Thank you for all of your feedback on my last post, The inevitable pain of loneliness . . . I am going to write a follow-up to it in a few days. However, here I wanted to get some of my thoughts down on a different subject that is important to me.
A little while back, I was trying to help a friend in a very difficult situation with his wife. They are back in America and not even from Atlanta, so I don’t have the advantage of seeing them on a regular basis. However, it was clear to me, as is the case pretty much with all such instances, that there was blame to be laid on both parties. The husband was in a rough situation, no doubt. However, he was also part of the problem.
I tried to help out as best I could. I tried to sympathize with him on where he had been wronged by his wife, and she clearly had wronged him. He appreciated this. However, when I also tried to get him to own some of his fault in the situation, he immediately rebuffed and became angry with me.
“You don’t understand me. . . you don’t understand my situation!” he literally yelled at me. When I asked him who does understand his situation and even tried to point him to others whom I thought could help them out, he then let me know that NO ONE understood his situation.
I am not married. I did not completely understand his situation. However, my friend had fallen into what is clearly one of the biggest and most detrimental lies you can tell yourself. . . “I am different. No one understands MY situation. If they only understood MY situation, they would see that I am right.” This line of thinking is absolute cancer to an individual. Unfortunately, I find that it is quite widespread, not just in marriage, but in all aspects of life.
This attitude is detrimental for many reasons, but here are a few that I can think of now.
- Isolates – By having the attitude “no one understands me/my situation,” people completely isolate themselves from others whom could potentially help them. More than this, you put yourself into a self-imposed prison where you convince yourself that you are alone. There is a neurotic comfort in isolation, but it is sad and pathetic in life.
- Breeds selfishness – It enables you to pass off anyone else’s opinion and to do only what you deem as correct. By saying, “no one understands my situation”, you are giving yourself free reign to do exactly what you want to do and pass off anything else as stupid and/or ignorant. This breeds extreme selfishness.
- Arrogant – In the end, “no one understands me” is the outworking of extreme narcissism. You are such the center of your own world that you convince yourself that you, in fact are “special” in your existence. It is arrogant to say this phrase. You belittle those around you by assuming your problems are beyond them. You are ultimately putting yourself above the others around you.
- Enables you to not listen to anyone else – Continuing on with this being a form or arrogance, by convincing yourself that “no one understands my situation” you are enabling yourself to simply ignore everyone else’s input around you. If someone tries to speak truth into your life, you simply blow it off.
- Gives you an out to treat people poorly (especially your spouse and family) – People whom honestly believe that “no one understands my situation” are generally mean people. They embrace this attitude because they either want to wallow in self-pity over a difficult situation or they want justification to treat other people poorly. This is often the attitude that people use to justify leaving their marriage.
In areas of life purpose, we will lose out if we allow ourselves to believe this lie that “no one understands me.” We all need others help us grow in life. We all need others to keep us focused and lift us up when (not if) we fall. When we believe this lie, we isolate others and will not be open for others to help us.
In areas of leadership, when someone buys into this lie, then they will be “uncoachable” in most, if not all of their jobs and in their life in general. These people can’t be led, because they don’t think others have anything to lead them through. Since “no one understands ME”, I will seek out and listen to no one else about anything.
Please avoid this attitude at all costs, as I know I have had to in my own life. It is an easy trap to fall into. Know that ultimately “there is nothing new under the sun.”