I’ve been mulling something over the last couple of days but I want to think a little deeper on it, so I’m going to write it. Just for clarification this is for my processing. My unfiltered thoughts about this topic of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and misrepresentation.
I guess I am letting you in on a bit of my process. . . ok here we go…
(ps. dont judge me, im already doing enough of that)
First let’s define the words. I like to use Online Etymology Dictionary when I define words:
Miscommunication – faulty or erroneous communication. I find it interesting that it also gave a second word of definition. The word was crossed. To be crossed out “cancelled by crossing lines” Crossed wires as figurative of confusion, miscommunication. To be cross is to be adverse, to oppose, obstructing, contrary, opposite.
Misunderstand – to understand amiss, attach a false meaning to; fail to understand. an occasion when someone does not understand something correctly.
Misrepresent – give a false or incorrect account of, whether intentionally or not. to describe falsely an idea, opinion, or situation, often in order to get an advantage.
Something wild and uncontrollable happens when I am being misunderstood and misrepresented during a miscommunication. I get violently angry. Not like physically but my internal world expands like a volcano ready to explode. It starts like a small bubbling until boom. This is not happen in any case of misunderstanding. If someone misunderstands and then they post a comment on this blog or social media that misrepresents what I am saying. I understand that. We are on two sides of a screen and the medium allows for some alotment of miscommunication. Where I struggle is when I am sitting directly in front of someone who choses to misconstrue (interpret erroneously) what I am saying and infers meaning (to ‘bring in’ their own conclusion to the process of reasoning) to what I am saying that is of their own making.
And yes I know the difference of what someone is trying to figure it out and when they are taking my words and twisting them. Sometimes it is subtle and sometimes its overt misrepresentation.
Why I see a problem:
I love clarity, therefore, I tend to ask questions to get to where I fully understand what is being said. In some instances this can feel to others a bit like an interrogation because I am eye locked on you and listening very intently to what you are say, how you are saying it, and listening for clues for my next question of clarification. A simple question I like to use is, “what do you mean by _________?” My mind is quick to put together what I think someone is saying. I have learned that if I dont clarify I may just get burned by the assume clause. (to take or put on fictitiously)What I call an assume clause is when you think you know but you really dont because you didn’t clarify but rather you jumped to conclusions and make up your own story about what the other person is saying. When I let another person explain what they are saying and not make it up for them, I choose to take them at their word. This is one of the ways that I speak love to people and I dont tend to get caught up in make believe worlds where I am painting people as villians and heros based on my opinions.
Where did this problem come from:
When I was a little girl, in the 5th grade, I started liking boys. One of those boys was Heath. One day I went to the local recreation center with Heath and his friend. He kissed me that day but his braces cut my lip and I didn’t like it. I broke up with him and went home. I was 11. Well, Heath didn’t like that I broke up with him, so he and his friend made up a story that I did things I would never do with them. Eventually this rumor got around to the principal of the school. She called me into her office. She had also called my step dad and he was waiting in the school office when I came in. They asked me if this rumor was true. And I told them, ” no.”
When we got home I ended up in an interrogation type situation with my stepdad. He proceeded to ask me over and over again if I did it. Over and over I told him, “no I didn’t.” Every time that I said, “no” he called me a liar and smacked me in the face. Until finally the indignation inside of me came violently flying out. I stood up and yelled in his face, “I would never do something like that.” His response was to grab me by the throat and slam me up against the wall.
When I was 16, a man had broken into our house, woke me up out of a dead sleep, in my bedroom and told me to stand up. I was the girl that watched every cop show and investigative crime drama. I knew if I let this man take me out of my house they would probably never find me. Rule number one never let them move you to a second location. So I didn’t. I started talking to him and asking him questions and why he would do this. I even argued with him about who he was because I felt like I had met him before. Over and over again while he held a knife to my neck he told me to walk. But I refused. Suddenly he pushed me and I felt my feet move towards the door and a violent scream came curdling out of my body. He ran. My mom, and her boyfriend at the time, woke up and realized what had happened and they called the police. In the meantime, in my 16 year old brain, I’m thinking the only way that they’re gonna be able to catch this guy is if I remember every detail. So I sat down and calmly thought through what had just happened to me. When the detective got there I told him everything that I could remember. I remained calm because I wanted him to hear me clearly. He asked me one question. He said, “Are you sure you and your boyfriend didn’t just get a little too loud in the room and you were worried you would get caught? So he ran out.” I looked at him like he was crazy and said, “no.” It was like he didn’t hear a word I said. He looked at my mother and said, “wow you’ve got quite the little actress here.” I was devastated and angry. She told him where to go and kicked him out of our house. They never found the guy.
So you can see why being misunderstood, misrepresented, and miscommunication is an issue for me that I have to be mindful of when I am dealing with people.
Why am I bringing this up:
I have had a couple instances lately where I have had anger come flying out of nowhere. One I felt like… (notice this phrasing, “it feels like” – not what it is but how I am finding myself feeling about it) I felt like I was being misunderstood and another where I found myself playing a dodge ball game of words in the middle of a conversation because this other person kept saying, “so you are saying this! Oh I see how it is!” to what I was saying. When I would say, “No, that’s not what I am saying.” and try to explain they would throw another “here’s what you are saying” word bomb. They weren’t asking clarifying questions but rather they were trying to pin me with their interpretation of what I was saying. These two face to face encounters are what got this whole ponder moment started. Also, this is being revealed to me because I am subconsciously very angry at myself. As I have reflected, I have found that I too have been jumping to conclusions in some other situations where I’ve been asked advice but not been a part of face to face conversation. Which usually I would offer a view from the position of the benefit of the doubt for the other person but this time I had offered criticism or skepticism.
The Bible says, “A double-minded man is unstable” – I would call volcanic anger unstable. My spirit and the Spirit of God not being insync – my walk and talk not matching – drive me crazy.
Asking for help:
So the question I want to ask the Holy Spirit is, “Why am I jumping to conclusions wrapped in criticism and skepticism? What has changed that has caused me to feel critical toward others and myself?”
The Spirit brought these two verse sets to my mind.
I expect that over the next few days the Holy Spirit will help me to clarify those questions.
Holy Spirit, help me to be quick to listen. I repent of jumping to conclusions and of this anger. Forgive me for walking one way and talking another. Help me to be slow to speak, so that, I dont muddy up what another person is saying with my own words or conjecture (conclusion, interpretation, guess, inferences) meaning Lord, I choose to lay aside my own ways of throwing together facts from my own opinions. Give me your thoughts Lord. Father, help me to be slow to anger. My anger gets me nothing good and certainly can not produce Your righteousness. I ask for your wisdom, Lord. Let the wisdom that is from above – that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere be in me. I yeild to your presence Lord. Bring a harvest of righteousness as I sow peace and be a person who makes peace. Jesus help me figure out where my wires are crossed. In Jesus name. Amen.
Thanks for Listening to me process – all is grace!