I had a bit of an “incident” the other morning where I was party to some rather nasty online hate from a group of men online. I didn’t have anyone who was able to step in and help, and instead of being the bigger person, ignoring them for being the idiots they undoubtedly are and moving on I stupidly engaged which of course provided more fuel for the fire.
After I was able to get myself out of the situation I’ve spent the past few days going over what happened, wondering if there was something I could have said that would have diffused the situation or made them see my side of the story.
But all that mulling over of what happened just meant I was reliving the horrible words and feelings over and over again.
I’m not alone with this. Many of us get caught up in thinking about something that happened to us that we perceive as a slight or is embarrassing. I’m sure we’ve all been kept awake at night by something stupid we’ve said to a cashier or waiter, or a great comeback hours or even years after an argument.
We might think we’re just processing this but we’re not.
We’re back in that moment again and again, time after time with no resolution, just regrets over what “might have been”.
And this isn’t healthy. It’s emotionally and mentally draining and you can’t carry on with this way of “coping” for too long.
So, what’s the solution? Well there are a few according to an NPR article called How to stop stewing about something you’ve taken (a little too) personally.
Stop It Before It Starts
The first thing is to stop the incident before it happens. In my case I should have logged off, stepped away from my computer, unplugged my audio the minute the abuse started – any of these measure would have removed me from the situation.
In my case I was confronted by a group of trolls so there’s no point in trying to understand their motivation – they’re not there to have a good time, they’re just there to bring people down (and sad to say it worked very effectively.)
But if it’s just someone being a bit rude, maybe they’re having a bad day. Perhaps they’ve had some bad news. Taking a second to pause and try to see it from their perspective can help you frame your mental state so you’re not annoyed about the interaction so much if you think about it later.
Look At Another Angle
The second thing you can do is phrase the issue differently by looking at it “in the third person” as the article puts it. What kind of advice would you give to someone dealing with this who came to you, or if you watched it happening to someone else?
Using this different vantage point to see it from a different angle will maybe allow you to now see it from the other person’s point of view a little better.
While this won’t have stopped the incident happening, sometimes if we understand people’s motivations behind an altercation (verbal or physical) we can move on from it a lot easier.
Talk It Out
If you’re still struggling, find someone that might understand what you’re going through. This could be a family member or friend or even somewhere like the “Am I The Arsehole” subreddit – but be prepared for some home truths if you post on that one.
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved so maybe talking through it with a third party can help you work through things.
The NPR article also suggests reaching out to the person you’re not happy with and I would agree with that in certain circumstances as long as you feel mentally and emotionally strong enough to take this route.
You Have The Power
The last step according to NPR is to recognise that you are a confident person. This is just a minor setback. Look to all the things that you got through in the past, that one time you had a perfect come back in an argument, the time you stood up to the office bully.
Think about these times of strength and try and transpose them onto your current situation. While it won’t solve the fact that it happened it will give you the confidence that if it happens again (which it hopefully won’t, obviously) you’ll be better prepared to deal with it in whatever manner you feel is right.
It’s a shame I feel moved that I have to write this in 2022 after receiving hateful and misogynistic comments over a computer game just because I was a bit better than some small dick energy dudes who live in their mom’s basements but it’s been a cathartic experience, and maybe it can help one of you a bit too.
Now on to the articles you might have missed this week – enjoy (and be kind to each other although I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all to do that)