As I sat down with my family on the back row of the chapel I forced back unwanted tears and tried to ignore the bitter sting of what had just transpired. Someone–a good person whom I knew was well-intentioned–had just taken me to task based on something they had overheard my 13-year-old daughter say in passing.

The congregation gathered, friends smiling and nodding as they passed, completely oblivious. I squirmed in my seat–even more in my own skin. I needed to process the thoughts swirling around in my head, the knot of sickness swelling in my gut. I couldn’t breathe.

I made it halfway through the opening hymn before I bolted.

This wasn’t the first time, and it likely won’t be the last, in which I found myself misunderstood and unfairly judged by someone who made assumptions about me without having all the facts; someone who had made up his or her mind without taking the time to ask “Do I see the entire picture?” or “Is this consistent with what I know of this person?”

And even though I knew that what the other person was thinking of me wasn’t true, I was crushed.

There is, of course, more to this post, but before I get there, will you indulge me and tell me if you’ve ever been in my shoes? Please share in the comments your personal experiences with being harshly judged or grossly misunderstood. Particularly, tell me how it made you feel.

Be sure to come back for round two later this afternoon.

101 Comments

  1. Annette

    March 25, 2009

    Oh, yes. I’ve been there. The hardest involved being judged unfairly by my own sister–one of the few people in the world who you’d *think* would surely give you the benefits of the benefit of the doubt.

    That still stings.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I’m sorry. I think the closer the person is to you the more (and longer) it hurts.

      • Sage

        March 29, 2009

        Amen to that. I had the same thing happen with my sister. Her words still ring in my ears and it’s been 18 years. We have patched it up though.

  2. traci

    March 25, 2009

    Just recently this happened to me also. What amazed me themost is when I tried to clear it up – I was told it was cowardly to defend myself and they would not listen. Then later as I avoided mixing other than polite greetings it was rmarked what a little person I was that I could not take it.

    But….after the intitial and resounding wound and talking with my husband, who was actually angrier than I, I was hurt
    I had to make a decision to focus on other things,
    can I bring up that this is not easy….and when I am tired it rears its ugly had again. And by the way, I won’t trust that person again, with anything important to me.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I agree–it can be difficult to trust again after being betrayed.

  3. jenny

    March 25, 2009

    Yes, yes and yes.
    I’m feeling for you already and I don’t even know the rest of the story.
    -That sick, heavy, almost can’t breathe pain during and shortly after the “confrontation.”
    -The mental and emotional turmoil you go through after the “judgment”–trying to decide your next move: forgie and forget; forgive but never forget; the merits of further discussion?
    The worst is when the stone throwing includes an audience.

    (And rarely does one EVER have or know ALL the facts…)

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Thank you for your empathy Jenny. And you make a good point. Unless someone is in your head, they don’t have all the facts.

  4. jenny

    March 25, 2009

    (and by “forgie” of course I mean “forgive.”)
    (oops)

  5. Lucy

    March 25, 2009

    I always thought my sister liked me and we had a good relationship. Then after she died, I found out she had dissed me to every friend she had all those years. Because of her friends who had heard her say all these things to them, they then told her widowed husband’s new wife all those things about his former sister-in-law. She then went to all lengths to keep me out of his life…and hers. I have yet to meet the woman. It killed a 45 year relationship with a brother in law whom I considered a brother. Some things really hurt.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Oh Lucy, I am so sorry that happened to you. Family issues are particularly painful. This type of experience is what I am most concerned about working out in the next life.

  6. traci

    March 25, 2009

    P>S> forgiveness , yes
    trust, no

  7. Shauna

    March 25, 2009

    Been there, done that, felt the way you describe. My Patriarchal blessing even tells me this will happen to me.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Wow. Does it give you any advice about how to handle it?

  8. rebekah

    March 25, 2009

    someone did this to my mom once and it, i’ll say *annoyed* me beyond belief. when people pull this kind of, i’ll say *stuff*, my hurt feelings almost immediately turn into anger and wrath.

    being in a ward family is so hard sometimes. i’ve struggled with it all of my life and often wished i wasn’t commanded to be nice and familial with people i would avoid like the plague in real life, or people who had hurt my feelings.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I sometimes get all “mother bear” when it happens to friends or family. I am trying to love everybody though, even the people who sometimes make it difficult to like them.

  9. Annie

    March 25, 2009

    My heart goes out to you…I have been in your shoes, too. Being judged is so hurtful (I was going to say “being judged unfairly” but, really, most judging is unfair and inaccurate).

    I wish we could all give each other wider margins, allowing for generous interpretations and honest mistakes.

    (Oh, I hope this has a peaceful ending for you!)

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Yes. Yes. Yes! Fortunately with this and other times I’ve received unsoliceted “feedback,” I’ve been able to work through it enough to step back and assess it. I try to sift out what could be valid from what is just someone else’s stuff and work on the valid part.

  10. lanette hopkins

    March 25, 2009

    Living in a ward family gives us the perfect opportunity to live our religion. Not easy, but a good test of our devotion to discipleship.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Wonderful point!

