offended

By: shenpa warrior
May 18, 2011

No matter how this word is used, it ascribes blame.

I was offended = It was the other person’s fault.

I chose to be offended = It was my fault.

I did not mean to offend = It is your fault if you were.

I propose that we BANISH this word from our vocabulary. In the very least, that we stop externalizing what is really going on inside when we want to use this term.

Elder Bednar had this to say:

When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.

While I agree with Elder Bednar that we always have a choice in how we might respond to others, I think we need to look at this word a little more. In Mormon culture, what does it mean to “be offended?”

In some cases, I think being “offended” involves a lot of underlying shame, embarrassment, hurt, anger, sadness, pain, and even fear. Saying “I was offended” is a nice way to blame the other person, to externalize these deeper and often painful feelings. Saying “you chose to be offended” is no different.

Let’s start owning our feelings.

NO ONE (I think) CHOOSES to be hurt, or to feel fear, sadness, or shame in these situations. Blaming the offended person for feeling something like this does not heal them. At the same time, blaming the “offender” doesn’t help either. Perhaps, in relationships, stuff happens between people, despite ostensibly good intentions. I believe Elder Bednar’s intention with this talk was to encourage people to take responsibility for their own “stuff.” That is terrific. Let’s just not use this to blame those who may be hurting.

What does it FEEL like for you when you are offended? What happens inside you? What do you do with this feeling?

What is it like for you to be told something you said or did offended someone else? How do you react? What is it like to find out you have offended someone?

48 Responses to offended

  1. hawkgrrrl on May 18, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    This post reminded me of a poem by C.K. Williams called “Shame”:
    A girl who, in 1971, when I was living by myself, painfully lonely, bereft, depressed,
    offhandedly mentioned to me in a conversation with some friends that although at first she’d found me—
    I can’t remember the term, some dated colloquialism signifying odd, unacceptable,
    out-of-things—
    she’d decided that I was after all all right…twelve years later she comes back to me
    from nowhere
    and I realize that it wasn’t my then irrepressible, unselective, incessant sexual want she meant,
    which, when we’d been introduced, I’d naturally aimed at her and which she’d
    easily deflected,
    but that she’d thought I really was, in myself, the way I looked and spoke and acted,
    what she was saying, creepy, weird, whatever, and I am taken with a terrible
    humiliation.

    I think it’s that feeling of interpersonal rejection from an unexpected source that results in feeling “offended.”

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  2. Howard on May 18, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    Great topic. Offense is the pseudo-socially acceptable method of blaming others as we express hurt or anger and under the anger we will usually find embarrassment.

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  3. Andrew S on May 18, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    If we throw out “offended,” we might as well throw out a slew of other terms relating to marginalization and privilege, etc.,

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  4. Dan on May 18, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    you can’t banish the word from our vocabulary. offended comes from offense. that’s a pro-active word implying action by one entity toward another. To be offended is to be attacked by someone or something else. It’s not something that just suddenly appears within us. It is based on an action, word, or event caused by someone or something else.

    You can’t avoid being offended. What you can choose is how you respond to the offense.

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  5. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    Re: banish – it was hyperbole. :) What I mean is that we should think about what’s really going on underneath rather than covering it up with the word, and that using it assigns blame. Taking responsibility is vital, but blaming is not.

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  6. Will on May 18, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    Great post. A person that is easily provoked or offended is a sign of a person that lacks charity. See 1 Cor 13:5

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  7. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 8:32 AM

    Will – I agree with you if you define someone who is “easily provoked” as someone who “feels hurt and then lashes out in response to it.” Many people are easily hurt, but as Dan hinted at, choose to respond better.

