A personal, social and family conspiracy is afoot and no I am not delusional or crazy or suffering from a persecution complex. I know with certainty that this devious phenomenon exists because of what my feelings tell me. I feel short-changed, angry and hurt.
Have we not all heard these phrases at some point in life?
Don’t be negative. You are being too sensitive. Oh come on, don’t be so serious. I was just joking. Don’t mind ok. It’s all in fun. You are taking it personally. Be positive. Forget it.
I call these the most offensive and lethal social defences in circulation. They are used to put others down, and to tell them what the speaker thinks they should be doing. It is a form of control, a dishonest way of showing others their place. People use this tool all the time. Bosses use these damaging phrases on their hapless juniors, colleagues pull them on each other and husbands keep their partners emotionally malleable with this particular choice of words.
Life has taught me that it is interpersonal suicide to be honest about perfectly human and natural feelings of confusion, self-doubt or the occasional low. You will mostly get a lecture for your efforts. Your audience will invariably roll up their sleeves and launch with a, "Let’s show these volatile nuts what they in fact are: too serious, too sensitive, and too negative!!”
When someone begins a conversation with a, “Don’t mind…”, they know in fact that annoyance should be the legitimate reaction of the recipient, but they offend with the confidence that there won’t be any such thing because we are too conditioned to do heheehee and smile….oh come on, don’t be so serious!
Worst of all, there is covert and overt gender discrimination at play. Women are better at being willing to be put down. For some reason, we are always struggling to be seen as accommodating, cheerful, mature and sensible. Woe betide a female who displays her honest feelings of frustration or anger or sadness….she is overreacting of course, she has taken it all too personally, as though there were any other legitimate way of taking it! Please mark the deadly form of manipulative control.
And beware of men who use humour. They are doing just that…humouring you; but that is another story!