Recently, a member in the A Weigh Out Empowerment Forum posted a great question about how to deal with hurtful comments. Since this effects so many of us, I wanted to share my response here, as well.
In my experience, it’s never easy to be the recipient of somone else’s negative comment. But here’s what I do these days when I’m feeling hurt by something someone else said.
1. When I start to feel hurt, I step back in my own mind and ask myself if it’s possible that I’m distorting the facts of the situation to fit how I happen to feel about the situation. Is it possible I’m over reacting? Was it really meant to be hurtful or am I just feeling particularly vulnerable today? Then, I have a better shot at adjusting my reaction accordingly.
2. I ask myself…what meaning am I giving to the person’s comment? Even if I decide they meant to be hurtful, just because they said it, does it have to have impact and ruin my day…or even be important to me…or be true…just because they said it? And what if what they said might be true? Can I “neutralize” the impact of the comment long enough to consider if it is something I’d like to address or change about myself…for me? (Not the other person.) Can I shift this particular comment to being useful to me vs. hurtful?
3. All too often, a person makes a comment and then they get on with their day. But we obsess about what they said and make it MUCH bigger. This is something we can learn to stop, by becoming more mindful of this self-defeating and painful habit.
4. Would it be helpful to use your voice here. Speak up and, matter of factly (not accusingly), tell the other person that you felt hurt by what they said. Say you’d like to check it out with them. Ask if they’d be willing to talk it through with you. BTW…this will work with some poeple…others might feel threatened by it, no matter how effectively you use your voice to start such a discussion.
A note…research has shown that people with binge eating disorder tend to have “higher interpersonal sensitivity” than the population, in general. This might explain, in part, why people with emotional and binge eating issues often feel so vulnerable to what other people say.
And one more note…sometimes people can just be plain rude!
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in emotional and binge eating issues. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org