When I spoke with the owner of a restaurant about my inedible main and dessert recently, he proceeded to focus on me not having spoken to him sooner about it, at which point I had to question whether there was a statute of limitations on expressing concern or unhappiness, especially when the dessert had only been taken away minutes before. This got me thinking: Why is it that people who are in the wrong or at fault, seek to find fault with you instead of addressing the issue? Why is it that when we raise issues with certain types of people and attempt to engage them in a dialogue, do they want to focus on talking about why they take issue with you bringing up the issue?

If you had a problem with me crossing your boundaries, you should have told me before! says the wolf

It reminds me of a few people from my past. I’d raise an issue and be told that I should have brought it up sooner or at the time. I hadn’t waited months or years – it was hours, days or yes weeks if we hadn’t seen each other and in some circumstances, me not saying anything stemmed from me originally having given him/her the benefit of the doubt. I’d then go for punctual and be told that I was being oversensitive or ruining the moment… I’d try for somewhere in between and be picked up on the way in which I approached it or was told that it was difficult to address something after the event had passed. And I kid you not when one person claimed that if this was the type of thing that bothered me, I should have let them know in advance as if I was some sort of Mystic Meg or I should have known that they might insult me or do me over.  Even writing it has me feeling as if I’m going through mind effery!

The aim of discussing the fact that you’re raising a discussion or even going on the defense with you and starting a conflict over it, is to deflect from the real issue.

If no time seems like a good time and no matter when or how you approach things, the issue isn’t truly addressed or resolved, you’re dealing with somebody who’s a discussion, accountability, and responsibility dodger. They’d sooner make a victim out of themselves or pull you apart before they’d get on a level with you and own up or be curious enough to learn something from their interactions. If you see this attitude for what it is, you won’t kowtow to them but if you don’t see it, you’ll end up being riddled with self-doubt and taking ownership of their feelings and behaviour while ignoring your own feelings and thoughts on the issue.

Whether you’re complaining about food or raising the question as to the whereabouts of someone’s decency, ‘discussion dodgers’ have some weak, BS lines.

Everybody else’s meals were wonderful. This is similar to the ‘No ex girlfriend or boyfriend has ever had an issue with how I treated them.’ Or ‘It must be you because nobody else has a problem with how I _______.’

As I pointed out to the owner, that’s entirely irrelevant plus he didn’t know that what he was stating was the case, especially because neither meal was what was stated on the menu…. I happened to be the person who was speaking up but regardless, even if their meals were beyond perfection, mine wasn’t and that’s not my fault.  They had taken an almost full plate of food without question. Equally, it’s beyond shady for a person to claim that it must be you why they’ve mistreated you or to imply or state that it’s in your imagination or that you’re ‘too sensitive’. Code red alert! You can’t own their behaviour and please don’t. People say stuff like this because they hope that you’ll believe them and second guess yourself. It’s to chop at you and unseat you. The truth is very different to their version of events! Believe.

We’ve taken over this place with all of these bookings that weren’t ours. He also proceeded to say how he was essentially going to remove every trace of Greece (and no doubt the goodwill too) which as I pointed out to him, is a bit like me buying a Jerk chicken restaurant that promises live calypso music and then bitching about all of the customers who turn up expecting the Jamaican experience they’ve paid for in advance and being given pie and chips and rock music. This is similar to the ‘I’m sorry that you feel that way but you know my situation / it’s not my fault. I’ve been really busy at work, I haven’t got any clean drawers, I’ve got a lot on my mind, I told you that I wasn’t ready for a relationship…’ and yada yada yada.

I’ve heard from so many BR readers who have been perplexed by the reluctance of a person who has essentially promised them the sun, moon, and stars via Future Faking and Fast Forwarding, to not only discuss the whereabouts of the said promises but who then start claiming that it’s too hard or that they’re not over their ex, or even that surely they must have realised that they didn’t mean it or that they couldn’t provide it.

Some will even turn the tables on you and suddenly have a list of grievances so that you forget the issue that you’ve raised or convince yourself that their grievances are the reason for what they’ve done and shazam, job done. Of course we forget how ridiculous it is for them to have a grievance list while picking us about the timing or approach….

What someone who goes on the attack when you attempt to engage them on an issue and communicate concerns does, is raise a serious question mark over your freedom of expression as well as the accountability and responsibility within that relationship / interaction.  They’re also relying on you being willing to be a blame absorber and/or being intimidated by their reaction and if you decline and only own your own behaviour, they realise which way the land lies and either grudgingly own up and/or go off and find a new target.

What someone who latches onto your approach or timing about a discussion forgets is that even if there is something that you could do differently next time round (we’re all learning here after all in the on-the-job training that is life), yours is in the moment, theirs has already happened, hence your approach / timing bears no relevance to the issue at hand and they’re not going to learn a thing or improve the situation by doing what amounts to acting like there is no issue unless they say that there is. You can note what they’ve said but it doesn’t negate the necessity or validity of the raising the actual issue at hand. You’re telling them now and it’s all very well them speculating on what might have been if you’d done things in the way that they claim (distraction alert) but that’s like you speculating about them having never done it in the first place! It’s happened! Let’s get on with the business of addressing that.

Your thoughts?

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