I suppose part of the issue comes for the fact that I don’t hear well in groups. Not at all. I try to hear what is being said. I try to pay attention. But if there is any sound at all other than the one person talking – say, quiet music in the background, or a couple of conversations going on at the same time, or… any sound – I miss most of what is being said.
The situation happened like this: there were a group of us sitting around in a circle. The question was, “how was your week?” and it was my husbands turn to answer.
Now another issue with paying attention to what is being said is that I am not at all an auditory learner. I am not even an auditory thinker (if that is a thing.) I think in pictures. So when people talk, I spend much of my time trying to convert their words into the pictures that I can understand, and then match it up with prior experiences so that I can remember what is being said.
It doesn’t always work.
It doesn’t often work.
In this particular moment, as I was trying to convert the words of my husband, other people were adding comments as well – and suddenly one of those comments was directed at me!
I didn’t even catch all the words, only something about me not counting on the insurance… and they all laughed.
Was it a joke?
Was it something they believed, which was hidden in a joke?
Since I didn’t hear what was said, I didn’t respond, and they moved on. They did, but I couldn’t. In my head I was going over the few words I heard, mixed in with the subject my husband had been talking about (his trip to the doctor) and I was once more hurt and defensive by the words that might have only been meant as a joke.
Only I never understand these types of jokes (if that is what it was – if not, it is even worse.)
It is like when my son was a baby, and his paternal grandmother bought a t-shirt saying something like, “baby for sale.” She thought it was cute and funny, but I was absolutely horrified.
“I would never!” I thought, and kept the pain and tears hidden inside with extreme effort.
Do they think I am with him for the insurance?
Maybe they do. Not them specifically, but many people have believed many bad things about me before that weren’t true. It hurts even more that I can’t defend myself, and when I try, they become even more sure of their original belief.
I am not with him for the insurance – yet if something happened to him, I would struggle a lot in so many ways (that they would likely never understand) and would depend on it, so they would likely believe it more, and it is so not true. But I can’t explain it. I haven’t the words.
Again, this isn’t about the people I was with in that room – but about a lifetime of past experience with things others have wrongly believed about me (and caused extensive damage in believing.)
So maybe it was a joke, and maybe I did hear it wrong – but it still hurt. And those jokes? No matter how hard I try, I am incapable of understanding them.