Words can change a life

by — Sept. 4, 2000 (Comments)

I remember the words used (read abused) on me. My mother’s words ring in my ears. I was not the favorite child. My ex-husband (we were married 30 years) told me in the heat of anger that I would never be a historian or a writer and that I had crawled out from under a rock. After that my ex-boyfriend (of 11 years) called me a f**ing itch (he was an alcoholic). Everything said in the heat of anger and why are those the only words I remember?

I got my college degree after the age of 40, but that was the only thing in the world that gave me the confidence of being human and worthwhile. That it should not have made a difference is neither here nor there, it does.

While my 2 kids were growing up, I made the mistake of calling my teenage daughter a cow when she had been sitting on the edge of the couch I wanted to move. No, she was not fat or big. Why I said it, I have no idea, but she became anorexic the rest of her life.

There are a lot of things I would have done differently, but in the heat of the moment, or in an angry instant we say and do things that we cannot take back and that leaves a mark that cannot be erased. There are not a lot of things I would erase, but the words I would erase have left an indelible mark that I am so very sorry I was a part of it.

If I could start over, would it be different. If I was aware of what my words were going to do to someone else, yes, but do we even realize what we are saying when we are so very angry, or in one case, drunk. Lives can be changed in a millisecond by one word.

The words we say should be encouraging and uplifting. In anger, we should go off somewhere and come back to that person when we are calm and rational. Anger is mad. Mad is crazy. We use angry/mad/crazy wording that we would never use otherwise. We use these words with our most precious loved ones who then become unloved ones. Or at least that’s the way they feel. Oh, they will understand, we were just mad. Will they? Or will those words haunt them forever. Will they become something they never would have become had we not said those exact words?

We must control ourselves or we could lead someone down a wrong path or into a health crisis that they can never recover from. The people in our life are so very important and we must remember that because we are also important to them, they take to heart what we say.

Let us say only the very best or at the very least tell them that they are ok, but what they are doing is not. Denigrating someone is not cool!