Ever find yourself replaying arguments in your mind? Ever wished you had said something stronger, more forceful, or more definitive? If you have, then you know what it's like to replay your behavior in your own head and consider what you would have said had you felt stronger or more capable.
People told us all about their own experiences after Redditor iushaky asked the online community,
"Do you ever look back to situations with toxic people and think you should have stood up for yourself better?"
"I rehearse how I'd prefer to have handled the situation, then I become better prepared for the next toxic person who tries to invade my life."
Do you also do that in the shower?
Asking for me.
"A little, but what haunts me..."
"A little, but what haunts me the most are the times I didn't stand up to toxic people who were hurting others around me.
Mostly due to freezing, not recognizing the toxic behavior as toxic, not thinking it was my place, not having the experience to do so––almost never deliberately, but I still look back and wish I could have done differently."
Been there myself––and certainly remember witnessing bullying that was unwarranted and unfair. Why didn't I do anything? Out of self-preservation, I suppose. I was young.
Compassion for yourself is important.
"The anger reminds me of the part of myself that believes, unquestionably, and without reservation, that I should have been treated better. That I deserve better. That I am good. That I love myself. Some anger is worth keeping."
This is an excellent philosophy––more people should take it to heart.
"I went on medical leave..."
"My last job drove me to therapy. I needed the therapy to validate my own feelings and experiences. I worked with a bunch of gaslighters who made me think that when anything went wrong, it was my fault. Even getting sick was enough for them to try and put me on probation for a job I had done for FOUR years and was overqualified.
I went on medical leave and am still off work due to health reasons."
That is heartbreaking and we're sorry you're going through it. A job is never worth your mental health.
"If it helps..."
"If it helps, see the younger you as a struggling friend and in your imagination give them a hug for their struggle. They did what they could, they tried their best. It helps me."
"I try to exercise..."
"Honestly, all I can do is try my best to set boundaries with people in the future. I have a lot of anger and it doesn't always come out in the healthiest ways. I try to exercise and eat right, so I don't get so easily irritated."
"I started writing..."
"Without a doubt! I cycled between anger at myself and anger at that person for a long time. Eventually, it was just gnawing away at me. I had to move on and let go. I started writing all my angry thoughts in a letter to that person and then when I felt satisfied I burnt the pages to a crisp! I still feel angry sometimes but that act plus distance and time has helped."
Undoubtedly. Highly recommend writing––it's a great stress reliever.
"Part of it..."
"Part of it is having compassion for yourself. You were not at a point in time yet where you had the tools or experience to know how to stand up to that person. That person was the lesson that past you needed in order to stand up to them--now you have it."
100%––if you're struggling, remind yourself that you did what you could with the information that was available to you at the time.
"There's some people..."
"There's some people that I hold a lot of secret resentment towards because of how toxic they were and how much their actions/words harmed me. I've learned that people that toxic either don't acknowledge their actions or don't care, so standing up for yourself in the moment rarely works long term. The best thing I've done is learn to accept I can only control myself and to remove myself from those people. It sucks at first because you want karma to hit them (it will eventually) but its NOT worth it to dwell on it yourself. You'll drive yourself insane and never feel better.
Genuinely, as cliche as it sounds, journaling helps, as well as physical activity. If you can afford therapy, a therapist who will allow you to express that anger is incredibly helpful as well. Lastly, blocking toxic people has always helped me. They can't reach you and you feel in control. I hope this or someone else in this thread is helpful! I know how frustrating this can be."
"Success is the best revenge.
Also practice stopping yourself from ruminating or playing the situation over and over again. It gets easier to interrupt those slides with practice."
Sometimes the decision you made at the moment was the right one at the moment, and you gotta allow it to be a mile of bad road in your past, and keep moving forward. Self-forgiveness is not instinctive, it takes practice to make it stick.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us in the comments below.
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