We all have that family member. The one that makes inappropriate comments or jokes. Or that friend of a friend you met once who commented on something you were self-conscious of. That person who makes you feel something like anger or frustration, but you say nothing.
Because it’s rude to speak your mind. Because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Because “they’re just joking”. Whatever story you’ve grown up hearing that you buy as truth.
Instead, because you say nothing, the person continues. The thought crosses your mind to bring it up that you’re not fond of the comments, but still you remain quiet. Then one day the person cracks a joke, and you’ve had it. You get frustrated. You’re angry. Today is the day and you let it fly. The verbal vomit that you’ve been holding back goes everywhere.
You tell the person exactly what’s been on your mind for the days, months, weeks or years this has been going on and you do it intensely. All your emotion is in it. And that person… is floored. They feel horribly guilty. Their heart is crushed.
Because they had absolutely no idea you felt this way. Hell, there have been times when you laughed along. They didn’t realize you were faking it. Smiling along to hide your anger because you were taught not to speak that way to people instead of being taught how to express your emotions in a healthy way.
If the first day the joke was made, you had said to that person you didn’t appreciate it, they would have apologized, and moved on. Perhaps feeling a little guilty they brought up something you were sore about. But instead, you held it in with the hope of not hurting anybody’s feelings.
More appropriately, putting others before yourself, until your temper (read: restricted emotions) overflowed. It is my opinion that this is one of the biggest things that holds dog owners back from correcting bad behaviour.
Because the idea of punishment doesn’t align with their views on who they are, or they don’t want to “be mean”. They let the emotion build until one day, it all comes out and you finally have the nerve to do it. You correct your dog. But it’s too harsh, or perhaps maybe just right, and you feel horribly guilty because you never wanted to be that person who vents frustration. That said, you’ve never had a dog like this one.
The problem isn’t punishment. The problem isn’t expressing yourself. The problem isn’t telling others how their behaviour affects you.
The problem is letting the emotion build up until you’re reacting out of frustration and anger. And it all could have been avoided if the first time that person made that comment, you told them what you were thinking.
“You’re always doing too much too late. Do less, sooner” – Ray Hunt, horseman