Far too many people have attempted to belittle me. I emphasise the term ‘attempted’ because in those situations I work very hard to ensure they don’t succeed - at least where my sense of self-worth and dignity are concerned.
Sometimes this can be immensely tiring.
Belittling actions occur on a spectrum - from a simple smirk to laughter and pointing. Then there are demeaning comments (often presented as statements or polite) to overt insults.
They hurt - they all hurt.
How does it feel? Like a slight tightening in the chest, a bristle at the back of the neck, a quickening of the heart and breath. In other words, the body prepares for a flight-or-fight response. Meanwhile, I gauge the situation and consider whether to ignore or react.
Which option I choose depends on the event and the strength of my resolve. I haven’t cried in public because I am fiercely determined that my personhood is always carried through and communicated. However, I have shed countless tears in private and cried myself to sleep too many times. All too often I feel like I am in a battle, and it’s a matter of survival that a chink in the armour isn’t revealed and exploited.
At other times, belittling behaviours can occur through ignorance. If that’s the case (and it’s not always possible to ascertain), then I will engage with the person or people because I consider that to be my job. It’s my job as a parent, to inform and correct stereotypes or misinformation so that my child is less likely to be belittled.
I do get battle-weary. On those occasions I nurture myself through art, my family and a good dose of mindless TV comedy (Frasier, Big Bang Theory, Michael MacIntyre).
Jane, I hope this gives you a sense of what it’s like to feel belittled.
All the very best,
(image used with the kind permisson of Robert Brindley: https://brindleyimages.com.au/)comments powered by Disqus