Double Whammy

Nope, I am not talking about the delicious Ben & Jerry ice cream flavour. This time it is about that the feelings of negativity you can experience when someone treats you wrong. One of the definitions of 'double whammy' is 

"A situation that is bad in two different ways, a situation in which two bad conditions exist at the same time or two bad things happen one after the other."

(Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary)  

A few years ago I worked at a summer camp for teenagers. At one point we were at the Science museum in London with the students. A colleague asked me to do something and I replied I would do it later. He then shouted in my face "Do it now!". I was really surprised by his reaction and upset. How could someone talk to me like that? I hadn't had any issues with the person previously.

It is after an incident like the above that the 'double whammy' feelings may set in. First you feel sad, upset, angry and disappointed that someone treated you unfairly. But on top of that, some of us ask "Why did he/she treat

me

like that, and not someone else?", "What did I do to invite/attract/accept such behaviour?". We want to understand the situation so badly that we even go to the lengths of taking responsibility for someone else's bad behaviour. You receive the first blow by the other person, and the second one from yourself. Who ends up feeling miserable? You. 

Children are actually some of the most vulnerable people to the 'double whammy', since they have a unique ability to take responsibility for other people's actions. That way they understand things that are beyond their control. If the parents are fighting the kids often feel accountable in addition to experiencing the drama at home. If the parents separate, the children may feel that they could have done something to stop it. The sense of guilt can be hard to get rid of.  But it is not the child who is responsible or in control, it is the parents as managers of the family. 

Another person's behaviour is always 

their

 responsibility. I used to think that I sent off signals of insecurity in my tone and body language that others felt and then thought it was ok to treat me disrespectfully. It was first when my husband pointed out that I don't come across as weak at all, that I changed the way I perceived myself. When I hear the negative voice swinging a second punch, I reject it.

Even if I had come across as insecure, no one has the right to verbally abuse and disrespect me, you or anyone else.

They

make the choice of what they say and how they say it. There are many ways to express a feeling. You don't control their choices.

It is useful to consider our own behaviour, and how we can express ourselves more clearly, stand up for ourselves more often and be kinder to ourselves. However, that is very different to taking responsibility for someone else's bad actions. There is a clear line drawn in the sand. Stand tall on your side.