When I feel like I’ve been unjustly accused of something, it’s hard for me to rest until I’ve set the record straight. I vacillate between extreme anger at the person and anxiety that they think so poorly of me as to believe fill in the blank. Yesterday was an anxiety day. The day before was an angry day. When I’m feeling anxious, it’s a pretty constant, jangly-nerves feeling, all day long. When I am feeling angry, it comes in spurts, not all at once. I will be in the middle of doing innocent things like ordering books and planning my book discussion group, when suddenly out of nowhere my mind flits to the situation and I feel white-hot rage in my stomach, moving up to my heart.
I have gotten advice from all kinds of places, and it’s been as varied as my friends and family are: let it drop, stand up for yourself, do what you have to do to make it go away, ignore it, just don’t worry about it, tell the person off, refuse to participate. I don’t know what to do anymore. I know that when I think about it, I get the overwhelming urge to defend myself, to explain why the person is wrong, to explain why I am hurting. What I thought I was supposed to be learning from this was that I don’t have to defend myself, that I don’t have to be a slave to what other people think of me, that I don’t have to set the record straight. So I tried to let it go, trying to heal and to trust that God would take care of my “damaged reputation” in some way or another. But the situation hasn’t gone away, so I’m not sure if I misunderstood the message and I need to change my approach or if I need to keep doing the same things, continuing to pursue peace for myself, regardless of what others think about me.
It seems like I keep going in circles: I can’t see a way to deal with the situation without feeling like I have to defend myself, but I think I shouldn’t defend myself, so I think I shouldn’t do anything, but some things that have happened really do call for a response, but I can’t figure out how to respond without defending myself . . . and if I keep on waiting, the decision’s going to be made for me. It’s going to look like I don’t care instead of the truth – I don’t know what the right action is.
I used to think that by the time I was this age, this relationship issue would have gone away. I used to think that by the time I was this age, I’d know how to deal with this kind of thing. But here I am, still going over it, trying to figure out what to do.