Have you ever been be-littled in relationships or in life? Have you ever felt like you are beneath other people and just never good enough?
This week’s post I am diving deep with you. I will share with you some tips on how to handle contempt in relationship & in life. Before we get there, I really must share that what stirred my emotions and my soul this past couple of weeks has been the tragic news of George Floyd, in fact, what happened to him and so many African-American brought forth my own past of growing up in Thailand and being racist against.
I’m a 3rd Generation of Indian born in Thailand and growing up in Thailand was rough for me. I remember in school kids calling me the smelly indians, don’t be friends with the indians, here comes the indian, they have a specific word to call my race in Thai and that stuck with me.
The more I sense the separation, the more I became very withdraw in school. I scored horribly, I didn’t have any friends and I barely want to speak with anyone. I would get beaten up by teachers for not writing Thai beautifully and I remember escaping school one day at grade 2, I walked home on my own because I dread school and that toxic environment.
I felt the contempt for being different and so when I heard about George Floyd, I just couldn’t hold it together, I broke into tears that lasted for a few days. I believe it was a series of events after events, news after news of this injustice and racism. I just can’t believe it still existed! This is more than what I have been through.
This also brought up so much memories of my past in school when I was contempt for my race but also memories of seeing contempt among the family members where husband would contempt the wife for not being worthy or siblings who contempt each other and acting more superior. I really believe that contempt is the very energy that fuels angers and resentment and more than that, it’s what breaks relationships. If you are in a situation where you feel like a second class citizen whether in a family environment, in your home, in your work place or in your country, I want you to remember this – you are not alone and I am so rooting for you and I can totally relate to how you are feeling.
I remember being so angry and really resented those comments, as I didn’t who I was or where I belong since I didn’t speak Hindi or Punjabi, I had never even been to India at that time and I wasn’t accepted amongst the Thai community, I was left alone wondering and contemplating on where home is and how come I was rejected and treated so badly. At 13 years old, I didn’t know how to deal with those emotions, I just day dream alot and in my own head, I would create this imaginary world where I was living else where and people accepted who I was.
I didn’t know how to speak English then and so I spent those times watching American TV series and pretended that I could speak English and 2 years later, I was fluent in English. I somehow turned those anger and transmuted it to a driving force for me to learn something new. You can take this tip and apply it as well for your situation. Adopting a new learning, add a skill, transmute those contempt and turn it into a winning energy like a Michael Jordan. Of course, you would want to make sure you deal with these anger so it doesn’t last with you forever!
In this post, I will be sharing you specifically how to handle contempt in relationships and in life.
How to Identify Contempt Statement
Victor & I are big followers and learners of the Gottman Therapy, when we attended their classes, we are blown away every time. The Gottman Institute stated that:
“When we communicate with contempt, we are truly mean. Treating others with disrespect and mocking them with sarcasm and condescension are forms of contempt. So are hostile humor, name-calling, mimicking, and body language such as eye-rolling and sneering. In whatever form, contempt is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust and superiority, especially moral, ethical, or characterological.”
Contempt, simply put, says, “I’m better than you. And you are lesser than me.”
This is the number 1 predictor of a divorce or that a relationship is in trouble and so if you are caught up in relationships like this, it’s giving you a red alert and you have a choice to do something about it. Contempt is a personal attack and if you find yourself being in a relationship where one person is constantly attacking you, it’s often from their own pain and unhealed wounds. It’s true that we as humans, tend to put so much expectation on the others, we put our power of justice to the authority figures, we put so much of our power and idealize our partner in such a way that we EXPECT they should know this is something that they shouldn’t be doing, that this is a NO-NO.
The truth is some people really cannot see that they contempt you, in fact, some of them even think they earn the right to do that and so YOU have to be on a look out and start scanning for these red flags to see whether you are in a relationship that has contempt energy all over it.
Another way to spot contempt is when you feel like pulling away and creating distance from this particular person or situation because that feels safer for you, this is a sign that is showing you there’s some form of contempt in the relationship that doesn’t make you feel safe.
How to Handle Contempt
Here are some ways for you to handle contempt in relationships & life.
- Love & Be Kind to You
- Even if other people contempt you, remember that you are born worthy. It’s your birth right to be happy, to be treated fairly.
- Practicing self-compassion
- Stop beating yourself up and start loving yourself and being very kind to yourself.
- Investigate Deeper
- Instead of reacting the way that you normally would, start to be open to hear these contempt so you become aware of the red flags, especially the words that hurt you the most because these are leading you to what MATTERS to you the most.
- One of my teachers told me that my anger can lead me to some of the things that I am most passionate about and it is a doorway to my passion & purpose. You can take this opportunity to investigate deeper to your own needs.
- Revisit your past, have you ever been contempt in other environment such as school or family environment? If you have been, ask yourself, have you fully healed from this relationship? If not, I recommend having a coach who can partner with you on this journey to help you make it easier. I am very happy to help you.
- Create a Healthier Boundaries
- Appreciate yourself and what’s good about you to help build the empowerment muscle.
- If this is a relationship that matters to you and is valuable for you, you can also shift your focus to appreciate the goodness even if it’s so small because this will help you not to react to the situation or the contempt but to be able to respond from grace & love.
- Create a healthy boundaries by acknowledging what you want and start expressing your needs even if its a small step by using words like ‘I Feel.’ and gently stating what you want.
- Empower yourself with all the self-help and self-care tools so you can build a muscle of worthiness and start living a life of your dreams everyday.