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You Asked: I'm Insensitive and Want to Change

You Asked: I'm Insensitive and Want to Change

Dear Sugar,

I grew up with a verbally abusive mother. She swore, screamed, and said nasty things when she was upset, and she still doesn't understand the impact that her cruel words had on my feelings. As an adult, I'm learning to accept her for who she is but unfortunately, I've also become conscious of the fact that I've inherited her out-of-control mouth; and I don't like it. I've been called "harsh" and "blunt" since I was a preteen, but only now have I realized that those terms are just euphemisms for "mean"! I've begun to catch myself making mean jokes at others' expense, swearing like a sailor, making judgments, and being rude in social situations. The worst part is that I can only seem to catch myself five seconds after the horrible words escape my mouth. I have many friends and a loving boyfriend, but I'm afraid I will drive them all away with my insensitive and harsh words. I'm a good person and I want to change, but I'm not sure I can. Is it too late? — Potty Mouth Patsy

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Potty Mouth Patsy,

Your concerns are valid and I'm glad you're willing to change your ways — admitting your wrongdoings is the first step. It sounds like you have a classic case of not thinking before speaking, but it's not too late, Patsy. First off, try to process your words before saying them out loud and see if that changes anything; I bet it will. Since re-training yourself might take a while, be sure to acknowledge your mean statements and apologize if you fear you've hurt someone's feelings. We all say stupid things every now and then, but it's important to take action and make amends if necessary.

Since you've been clearly hurt by your mother's behavior, you should consider talking to a therapist to work out how her actions affected you and why you're repeating history. You can change this behavior in yourself if you set your mind to it so be patient with yourself and use that fear of being abandoned by your loved ones as motivation. Good luck.

