I have learned that people may act in confusing and hurtful ways. Here are some ‘small’ confusing things I have experienced that hurt me more than you might imagine…

(1) Invited to Get in Touch – Then Blanked – One day I was walking my mum’s dog when an old family friend stopped me in the street. When I was a child we used to go on holiday together. She seemed really happy to see me and asked to swap numbers so we could meet for a coffee one day soon. When I got in touch with her she replied to my text message saying she was going away for a short trip but would be back soon and we could meet then. After about 2 weeks I contacted her again by leaving a message on her phone. I thought perhaps there was a problem with her phone and she might not have see my message because I got no response from her. A few days later I sent an email which also got no response. I felt like I had done something wrong.

(2) They Don’t Even Remember Your Name – I have been hurt because I was not remembered by a person whom I thought would surely know me. I had already met my boyfriend’s sister numerous times, even played with her children and eaten dinner in her home on previous occasions, when she greeted me one time by saying ‘What’s your name?’ I was rendered speechless and thought that I misunderstood due to the language barrier. Wow! I had not misunderstood; she brazenly didn’t know my name despite the many previous meetings between us before. I felt insignificant and unwanted.

(3) ‘Your Secret Is Safe with Me’ – When I was at school about the age of 13 I went through this phase of talking a lot on the phone in the evenings. One of the ‘friends’ I used to talk to was a boy I liked. One night when we were chatting he begged and begged and begged me to tell him some personal information i.e. a secret. He swore he wouldn’t tell anyone. When I went to school the next day I quickly found out that my secret had already been spread around the school. I felt betrayed.

(4) ‘You’re My Girl’: Ignore, Ignore – I used to be trapped in this pattern of dating guys who ignored me. When they knew I liked them, they would disappear in a puff of smoke. When I stopped feeling confused and hurt by their disappearance off of the face of the planet, they would come creeping back out of the woodwork again. The cycle would repeat. I felt like there must be something wrong with me.

(5) ‘Let’s Work Together; No I Won’t Help You’ – I was very close to doing a lot of work with a person I trusted when I asked of him a tiny favour which was to ‘like’ or leave a comment on one of my videos. I said the comment could even be a comment disagreeing with the content of the video; what was actually said in the comment didn’t matter to me. The person refused the favour I asked (despite me having done my own share of favours for the said person). I was shocked by this refusal as I had mistakenly thought that we were collaborators operating by the principle of helping each other grow. I felt naive.

(6) ‘Help Me with My Research; You Are Possessed!’ –  I did some link sharing with an author on her website (link sharing is when you put a reference to them on your website and they do the same in return). We got to know each other a bit as online contacts through this process. At first she was really warm and friendly towards me, even asking me to help her out with her research by writing up a personal story of mine. I wrote the story for her as she requested and then following that I was not in contact with her again for a couple of months. One day she popped into my mind so I sent her a short, chatty email because I wanted us to stay in touch as online contacts. I was completely shocked by her reply email: she wrote saying how my writing is of very low quality in comparison to hers and how she is just letting me know that one of her followers thinks I am possessed by malevolent spirits. Of course, she doesn’t think I am possessed but she thought I ought to know that and seek help. I felt misunderstood and attacked.

What I Learned From These Things – I have learnt that being hurt and confused by the actions of people is a fact of life. When it happens, it seems to happen as if out of nowhere, so it isn’t really something we can hide from or avoid by seclusion in the cave. Sometimes it does seem that people intentionally set out to hurt us (I wish it were not the case, but it seems so). There are people who would seem to operate solely from a position of their advantage and they will push and manipulate to get what it is that they want. I hope that I am getting better at identifying this kind of attitude and I hope in the future to stay open despite the confusing and hurtful things that happen. I don’t think these things can be avoided, but we can become more resilient to the hard knocks of life.