Sweeping life under the rug

by Madeline Laughs

When you “sweep it under the rug” you are hiding something embarrassing or uncomfortable in hopes that it will be forgotten and go away. You never really address the issue and nothing is ever resolved, but you make the effort to pretend nothing happened. Eventually you hope everyone forgets about it and it magically goes away.

I grew up in a household that was famous for sweeping their problems and issues under the rug. You could assume that I became an expert at this after seeing it happen constantly during my formative years, however I am the exact, almost extreme, opposite.

There are no rugs in my house. 

When did avoidance become acceptable? When did it become okay to ignore problems and act like everything is peachy, when it most certainly is not? People want to complain about the way the world is managed, and yet they won’t make the time to manage their own lives. If an event or a person in your life was worthy of the time it took before there was an issue, then once the issue occurs they should be worthy of the time it takes to address it, fix it, and move on.

Pretending that nothing happened is not an option, unless you have prepared yourself to never be worthy of any consideration in your own life when life happens to you.

That’s what people don’t get. To sweep it under the rug lessens it’s worth. To ignore it, makes it seem unimportant. But if it’s bothersome enough to ignore then it’s still a problem. Ignoring a problem takes just as much energy as addressing it.

I had an argument with someone I have been friends with for close to a decade. It was the first time we ever had an argument and I was surprised when it escalated to the two of us actually screaming at each other. I knew she hadn’t been feeling well, but she threw a small tantrum when things weren’t going exactly her way and I lost my temper when she refused to apologize for being a jerk to me. I walked away fully prepared to deal with this at a later date when we weren’t still heated about the argument. Imagine my surprise when she sent a message through another friend that she was forgiving me for what I did.

For what I did? So this was all my fault?

Sending an offer of forgiveness through someone else is about as arrogant and disrespectful as you can get. If your intention is salvaging what’s left of your friendship then I strongly advise against this move. Whatever you do, own it. Speak to the person yourself and be open to accepting blame. It takes two people to argue and you are just as guilty as the other person.

I admit that I am brutal when it comes to confrontation. I strongly believe in keeping things out in the open and feel this is much healthier than allowing them to fester. This way I avoid most conflicts with others. It keeps my corners from gathering cobwebs and I have fewer people in my life that have unhealthy agendas.

When people don’t think they’ve done anything wrong, they don’t apologize. Even when some people know they’ve done something wrong, they will never apologize. Admitting they screwed up is something their own ego won’t allow and it might even give the impression to others that they are just as culpable as the other person was.

When someone actively practices denial or passive/aggressive behavior when there’s conflict, you should reconsider your connection with them. Whatever the underlying circumstances are, this person can potentially cause you a lot of heartache over the years because no matter what happens, they will always sweep it under the rug or fester until they explode with anger. They will deny you and themselves rather than deal with anything uncomfortable. Being honest about hurt feelings or misunderstandings is never easy, but if you care about a friend then come forward. Don’t change to negative behavior and wait for them to come to you. A friend in denial is not a friend at all.

There’s also the person that won’t let it go. They constantly remind you of things you have “put to bed” and want you to forever be repentant and reminded that this one incident in your life will forever be a big, black cloud over your head. Even when you’re finally able to look back at it and laugh or crack a joke, this friend will remind you how “hurt” you appear to everyone else. In reality the only person seeing your “hurt” is usually just them, or anyone they might have reminded again.

This is bullshit.

If you have a friend that constantly feels the need to scratch off old scabs, then perhaps the two of you need a break from each other. Sometimes people come into our lives during a crisis, when we need them most. It’s nice when you have healed because you now have a new friend. Unfortunately, sometimes the friend feels the only thing you have in common is the crisis you suffered through and so they will hang onto that at all costs. It may even cost them your friendship.

Any time you are able to crack a joke or laugh about something or someone in your past that has hurt you, then I applaud you. Humor is a sure sign you have recovered a bit and are moving on. Don’t allow anyone to make you hold on to old hurts. Let the hurt go and if the friend won’t stop reminding you of it, then let them go too. It doesn’t have to be forever, but if they don’t respect your boundaries it’s a good idea to keep your distance until they learn how.

Life is not always a smooth ride, so if you want good friends that will stick by you then make sure they have a healthy attitude when it comes to conflict and conflict resolution.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Personal Boundaries Primer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sweeping life under the rug

  1. LoCal Russian says:

    This is a very healing post for me. When I do tell other people my own thoughts, it usually comes out so stark and obvious that some people are taken aback. I am learning that I don’t have to share my thoughts with everyone. I can share them with the folks who will not hold my honesty against me. However, I no longer feel it necessary to force myself to say what I think to people who do not appreciate what I have to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thats a great start. I have also learned to share my thoughts with people that actually care about hearing them. Here on the blog I can freely share thoughts and I really don’t care if anyone reads them, but I get them out. Maybe someday they might help someone, but if they never get read at all then at least I feel better having voiced them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mercadee says:

    You start life with a clean slate. Then you begin to make your mark. You face decisions, make choices. You keep moving forward. But sooner or later there comes a time where you look back over where you have been and wonder who you really are.

    Liked by 1 person

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