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  8. Will on May 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    Shenpa,

    I agree with Dan’s comment in whole, because they inherently coincide with what the Apostle Paul was trying to say. People are going to say things that are mean or offensive, but it is all in the way that we respond. A poor response is typically a sign of a poor self image; and, a poor self image stems from, among other things, selfishness. If you have ever volunteered to work with imamates you really see people that are easily provoked. Another good example is the callous teenage boy that is provoked at the drop of a hat. But when that teenage boy chooses to serve our Lord on a mission and puts his all into the service. He moves from darkness to light. He transforms from a callous boy that is easily offended to servant of the Lord that easily deflects all sorts of insults. He has learned to server others. He has learned Charity.

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  9. Mike S on May 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    What I strive for:

    The Buddha was sitting under a tree talking to his disciples when a man came and spit on his face. He wiped it off, and he asked the man, “What next? What do you want to say next?” The man was a little puzzled because he himself never expected that when you spit on somebody’s face, he will ask, “What next?” He had no such experience in his past. He had insulted people and they had become angry and they had reacted. Or if they were cowards and weaklings, they had smiled, trying to bribe the man. But Buddha was like neither, he was not angry nor in any way offended, nor in any way cowardly. But just matter-of-factly he said, “What next?” There was no reaction on his part.

    Buddha’s disciples became angry, they reacted. Buddha said, “You keep silent. He has not offended me, but you are offending me. He is new, a stranger. He must have heard from people something about me, that this man is a dangerous man who is throwing people off their track, a revolutionary, a corrupter. And he may have formed some idea, a notion of me. He has not spit on me, he has spit on his notion. He has spit on his idea of me because he does not know me at all, so how can he spit on me?

    Puzzled, confused, the man returned home. He could not sleep the whole night. Again and again he was haunted by the experience. He could not explain it to himself, what had happened. He was trembling all over and perspiring. He had never come across such a man; he shattered his whole mind and his whole pattern, his whole past.

    The next morning he was back there. He threw himself at Buddha’s feet. The man looked at Buddha and said, “Forgive me for what I did yesterday.”

    Buddha said, “Forgive? But I am not the same man to whom you did it. The Ganges goes on flowing, it is never the same Ganges again. Every man is a river. The man you spit upon is no longer here. I look just like him, but I am not the same, much has happened in these twenty-four hours! The river has flowed so much. So I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you.”

    “And you also are new. I can see you are not the same man who came yesterday because that man was angry and he spit, whereas you are bowing at my feet, touching my feet. How can you be the same man? You are not the same man, so let us forget about it. Those two people, the man who spit and the man on whom he spit, both are no more. Come closer. Let us talk of something else.”

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  10. Jeff Spector on May 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    Since there always seems to be an “I” or a “me” in every sentence about offended, I think it is the responsibility of that person to determine how they react.

    In many cases, an offense is only such because of how we might react to it. It can only really be offensive that way.

    I used to tell my kids if someone called them a name to ignore it. Why, because if the name didn’t apply, then the person was probably not talking about them. It’s just a coping skill.

    “Since I’m not stupid or dumb or ugly or whatever they say, they must not have been talking to me…”

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  11. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    Jeff – What about the statements “You chose to be offended” and/or “If you were offended it’s your own fault”?

    I have just seen many people use statements like that to blame the one who is hurting, or to duck personal responsibility.

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  12. Paul on May 18, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    I agree with your concerns in the OP regarding assigning blame.

    The Savior’s words in the Sermon on the Mount seem to get at this idea, as well: “whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt 5:39).

    It seems there’s not much room in a Christlike life for blaming.

    Emotionally healthy people are less likely to live in a world of blame. They are, perhaps, more ready to accept what is theirs and leave to others what isn’t.

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  13. Andrew S on May 18, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    so, Paul, when someone is offended, this is a sign of poor emotional health?

    When someone is offended, they just need to “leave to others what isn’t” theirs?

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  14. Jeff Spector on May 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    “Jeff – What about the statements “You chose to be offended” and/or “If you were offended it’s your own fault”?”

    That’s a pretty loaded question, I think. I hold the gift of agency in the highest regard, above most anything else. And I think it is personally empowering to be able to decide how we react to a given situation.

