Writing Matters – My Safe Haven

Have you ever been hurt by the words and actions of another and they’ve been completely oblivious to the damage caused? They are so wrapped up in their own affairs the offence they have caused fails to register? It happened me the other day and I must admit it stung. I can have a less than thick skin at times but, on this occasion, I believe my wounded reaction was justified. Some people don’t think before they speak. Others do, but simply don’t care enough about the consequences.

I’m no saint. I know that I have caused hurt in the past, we all have. But part of life is learning from our past failings and ensuring they are not repeated. It’s about progress and forward motion, as opposed to repetition and ruin. This requires a degree of self-awareness that is sorely lacking in some people. So, when it happened me recently, I was disappointed that the other person was so unaware of a character flaw which they have displayed on many previous occasions.

It’s at moments like this I tend to avoid looking in the mirror and reflecting on my own words and actions, or rather inaction. You see, I said nothing. Rather than risk a confrontation with the other person, I bit my lip and took it on the chin. A double whammy so to speak. I didn’t stand up for myself, I didn’t challenge the other person’s behaviour, I buckled and folded like a deck of cards. It’s an area of my personality I don’t particularly like, not fighting my own corner.

What would have happened had I spoken up? Well, I’ll never know now, but from past experience the other person would not have reacted well, no matter how I worded my objections. I’ve been down that road before and it didn’t end well. Whenever I become embroiled in an argument I tend to capitulate and apologise once the dust settles. I hate people thinking ill of me, even when I know in my heart I’m in the right.

This is another character flaw that I’m not proud of, my lack of a backbone in such situations. At times like this, I wish I was more stubborn, more obstinate, more downright surly. I know people who can go days, weeks, months without speaking to another person they have fallen out with. They don’t give the other party a second thought and get on with their lives. Their loss, I’ve got a life to lead, let them stew in their own juices for a while.

I’m no good at stewing, hopeless at raising the drawbridge and battening down the hatches. When it comes to siege situations I’m waving the white flag within hours and sheepishly emerging to lay down arms and petition for surrender. I’m a diplomat, not a warrior and strive to keep the peace at all costs, even if I inevitably walk away with little to show for my efforts. I wish I was stronger, tougher, less of a walkover. I’m not.

So, I write. This is how I express myself, how I work through the issues bouncing round my skull. I’ve been unable to express myself verbally at the time, so I limp away, lick my wounds and then hammer out my frustration on the keyboard. Writing is a release that I have been unable to avail of for most of my adult life. Before, I would have lashed out at loved ones or buried my woes at the bottom of a pint glass. I was hurting and hurt others in the way I processed the perceived umbrage.

I am grateful for this blog. These past three years I have retreated to it on numerous occasions to deal with the storms of life. It is my safe haven, a tranquil harbour where I can lay anchor and ponder on where I’ve went wrong and how I can steer clear of the rocks next time round. I am equally grateful of those who have taken the time to read and respond with the wisdom and experience of their own life lessons. I hope to sail these waters for many more years.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

41 thoughts on “Writing Matters – My Safe Haven

  1. Same. I am glad to connect with you even in this remote way. There are some similarities in our life circumstances that I have been able to glean, although I do not claim to know exactly everything. And writing a blog post is therapeutic, frequently. So, I hope this is a very small but of encouragement to you.

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  2. Sorry, I hit the wrong button… I meant to add that I’ve been guilty of saying the wrong thing myself at times and never appreciated the hurt that it caused. (That’s the trouble with being a straight talking Yorkshireman). They may have meant no harm, but at least you have had your say here, which is good.

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  3. Finding the balance e between diplomacy and directness is an extremely difficult balancing act. I 100% understand! As someone who likes to think they are more direct than they are, and actually tends to the peacekeeping role far more than imagined…I get it.

    On the other hand, some people just don’t give a damn who they hurt.

    Sorry you had this happen. Like you, blogging is a huge outlet for processing such hurts. We hear you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Writing has helped me process some pretty sucky treatment by others, too. I know I have fully healed when I can pray for the person who hurt me. Thankfully, I have an ability to let things slide. I try to pick my battles very carefully. I am very grateful for my blogging community. Take care of yourself.

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  5. I do that too. Sometimes I’m outnumbered and just don’t want to get into an argument where I’m the sole voice on the other side. Best thing is just to forgive and move on, since we are not ultimately accountable for another person’s behavior: they are.

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  6. And now I’m worried sick in case it was when I said you were sporting the ‘eccentric author look’ because you hadn’t had a haircut! Please tell me it wasn’t me who upset you, Stephen. 😱

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for putting me out of my misery so soon. 😊
        If this person has displayed similar behaviour on several occasions, maybe it would help to have a gentle but firm word with them, if you feel it would be worth doing so.

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  7. It is such a hard line to walk and most of the time I mostly suck at speaking up and defending myself… just like you. But I guess the potential upside is that you would have just one injury (the lump on the chin) instead of two (chin lump AND bitten lip).

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  8. I totally understand you. Same. My writing is what keeps me from drowning in my emotional wounds.
    But I learn I had the ability to walk away. When I felt disrespected and unable to stand up for myself. I would literally walk away, even if it’s in the middle of conversation.
    Or my facial expression told them I don’t want to talk to you. Prayer helped me get through this and get to the root of why I was behaving this way. Still a work in progress

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  9. ….and your writing is inspirational to us. Yes, my blog is also my ‘safe haven’. We, Stephen, are natural people pleasers not wanting to upset anybody or have them dislike us. Dealing with this part of our personalities is an everyday challenge.

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  10. Writing is my safe haven, as well. Confrontation is something I have also shrunk from in my life, but I’ve learned that it’s healthier to speak up otherwise the hurt and anger will bubble up to the surface one day (and not in a good way). I think the more emotionally sensitive our hearts are the more things hurt us. Some people just don’t care who they hurt, and I think they actually enjoy hurting others. I worry for days if I think I have hurt someone. I enjoy reading your blog because of its honesty and insight.

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  11. Thank you for sharing. Like you, writing is medicine for my soul as well. It may not always give me the immediate peace that I seek, but there is power in releasing our resentments so that they don’t continue holding us hostage.

    Plus… putting our thoughts down on paper, or on a blog, is often a much healthier outlet than reacting to pent-up frustration and unloading it on those we love. 🙂

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  12. I too used to avoid any conversation that had the potential to lead to confrontation. Sometimes I still do. Also similarly to you I process pain and hurt with words, often in the form of emotive poetry, which even I have to admit at times is pretty dark.

    One thing that has helped me speak up when I perceive injustice or a need for change is playing ultimate frisbee. It is a self refereed sport where each player is responsible for their behaviour and conduct. Contrary to what some people think it works well, with teams calling out their own players when something is wrong.

    I recommend it to anyone out any age and skill level. Exercise and practice being assertive. A winning combo. 🙂

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      1. I have represented New Zealand at World tournaments. Even there competition is self-refereed. Things can often be a little more intense because of representing one’s country but the practice still works. I think I owe a lot of my communication skills, and calmness during conflict to playing ultimate frisbee – and to my dad.

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  13. I’m so sorry you got hurt. Why is it the people who are so kind and mind their own business get hurt the most? I do not think you a pushover. And sometimes keeping quiet is better because I’ve learned where it will get you. Yes, there is a time to speak your mind. And you will know when. Please stay the person you are. This world needs more people like you. Hugs to you.

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