  11. traci

    March 25, 2009

    I must say that I have been hurt at churh probably more than anywhere in my life. Of course I know them better and have spent a lot of time there, so there is more room for hurt. And the conclusion is that I always have to go back next wekk no matter what.

    One thing I heard that has helped me alot is that church is a “Holy Ghost Hospital” – the ill go there, ok including me.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I like your attitude–knowing you need to go back each week no matter what!

  12. Dalene

    March 25, 2009

    Granted the particular incident I shared here happened to have occurred at church, but misunderstandings can take place anywhere; it’s not at all about location. I could have been describing the time (one of many) it happened at work or the incident with my SIL or…

    You get the picture.

    Please keep them coming. And feel free to be specific if you’re so inclined. Thanks–

    • Brooke

      March 25, 2009

      oh lucy, your story broke my heart.

      rebekah: “being in a ward family is so hard sometimes. i’ve struggled with it all of my life and often wished i wasn’t commanded to be nice and familial with people i would avoid like the plague in real life, or people who had hurt my feelings.” sadly, i have people in my immediate family who have a difficult time being familial to each other & they DO avoid each other like the plague.

      and traci: your comment about “holy ghost hospital” makes me think of general hospital. drama everywhere. even at church. unfortunately.

  13. TJ Hirst

    March 25, 2009

    I’m not going to give the details online, but I have felt that stone’s throw. More than once. The first was a few years ago when I felt repeatdely “taught” by the person in talks, lessons, comments about what she thought where my wrong actions. She would use key words over and over that she knew would speak to me, but because of the circumstances I couldn’t explain the whole story and set her right. Thus, the sting of that circumstance was that her assumptions felt just like a stone being thrown, over and over again, for years. The difficulty is that we all need to repent, and I did, too, but my repentance process was not of the things she accused me of doing. The damage of this situation caused me to question all my actions, as if they were all suspect. When we are treated as if we are some way, we become that way, good or bad. This experiences and others have made it difficult to interact and make comments in lessons when this woman is present in a way that is open and heart-felt. I think, Will my words open me to further damage? But after a time of healing from the damage, I am more humble, realizing that I may have “given” well-intentioned help that caused pain to someone else. Now, I comment and teach and talk with extra care that the Spirit is doing the teaching. How true that, “If ye have not the Spirit ye shall not teach.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I appreciate the wisdom in your resolution of this, TJ. Thank you!

  14. Sharlee

    March 25, 2009

    I was 23 when I got married (I had served a mission), and I wanted nothing more than to start a family right away. I was especially anxious because I had been told by an OB/GYN (who was a bit lacking in the bedside manners department) that I would probably never be able to have children. Therefore, it was incredibly hard when month after month after year went by with no “positive” on a pregnancy test. I was plugging away, trying to stay positive, hiding my pain as best I could, and moving forward with my life (I was in grad school by now) when I overheard my favorite uncle — the man I admired more than anyone else in this world — say: “I’m really disappointed in Sharlee that she would choose to pursue her education rather than have a family.”

    *oooph*

    It wouldn’t have hurt any more if he had punched me hard, right in the gut.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Oh Sharlee. Ouch! I see this frequently in our culture and it pains me. I know people don’t mean to hurt–but that is one of the worst ways to wound someone who is wanting and waiting for babies.

    • Sage

      March 29, 2009

      People can be so insensitive–especially men. But we also need to realize they don’t know what they don’t know and if we want them to know so they don’t think something about us that isn’t true, we need to be willing to tell them. If we aren’t afraid to share a little, they might realize ways they could be more sensitive to others. We often don’t want to rock the boat, but how can anyone learn if we don’t help each other! I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt you, but if he’d known your struggles, then he could “mourn with those that mourn” and support you instead of throw a stone.

  15. Justine

    March 25, 2009

    I have absolutely been in those shoes, honey. And it hurt. Still does.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Don’t you sometimes wish you could shed those shoes and walk barefoot for awhile?

  16. Red

    March 25, 2009

    I went through about six months where I had some serious confrontations with a couple of members of extended family. I don’t think I provoked them, but there is plenty of blame to go around and I don’t care to tease out the details. It was so stressful: I would wake up and go to sleep absolutely sick with worry. I lost 10 pounds. Ugh.

    My experience was that things never got back to normal (it’s the “new normal,” which seems to be a common catchphrase around here), but I was really relieved that I could feel peace and forgiveness through prayer, in spite of the fact that the issues were never really resolved. It made my testimony of the Comforter and the atonement much more concrete.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Thank you for your testimony of this power of the Comforter when things go unresolved. It’s such a blessing to find peace again.

  17. Karen

    March 25, 2009

    Yes I have had that happen to me also. Both at church and with family.
    It feels horrible.
    When I think about these experiences, I am reminded to watch myself, to be careful of what I say to others and how I might judge them.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Thank you for your comment–the things we learn from such experiences are what helps us endure them.

