(Poor wittle ducky…)
I don’t know about you, but I can TOTALLY relate with that duck. Been there, done that, did not, however, buy the t-shirt. (I mean, seriously, who wants a souvenir from that crap?)
You feel me?
Well, check out this fascinating excerpt from an article about ostracism that I happened to stumble across:
“Being excluded or ostracized is an invisible form of bullying that doesn’t leave bruises, and therefore we often underestimate its impact….Being excluded by high school friends, office colleagues, or even spouses or family members can be excruciating…When a person is ostracized, the brain’s dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which registers physical pain, also feels this social injury.”
– Kipling D. Williams, a professor of psychological sciences
Well, how about that. Being left out or excluded or…the word I absolutely despise…IGNORED, can actually cause physical damage. It makes your ‘dorsal anterior blah-blah-blah’ hurt. Seriously – it makes you feel like you are experiencing pain. Real, legit pain. And further in the article is another observation by Dr. Williams that I think is an even more interesting tidbit. After a study of 5,000 participants, it was noted that:
“The effect [of ostracism] is consistent even though individuals’ personalities vary.”
Well, there ya go.
If you’re like me, being ignored can make you feel like you are a Class A bona fide crazy person. You probably feel like there is something wrong with you – that you’re weak or needy or clingy – and that must be why it’s bothering you so much. Well, guess what? You’re not. No matter what kind of person you are – whether you are tough as nails or cry at infomercials – your brain is still going to have the exact same physical reaction to having someone turn their back on you as the next guy. You’re not a freak. You’re HUMAN.
So, stop feeling so bad about yourself.
And hey – if you’re reading this and you’ve never experienced this? Then maybe you need to ask yourself if you’re the giver of this kind of the treatment rather than the recipient. And check this out. I’ve got news for you, too.
It works both ways.
“[To] exclude another person leads most people to feel shame and guilt, along with a diminished sense of autonomy, explains Nicole Legate, lead author of the Psychological Science paper and a doctoral candidate at the University of Rochester. The results also showed that inflicting social pain makes people feel less connected to others. “We are social animals at heart,” says Legate. “We typically are empathetic and avoid harming others unless we feel threatened.”
– From Science Daily (Read full article here.)
So, let’s cut all the scientific mumbo jumbo down into layman’s terms, shall we?
Stop that shit. It hurts.
There. Seems pretty darn simple, doesn’t it?
Seriously. Stop it. No one wins. Don’t you see that? Analyze why you’re doing what you’re doing and find another way. Is it a family problem that you’re avoiding facing because of the discomfort? Well, stop it. Find out what it is that makes you uncomfortable and tell them so. Start there and see where it goes. Is it a friend that you don’t want to be friends with anymore so you just ignore them rather than telling them so? Well, stop it. You’re hurting both yourself and them even worse by just ignoring them. If the friendship isn’t working, say so. Is it a relationship you don’t want to be in anymore? Same idea. Stop it. The pain inflicted by ignoring someone far exceeds the pain from knowing the truth. Do you both a favor and stop playing games. Life is just too short for that junk.
And hey – is it maybe that it’s just a little time and space that you’re needing to sort things out? Well, here’s a wild and crazy thought. SAY SO.
(I know, right? I’m a psychological genius.)
Nothing is more painful than feeling like you’re unimportant and forgotten. No, I don’t have an article to post or a resource to quote to back up that statement. It’s just a Melissa-ism. And it’s 100% accurate. Why am I so sure about that? Because I say so. That’s why. (See above psychological genius reference.)
Good grief, people. This life is hard. It’s so tough to figure out how to interact with all of these fellow human beings that float around us at any given time. We’re such a beautiful, assorted, mixed array of personalities that it’s amazing that we are able to co-exist at all. But we do. And we can. And we sure can make it a lot easier to do if we just learn who we are, what we want, and stop the passive aggressive B.S. As John Meyer puts it, “Say what you need to say.” Do it. Just say it. If they don’t understand, then fine. That’s their problem. But do your part and don’t be a bully.
Is that really so much to ask?
And back to you receivers. If you find yourself feeling like the little ducky in the picture, just allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Don’t make yourself feel worse by trying to stifle it or by telling yourself you’re weak or that you need to be tougher or stronger. You’re going through pain. And pain hurts. It’s ok. It’s life. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just a human being. Just like me. Just like everyone else around you. And, most importantly, just like the person who is ignoring you. (The big ole jerkface….)
Hang in there, my friends.
If we could all just do our part to get along with each other, this world sure would be a nicer place, don’t ya think?
Hey, a girl can dream…
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help other. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”