Join The Conversation
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I can empathize with her with her upbringing but instead of being harsh I'm way TOO sensitive myself and towards other. It's kind of a bad thing.
abeautifulmind abeautifulmind 8 years
I hope she reads your comment more than once bransugar79. Excellent POV.
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
I think this post makes for an interesting debate. The thing is, if you are being rude and careless, then you should care and be more considerate. I think a lot of people choose to complain that someone has been rude, harsh, or just plain mean, because that someone has been forthright and honest and their honesty has not been appreciated. I think that too many times as women we are expected by others as well as ourselves to sugar coat our dealings with people in order to remain socially acceptable. If this is how someone chooses to live her life then far be it from me to tell her otherwise. However, as one of the rude, harsh, mean but HONEST women out there I'd like to point out that if more people cared about their friends and family enough to be honest with them their might not be so many self serving, delusional, careless, hard hearted people in the world because someone would have taken the time time to tell them honestly that their behavior is unacceptable. As someone pointed out earlier we are all adults and we are responsible for our actions; so as such we should be able to deal with the consequences of said actions even if the reactions garnered are not very favorable to us.
WeTheLiving WeTheLiving 8 years
Oh man, I just had the worst fight ever with my sister last weekend. It started out over really stupid stuff and usually we just fight and five minutes later we're fine. But she ended up saying some really cruel things to me and really hurt me and I'm still having a hard time getting over it. It really sucks cuz I'm close with my sisters and I've forgiven her, but some of the things people say are hard to get out of your head. I know she feels bad cuz she told my mom and RE-invited me to spend the night this weekend, but it's hard to go back to how it was before and it's never been that way. If you still have everyone, clearly it's not too late, but you have to learn to think before you say something in anger. I think we all have to learn that there's a line you cross that can't be re-crossed in a fight and you have to control yourself. Just think do I really mean this or am I saying it because I know it will be really hurtful right now and I'll regret it later. You know what is the most hurtful stuff to say to your loved ones, but you can't let yourself.
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
and theres a difference between being honest and straight forward and being a straight up bitch that curses, makes mean and rude remarks. if you don't know the difference then that is the problem which i suggest you get help for ASAP.
Poster-of-a-Girl Poster-of-a-Girl 8 years
I am struggling with exactly the same thing and one thing that definitely helps in learning to curb the sarcasm is talking to your friends and asking them to not let you get away with it. My friends will let me know when I'm being mean when I don't catch myself.
gemsera gemsera 8 years
I was in this exact position. I was lucky to have some therapy when I was a teen to help. The two pieces of advice I can give. 1) You are not her, you cannot control her, you cannot change her actions. How she behaves is nothing to do with you. Remove her from your life (if you can, even temporarily) whilst you get things together. 2) to stop being the way you are right now (I lost jobs, loved ones, i continually moved as I couldnt keep a friendship alive for more than a month) you need to keep on your own case. Everytime something slips out - catch yourself and think (what should i have said). Correct yourself verbally if you like - nobody will think ill of you for trying to be a better person. Spend some time catching yourself out in your head, then move on to what you might say, then correcting yourself out loud and I should think within 6 months or so you will start saying things nicer and in a better manner. Its all about training, nothing happens overnight as they say :) To the poster who said grow up your responsible for your own actions - I say balony! At the moment, the OP is trained (by her mother) to act in this way. She is responsible for living her life the way she wants, though, which is why its important to take control back now.
baybelle baybelle 8 years
I think it's great Patsy already knows what her problem is - if you're already aware of yourself, it's much easier to make changes and it is never too late. I used to be way too sarcastic once upon a time - I thought it was pretty funny, but others didn't. People appreciate it now that I censor myself a little before I speak - even with close friends and especially family (it is so easy to hurt the people we *can't* lose). I also have to say in response to some of the other posts here - my family members are definitely my closest friends, but a life without *any* other friends or friends who only think or speak the way you do? That is a pretty unidimensional life!
patrice888 patrice888 8 years
mmh .. ur mother's behaviour sound slightly similar to me. however i try all my might NOT to become like her, including the swearing and "being loud". However, there are several characters that I "inherit"from living with her, that's not good. How to change? 1. Know what the triggers are. 2. Be alert, keep looking out Remember, you're changing. so be alert for triggers that makes u do that. 3. Control yourself. Give yourself reason why u don't want to do that. And, what's your stake in doing that and What's your reward for not doing that. Simple, but not easy. Good luck
abeautifulmind abeautifulmind 8 years
I can wholeheartedly empathize with Patsy, as I had the same 'kind of mother', though I love her to this day, very much... in fact, I LIVE WITH HER... yeah, broke up with my ex a few months ago, and live with my parents now until I get back on my feet, at 33. We all get along great now though for the most part anyhow, so it isn't too bad. Anyhow, Patsy... relating to commenter #2, much too harsh... you will never be a psychologist MissJules5x, so 'stop trying to be' one, with your ALL KNOWING opinion(s). THough I do agree with your one opinion that 'Patsy is an adult and responsible for her actions...', as adolescent as that OBVIOUS fact is, it is true. Anyhow, referring to commenter #5, Wesley in the picture from Princess Bride (one of the greatest movies of all time), all you did was state exactly what 'Sugar' did... literally, verbatim... hmmm. I don't have any friends for good reason, because I left my old ones, and don't want any new ones... period Friends they say are 'priceless'... I have a different feeling and/or saying about friends, of which I won't mention. I have family, and a beautiful little girl... that's all I NEED. Friends are with you until the end... right? Not my old friend(s)... BS. I just wish you luck Patsy, may you find peace with yourself and others. It will all take time... time will tell.
