Spoiler Alert! I’m about to discuss the movie ‘A Star Is Born,’ so if you haven’t seen it, maybe you should wait to read this until you have. If you’re still here, thanks for sticking around. Now, there was a part of the film that made me think about my past, and how we should think before we speak because you never know if those words will have consequences. In the film, harsh words were purposely thrown at the victim, who was set off/triggered, which led him to commit suicide. It was heartbreaking to hear and watch, and it reminded me of a past experience about how the most innocent of words can trigger someone, and you may never even know it.
A few years back, I was attending a wedding of a friend, and I was seated next to her old roommate, Jessica. Jessica and I had only met each other 6-8 times throughout those years, but we shared one thing in common, we went to the same therapist. In fact, I only started seeing this therapist based on her recommendation. And the last time I saw Jessica, our conversation was about how our therapist agreed to give me a hug after our session when I asked for one. Unfortunately, those words I uttered to Jessica, set off a ticking time bomb and I was just about to find out how big it was.
The first thing out of my mouth to Jessica was the very simple question ‘It’s been so long, how are you doing? Tell me everything?!’ And thank goodness I was sitting down for her answer. It turns out that after I told her about my hugs, Jessica began to feel inferior because she wasn’t getting a hug from our shared therapist. Then, to make matters worse, she started worrying about asking for a hug and the possibility of getting rejected. These thoughts snowballed, and within a matter of weeks, Jessica was so afraid of the possible rejection, that she just vanished from our therapist’s life without a trace. Her fear made her choose the path of least resistance, which was never to see or think about this rejection ever again.
Fast forward to me listening to all this, as I sat there in shock and apologized profusely. I had no idea that the innocent words that left my mouth, with no ill will or malice attached to them, could have such an effect on someone else’s life. If terrible is a feeling, I felt like that but with some stab wounds and blood pouring out of me too. In my mind, I just destroyed Jessica’s life and walked away like an asshole, but thankfully, this isn’t where the story ends. THANKFULLY!
For two years, Jessica fell into a deeper hole until she eventually hit an emotional rock bottom and called my/our therapist to set up a meeting. In this meeting, she discussed my hugs, her disappearance, and all of the other insecurities within her. Over time, Jessica came to the decision that she didn’t even want a hug from our therapist, and she worked toward being content with who she is and her place in the world. And I was happy to find out that Jessica was happy after a long road of hard work. Hearing this helped me breathe a huge sigh of relief as I took the guilt off my shoulders and had a sip of my wine.
Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking that her whole life spun out of control because of the words that came out of my mouth. Thankfully my words didn’t have even greater consequences after her initial downward spiral, but not everyone is a Jessica and strong enough to fight. So let’s all try to think a little harder before we speak because you never know the consequences of your words. As for me, I will never discuss my experiences with my shared therapist ever again.
*Jessica’s name was changed to protect the innocent and gave her blessing for this blog post too.
If you or a loved one you know battles with Trust, Self Esteem, Anxiety, Depression or any other Mental Health Issues like our beloved Ellis, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.
Photo Credit: Editrrix