  18. martha

    March 25, 2009

    As you described your feelings, I felt my (still raw) feelings from this past Sunday swell a bit.
    I had a 7am ward council, then the regular church meetings, then BYC. While waiting with the YM president and some of the youth for the Bishop to join us, I stepped out of character just for a second when the YM president asked me a question that was unrelated to our callings. Of course, this was when the Bishop stepped in, and he remarked in front of the youth(in a disapproving tone) that it was inappropriate to talk about anything other than church related matters.
    Needless to say, I did feel hurt considering the fact that so much of my time is devoted to setting aside myself and focusing on the needs of the YW and trying to do what is “right”. But, my Bishop is a good man and I don’t want to let this get in the way of my service and respect for him. Yet, it is so hard to not feel judged and slightly unappreciated. It still stings.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Having it happen in public must have been particularly difficult. I hope that sting fades with time as mine has.

  19. b.

    March 25, 2009

    I’ve been misunderstood many times. I usually am able to fix it or repair it….especially when it is due to something I have miscommunicated.
    Once, someone else very close to me, intentionally lied and grossly exaggerated something about me to a known gossip in my ward. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to gather up those pieces and or truly forgive especially when he hasn’t acknowledged it. The damage has been so far reaching….at some point I decided the only way to repair it was to continue to be who I am and hopefully people will decide on their own.
    It reminds me of this story I heard:
    There is a town gossip who has spread a rumor about the town rabbi and then wants to repent. The gossip will do anything to repent and goes to the rabbi. The rabbi says, “Bring me a feather pillow and meet me on the top of the mountain”. When they arrive the rabbi tears the pillow open and the feathers go flying in the wind. He then says, “Those lies you told about me are like the feathers. if you can pick up all the feathers flying for miles then you might be able to bring back all the lies. Then I will forgive”
    I know that I am required to forgive…and for the most part, I have.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      The gossip feathers fly far and wide. It’s so sad. I appreciate this wisdom: “the only way to repair it was to continue to be who I am and hopefully people will decide on their own.” Well done and well said.

  20. Geo

    March 25, 2009

    Yes, yes, I have stood in these shoes, walked them down to the leather, and had to resole them. I’ve had a good bit of experience with this kind of situation (though never because of living, breathing children)—the one-offs as well as extended periods. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this pain!

    The resulting feelings? For me—loneliness, isolation, humiliation. Sometimes anger. Always sadness. Gnawing stress and anxiety. But most of all, the terrible loneliness. It’s always been hard for me not to internalize other’s criticisms and judgments, not to join in an ugly chant against myself.

    But I am changing and growing stronger and getting better at connecting with different feelings, and coming to them more quickly.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Hey Geo, want to go barefoot for awhile with Justine and me? Oh I would love it so!

      • Geo

        March 25, 2009

        Do I! Listen, Rob and I saw the greatest modern dance concert last night—a company from NYC. I was so inspired. They did the most amazing and beautiful and joyful things, all in bare feet. Seemed just like what my soul wants to do. So, yes, I’m ready to kick off my shoes and bust a move!

  21. kalli

    March 25, 2009

    uhhh…YES

    this has been a tough lesson for me to learn my friend, on both sides of the fence.

    I’ve come to realize that I know nothing about other people or their lives and I’m in no place to make judgements or assessments based on what I see. It is hard for me to fight my brain’s desire to make snap judgements, but I am trying. I’m really trying. The last two weeks have especially been a humbling experience for me in this department.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Wouldn’t it be nice if learning humility didn’t hurt so hard? Bless you, my friend.

  22. anon

    March 25, 2009

    Yes. I’ve felt it.

    One of my most stinging involves my mom. At 19 years old, in all my angst, I asked my mother, “Why don’t you like me?”

    Her answer: “I don’t know why.”

    There’s more to it, but that’s the sum. And that’s just one time. Crushed is a perfect way to describe it.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      That breaks my mother (and friend) heart. I look forward to the day in the next life when mother can embrace daughter and sister can embrace sister (and so on) and through the atonement pain will be healed and relationships can be whole again.

  23. elizabeth-w

    March 25, 2009

    It’s one thing to say something about me–but to talk about my children?! Ouch. Much more amplified.
    I’m sorry, Dalene.
    What I feel is annoyed that someone doesn’t give me a little more credit, and annoyed that they don’t think to gather a bit more info.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I hear you. Although I’m the first to ask my kids, “What did YOU do?” when things go awry, I get over someone slighting me much more quickly than I get over someone slighting them.

  24. Melissa M.

    March 25, 2009

    I have lost track of how many times I have felt misjudged or misunderstood. It does sting. But I find solace in reminding myself that the person who judged me doesn’t know the whole story. The Lord does, however, and it’s comforting to know that He sees the big picture–including what’s going on in the life of the one who misjudged me. Misjudging goes both ways, however: I wonder how many times I’ve misjudged someone else. I am quick to jump to conclusions, only to find out later that I didn’t know the whole story. Several years ago I was heavily involved in an issue at my children’s high school. It was an important issue, one that would affect the long-term education of every student in the school. I was trying to get my neighbors involved, including a neighbor who is very education-minded and has five children who attend or would be attending that school. I didn’t ask her to put in much time–just needed her to email the school board in support of the issue. She supported the issue and was very concerned, but was too busy to get involved; in fact, she was about to leave on a trip with her husband. “It would be nice if I could take a vacation instead of doing all the work for everyone else,” I thought, feeling like the little red hen. A few weeks later I found out that my neighbor had been diagnosed with a rare, incurable, and fatal disease, and that the “vacation” she was going on with her husband was a visit to the Mayo clinic in a desperate attempt to prolong her life. So, yeah, I misjudged her. I have to constantly remind myself that my vision is myopic, that I need to be gentle with others, to give them the benefit of the doubt. I continue to misjudge others all the time, though. Part of the human condition, I guess.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I have to constantly remind myself that my vision is myopic, that I need to be gentle with others, to give them the benefit of the doubt.

