No matter how good of a person you are, and how much you do for people, there will always be someone who perceives you, and your point of view, negatively. Even if you do everything you can to look at things objectively and offer calm, viable solutions to problems or issues, if it doesn’t fit their narrative, they won’t listen. Even if you carefully live your life and watch every step to make sure you follow what’s deemed acceptable by society, there will always be someone who will create their own image of you to make themselves look better. Even if you try to make things as fair as you possibly can, and offer the ability to discuss and negotiate situations, they will not always care to listen or offer the same respect that you offer them.
I spent a lot of years caring about what other people think, and living my life to maintain my image. Openly stepping outside of the comfort zone of what’s viewed as ‘acceptable’ by society would cause incredible amounts of anxiety and panic. This worsened when I became a mother, as I mentioned in my post about how I refuse to sacrifice my life to parenting.
When I left one of my past partners due to an extended period of emotional abuse, I had lost almost all of my confidence. They became vindictive and attempted to pit everyone we knew against me by manipulating stories to make it seem as though they were the victim. It used to bother me so much, and they knew it, which made it worse. They created an image of me, from small pieces of scattered information, to make it seem as though I was something that I’m not. Communicating and clarifying the actual situation to my ex partner, or defending myself, never made a difference. Every time I would try, they would cut me off and claim that it wasn’t worth an explanation. The accurate telling of events would only make it more difficult for them to be angry. It would only hinder their ability to spin the story how they wanted to tell it.
After multiple attempts to maintain and protect my image, and attaining the same result, I started to question why. Why was I trying to defend myself to someone who was clearly so unhappy with their own life that they’re trying to destroy everyone else’s perception of me? Why do I care so much? Explaining the truth won’t make a difference because they don’t want to hear it. I know I’m a good person with the best intentions. I know that I’m capable of empathy and understanding. I know that I can acknowledge my flaws, and apologize when I’m wrong. The important people in my life know this as well. So why do I need to try so hard to impress those that choose not to believe these things?
The answer? I don’t. I’ve learned to live my life for me, and that I’m not responsible for other people’s perception of me. Whether I live life to the epitome of perfection, or I live it the way I want to, they will always have something negative to say, and that’s on them. How they talk to, and about me, is a reflection of them. How I react is a reflection of me.
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