    To use the word “blame” in conjunction with a choice such as “choosing to be offended” assumes the person has no power over their own choices.

    But, OTHO, “choosing to be or not to be offended” does not excuse the offending person from their repsonsbility to be Christ-like in their treatment of others.

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  15. Will on May 18, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    paul,

    I really liked your last response. We have too many whiners in the world. We have way too much political correctness. We have too many Jesse Jackson’s and Al Sharpton’s that cry over every little comment.

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  16. Dan on May 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Will provides us with a perfect opportunity to understand the nature of offense. He writes:

    We have too many Jesse Jackson’s and Al Sharpton’s that cry over every little comment.

    How should we respond to this? Well, to this point, four people “disliked” his comment including me. What else is a response? Because clearly that sentence is offensive.

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  17. Paul on May 18, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Andrew S, “so, Paul, when someone is offended, this is a sign of poor emotional health?”

    A fair question. I don’t think it’s necessarily, so, though. I think those who are emotionally unhealthy are more likely to feel the weight of blame in their lives, and they may be more likely to blame others. Those who are emotionally more healthy may refuse to accept blame for things they do not control, so they may not have the same weight of blame as someone less healthy.

    But in the spirit of the original post, being “offended” is an odd expression. It labels our reaction to something someone else does. I always have a choice about how I react to someone else.

    That said, I think my wife and I have an emotionally healthy marriage. Yet sometimes she may do or say something that is hurtful to me or I may do the same to her. In that moment, one of us may be offended (eg, hurt). What really matters in that instance is what we do with the hurt. If we can talk about it, work through it, resolve it, then although we felt the offense, we resolved the matter.

    Someone in a less healthy marriage might let that offense fester over time and become the seed of resentment, leading to larger problems in the marriage.

    Will, I don’t think we have too much political correctness. Indeed, we probably don’t have enough civility, especially in the realm of political discourse.

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  18. Starfoxy on May 18, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    I think that there is a pretty good analogy to be found between offensive behaviors and a messy house.
    For one, there are some people who go into others’ houses looking for a mess (to feel better about themselves maybe?)- and they will always find one, even if the house in question is cleaner than average. There are people who look for offense and will always find it, even if they are dealing with the sweetest person in the world.

    There are also people who have genuinely messy houses. Houses so messy that others don’t like to be there. In the same way some people are genuinely offensive, so much so that other people dislike spending any amount of time with them.

    At the same time there is a difference between mess/clutter and what I would call filth.

    Mess and clutter is distracting and unpleasant, but not really dangerous. Kind people will overlook the mess, love the person and try to encourage better habits. Some people are ‘rough around the edges’, but there is no malice in them. That kind of offensiveness can be overlooked, and maybe gently changed over time.

    Filth (by my definition) is unhygienic, and hazardous to the health (rotting food, feces, etc.). You can love someone who lives in a filthy house, but by no means should you go into their house and expose yourself to that risk. Some people’s offensive behavior is just mean, vitriolic, and dangerous to be around. And those are people to be avoided.

    So, in terms of the analogy, don’t go into other people’s houses looking for a mess. Try to overlook the messes that are just clutter, and set good boundaries with the messes that are actually dangerous.
    On your end, certainly keep your house from being a health hazard. Life is better for everyone when a house is reasonably clean- even though it is hard work to keep a house clean. At the same time there’s no need to work yourself to the bone trying to make your house perfectly immaculate.

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  19. brjones on May 18, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    #15 – I agree, Will. How did “those people” worm their way into the public dialogue in the first place?

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  20. allquieton on May 18, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Being offended is always a choice. It’s a response to feeling hurt. It’s a way to blame and emotionally manipulate others.

    Dan–your analysis is flawed. Just b/c someone is offended does not mean they were attacked.

