October 19, 2016

misunderstoodOh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.

Have you ever felt misunderstood?

Have you ever felt “how could someone I have known so well and so long NOT know my heart? How could they get it so wrong?”

We’ve all been there and I’m no different. Most of us have been hurt by people dear to us who took offense when none was intended. Was discussing a situation like that recently with my gay husband. Talking about someone no longer in my life, I said that I don’t miss the relationship–or non-relationship, in this case–as much as I am bothered by the misunderstanding of who I am from someone who has known me a very long time.

He shared the following wisdom:

Long ago I stopped owning the way others interpret me. How they view me, what they see? It may have no resemblance to the reality of me as I know it and as I think they should know it, from all the evidence, my behavior.  But that’s their issue, not mine.

Isn’t it true that our default position is usually “what did I do?” when really, the issue probably has more to do with them than with us? Perhaps a little reframing is called for.

I’ve noticed someone I know slowly disappear from my real and online life. She may think I don’t notice, but I do.  I examined our friendship from every angle and the only conclusion I could draw is that there’s stuff going on with her and she needs to withdraw. It happens. And with that I send her on her way with love and light.

It’s human nature to care about how others see us. We want them to see our hearts, our intentions. Sometimes they can’t. And sometimes they do, but there are other reasons for their behavior. It’s not about us at all.

That might be something to consider when our tender hearts are feeling misunderstood.




50 comments on “Misunderstood
  1. Such a great song!!
    A number of years ago a friend disappeared; she came back but is distancing herself from me again. It does hurt and I’ve been direct about it with her–querying to get some understanding for myself and to tell her that our friendship matters. It was a useful clarification because she shared all the thing that are going on for her. As your ex says, it’s often about them not us.
    And, in some cases we do change, our needs, our vision of life…and what worked once no longer serves one or both parties!
    Thanks for this one.

  2. I do know that feeling. Very well. When you communicate on a day to day basis in three different languages, you get misunderstood a lot. By people who know you so well that they should know better. I do try to keep in mind that the problem might be theirs, not mine. And I do keep in mind that we are from different culture. So I just ask them what the problem is. This time. Especially when the person in question is the one I am married to.

  3. Leanne says:

    I used to get tied up in a knot when friends drifted away, now I accept it as part of the cycle of life – there seems to be a variety of friend who comes and then disappears for whatever reason they choose at the time – my heart doesn’t want to get squashed by that any more so I’m with you – love, light and toodle loo!

  4. Carla says:

    After reading this I wonder if I’ve swung too far in the other direction with this. Of course when I was much much younger I was egocentric and thought everything absolutely had to do with me 🙂
    Now when someone disappears from my life or we are no longer as close – – I’m still sad but I do it quite differently.
    I realize that they view me through their life experience. How they seem he is a reflection of who they are as well. And who else I might remind them of etc. I feel like I’m not articulating this well – – but it’s been both a release and a relief.

  5. I think your gay husband is brilliant and my gay husband could really use those words, can’t wait to share with him.
    I’ve been feeling misunderstood an awful lot lately and it is helping me to understand who really sees what’s in my heart and why and I’m blessed to have them, differences and all.
    Life would be so boring if we all thought the same way.
    That song will be in my head all day:)

  6. PatU says:

    I’m liking this essay a lot.

  7. Carol Graham says:

    As I get older it seems like these situations don’t affect me as much. They still hurt, but just for a moment. Being misunderstood or losing friends is part of the cycle of life. I have learned not to take it personally — and it doesn’t take long to get over it now.

  8. Candy says:

    Stuff like this doesn’t even register anymore. Maybe age has something to do with it

  9. Kim Tackett says:

    It’s interesting to ponder…my two real life friends…those whom I spend the most time with, have no interest in my blogging or writing. They know I do it…but they don’t read it. I used to be offended…but now I choose to believe they just see other sides of me. Well, that’s not true, I am still a little offended. But I imagine a counter balance with other friends who don’t know me in real life, and read everything I write! xo

    • I know. There are quite a few of my friends who do not read my stuff, either. I, of course, would read theirs. But then again, that’s what I THINK. But they don’t blog so I don’t know. Which reminds me we are overdue for a meetup.

  10. T.O. Weller says:

    Carol, beautifully said!

    I’ve come to understand that we all travel through each other’s lives. We can’t lay claim to anyone, and they can’t lay claim to us. It’s like that old saying: “Some people come into our lives for a reason, some for a season, and some for a lifetime.”

    Sometimes I still get all caught up in trying to understand why someone is gone or changed, or what I did to offend or to cause a seeming misunderstanding. But when I do that, I’m just creating a drama that is rarely “real” to anyone but myself — a drama that, in turn, becomes the source of my hurt feelings.

    Lately, I’ve been the one to withdraw from some situations for many, many reasons — all my own — so I can say now, more than ever, that it really is about the person doing the withdrawal, rather than the one being withdrawn from.

    Maybe it comes down to expectations, for everyone involved. Maybe, rather than seeing someone as “leaving us”, we should see that they’re simply continuing onward where they need to go to do what they came here to do. Offer gratitude for what has been enjoyed/shared/learned, and blessings for their road ahead.

    It’s not personal — it’s the journey. And we’re all on it.

