Recently I read something that really hit me like a lightning bolt (in a good way): it was from Dr. Nicole LePera who is on Facebook and Twitter as The Holistic Psychologist: it was from a Facebook post she did about how to undo ‘Good Girl’ conditioning, and this was the lightning bolt:
“I’m not looking for any feedback right now.” (link to Facebook post here)
This hit me so hard because all my life I have felt like I have been the recipient of so much unsolicited, unwanted, and unnecessary feedback. I’ve had so much of my life, so many of my decisions, and most of all, so many of my failing and short-comings questioned and judged that I felt like nothing I ever did was good enough for anyone. That even my silence wasn’t good enough, nor was striving so hard to be a ‘good girl’ ever good enough for anyone either. And yes, I have asked myself why I’ve been on the receiving end of all this bullshit.
The answer to that question is a bit complicated but I think a lot of it has to do with my late father. When it came to me, my father was divided over how I was to be and live my life. On one hand, he told me I could do anything I put my mind to. Then on the other hand, he told me I couldn’t do this or that because it was too this or that. When it came to me, he had a protective streak that was ten miles wide and fifty miles across, and that made it visible to everyone else around me. And that’s where I think a lot of people got the idea that I needed damn near constant feedback and to be ‘protected’ and held back from doing so many ‘normal’ things. And just the thought of me wanting to do push back against that charged the situation around me to an emotional high it should NEVER have been at.
But here’s the thing: when the shit came down I was left alone to deal with it. I think because I had retreated into silence, into massive appeasement, and into trying to be the ‘good girl’ I thought everybody wanted me to be, I was left alone to deal with my thoughts and feelings. In turn, this silence made me look like a cold, unemotional bitch when I was anything but. This in turn led people to lash out at me when I wasn’t at their fucking beck-and-call, or when I tried to push back against their selfish shit. And worst of all, all of this isolation and bullshit-spewing was directed at me as ‘feedback’.
Over the last six years I’ve learned one big thing about myself: I don’t like being told what to do by people who haven’t done what I’ve done (or what I do now), or who think they have the right to tell me how to think and feel. If you have knowledge or experience that will help, offer it as such. If you don’t want to deal with someone’s thoughts or feelings, shut the fuck up and walk away. And most of all, don’t EVER think that because someone is closed-off and silent they’re cold and unemotional. People who are cold and unemotional don’t hide that at all- they just spew their bullshit at every opportunity. And I’m not here on this Earth to deal with that kind of shit from anyone.
So from this point forward, if someone does decide to try and offer me some unsolicited and unnecessary feedback I will say this: “I’m not looking for feedback right now.” That’s the polite response and I hope it works. But if it doesn’t I’ll probably resort to just a plain ‘fuck off’ instead.
I’m a middle-aged bitch who has lived on her own for close to twenty years and in those years I haven’t been arrested, assaulted, had my place broken into, or my heart broken so I think I have some pretty good basic life skills. Yes, I’ve lost things along the way but they’re just things. And getting unnecessary feedback about those lost things won’t bring them back nor help me out in any way so I’m not going to let anyone spew that feedback-bullshit to me.
For me, this isn’t so much about setting a boundary. It’s about keeping people off my ass but not through silence like I used to. I don’t know if I’ll get the opportunity to say this in person, but I hope I do. I hope I can find the strength and the courage to stand up to unsolicited and unnecessary feedback once and for all.
And despite what my late father might have thought about me, I don’t need anyone to be over-protective of me. Being over-protective of anyone is wrong and does more damage than anyone realizes. It’s something I’m learning how to deal with and yes, that’ll be a good chunk of the book, too.