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  21. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    @Jeff – You’re right on about agency. I’m right there with you. It IS empowering to decide how we will react. We DO have a “choice” in that matter. We often do NOT have a choice in the initial feelings of being “offended” however. Using the word “blame” as I have does NOT negate personal agency/responsibility. Everyone has that. Blame is different. Blame says “it’s your fault” or “it’s my fault” which is not accurate and never helpful.

    I have seen people who have “messy houses” or even “filthy” houses (re: Starfoxy’s analogy) and act in ways that can be hurtful or “offensive” say to others “you CHOOSE to be offended by what I said. YOU have the agency!” This kind of talk is ALWAYS destructive. There is no charity in it. No patience, no love, and certainly no taking personal responsibility for one’s actions.

    @Starfoxy – I agree with the analogy in this case – sometimes we have to protect ourselves from certain people and situations.

    @Will – I agree with you in terms of each person taking responsibility, but I don’t agree that calling someone a “whiner” or “too politically correct” helps solve anything. Actually, it just blames them back, which to me is just as bad as saying someone offended you.

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  22. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    @allquiteon – By your definition (“offended” as the action in response to the feeling) I agree. I was going with the definition of “offended” as the emotional state.

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  23. Will on May 18, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Paul,

    “Will, I don’t think we have too much political correctness. Indeed, we probably don’t have enough civility, especially in the realm of political discourse”

    I used that term more in the realm of society as a whole, not necessarily in political discourse. I speak more of the wimpification of America. The American Idol Syndrome, where you have network executives exploiting our youth and mocking them on a world stage because no one loved them enough to tell them they don’t know how to sing.
    They feared offending the person and ended up having the person mocked to a world audience.

    I love my mother; chiefly, because she taught us to fight our own battles. She was no baloney. She told it how it was. When I came home with a black eye because I called someone a name and they socked me in the eye, her response: ‘you got what you deserved’.

    We have ministers out there that preach victimization. They preach their congregation is being held back because of someone less. They push for quotas and laws that weaken those that listen. Instead, they should be preaching your future is up to you. They should instead preach, make yourself the best at what you do and you will thrive. Employers will look beyond race, religion, sex or age if you are the very best at what you do. There may be some short sighted employers who discriminate, but by so doing they will lose out on good talent and will eventually be out-paced by those that hire the best.

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  24. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Actually, the current edition of American Idol is the OPPOSITE. The judges aren’t critical at ALL anymore. Perhaps do to wimpification?

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  25. hawkgrrrl on May 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    I’m surprised there’s been no mention here of the BY quote: “He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”

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  26. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    BY needs to add: “He who doesn’t take offense when offense WAS intended is the BIGGEST fool.”

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  27. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 18, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    I bruise you, you bruise me
    We both bruise too easily, too easily to let it show
    I love you and that’s all I know .

    All my plans have fallin’ through,
    All my plans depend on you, depend on you to help them grow,
    I love you and that’s all I know.

    When the singer’s gone let the song go on…

    But the ending always comes at last,
    Endings always come too fast,
    They come too fast but they past too slow,
    I love you and that’s all I know .

    When the singer’s gone let the song go on,
    It’s a fine line between the darkness and the dawn.
    They say in the darkest night there’s a light beyond

    But the ending always comes at last,
    Endings always come too fast,
    They come too fast
    But they past too slow,
    I love you, and that’s all I know.
    That’s all I know, that’s all I know.

    BTW, the Brigham Young quote doesn’t actually read as well, it is he who takes offense when offense is intended is usually a fool though I used to always emend it to state has just been made into one.

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  28. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    This just in, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is “offended” that there is not yet a statue of his likeness outside the Staple’s Center in LA.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/news/story?id=6563112

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  29. Angie on May 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    Why is there so much talk about not feeling insulted, offended, rejected, or snubbed – and very little about avoiding insulting, offending, rejecting, and snubbing? Okay, great – yes, a person needs to forgive and turn the other cheek. But the perpetrator needs to stop striking out!