      A great reminder. (And perfect segue to part II!)

  25. Melanie

    March 25, 2009

    Oh boy, does this sound familiar! I have a 13 year old daughter too, a wonderful, bright, talented daughter who also happens to have strong opinions, the sharp blunt tongue of not-yet-mature adult. She tells it like it is—as she sees it. (smiles) She was once deemed unworthy to be in the beehive presidency because the snoopy yw pres. claimed to have “heard things”. (She never did divulge what they were) Nothing like a scarlet letter placed on your 12 year old chest! Needless to say, the luster and magic of being a brand new beehive quickly evaporated! The worst part of this was that I was in the Presidency. Things continued to get worse until our release a few months later. They’re still bad.

    Another time, a comment was made and the words “lucky” & “spoiled” were mistakenly interchanged in a conversation my daughter was having with her cousin. The cousin knew what my daughter meant and there was no issue there, but an overbearing, judgemental meddling auntie (who sees my daughter approximately 2 hours per year!)decided to step in and create a problem that hadn’t existed 30 seconds earlier. We (both parents & child) were taken to task over a Christmas gift she had recieved (wrongfully assumed that we paid hundreds of $$$’s for!) as well as her clothes (again, wrongfully assumed that had cost outrageous amounts of moola!), her make-up, her hair & her involvement in sports & activities.

    How did we handle these situations? The first one, my husband went to the Bishop (without my prior knowledge in order to protect me in the position that I was in). Things didn’t improve much there until the president was released.

    The second one, that ones been harder because it’s family. Because it was my husbands side of the family, he handled it again. When she said she was “concerned”, he told her: “You really shouldn’t be concerned, she’s a good kid who sometimes mixes up her words, and in the end, you really shouldn’t be concerning yourself with other peoples concerns that aren’t any of your business!” She didn’t like that.

    It hurts when you have to see these people everyday, and it hurts when it’s your family, ward or relations.
    I’m sorry this happened to you, and happened to so many others. (((((HUGS))))

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      It sounds as though our daughters have a few characteristics in common (on some days that maturity can’t come fast enough!) I so love and appreciate the people who love both of us in spite of our passions (my euphemism for strong opinions).

  26. La Yen

    March 25, 2009

    Anon: Your mom was wrong. Completely, totally, wrong. And I like you. And I know why.

    Can I just say that we are going on year three of a member of my ward not acknowledging my existence (literally turning head when I walk by, going out of their way to stop conversations, holding doors for a line of people and then dropping it when I come through the line) because I lost my temper for 20 seconds, and then apologized fifty jillion times? I think that hurts more than my completely out-of-line explosion NEAR this person ever could have. But I realized that the only thing I can do is pray for this person. Pray for them to forgive me, pray for them to get over it,pray that this person will never be my Judge in Israel, and pray for me to remember not to get sucked back in to any more drama.

    Also, Dalene, you want I should go punch some throats for you?

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I love you La Yen (and your prayers). And it pains me that you are still not forgiven.

  27. jendoop

    March 25, 2009

    Yep, been there. It wrenches your very soul to be so misunderstood. If you associate with people at all it will happen. It doesn’t ever feel good.

    The way I deal with it is to retreat to heal my wounds and then move on with my life like nothing happened. The only way I can prove them wrong is to continue being the person I truly am. Knowing all the while that Heavenly Father, and those that love me and know me, judge me for my righteous desires and by the truth.

    In one ward we lived in several people, who gossiped together, mistakenly told the bishop that my marriage was in trouble. The bishop told me, but then swore me to secrecy. What was I to do to set it straight? First I apologized to my husband that I ever said anything that led people to believe we were contemplating divorce. I got up in testimony meeting and testified of my wonderful husband and my gratitude for him and my celestial marriage. Then I left it in the past, knowing that the people who were most important, my husband and I, knew the truth.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Then I left it in the past, knowing that the people who were most important, my husband and I, knew the truth.” Well said–thank you.

  28. Em

    March 25, 2009

    I was hurt once (this wasn’t the first or last time, mind you), wrongly accused of being something I’m definitely not, simply because I reminded this person of someone else who had wronged him. I felt hurt and bewildered that he would single me out for something I had never done to him. I was blindsided and upset. I was even more angry that our mutual acquaintances didn’t defend me as I was constantly being attacked by this man. I returned home deflated. As I knelt to say my prayers I cried to God, asking Him to help me feel better. The next day I attended stake conference and our stake president spoke on forgiveness. He said something like, when we forgive all of the angels in heaven rejoice and our own personal sins are forgiven also. I knew this was the answer to my prayer. I needed to forgive someone who didn’t feel like he needed to be forgiven. It took some time and many prayers but once I had truly given my burden to the Lord and forgiven this man, I felt the heaviness lift and I was happy again.

