For a long time, I didn’t fully understand this quote. I can remember many occasions where I would look at what someone was doing, without knowing the reason behind it, and make my own assumptions of that persons character or situation, using the excuse that, ‘Actions speak louder than words’.
I am not sure if it is life experience or age and wisdom that have brought me to the conclusion that I misunderstood the whole thing entirely. I’ll say that it is a combination of both – definitely a particular situation I find myself to be in being the major influence here.
I had a look at what the saying, “Actions speak louder than words” actually means, and was intrigued to find that my newly found wisdom appears to be relatively correct.
The definition is, “what someone actually does means more than what they say they will do”.
Which is not quite what I thought it meant all these years.
I was led to believe (and I see now that it was meant to be a ‘guilting me into behaving the way my manipulator wanted me to behave’), that it doesn’t matter what I say, people will see my actions and conclude that what the Manipulator had been saying all along was correct.
We need to be careful how we use this saying, and when we use it.
Here’s an example of what it doesn’t mean : About a year ago, I went through a stage where I enjoyed a glass of wine with my evening meal. A bottle of wine would last four days. There was always wine in my fridge.
My Manipulator told people I was an alcoholic.
My friends laughed – especially those who regularly spent time with me. It was absurd. But family members and acquaintances who didn’t actually know me or spend any time with me, began to believe that what my Manipulator said was true. And of course, it was made worse by the fact that there was a picture of a wine bottle in my fridge.
Someone arrived at my house to ‘say hi’, which they had NEVER done before, one Saturday morning, and of course the empty wine glass in the sink from the night before acted as what they saw as ‘evidence’. It was an ‘action’ as far as they were concerned.
It didn’t help that there was still half a bottle of wine in the fridge, and a full bottle on the counter (which I had purchased a few days earlier for when I had finished the one in the fridge, because it was on special).
And everything was made worse by the fact that I happen to collect wine bottles – because I ‘upcycle’ them and decorate them for crafting purposes – to keep me out of mischief, and give away as gifts etc. So there were five empty bottles waiting on top of the cupboard to be decorated.
Now had the visitor bothered to ask me about all these things, and not made assumptions based on the Manipulators words, they might possibly have accepted my explanations and understood that me being an alcoholic was funnier than a cartoon strip in the daily paper.
But based on words that had been spoken, and all the ‘actions’ (which led to assumptions), word soon got out that there was proof that I was in fact an alcoholic. And I had to battle my family for months after that.
Some people still believe that what my Manipulator said is true.
And I deal with these misconceptions and degrading discussions about me (and I am not talking about alcohol, I am talking about everything else you can think of in life), behind my back, daily. The truth eventually came out that I am neither an alcoholic or a drug addict, and so it really confuses me as to why people still LISTEN to and BELIEVE what the Manipulator says. Honestly, there are certain things I do, and certain ways I react, that if I was on the outside looking in without actually asking about them, I’d also believe that things were amiss.
But actions cannot stand alone….you need the words too. I think we all reach a point where we grow tired of trying to explain ourselves. Especially when people don’t want to listen. I’m tired. It’s easy to say, ‘don’t let it upset you. Who cares what other people think?’ But it’s hurtful when your Manipulator, and the person who believes the worst about you and spreads such degrading and horrible lies, is the one person is this world who should love you unconditionally. There are days (that sometimes become whole months) where you struggle with your mind and fight an inner war because the voices in your head are yelling, “If they don’t love you, then no one can!”
I’m tired of explaining why I am so angry at my Manipulator; I’m tired of trying to get people to listen to the years of emotional abuse and torment I have suffered from my Manipulator; and I’m tired of the sarcastic laugh from my Manipulator as they tell me yet again, “well, people will see your actions and who do you think they will believe”?
I am tired of knowing that no one hears me, no one listens, and that it is all futile.
This is a rather discouraging blog post, but here’s what I am hoping you’ll get out of it :
When you hear something about someone, please don’t believe it – even if they seem to be acting in a way that may make it true. If you want to take the time to believe it, then please first take the time to ASK THE PERSON why. Please try and be compassionate and understanding – and even if you would never react in a way they have, or do something they have done, remember that you’re not them; you’re not walking in their shoes; you haven’t had to feel what they have had to feel and experience for who knows how long.
Be a better you than anyone else can be.