    Sure, it is bad to leave the church because of being offended. But it’s at least as bad to be offensive at church!!

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  30. allquieton on May 18, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    Shenpa–
    I see what you’re saying. Maybe it would be more accurate to call the emotional state “hurt.”

    Angie–
    I might guess that 95% of “offensiveness” is unintended. It’s very hard to predict what might hurt someone’s feelings. And it’s too much to ask that we all walk on eggshells. It’s part of the manipulation.

    Plus, it’s interesting how often prophets in the scriptures offend people. It’s almost constant.

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  31. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Angie – re: “so much talk” – do you mean around you? At church? As for this particular thread, you are right, both sides have responsibilities.

    allquieton – Yes, maybe so… and “hurt” is usually made up of anger + sadness, so that helps to explain things a little more. My guess is, when someone is “offended” enough to make a major change in their life, they are actually feeling significant pain, self-protecting anger, and a whole lot of sadness. Also, I agree with you that things are often unintended. People get hurt in relationships. As Bob Marley said it, you just have to decide who is worth being hurt for.

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  32. PaulM on May 18, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Hanlon’s razor applies here:

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    Offense is about ascribing malicious motives to other’s behaviors. Sometimes malice is the intent. Most times it is not. Rarely do we actually know for sure.

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  33. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    That’s a nice razor.

    I have NEVER encountered anyone personally who did NOT act with a noble or positive intent. Granted, often their acts may not be positive at all, but the intent always is. It is a rare person who actually has a negative intent… perhaps a sociopath, or someone with antisocial personality disorder, who has a total disregard for others and no ability to empathize…

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  34. PaulM on May 18, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    Shenpa,

    Unfortunately, you just described me.

    :)

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  35. shenpa warrior on May 18, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Good think I haven’t yet personally encountered you. :D

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  36. Mormon Heretic on May 19, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    Mike and Shenpa, I enjoyed the post and your comments and read them to my wife after we just had a disagreement! The timing couldn’t have been better. Thanks! (She didn’t banish the word after reading it to her however.) She loved the Bednar and Buddha stuff!

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  37. shenpa warrior on May 19, 2011 at 6:47 AM

    MH – good to know, haha. Nice to be useful. The truth is, blame can never be fully eradicated in any relationship, but reducing the amount of it is really good.

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  38. Angie on May 19, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Unfortunately, I have encountered many people who do not act with “noble or positive intent,” even at church. It doesn’t make sense to me that the commenters are focusing on those who are offended/struggle to forgive without acknowleging the role of the perpetrator.

    I’m still surprised – is it really true that the commenters have not encountered malice and cruelty and manipulation at church? That just floors me.

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  39. Troth Everyman on May 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    I agree with much that has been said. However, I am curious about how “banishing blame” interacts with righteous indignation.

    One could say that Christ was offended by the money changers in the temple and that African Americans had a right to be offended by slavery. When is it appropriate to be hurt by the actions of others and to allow the offense taken to drive a vehement response?Where is that line found and drawn?

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  40. Jeff Spector on May 19, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    The Church is like any other large organization filled with various types of people. Well meaning folks who can’t articulate things without sounding offensive, stupid people who just say whatever comes to their mind and political, driven people who will do or say anything to help themselves look good and progress in the organization.

    Since the Church has taken on such a corporate feel to it the latter group is growing. They may preach the Gospel, but they are anything but Christlike in deed.

    And, there are many, many kind, noble ones who would give you the shirt off their back in a moment and would never consiously do or say anything offensive to someone else.

    But generally I would agree that most comments are not intended to be offensive, they sometimes come out that way.

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  41. shenpa warrior on May 19, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Angie: “I have encountered many people who do not act with “noble or positive intent,” even at church.”

    I think this is more of a philosophical argument. I think outside of sociopaths, there is always a noble intent. I’m totally fine if you don’t agree though!