    The next time I saw him, I treated him with kindness and respect and he realized what he had said to me didn’t deflate me. He then asked for my forgiveness and I told him he had already gotten it. I left on my mission immediately after that and when I returned I ran into him and he coincidentally began treating me poorly as he had done before. I realized that he was just someone I had to avoid. I’ve never seen him since and though the sting of what he did to me hurts ever so slightly, it hasn’t consumed me.

    I realize forgiveness can be difficult and can take some time (days, years, decades), but it’s extremely liberating to forgive someone who doesn’t feel they need to be forgiven.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with forgiveness. I hope I can put this into practice better.

  29. Sue

    March 25, 2009

    Ugh, I hate drama. I genuinely like most of the women in my ward, but there are a few who are known to consistently cause drama, and I avoid them as much as I possibly can. I’m not rude, I don’t gossip about them, I don’t dislike them – I’m just wary and careful when interacting with them.

    I think I hate it more when I find out that someone doesn’t like me for an ACCURATE reason. I can handle someone who has misjudged me, because they’re just… wrong. But when someone doesn’t like me for ME? Ouch.

    I once completely lost my cool at book club, ranting and raving for a good three minutes over an issue we were all discussing. I was out of line, and I knew it, and I apologized later. A lot. But one of the women has never gotten over it. When we see each other now, she’s polite and superficially friendly, but we’ve lost the deeper friendship we had, and it makes me sad. I almost never get offended, and I forgive on a dime, so it’s hard for me to understand when people can’t let things go. ‘Can’t we all just get along,’ and all that jazz.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I too wonder why we can’t embrace one another’s differences, agree to disagree when we need to, and all get along. There is so much good in the people around us–why can’t we see it?

  30. traci

    March 25, 2009

    Ok, true confessions. I have done it too. I am on a committee for a conference. 3 of us worked on it till the last 2 weeks. One was very helpful. Then 1 week before she became unbearable, even bringing adult women to tears in front of others.
    This year it started again. Accusatory and “what if” emails. I finally sent an email to – STOP IT!, let’s not borrow trouble, and basically stated she was out of line, trying to control everyone and everything.

    Her husband died yesterday morning. She has never mentioned once about his sickness. Do I feel guilty, not really – but, to be more aware that you never know the burden that someone else is carrying. And maybe they are taking control – because they have none, elsewhere, anywhere.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      That is so sad. I do appreciate the reminder about being more aware. I’ve recognized that need people have to control something–just one thing–when the rest of their lives are spinning out of control.

  31. Heidi

    March 25, 2009

    I’m so sorry that happened to you! This is one of my greatest frustrations with social connections; why are people not more careful not to hurt others with their words? It’s such a simple rule: don’t say mean things to or about others, and yet it seems as though it’s violated so often, with such cruel results.

    I think there’s some comfort to be found in the fact that the person spoke TO you, rather than ABOUT you. That means that you may still have the chance to clarify the situation, and hopefully a person who has the sense of honor and integrity to address you personally also has the honor and integrity to not spread her misguided ideas around.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I agree with you about not saying mean things while also acknowledging that often we say things that are not at all intended to be mean but which often are heard or taken as such. Perhaps prayer can help us with both–being sensitive to others while not being quick to take offense.

  32. Melissa

    March 25, 2009

    1 Cor 13 is that beautiful chapter on charity. Verse 12 reads: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.

    Knowing and being known are equally liberating and terrifying to me. I’m grateful to think that perhaps I will be understood, but scared to learn the truth about everything I assumed.

    I have a situation with my husband’s family that is difficult to resolve. Their notion of who I am colors every word out of my mouth. It’s painful, but I’m learning how to live around it. I know that someday we will all understand (and probably cry).

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Melissa, thank you for sharing that beautiful passage. I need to put that one to memory. Best wishes to you with your inlaws, too.

  33. wendy

    March 25, 2009

    Yes–been there. And because of the person’s belief, there was nothing I could do to change her perspective. She’s forgiven me, but she still believes something very false about me. It still hurts at times.

    • wendy

      March 25, 2009

      I’m coming back to your question of how it made me feel. I can’t find enough variations of terrible to do it justice. I remember thinking thoughts like, “What kind of a person do you think I am?” and “Do I come across that horrible to you?” I bolted, too. And then the self-doubts began. After trying to resolve it with her later, and seeing there was nothing I could do to convince her of the truth, I just felt hopeless and angry.

      Painful, Dalene. Painful. Hugs to you!

      • Dalene

        March 25, 2009

        Thank you for the hugs Wendy (I was just thinking about you today)!

  34. Sue

    March 25, 2009

    It always hurts to be misunderstood. I always try to rectify the misunderstanding by addressing it directly and kindly. If that doesn’t work, I do my best to remind myself that both my Heavenly Father and I know the truth. I also tell me husband or sister about it and get what reassurance they have to offer.

    Most of the time I succeed in not letting the whole thing phase me too much. I kind of talk myself through it. But I do tend to be somewhat wary around the judgmental person from that time on, as I am a self-protective type. I’m not rude or anything. I may even still “hang out,” but I’m not likely to allow the friendship to run deeper because I don’t want my feelings hurt again.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I’m glad you have a great support group–that helps!

