Say what you mean and mean what you say
January 5, 2014 5:27 PM Subscribe
The things that come out of my mouth sometimes baffle me. Why do I do this?
posted by chainsofreedom to Human Relations (14 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I have recently noticed that my words do not match up with my thoughts. I will often make comments about myself that intellectually I know to be false. For example, the other day I had an important work meeting, so I spent extra time on my morning routine and dressed nicely. Later on, when I saw my boyfriend, he complimented me and I responded, "Yeah, I prettied myself up today." He responded, "You're always pretty!" And I rolled my eyes and made a dismissive comment. Why did I do that? Objectively I know that I am not a hag. In fact, I look pretty good. But I can't stop myself from dismissing comments like that.
Another example is at work. I often joke with my colleagues about how "lazy" I am and how I "procrastinated" on grading or lesson planning. But I know that this is not the case - I actually work quite hard and am better prepared than most of my coworkers. I just seem to say things, with a completely straight face, that go against what I know to be true about myself.
This can also happen in reverse - when I do say things that are true but my affect contradicts reality. Last night I wanted to ask my boyfriend for something specific in bed. I knew that he would not only be happy to do it, he would be thrilled that I was asking him - being open and trusting in our relationship. But it took me, no joke, a good 10 minutes to get the words out and I stuttered the entire time. I think I even said, "if you don't mind", which has gotta be the least sexy phrase ever. Why was that so difficult for me? He reacted just like I thought he would, and a good time was had by all, although later he said he thought I was going to hyperventilate when I was asking him. But I didn't FEEL anxious or panicked at all!
I know I have self-esteem issues that I am working on, but I feel I have reached a point in my therapy where I recognize that what I'm saying or conveying with my affect is false, but I still keep saying it. Why do I still do it and how can I stop? Will the old rubber-band-aversion-snap help here?