    “It doesn’t make sense to me that the commenters are focusing on those who are offended/struggle to forgive without acknowleging the role of the perpetrator.”

    I have tried to acknowledge that role as well, apparently not enough though!

    “I’m still surprised – is it really true that the commenters have not encountered malice and cruelty and manipulation at church? That just floors me.”

    Of course many people have experienced cruelty and manipulation. Not to excuse those behaviors, but I think behind those horrible behaviors there is noble intent. For example, behind manipulation or dishonesty the manipulator/liar may be trying to deal with difficult emotions themselves, or may be afraid, or worried, or may sincerely believe they are trying to help. That NEVER excuses the behavior, but it does show that there can be noble intent behind most things.

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  42. shenpa warrior on May 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Troth – Trying to reduce blame is not the same as letting people off the hook for their responsibilities… at least in my opinion, and in a clinical sense (that’s the stance I have in couple and family therapy, anyway).

    Re: righteous “indignation” (i.e. “anger”) I think that’s great. Anger can sometimes be a primary emotion directing us to change something/protect ourselves or others. The word “offended” just covers up a lot of stuff that is really going on.

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  43. hawkgrrrl on May 19, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    “is it really true that the commenters have not encountered malice and cruelty and manipulation at church?” People are doing the best they can, in general. Some people just don’t have a very good “best.” True malice requires intent, and almost nobody sees him or herself as the villain. If they don’t see themselves as the villain, they don’t intend offense.

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  44. Jen on May 19, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    shepna warrior-

    I appreciate your thoughtful insights about others. You are the type of person that makes a wonderful counselor. Assuming the best in others and trying to get to the core of what is really going on is so refreshing to see. Thank you.

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  45. shenpa warrior on May 19, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Jen – thank you. I find that I can’t survive in this profession without having a stance like that… ESPECIALLY with couples. I always have to assume good intent, and then search like crazy to find it. Often, actually, it’s not very deep down there.

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  46. Glenn Thigpen on May 20, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    In the case of being offended, I think that the word “choose” should be changed to “allow”. When we are offended, we allow someone else to control us, our emotions, our reactions, etc.
    I went through some rather rigorous therapy a few, well ,more than several, years ago after my first wife died. I was an emotional wreck. The psychologist who I began to see patiently helped me sort out myself, then helped me to become a more rational person. What I learned was that the old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will nerver hurt me” is literally true. It is literally true that we allow whatever effects that another’s words etc. may have upon our feelings.
    Most people never learn this and allow just about anything negative to upset them. You can read so many posts on different forums where a poster may get personal and it elicits a similar response from the target and the thread quickly devolves into an insult match.
    The same is true of people in Church. How often has an unkind word (maybe even unintentional) set off a virtual feud between members of a ward or branch, sometimes involving many families. It is something that does not have to happen.
    Granted it takes a lot of self discipline, but it can be done. I believe that the Church membership would be so much better off if we all could learn to act rather than react and take anything we hear in the best possible light.

    Glenn

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  47. shenpa warrior on May 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    “act rather than react”

    Thanks for the comment Glenn. Good stuff. Learning to act rather than react is VERY important, and can be done. It does take time, and often help (sometimes professional help) to learn how to not react.

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  48. Emily on May 21, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    My problem with taking offense is that I later discover that the so-called situation was completely other than I had interpreted/constructed it to be – so my anger was a big waste of energy. How am I supposed to know when I really should get in a twist over something, and when I’m just making it up? I can’t. All I can hope for is to take note of the reaction and consider why I am having it.

    That said, there is a meaning of ‘offense’ denoting crime or violation that has nothing to do with the emotional reactions of other parties. Offenses are something people commit; and though we may be unable to avoid ‘taking’ offense best not to hang onto it – it’s poison, no matter how ‘righteous’ the anger might be – righteous anger is just anger that we’ve just decided we’re entitled to keep. No less poisonous than any other kind.

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