  35. Camille

    March 25, 2009

    I’ve been “lucky” enough that I haven’t had that problem with people from the ward or neighborhood, or I just might be oblivious. But I’ve been feeling a lot of resentment towards my spouse, in what he has said towards me about myself or through his actions. I’ve been having marital issues to overcome and have been visiting with a counselor. Last Thursday he recommended a book that I just finished today, called “The Anatomy of Peace, Resolving the Heart of Conflict”. I wish I could just summarize the book in an eloquent sentence, but I highly recommend it to anyone. The book is about “Camp Moriah” a place where parents take their “troubled” teens. While the teens are seperated from their parents to camp, the parents are taken to another room where they are taught that most of the times, our efforts to change another usually ends in failure if our hearts are a heart of conflict. Sometimes when someone intentionally or unintentionaly hurts us with words, we put ourselves in boxes and we feel justified to be hurt, which only causes pain to ourselves, and doesn’t solve real issues. What I’ve learned that even though a lot of what I have thought my husband has been doing to “ruin” our relationship by his actions or hurtful words, I have been feeling self-justified to be angry and resentful, which only hurts myself even more, and by observation I have caused a lot of problems. I have forgotten that he is Heavenly Father’s child and I too must forgive and not be “easily” offended at what he says, but by forgiving that doesn’t mean that I put myself in a position where I will be hurt again, but no resolution has occured between to people when there is bitterness on both ends. If I am to help my husband I need to be at peace with myself, and I need to be aware of what I need to change in myself before I expect others to change. In the end if I hold on to what has been said, I start feeling like a victim and I start on a path of destroying who I really am. When we choose to be upset at someone from their actions we set our hearts in conflict mode, which starts putting ourselves in a box. One of my favorite quotes from the book “For you see, every human face includes all others. This means that I spite my own face with every nose I desire to cut off. We separate from each other at our own peril.”

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Thank you for your comment, Camille. There is great power in realizing that while we may not have a choice in some of the things that happen to us, we do have a choice in how we react.

  36. izzy

    March 25, 2009

    All these comments lead me to believe this is a common occurence. It seem we have all had this happen to us, and we have all be hurt and even devastated by it. I can’t help but wonder that we also must all have done it do another person. Have we knowingly or unknowingly all falsely judged another, and caused that sister pain. The world isn’t simply divided into two groups, the just and the unjust, that line must be pretty blurred. It is easy to remember the pain these experiences bring. I just can’t help but wonder what pain I have caused another. I have never considered myself a judgmental person, but it does seem that people become worse as they age. Maybe just because you have more time on your hands to worry about others. Thanks for the post, its has helped be remember that all things happen for a reason. Keeping these memories isn’t just to open old wounds but to learn from them, and to remember I can do better.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I believe it does happen much more often than we realize. I have also learned the hard way that I sometimes things I do or say can inadvertently wound others as well. That can be even more painful to me than being wounded myself (I generally mend pretty quickly).

  37. Camille

    March 25, 2009

    I hope you don’t feel as I’ve dismissed your feelings after what I wrote, because it does hurt when situations like that happen. I just know, from my own experiences, that when I feel justified onto holding onto bitter thoughts, and I have many people tell me that I am justified in feeling that way or reacting a certain way, I become a more selfish person, my thoughts are only about myself and my situation..I guess in turn that makes me a more prideful person, because I start thinking how much better I am than my spouse (or whomever). God bless, and I hope you are able to resolve your issues in a way that your heart is still open and loving toward the person who has offended you.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      No worries Camille. Thank you for your concern.

  38. alanna

    March 25, 2009

    I almost went anonymous to confess that I have offended people. Sometimes it’s because I let my guard down too much and what pops into my head is what comes out. Other times it’s because I’m reacting to someone (or something I perceived–probably wrong).
    I know how it feels because I, like all of us, have been on the receiving end too.
    I continually try to get better and always learn from my interactions with people. Having vivid examples of when I put my foot in my mouth helps me be less sensitive when others offend me.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      You make a great point. Thank you.

  39. she-bop

    March 25, 2009

    Ouch. I’ve been on both sides of this.

    One time my sister and I confronted someone who had done terrible physical and emotional damage to my other sister. Needless to say, we were not nice. We reacted quickly and harshly to that person. A few years later I look back and realize the sister we were defending was probably as much at fault as the person we confronted. I still feel bad when I think about it. We didn’t have all the facts.

    I’ve been on the receiving end too. I have had to leave church before too. Doesn’t feel good. For some reason I have a lot more anxiety at church than anywhere else.

    Just recently I’ve dealt with wanting to pound some teens over things texted (they were too chicken to say it in person) to my daughter. It’s a hard thing – to teach your kids to forgive and FORGET.

    Can’t we all just play nice?

    Let me at ’em Dalene – my heart is aching for you.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Thanks for the love she-bop–the virtual and the real life.