GScott86 GScott86 8 years
It's never too late to change, if you know what you're doing wrong, you need to own it and take responsibility for your mistakes. Acknowledge them and then you can better yourself. Many times people can't move on, because someone fails to acknowledge.
KadBunny KadBunny 8 years
My mom's exactly like yours but I turned out to be her complete opposite. BECAUSE I know what it feels like (having been on the receiving end for.. ever), I've been extremely cautious of other people's feelings. Maybe too cautious. Either way just ask yourself "Hmm, how would *I* feel if.." this and that. Think before you speak. It's not always accurate since people take things differently but for the most part it's worked for me.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
I agree Jude. In those situations I say... Do you like it? If she still wants my opinion and I don't like it- I say, well, let's try something you don't need a second opinion on! Fortunately, I only have very confidant, decisive friends...they never ask anyone's opinion, so I'm off the hook now. :D
krae85 krae85 8 years
I think there's a difference between being blunt and rude. I often say things bluntly (I blame my journalism training) but I'm never rude. I don't see a need to skirt around an issue and create lots of fluff when I could just say what I mean.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Yes, but it's not always that simple. It's not about being dishonest, just about not being hurtful to the people one cares about, and maybe rephrasing things so that they aren't hurtful for no good reason. You can say the same things in many different ways, make the same point, but get totally different reactions. If a friend you cared about asked you how she looked in a dress that was really unflattering to her, would you say "it makes you look like a fat cow" and feel it's up to her to deal with it, or would you rather rephrase and say "it's not flattering, but I'm sure there's something else that would look better"?
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
"I have many friends and a loving boyfriend, but I'm afraid I will drive them all away with my insensitive and harsh words. - just saw that... they must appreciate you. What's the problem? :WAVE: krae85... Lying and pacifying is too much work. I have a standing rule: If you need that ^^ ask someone else what they think. This is me, I've survived too much in 36 short years for all that. If you don't like me...there are how many billions of other people to talk to and spend time with? No love lost. :)
krae85 krae85 8 years
mesayme, you sound a lot like me! lol
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
That's so, like, weird...Patsy is my deceased great-grandmother's name lol she was STRAict! But we loved her enormously. IDK about 'Patsy', but it took me the past three years to speak up for myself and I have NO intentions of reversing that. And it's okay if people don't like that about me; it's not like I was a liar before, I just held my tongue until it bled. It's okay for me to have a small, tight group of family and friends- I generally don't like people on a whole. Kids, I adore and can tolerate immaturity from, they need time to learn what adults should know. Just give your 'blunt' and 'harsh' words (as long as you're being honest and with good intentions) when asked or provoked otherwise let it ride. Most people lie as a way of life and would rather hear one; honesty is rarely openhearted appreciated. And those people will always call you rude and mean. And don't waste your time trying to change people...just change 'your' people!
bluesteyes bluesteyes 8 years
If I were you I would go and see someone professional about this, and be true to yourself. You know people are different, as long as they realize you aren't doing it on purpose it's all okay in the end. You can never work in PR but you can sure work in a job where being blunt is a requirement hon. Just be sure to remind yourself I don't want to be nasty everyday you wake up though.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I think (and this is harder than it sounds, I know) the way to change this habit is simply to make yourself think about what you're going to say before you actually say it. Is what you're going to say something that will come across as mean or hurtful? Then rephrase or just don't say it.
krae85 krae85 8 years
I already had to say this once today and I can't believe Dear's advice is to let fear motivate the OP into keeping her mouth shut. It is never a good idea to let Fear motivate your actions. Don't change who you are, just learn to censor yourself, and be more considerate of others. Go cold turkey on the curse words if you have to, whatever works. The Great thing about this is that YOU can control it! It's your mouth, your thoughts, so you can make the change that is needed. Good luck!
Mamis03 Mamis03 8 years
It's never too late to change if that is what you really want. The hardest part is to admit to yourself you are wrong in what you are doing. Now, you have to really try on making lifestyle changes. Take it one step at a time. You have to let go of a habit you've had for your whole life, it's not going to happen overnight. I think to start you should discuss your concerns with the closest friends you have and ask for help and support. If they know you are trying and wanting to change, they can help you. It is admirable that you realize what went wrong in your upbringing and want to change for the better.
MissJules5x MissJules5x 8 years
youre an adult and you are responsible for your own actions. you can't blame anyone but yourself if you continue to do this. your mother may have made some mistakes but its up to you to not repeat the same nasty behavior. you know how badly you were hurt by her actions so why would you continue to do it to the people you care about when you've already been through it? youre angry and have deep issues that you should go to therapy for. first you need to forgive your mother and understand that you are not her and you don't want people to resent you the way you resent her for her actions. its never too late to change and if you want people in your life then i suggest you do it NOW.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
"Is it too late?" No, it's not. If you truly want to change, you will. Only you can change this about yourself. No one else can.
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