I know what it means to be misunderstood by others who very often do not have any ill will. They just don't get it. After I lost my daughter I felt frozen in time, unable to move forward. My grief and depression did not allow me to think. Any unwanted or unexpected loss attacks the belief system questioning self-identity with despair. The mood feels like nothingness and darkness will never leave. Others, who had known you before the trauma, do not know what to do with this. Rumors and stories begin becoming the entertainment for others. This is very painful for the traumatized person who is not able to defend themself. You feel like the walking dead and really wonder if you will make it through.
I heard an account that has made me become very mindful about telling stories about others that are not based on the facts.
The story goes something like this:
An older person lived in a village and seemed to be something of a recluse, very isolated and extremely private. There were many stories that went around the village about this person. Nobody had been into the house and the opportunities for conversation with her were very limited. One of the locals who had been a part of the rumor chain stumbled on the truth about this person’s history. It was so far from the terrible rumors that had been spread that she felt compelled to go see the person and apologize.
The withdrawn neighbor, who actually had been deeply grieving, listened to the apology and then asked the apologizing neighbor if she would do something for her. The neighbor said she would of course. She was asked to take a sack of feathers and scatter them to the winds over the fields. You know what the March madness winds are like, all was blown hither and tither. At the same time she was asked to return to the house the next day.
Upon returning the grieving woman asked the neighbor to take a sack and go collect all the feathers she had scattered. Of course this was an impossible task. Like these scattered feathers, it is impossible to take back all things you have said.
I have found it very beneficial not to be part of the rumors and lies chain even though it can sometimes feel good to be part of a sensation and seeming in the “in-crowd”. My mood always sinks whenever I know I have been caught up in this, as I know nothing good comes from it. So I have a couple of things that help me not to draw outside the lines. Remembering “she that chatters about others also chatters about you”. Yes, you could be the next victim of somebody’s thoughtless stories. You could be the one who is misunderstood.
Before speaking always ask yourself “is this wise, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true.” If the answer to all four is not yes then you might want to think again about speaking. Those feathers blow to all kinds of places.