  40. anon for this time

    March 25, 2009

    Sometimes it is still to painful to even bring to the surface- oh the pain from being wrongly judged. Several years ago a ward member went to the Bishop and said my son was not worthy to sit at the sacrament table. Of course the bishop had to interview him. After their interview he told my son to bless the sacrament for the next several months. There was no problem – just hurtful gossip. As others have said, nothing is worse than seeing your children hurt. I sat at the back of the chapel for weeks and wept. The bishop never shared with me who had judged my son. Maybe that was best. But it tooks weeks of my sitting in the back wondering, before I was able to put it behind me and move on.

    I learned a lot from that experience. The next time I was offended – which was bound to happen – I was better equiped to forgive and move forward. The pain was not less, but the recovery was easier. My experiences have taught me how the Savior must feel. Do I offend him when I pass judgment about those he loves? Am I generous in my willingness to forgive?

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      The pain was not less, but the recovery was easier.” There is hope in those words. And I appreciate the questions you posed at the end of your comment. Thank you.

  41. Jennifer B.

    March 25, 2009

    This post makes me wonder. . .WHY, WHY do people feel compelled to call others to repentance? I don’t think it’s ever effective. It comes across as judging and prideful–it’s destructive, not helpful. Plus, when it’s done without having all the pertinent info. and without proper perspective, it’s so painful.

    I’m sorry Dalene.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      In this particular case the person involved did have a right to try to help, just not a perfect understanding of the facts. As to why people in general try to meddle? Maybe we’re all working so hard to perfect ourselves it’s easy for that to spill over into the perfecting of everyone else, too.

  42. she-bop

    March 25, 2009

    Ok – “let me at ’em” is not a nice response. Sorry. It’s just my gut thinking before my mind can process.

  43. Kathryn

    March 25, 2009

    Clayne Robinson, a BYU music professor, wrote: “I tell my children that if I had to choose between a world in which no one ever gave offence and a world in which no one ever too offence, I would certainly choose the latter. A heaven filled with people tiptoeing around so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings sounds like hell to me. I’m not sure anything valuable would get done. But to be surrounded by people who chose never to be offended by mistakes, or miscalculations, or vigorous growing pains, or rough hewn ways, sounds like heaven indeed.”

    I like Dr. Robison’s concept of heaven. I can’t control other people, but I can choose how I respond. I’ve had many chances to choose my response to judgmental words, but I’ve also had many opportunities to be the insensitive “big mouth frog” and I’m very thankful for mortal angels (and a Heavenly Father) who quickly forgave and forgot my rough hewn ways. As I age and ripen, I hope that my ways are getting smoother, which often involves keeping my mouth shut!

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Wonderful quote. Thank you. I’m not fond of walking on eggshells, either, but I do try to be sensitive to where others are coming from. It’s interesting to try to strike a reasonable balance, isn’t it?

  44. Dovie

    March 25, 2009

    I have been hurt a few times like this. A few of the times it has been from the mouth of the same person. Three times actually (oh how we remember, remember, remember) and once from this persons spouse. They seemed to feel compelled to “say it like it is” or at least how they perceived it to be. Like it was a duty without true understanding. I have learned to take their words with a grain of salt and avoid them when I’ve forgotten to bring my salt along with me.

    I have also seen a softening and increased understanding as this same couple have had their heart wrenched by one of their older children. Not by the worst things ever, just not what they had hoped for this their beloved child. This despite all their best efforts and intentions. This experience I believe has given them increased understanding and softened their words and actions toward everyone and hopefully judgment of everyone.

    On the same note I have two grandmothers who are sweet as sugar but there are a few stories of words that came from their mouths in younger years that make my toes curl up. Words in uninformed judgment, uniformed by the love and understanding that seem to be the very essence of their beings now.

    I’ve said some things to my own sweet mother in harsh judgment in younger years that I’m sure still sear her heart to recall. I know better now. I’ve been presented a few of my own special baked slices of humble pie. Now I am not as quick to judge and speak.

    One thing the Lord has blessed me with is an awareness of when I was on the giving as well. Sometimes it has taken years to become fully aware of my words and actions. Sometimes I have come to it as the words are falling from my lips. Sometimes I am lucky enough to recognize it as the thoughts are forming in my mind. I count all three as a blessing though hard to bear at times.

    When I feel slighted (or feel to give slight) or am hurt by someones words or thoughtless actions almost reflexively now is brought to my remembrance some situation where I found myself on the giving end (sometimes without awareness of the fact) of the same sort of offense.

    When I’m writhing I say a little prayer help me see when I might have done this, caused this same hurt in someone else… It helps. It helps me forgive. It helps me to continue to love. Sometimes doesn’t happen all at once it needs to simmer a bit but consolation, peace and forgiveness do eventually arrive.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I love your mention of salt here and another way to see our choices when things like this occur comes to mind: We can choose to either rub salt in our own wounds or take it with a grain of salt. And maybe I should try my slice of humble pie with less salt next time.

  45. CatherineWO

    March 25, 2009

    I too understand the pain you feel. Because of disability, I am unable to attend church meetings regularly. Most people have seemed to be understanding of my problems, but one day last week my visiting teacher called me to tell me about a R.S. enrichment activity recently where some of the sisters were talking about me. They were wondering why I wasn’t better and when was I coming back to church. I guess some of it wasn’t very nice. Bless my V.T., who told the others that she would call me and ask their questions directly. She and I had a wonderful conversation over the phone. She was very concerned, and at the end of the conversation it was obvious that she had a better understanding of my situation and planned to pass on her new understanding to the others.

