Misunderstood…or Complicated?

Recently I had a discussion with a friend about things people have said about us that just doesn’t make sense. In her case, an ex accused her of hating fun! Which was not only strange, but absolutely ridiculous. Who hates fun?! Anyone?

This probably happens to a lot of people. Sometimes it’s laughable and easily dismissed. Other times it’s insulting.

In my case, I’m a pretty calm person. I’m also rarely offended and I have almost NO ego connected to anything. I think most of the people I know would consider me to be a pretty easy-going, agreeable, and nice person. Yes, I have an opinion and I’m not afraid to share it; however, I am ecstatic to hear what other people think about a situation, too. I don’t by any means think my opinion is THE WAY to think, and I don’t try to shove my opinion in anyone’s face.

With that said, there are times when I get accused of being the opposite of what I consider myself to be. And it is absolutely BAFFLING to me. If it’s from someone who doesn’t know me well, I usually just shrug it off. Or laugh because ME? Really?

But sometimes it comes from someone I know. And I wonder what the hell I did wrong and why sometimes the history of our relationship can easily disappear in an instant. How suddenly someone I know and trust can think I am:

  • Judgmental
  • Intimidating
  • Overly feminist
  • Controlling or passive aggressive
  • Paranoid
  • Exaggerating or straight out lying
  • Pessimistic or trying to ruin others’ fun

And if you think I *am* any of the above – why keep me around? Why not drop me like a hot potato? Do yourself a favor and stay away if you think I am (or anyone else is) toxic!

Sometimes my words get twisted. I once stated that I like to live in towns that have malls (to me – that implies a certain size and level of civilization). To my ex-husband, this became “Crystal loves malls and consumer culture.” Nevermind the fact that it was rare for me to step foot in one and shopping has never been on my list of things to do for fun. Ever. Suddenly I grew horns and years of history were erased because I didn’t condemn malls like he did.

Not too long ago I said that I didn’t like the show Mike & Molly, and the response was, “Is it because you don’t like fat people?” Uhhhh, whaaaat? Why in the world would you think that? Actually, I just don’t particularly care for most sitcoms. I wasn’t a Friends fan, either! It’s just not something that tickles my particular funny bone. Do YOU hate fat people? ‘Cause now I have to wonder about you!

And then there was the time that a longtime friend thought I hated homosexuals because I had once said I’m not interested in getting busy with lady parts. Again, what the hell? Somehow my interest and preference for males was viewed as anti-gay just because I didn’t share a passion for lady parts? So if I were to say that I’d much prefer chocolate over vanilla, does that mean I think vanilla is the devil and should be banned and everyone who likes vanilla is the devil?

‘Cause whoa! That’s some deep shit right there. And I should maybe not speak ever again if that’s true.

I’m an introspective kind of gal, so when these things happen I immediately wonder what I’m doing wrong. How is it that people who should know me quite well could even for a moment consider that these things might be my point of view? And if I’m NOT doing something wrong, am I invisible? Am I speaking a different language?

Does that word not mean what I think it means??

I try to think of it from the other person’s point of view. Like, it probably has very little to do with me and more to do with that person – either their own feelings on the subject or a generalization they’ve made. But generally these situations arise around people with whom I mostly communicate just fine. That that doesn’t lead me to a clear answer, either.

I just don’t know why this happens. I just really want everyone to know that my opinion has nothing to do with the validity of yours. It’s okay to disagree – different points of view, different experiences and conclusions, are a huge part what makes life interesting! At least to me. If you want only people who have the same views as you do in your life, I give you a free pass to walk away from me right now – no explanation necessary. I’m not that kind of friend and I know it. I accept the consequences of not being a Yes Man.

Readers, what are your thoughts? Is there something in particular at the heart of misunderstandings? Is it just too common for people to look for the worst in others and mind-read? Am I seriously bad at communication?

9 thoughts on “Misunderstood…or Complicated?”

  1. I don’t expect this comment will be published as the last time I left a comment on one of your posts it was deleted (and it was nothing more than a respectful question, not even a difference of opinion), but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

    I call BULLSHIT on this post. You were very judgmental and passive-aggressive in a situation involving me – CONVINCED that you knew the truth when, in reality, you didn’t. You never had the courage to confront me directly, but rather made accusations, unfollowed me on twitter, banned me from leaving comments on your posts – posts that had nothing to do with your assumption of truth.

    I don’t think – in my case – you actions were misunderstood or complicated, I think they just were what they were, and they spoke VOLUMES about the kind of person you are … or at least were at that time.


    1. Thanks for rewriting history! Actually, I was very direct about speaking with you. I asked you questions (because I don’t know the truth!) and voiced my opinion about your actions. That’s not passive aggressive. Aggressive? Possibly – but not passive in the least.

      I also didn’t ban you from anything – this comment was published automatically. I unfollowed you because we aren’t friends and clearly do not get along. The end. I’m not quite sure why you are even reading my blog.

      1. I still have your blog in my reader because I care about you and your family. I follow blogs that interest me, and yours always has. I enjoy your writing and learn from your story.

        The rest of this? I’m not going to come to your cyber home and argue. I think this post brings up an excellent topic – just one we feel differently about.

  2. sadly, when someone has a completely WRONG impression of me, it isn’t about me at all and there is nothing I can do to correct it. Sometimes, it really isn’t about me; it is about the person with the wrong impression.

  3. Sometimes you read my mind! I am still struggling with that friend who hurt me months ago. What she confronted me about was 10% truth, and 90% her own sensitivities. I put so much of it on myself, but I’ve had several people tell me I’m crazy to do so. It’s hard to get out of my head, because I hate the thought of someone I care about believing that I would be hurtful on purpose.

    Anyone who would believe those things are part of your personality just doesn’t know you. Having known you in real life for 12+ years (whoa!), I can say with confidence that you are a kick-ass person. We’ve had our disagreements, but I know there’s not a mean bone in your body.

    1. That chick was completely wrong about you.

      And here’s the thing – and this applies to you and me – there might be occasions when these things might be true about us but it doesn’t describe who we *are.* I certainly judge others at times but it’s pretty infrequent; 99% of the time I’m giving others credit when most other people wouldn’t.

      These things are confusing because they are based on a piece of truth taken out of context, I think.

      Thanks, lady!

  4. I hate when that happens. I have been there, I have experienced that misjudgement (is that even a word?), and not been given the chance to address what was being judged at all. It sucks. It makes no sense and I think when someone thinks you can possibly do such things that it is not even worth it to fight that battle. Underestimation of me and who I am is their issue, not mine. True ‘dat.

  5. Well, I know from experience that it is possible to be a generally-awesome person, and be misinterpreted, and thought to be less than awesome. *shrug* Sometimes it may be about you, sometimes it’s about them, sometimes it is something else. Just gotta keep movin’ on. 😉

  6. I’ve had this happen to me. I think that a lot of times it is a reflection of how the other person feels. To use an example from my life, there is a person who always goes to the “you hate me” place for any disagreement (even the small ones) and I have begun to think that what they actually mean is, “I hate you.” I could be wrong. But it fits.

    Whatever the reasoning is, it sucks. You are not a judgmental, lying, intimidating (seriously? intimidating?), fun-hater. Not at all.

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