  11. Reframing is exactly the right word! I love midlife….I wish I could have felt this way 20 years ago.

  12. Debbie D. says:

    This struck a chord as I was wondering exactly “what did I do?” when I found out a long-time internet friend had blocked me on Facebook. You’re right. It’s their issue, not mine. Thanks for the reminder. “Reframing” is the perfect word!

  13. Debbie Denny says:

    It is sad when someone removes their self from your life. The quote is real good and I like that song.

  14. Tayè says:

    I feel like maybe this was written for me, today! (Also, love that song.)

    Throughout the day, I give freely of myself because I feel like that’s what I should do. It’s how I try to effect change. But when I am feeling empty or my spirits are low and I can’t find that spark to push through, I often wonder why I’m not met with the grace I give others.

    Like you, I have stopped owning it. I am more than the sum of others’ opinions.

    Thanks for this beautiful post. I have bookmarked it and will probably reread it a few times.

  15. Christina says:

    I think this is such a universal problem. We are misunderstood, we question ourselves, they question us and it keeps evolving. I love your gay husband’s advice, and Im going to try to remember, it’s on them.

  16. sue says:

    For many years I craved friendships and worried when they didn’t last forever. Now I know that friendship comes in many forms – long term, those that are short but so worth it and those who you wish you could have kept but lost for some reason. My circle of friends is small but quality and I value the friendships I’ve had at different times of my life when the time was right for that friend. I like your idea of ‘reframing’ as yes, I’m the one who usually says ‘What did I do wrong?’

  17. Amber Myers says:

    This is a great post. I think we are all misunderstood now and again.

  18. Learning that some people are just meant to be in my life for a season. Learning not to take it so personal when they step away…still learning, though.

  19. Great post, Carol. I have come to terms, for the most part, with the presence and lack of presence of certain friends in my life. For some, I’m sad and for others, not at all. They and I have our reasons for not making time for each other, and some of it is because we’re simply too busy and frazzled and stressed and (fill in the blank). Sometimes it’s because we don’t have room for the negatives we perceive they possess and thus let the friendship fade away. I’ve done this numerous times. I still care about them, and I hope they still care about me, but I choose to not make space sometimes. I guess we are all passing through, and those relationships that mean the most to us are the ones we will work for, make time for, do anything for. The older I get, the wiser I am at knowing the difference and how much energy it deserves. Or maybe I’m just getting crotchety. 😉

  20. I enjoy the freedom today of accepting that it is okay if people don’t understand me or my actions and likewise I can give them the same freedom. I haven’t always been like this. For years I tortured myself trying to explain and understand things until I was exhausted. The thing is, other people really don’t think about me that much. Humbling but also freeing.

  21. Lee gaitan says:

    I do like to clear up any misunderstanding, but if it’s just a drifting apart, I just have to let it go even when I wish it were different.

  22. I can relate how it feels when being understood especially someone closed to me before. I would feel very annoyed and agitated but that feeling doesn’t seems to bother me anymore now.Nicely written post!

  23. First I love that you have a gay husband, I need one of those. 🙂 <3 I have definitely felt this feeling before, you really eloquently described it here.

  24. Ashlea says:

    I am misunderstood a lot. I just word things differently that if you don’t know me you will read it wrong.

  25. chei says:

    This is a great post. I feel the same way too.

  26. Kimberly C. says:

    Love this. I am often misunderstood. Open communication can help a lot.

  27. Carolann says:

    You hit the nail right on the head. I love what your “husband” had to say about it. It truly resonated with me. I needed to read this now, so thank you. I think I’ll stop back over and read it again tomorrow.

  28. Anna Palmer says:

    The first step for me in this effort is noticing. When a friend called me the other day to say “she wanted to talk” my first thought was “WHAT DID I DO” As it turns out she trusted me and wanted to confide something personal. I am still aways from shedding my desire for other’s approval but I am practicing!

  29. Valerie says:

    I’ve had 2 friends disappear recently and it’s been hard but nice because there has been a lot less drama and selfishness.

  30. victoria says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post and I love the good message

  31. Susan cooper says:

    Great post. I think we’ve all been through this, or something close to it. It’s hard to not worry about what others think of you, or if you’ve been misunderstood. Doesn’t seem to be getting easier with age unfortunately.

  32. Jill Conyers says:

    You know that song is going to stay in my head for days. I’m probably misunderstood more often than I realize. Something to think about. Or maybe not 😉

  33. Fatima Zehra says:

    Such a soulful post! Its true as we grow older and our minds mature the way we handle situations becomes different as well

  34. Glenda says:

    I think we all have felt misunderstood throughout our lives and different relationships… Sorry to hear about your friend. I hope you both find a way back to each other lives. 🙂

  35. Rosemond says:

    Your gay husband is dropping some major wisdom. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to reframe my thoughts. Truly we can’t be in charge of how others view us. I have to remind myself of this so often.

  36. Glad that you already have the mindset that you can’t please everybody and that you can’t control how other people may think about you. Keep it going! 🙂

  37. Crystal Gard says:

    I’ve come to accept that people drift apart, not all friends are always going to be there.

  38. Silly Mummy says:

    It is hard to convince yourself it’s not your problem or really about you, but these are wise words.

  39. Teresa Kunberger says:

    Being misunderstood comes daily for me, I have learned to just accept the way ppl read me!

  40. Cori says:

    What a great perspective! Your husband is right. It’s the other person’s problem, not yours.

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