    I was so impressed that this sister came to me directly. I know her well and appreciate that she refused to be part of the gossip. I was so taken aback by the comments of these other sisters and wonder why they wouldn’t just call me themselves and ask how I was doing instead of assuming the worst of me.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Another nice segue to Part II–thank you! I love it when people make the effort to ask. That simple act can build bridges of compassion and ties that bind.

  46. Paula

    March 25, 2009

    Men punch each other or at least yell it out when there’s a confrontation. Women, on the other hand, take a more hurtful, bitter route. Remember the talk Elder Bednar gave about inactives leaving the church because someone offended them? That talk was widely discussed in our stake. I wonder what percentage of those offended people were offended by women. . . looking forward to the rest of the story.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Interesting question. Do you think women are more offensive and/or more easily offended because they are mean and/or more sensitive or because they are more verbal and possibly have more chance to offend and/or be offended?

  47. Camille

    March 25, 2009

    This has happened to me several times…probably the worst was the Sunday that I canceled my wedding a couple of hours before I was supposed to meet with my Bishop for my temple recommend interview. It wasn’t like I didn’t fast and pray about the decision and it wasn’t easy for me to do…the wedding was in two and a half weeks!

    I showed up to the interview anyway and was raked over the coals by my Bishop (who is also my uncle) for being “too picky”. He told me I would never find someone like my father and was making a terrible mistake. That I’d probably never marry and ought to see if I could get him back. It was horrible.

    And somehow, I guess because he figured I was his relative, Mrs. Bishop who likes to be the bearer of bad news, found out immediately and began spreading it all around like manure on a stubble field. With her own details and interpretations, of course. She wonders now, 12 years later, why I never tell her anything! Duh!

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      I think canceling a wedding is a very brave thing to do (and easier done before than after). I’m sorry it wasn’t taken better at the time, but I do hope you later found someone wonderful!

  48. Yeah, not my real name today

    March 25, 2009

    About 2 years before I heard the gospel my (now) mother in law called me a slut to my face when we told her we were getting married and having a baby.

    In that “conversation” she accused me of wanting to trap my fiance, told me that having a baby was not like having a doll to play with, and repeated the S*** name several times.

    All because she refused to accept he had chosen a different path to what she had planned. That took alot to get over – the gospel helped hugely.

    Of course when my son was born she was instantly smitten and spoils him relentlessly. She has never liked me, every comment is barbed, yet I ignore it to her face for sake of peace for my boys.

    Now that her son has left my sons and I, she still refuses to accept that it is all his choice despite us both telling her that repeatedly.

    Through all of my stone bruises I keep reminding myself of the passage in D&C where it says (paraphrasing) “Let you say in your heart let the Lord judge between me and thee, and judge you on your actions”. That’s my hope, that I can choose not to hate, hold on to the hurt and seethe and judge, but let it all pass on by and be judged for exactly what I meant and did. I find myself not worrying about what OTHERS will be judged on/for, because I have enough to be concerned with for myself and my boys.

    • Dalene

      March 25, 2009

      Thank you for sharing that passage of scripture. Maybe I should put together a little “prayer book” with some of these wonderful scriptures to help me through this the nex time something like this happens to me. And I wish you and your boys the very best.

  49. Dalene

    March 25, 2009

    I’ve always wanted to do that (respond to every comment individually). If I missed someone, please don’t be offended–I tried! And now I am completely tired of seeing my face in the comments and my name in the sidebar, so I bid you all farewell. Thank you for participating today. I’ve learned something from everyone!

  50. Carina

    March 25, 2009

    Editorial Note:

    The editors removed some comments from this discussion for violating the Segullah Comment Policy: no personal attacks.

    We respect differing opinions and healthy disagreements, but have zero tolerance for personal attacks. If you would like to personally attack people, may I refer you to the rest of the Internet?

    Now, let’s resume our discussion.

  51. Kay

    March 26, 2009

    Recently we had the lesson on living together in peace and harmony from the Joseph Smith manual. Our president decided that she didn’t want the usual 3rd Sunday teacher to teach it, but that it should be me as a member of the presidency. This is because we have so many issues in our ward between the sisters, some go back years and generations, some are between whole families. Not fun. There is rarely a Sunday goes by when I am not dealing with a crying sister.

    She wanted me to teach the lesson but also give out the message loud and clear that we should all try to be nicer to each other, let things go, don’t take offense, don’t gossip, don’t exaggerate, don’t lie etc. We discussed the lesson format, and I actually began the lesson by saying that we hoped noone would take offense at what would be said but that I would be saying it like it was. I said that this lesson is for everyone, if someone’s name has popped into your head now as needing to hear this then they probably do but so do you. Several sisters came to see me afterwards to say that it had changed their thinking about things.

    The sad thing was, that although the Elders quorum and High priests were having the same lesson in the same ward, we doubt they had even guessed they had a dodgy topic!!

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