I had the strangest weekend – ever! My other half is Malaysian Chinese and we went on a holiday with a few of her friends to Port Stephens for a weekend getaway (if you don’t know, it’s about 45 minutes east of Newcastle, NSW).
The weekend seemed to get off to a smooth start, but during the weekend – about 8 / 10 conversations were in Mandarin Chinese. So as you can imagine – languages are hardly my speciality so I didn’t get involved that much.
At the start, I thought “Well, it’s not their Primary Language” so Ok. Let’s keep the peace and let’s “Just Work with It”. As the weekend proceeded, be it anything from a conversation about a topic or dinner – they just kept leaving me out, after one conversation to another.
My other half though was fantastic! She worked really hard to include me in conversations (even kindly translating) but the others didn’t really care.
So the weekend proceeded and I “Kept the Peace” – but my blood pressure was rising! I kept putting up with it, but my “Good-Natured” points where being exhausted and exhausted. Then, at the end of the weekend (after I was already burnt-out) it was decided that I should cook dinner for everyone. I played along and did it – and guess what happened at the dinner table?
You got it. Ignored me again and again! I then left the conversation and did something else – but I at least kept my cool. In fact, what made it worse was that I was doing all the cooking and cleaning – and these people just didn’t care! I was basically a waiter for them and that is how they treated me.
About 1 – 2 days afterwards, I simply burst like a balloon! These people were just excluding me and excluding me – and I found something interesting – being ignored / excluded is worse than being insulted!
At least when you get insulted, someone is acknowledging you – but when you get ignored for so long and left out – man it grinds on you!
Now, I know what you are thinking “Ed’s just complaining, after all English isn’t their first language”. Well that’s fine, but their English is alright – and besides it’s the intent, they just excluded me as much as possible!
Besides learning that I shouldn’t go away with these people again (or probably even go near them), it really gave me some interesting insight into my behaviour. I was so focused on “Keeping the Peace” and “Being Friendly” I really did myself a strong injustice on this weekend. Instead of asking to be involved – I was too much of the pushover and let everyone have a good weekend at my expense (except for my poor other half of course who tried her best!).
Strangely enough, it took me a few days to get over this one – being insulted is much more fun! At least you can reply and people are paying you attention. In fact, what I found fascinating was that in being ignored so long – it made me recall a great deal of child-hood experiences where I had a similar experience. Interestingly, it was stuff that I had long consciously forgotten and in a strangely positive way – it got me to consciously interpret and understand these painful experiences.
I really paid a lot of attention to these painful experiences and realized, that I have a thing about “Being Ignored”. It actually really bugs me based on some childhood experiences that I have carried through into Adult Life. The good thing was that I could “Close these experiences” by understanding that some of the subconscious beliefs and views I am holding make no sense to my life these days.
One of the beliefs were that:
– People don’t care about me.
It’s obviously not true, but this experience really triggered this old repressed belief in me. When I dealt with it, man I felt better! So in a strange way, I am glad these people were rude & mean to me. If they weren’t, then I wouldn’t have had this breakthrough in my own thinking!
Still, although I got a lot out of it – my advice to you if you are ever in this position, don’t sit there and take it like I did! Now, I am not saying you should be the centre of attention – but at the same time, if people are acting in a way against you to an extreme – Politely say something and protect your own rights! I wish I did at the time!
They won this one, but I can promise you, I am more than prepared for Round 2! * Many thanks to “Wayne Silver” from Flickr for the great pic.