Author Topic: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?  (Read 4993 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6588
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2013, 12:08:40 PM »
I'm not sure if I feel it is rude or not. I had sort of the opposite happen years and years ago. A friend had done something about a year earlier that had hurt me. He knew I was hurt, other friends knew I was hurt, but we never discussed it directly. We still hung out with the same friends but I just didn't interact with him one on one anymore. He took a job transfer and at his going away party (which was really our groups normal Friday night get together) he decided it was appropriate to pull me aside for a heart to heart to discuss what had happened a year before. Though he wanted to apologize and wanted me to forgive him he also wanted to explain his actions.  All I could think was "Why now? You're leaving and I'll probably never see you again nor stay in touch."

I never thought of his actions as rude, just bad timing, and sort of not worth the effort. 

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5253
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #31 on: January 17, 2013, 12:35:15 PM »
I wouldn't have minded something like this soon after I said it, but two to three years after? Why would he bother hanging on to something for that long and be angry, upset about it?

Hanging on to something like that takes effort. Wasted effort, in my opinion. There's better things you can be doing than worrying about something someone said to you more than two years ago.

That may be true.  But I also know a lot of people who carry past hurts with them even though they continue to have a positive relationship with the person who hurt them.   It doesn't make them rude, it just makes them unable to deal with feelings and move on...at least as quickly as you (general) do.

I understand that this was an awkward moment and a surprise of a conversation.  And if someone had asked me for advice on whether or not they should bring something from the past up, I may have suggested other ways to handle the feelings.  But, it's not rude to bring these things up...only rude ways to do it, IMO.   And it doesn't sound like your (old) friend was rude.

I would argue that it is rude to dump five years' worth of bad feelings on someone. TBH it serves no reason other than for the one who has been simmering to lash out rather than deal with their feelings like an adult. I don't think that holding on to hurt feelings is rude, but a feelingsbomb (which I can't claim I made up) is. It makes someone else feel bad about things that really don't matter just so that you (general) can feel better.

They don't matter to the OP, this is true...but obviously they mattered to this friend. I'm not an overly emotional person, but I still don't think it's rude if someone shares that their feelings were hurt, regardless of how much time has passed.  It only matters in how they do it.  The OP did not mention that he lashed out at her.  He pulled her aside at a party and asked her why she said certain things.  That's a perfectly legitimate question.  It doesn't even seem that he was looking for an apology or to make her feel bad, just ask "why?". The OP's only complaint was that those things were said years before...she forgot about them and so he should have too.

This interaction seems ill-timed and awkward.  But it's not rude. 

EMuir

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1383
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #32 on: January 17, 2013, 01:49:23 PM »
I was once like the OP's friend.  I had low self-esteem so if someone insulted me I might protest but would give in at the slightest protestation, so I would say it was OK and then just continue on.  Once I gained self-esteem I realized that these previous situations weren't actually addressed.  Unfortunately in two separate situations it didn't work out well.  In one the person's response made me realize that they really didn't care how I felt about anything they said, no matter how hurtful, so I've given them the cut direct.  In the other, I think I was a bit too forceful and drove the person away. 

If he did indeed just ask you why you said those things, I don't think he was rude. You could have been a bit more empathetic and asked him if those issues were still bothering him after all this time and what you could do to help.  Or, since he was leaving, bean dipping and avoiding him was definitely an option.

LEMon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1601
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #33 on: January 17, 2013, 08:41:15 PM »
The problem with bring something up from the past in such a sudden, unexpected fashion is just that - it is unexpected.  The person you need to talk about all this with has no clue that this is the reason you want to talk.  To do it at a party is really tough - op came to say 'goodbye', not to talk through the past.  If you genuinely do need to talk it through a going away party is not the place.  Invite the person to coffee, let them know you would like to talk a little about your relationship and some of the stuff from the past.  Give them a chance to be emotionally prepared to handle the conversation well.  You are much more likely to get closer to the conversation you want, especially if all you want is to understand why someone did something.

(all of this is general and directed at no one in particular)

I will admit if someone ask me 'why' I did something from the past, I might not honestly know any more.  Time has passed.  If we did talk about it at the time and I felt it was resolved, then I have probably not held the memory fresh in my mind.  If we didn't talk about it at the time and I didn't know it was an issue, I probably forgot about it because it isn't important to me.

bah12

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5253
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2013, 11:03:14 AM »
The problem with bring something up from the past in such a sudden, unexpected fashion is just that - it is unexpected.  The person you need to talk about all this with has no clue that this is the reason you want to talk.  To do it at a party is really tough - op came to say 'goodbye', not to talk through the past.  If you genuinely do need to talk it through a going away party is not the place.  Invite the person to coffee, let them know you would like to talk a little about your relationship and some of the stuff from the past.  Give them a chance to be emotionally prepared to handle the conversation well.  You are much more likely to get closer to the conversation you want, especially if all you want is to understand why someone did something.

(all of this is general and directed at no one in particular)

I will admit if someone ask me 'why' I did something from the past, I might not honestly know any more.  Time has passed.  If we did talk about it at the time and I felt it was resolved, then I have probably not held the memory fresh in my mind.  If we didn't talk about it at the time and I didn't know it was an issue, I probably forgot about it because it isn't important to me.

And I think that's a legitimate answer to a legitimate question.  "I'm not sure.  That happened so long ago and I didn't even know it was an issue.  I forgot all about it and can't even tell you what I was thinking or what the circumstances were back then."

It answers the question honestly and lets the person know that maybe bringing it up sooner would have helped resolve things more decisively. 

I don't think that getting angry and saying "What?  That was like five years ago? Why are you even still thinking about that?  You should have confronted me about this years ago.  This isn't worth my time."  Is not the right answer to the question (I'm not actually accusing the OP of this, it's just an example). 

I agree that the friend could have picked a better time/location to have this conversation with the OP, and I don't blame her for her feelings.  I just don't think her friend was rude to bring up something from the past.  He seems to have had the coversation with her privately and calmly, so he's good there too.

Winterlight

  • On the internet, no one can tell you're a dog- arf.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 9912
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2013, 11:16:16 AM »
The problem with bring something up from the past in such a sudden, unexpected fashion is just that - it is unexpected.  The person you need to talk about all this with has no clue that this is the reason you want to talk.  To do it at a party is really tough - op came to say 'goodbye', not to talk through the past.  If you genuinely do need to talk it through a going away party is not the place.  Invite the person to coffee, let them know you would like to talk a little about your relationship and some of the stuff from the past.  Give them a chance to be emotionally prepared to handle the conversation well.  You are much more likely to get closer to the conversation you want, especially if all you want is to understand why someone did something.

(all of this is general and directed at no one in particular)

I will admit if someone ask me 'why' I did something from the past, I might not honestly know any more.  Time has passed.  If we did talk about it at the time and I felt it was resolved, then I have probably not held the memory fresh in my mind.  If we didn't talk about it at the time and I didn't know it was an issue, I probably forgot about it because it isn't important to me.

Exactly. Hitting someone with this out of nowhere is not cool.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

BarensMom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2645
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2013, 11:53:01 AM »
My family is the champion of nursing old wrongs and bringing them up years later.  My sister recently asked me why I did something hurtful to her daughter back when I was 14 and why didn't our parents punish me.  I am now 54.

Giggity

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8622
Re: Bringing up past wrongs, is it ok?
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2013, 12:25:31 PM »
I was shocked and upset that he'd hold onto things for so long and not forgive and forget as I had and told him so. Was I right in this?

Not sure feelings are right or wrong.
Words mean things.