On Mental Health

Focusing On The Future Instead Of The Past When Feelings Are Hurt

I slept better last night although I was awaken by Sweetie yelping which she sometimes does if she bumps something wrong or moves in a way that hurts. It’s not THAT often, maybe once or twice a week we hear her YELP! out of the blue. That’s another thing we’re monitoring on her, how often does that happen? But then she greeted me with a wagging tail when I woke up to let her outside. She has bad days, or bad stretches of days, but the “bad” seems to change over time. Like – I think what I’m calling a “good” day, I used to call a “bad” day. Yesterday felt good even though her face was swollen again, I was able to get her to eat some dog food and cheese treats and we had a few tail wags. But there was a time if that’s ALL she ate and if we ONLY had “a few” tail wags, that would have been point of concern.

I told Donnie, “I’m not sure I can make the decision this time. I have with all 4 other pets, I’m not sure I can do it with Sweetie.” But he just doesn’t feel like it’s time yet either. Yesterday felt too “good” even though her swelling is worse.

Jeezus, this has become a Daily Dog Hospice blog, hasn’t it?

Let’s talk about something else.

I have therapy today and it’s funny, I often feel this incredible need to fix myself up for therapy days. Dress nice, wear makeup, shower…the whole shebang. But I’m not sure that’s healthy. I’m sitting her this morning thinking about how I just want to show up in my pajamas and curl up on the couch and ask her to just let me rant for a little bit in my comfy clothes. I’ve never done that before, she’d probably be alarmed.

So, my challenge/discussion topic for today (I know, it took me awhile to get here) is this: HURT FEELINGS AND ENSUING DEFENSIVENESS. It’s a tricky thing to navigate. First of all, it only happens if you try to encourage openness in your relationships which I do because I think – in the end – it’s better for everyone professionally and personally. But often it becomes, “I am disappointed by your actions in this way…” and my feelings get hurt and I get defensive and lately I’ve been trying to curb that response. I can’t undo the disappointment. Sometimes I can explain myself a little that EASES the disappointment, but the initial wave of disappointment has already passed and my defensiveness doesn’t erase that.

I’m trying to be more Zen about it. I’m trying to let it sink in and instead of defending myself, trying to make the approach to change it so in the future, the disappointment won’t be there. I recently learned someone has taken a lot of things I’ve done really personally and while my first response was: DEFEND MYSELF AT ALL COSTS! I AM NOT THIS TERRIBLE PERSON! I instead thought about how, if my foundation for love for this person had been stronger, they wouldn’t get their feelings hurt as easily because they would know I love them and that would be the root of all of my actions. So, my goal was to NOT get defensive and defend myself and INSTEAD shift the focus on re-establishing my foundation of love for that person. That way, when incidents occur in the future they would think, “Well, I could be disappointed in Kim’s actions but I know she loves me truly so I’m going to just assume what she did/said was not meant to be personal towards me.”

But it’s hard because every time I’ve found out I’ve disappointed someone (which I have a lot lately, it seems) my heart aches. I want to defend myself and make it right and it’s hard to convince myself that defending myself can’t make it right. And sometimes my actions are unintentionally shitty. I don’t hide my awkwardness or my bad social decision making. I do a lot of stupid stuff that is only stupid in retrospect. So it’s better when someone calls me out on that to say, “Yes. I see how you could see it that way,” to validate their hurt (because that’s all we really want, is to have our hurt validated) but then focus on the FUTURE and how I can preserve relationships with those conflicts.


2 thoughts on “Focusing On The Future Instead Of The Past When Feelings Are Hurt”

  1. This post made me pause. I don’t think I’ve had conflict in my relationships like that since I was in my early twenties, 20 years ago. Rather than consider this a good thing, it made me really think about whether, besides my spouse, I even have any truly close/open relationships in my adult life. No one to tell me, “This is a thing you could work on.” Sorry, not really a cheerful comment. Also, you’ve been in my deepest atheist thoughts for days because of your sweet Sweetie.

  2. Yay for therapy days! Mine was today, too. Funny you should talk about defensiveness. I’ve been called defensive a lot (mostly by one particular person), and I was talking about this today with my counselor. I tend to see it as just explaining something, but the other person says I’m being defensive. It may be that I was feeling attacked or judged, and an explanation was my way to alleviate whatever negative feeling the other person had toward me. I do not have that foundation of love you talked about with that person, though; perhaps I wouldn’t feel the need to explain if I thought they really liked/loved me.

    I dunno… I just find it an interesting coincidence that we were both talking/thinking about this today.

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