured my strengths and helped me to rebuild my mangled self-esteem.  MIL even told my Dad that I was ‘perfect’ which to me was such a priceless gift!  It still tears me up to this day to think that someone thinks I am perfect even in all my imperfect ways.  My Dad laughed and told her that I had her fooled, but through her eyes, I learned to feel good enough and most importantly loved.

My Dad loved me, this I know for sure.  He came from an abusive family and he allowed his lack of self-control to rule his life.  He often said, “You hurt the ones you love the most,” which is the card above ~ and I used to say, “then don’t love me.”

That cycle, that vicious cycle of mental, emotional cruelty stopped with me.  I try very hard to stay positive with my sons and to not berate them.  I don’t give them false information, but I try to look to the bright side.  I am blessed as my MIL taught me that, she nurtured it in me and since I’ve known her for more than 24 years,  I’ve been able to watch my role model mother me along with her grandchildren and it’s been a priceless blessing in my life.

So please, watch your words!

Speak with Love!

Shine On!

xo

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27 thoughts on “Watch What You Say!

  1. Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know- Pema Chodron…..Bravo to your honesty and courage!!!

  2. Great reminder!
    I prefer to be in non-speaking modes for a bit when I get angry. I mean what I say & there is no going back. So- if I’m quiet – just give me some time. When anyone tells me something not so nice – I don’t buy the “in the heat of the moment” stuff. If you said it – you meant it (at that particular time) or you wouldn’t have said it. I don’t forgive & forget very easily. But – I do manage to move on. I may have had a bruised self-esteem once upon a time. But – I got over that fast – Thank God!

  3. “Like the smell of a skunk, their stench lingers in the air, poisoning even the most kindhearted listener.” I love that sentence and it is so true. I admire your honesty and courage to write this. Heartbreaking, yet it all teaches us something very valuable. Thank you for sharing your story.

  4. Thank you for sharing your pain and the shame you felt in this post. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. It saddens me to read of such things. It is likely that his behavior stems largely from behaviors of one or both of his parents. It may be the only parental modeling he was ever exposed to. I’m thrilled to hear that you found non-hurtful love elsewhere and that you chose to break the chain of verbal abuse for your children.
    With musch respect,
    Russ

    • Thank you Russ for your sweet comment and for your understanding. I shared because I think that sometimes we don’t think in the heat of the moment ~ yes, you are right. He had a tough childhood for which I’m sad for him. I am just happy that he’s at peace now. xo

  5. If only MORE people would take this to heart! I had a virtual contact (with my same rare disease) berate me and destroy our connection. It obvi wasn’t that great to begin with. But her words hurt me and cut me deeply. IF ONLY –

    Great post!

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