con·de·scend·ing —adjective, having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority.
Dating disasters are frustrating enough, but when the disaster morphs into disrespect, things turn really ugly.
People change their minds all the time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is everything wrong with not acknowledging you’ve changed your mind; even worse, acting like you haven’t changed your mind. Insecurity powered by immaturity tends to motivate this kind of insincere performance. Cue the gaslighting anomaly: this is where someone gradually hurts you while attempting to challenge the validity of reality with alternations. This behavior is typically packaged with apologies intertwined with excuses.
There may not always be a way to avoid these situations, but you’ll always have the choice to remove yourself at the first sign. Do not hold out for someone to change; instead, change your environment and revoke their access to you. Every loss is a lesson. This gets easier to practice the more you communicate with your instinct and listen to your intuition. It doesn’t matter if they understand why you’re hurt, it matters that you understand. If an apology sounds insincere, that’s because it is. If you feel that you were led on, that’s because you were. If you’re feeling blindsided, that’s because you are.
Don’t see things for what you want them to be; see their truth. Don’t stuff everything into a box of positivity to try and cope. Reality is not always pretty, and that’s okay. You do not have to be friends with people that hurt you.
I think we’re pressured more than ever to remain positive, and that’s great to lead with, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid reality. Sometimes our minds need to feel those negative thoughts to see the situation for what it is. That’s how we heal and get on the other side.
Practice empathy, but be careful not to let empathy put their needs before yours. The moment someone talks down to you is the moment you must take a giant turn in the opposite direction. The moment someone disrespects you, you disrespect yourself every moment you allow their behavior to continue impacting you. You can forgive someone while acknowledging that their apologies are as counterfeit as their behavior—and as a result, they will no longer have access to you in any capacity. Not everything needs to end on a positive note. At times, it’s more important things end on an honest note.
Beware of the condescending apology. Admitting fault is extremely difficult, and that’s precisely why not everyone can do it—and it’s even harder for someone powered by ego. It’s easier for someone to turn condescending because it frees them of guilt and accountability while simultaneously pushing the blame over to you.
But don’t get too discouraged. You can rise above this behavior by forgiving with your mind, not your heart.
It’s most important to remember that if someone is gaslighting you, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. I know that acknowledging this may seem easier said than done, but when someone tries to manipulate you, it projects all the parts of them that are hurting. But that’s their journey, and you’re traveling somewhere else.
Honest feelings are the right feelings. Do not let someone manipulate you into thinking your feelings are not valid. Having the capacity to feel so deeply is what connects you to people and ensures that all of your relationships—romantic and platonic—are nothing short of extraordinary. Your feelings are valid, and your heart is one-of-a-kind.
You can lead with love while protecting your worth first and foremost. Not everyone deserves access to you, and putting this into practice is what will ensure you’re inviting the right people into your life.