I hope you will read this with an open mind, as I am making an observation, and trying to reflect back what you have written. My intent is educational, and not a personal attack, so here goes:

As evidenced by how Alexainie responded to your article, this paragraph does not match her personal story. We are all insecure about how other people perceive us and will react to us, so it is natural to construct a defensive shield in the form of our own projections.

Instead of writing, “I hope this doesn’t offend you…” or “FWIW, here’s my perception…” or even “I’m terrified of how you’re going to react, but…” you constructed a back story for my friend and her entire family.

Could it be that you tried to soften the blow of what you expected her to write, because it would be less painful if you wrote it first?

I don’t know if this is a new writing style adopted by “younger” bloggers (when you’re as old as dirt, 43 is like prime of life young), a defense mechanism, or some misplaced belief that your perception of the world includes the powers of clairvoyance, but I’ve seen this type of writing so often, I wanted to address this idea when I read your story.

I think it would help all of us to observe how often we fall into this pattern, and how often we choose honest communication, even if it does involve some increased risk. Just responding to you brought up all kinds of imagined responses in my own mind, so I struggled to frame my writing as objective and non-judgemental as possible. I hope I have succeeded in that goal.

I agree that being a Nice Girl actually means having boundaries and pushing back when you need to. I wish you didn’t have to go from the weak excuse and probable smile to going nuclear — because, based on your description of the incident, you have no idea if that guy was creepy, was Mr. Right, or was embarrassed and trying to apologize — but if it taught you this vital lesson, then good for you.

You have every right to find your voice and speak up. (Update: based on your conversations with Mike, you gave him the chance to agree or disagree with you instead of creating a false narrative to keep you in your comfort zone. So I don’t know why it popped up in your writing here.)

I also hope your increased awareness helps you teach your kids better. I fear for so many of the kids, especially boys, whose mothers are strongly conditioned by their own abuse issues.


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Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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