Thick Skin

I used to work with a woman who had no emotion. If she did, she’d developed a way to not show it. Ever. She was matter of fact, called it like she saw it, said exactly what she thought, and didn’t give a damn if she offended someone in the process. And nothing you could say offended her. She had me in tears a handful of times in the short (but oh so long) 8 months I worked with her.

Thick skin is not something I’ve ever managed to develop. I take after my mum in that I don’t get mad, I get emotional. If you upset me, I’m more likely to end up crying on your shoulder than defending or standing up for myself. I also like to sweep things under the rug. I figure I will “get over it” or “let it go” eventually, so there’s no point making a big deal about it.

I’m not sure when or how I got like this, or if I’ve always been like this. I think most people like to avoid confrontation. I admire people who, if they have a problem, speak up about it and say something. But I often find myself wishing I had a bit thicker skin. So that if my feelings are hurt, it doesn’t bother me. But I don’t. My feelings are hurt easily. I take things personally, and I take them to heart.The problem with this is that you never really quite know where you stand because you’re always reading into things.

I’m going to have to get thicker skin, because my baby is starting school. Thank you for all your comments and advice on yesterday’s post. After visiting the school, my son was so excited there was no way I could NOT send him. He has really made the decision for me. He wasn’t scared or nervous at all. In fact, he ran around the place like he already went there. And then when we left, he was sad. He was ready to start school right then and there.

And so now a new phase of our lives, and this parenting thing, is on the doorstep. In about 7 weeks, my son is going to school! Any advice for a new school parent?!

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28 thoughts on “Thick Skin

  1. I’m like you. I avoid confrontation and am generally more prone to crying (in the toilets – oh the shame!!) than standing up for myself. I’ve actually developed more of a thick skin over the past 5 years I think because of the kind of work I do – I feel I’m more hardened and find my view of the world is becoming more cynical. I’m not sure I like that, so I do have to check and balance it at times.
    Advice for school… not been there yet! Keep trusting your instincts – they’ve been spot on so far. (and when my girl goes to school, I think I’ll probably cry…!!) x

  2. Resilient skin, yes … developing a emotionally cold heartless skin, no – you need the feelings first, to understand others, and then you can develop the other bit (which you’re reflecting on now)… it sounds like you’re at least halfway there already. And good luck with your little boy starting school – we went through all of that last year, and they’re tougher than we sometimes give them credit for šŸ™‚

    • Well pointed out there – big difference between being resilient and being a cold hearted bitch like the one I worked with! Important difference too. And you’re also right that they are tougher than we give them credit for! We are the big babies sometimes!

  3. Just like you, I always cry rather than vent. I’m a merry divorcee and my ex took advantage of this character trait so I’m trying really hard in my new relationship to communicate all my feelings. My words are often blubbered through tears but I get them out and its much better for my soul.
    Btw, my birthday is in Feb and I was allowed to start school as a 4 year old. Plus I only spoke russian. I was ready to learn and loved it. I was very immature when I went to Uni but that may not be an age thing – I’m still very immature šŸ™‚

    • Well done to you for working on communicating your feelings. My husband and I sometimes have an issue with that too. LOL @ the immature thing! I think my son will be just fine. It’s me I’m worried about! šŸ™‚

  4. I am thin-skinned too, I think too much about people’s feelings but as I have got older, I have developed a thicker skin to stop myself from getting hurt. having a child at school makes you relive your childhood for better or worse. I think it makes you confront the school fears you ran from. My four year old went to school this year-he loves it even though I thought he was a bit young.

  5. I work with a lady just like that, she says whatever is in her head and does not care who she offends. After working with her for 6 years I have learnt to take i with a grain of salt and realised that she is actually quite a caring lady but man, some of the things that come out of her mouth make me cringe.

    Good luck with the starting school thing. I am already dreading it and Mia is only 1!

    • Well it seems like Nick was just 1 yesterday and now he’s 4.5 and starting school! Just enjoy all the time you have between now and then! Gosh 6 years of working with someone like that?! I was grateful we closed down and I didn’t have to work with her any more!

  6. I tend to get emotional too.. sometimes I get so angry that I just cry as well. Our Lil Pumpkin started preschool early this year and I was very anxious and worried. It does get better with time and seeing her have fun and enjoy going to school makes it much easier somewhat. Good luck with the start of the school year!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • oh good, we can weather the school woes together! and yeah, maybe being completely cold hearted is not good, but not getting so upset and hurt all the time isn’t great either. Must be a happy medium!

  7. We’re still a few years away from starting school – so no advice from me on that front.
    With regards developing a thick skin – for me, the people who show there emotions are the strong ones. Vulnerability is a wonderful quality – embrace it – I do šŸ™‚ xx

  8. That’s great you’ve made a decision, that’s the hardest part. I don’t think you will need a thicker skin when your son starts school. You’ll just need a thicker wallet … I don’t know how they do it but they r more expensive as they get older. Everything will be fine at school and if not u talk with the teacher or principal, and get involved, yr son will love it. (I’m like u, and wish I had a thicker skin. I dont know if it’s nature or nurture but there is not a lot I can do about it; and most of the time it’s a blessing cos I feel more, have more compassion.)

    • You’re right – once the decision was made most of the weight lifted from my shoulders. I’ll still worry about him, but I think that’s just what mums do! This one anyway! And yes, compassion is more important than thick skin at the end of the day! Just wish I didn’t get so upset so easily!

  9. Starting school is such a huge milestone. huge! But sounds like he is more ready then you, so with his help you will get through it from just seeing the pure excitement and joy on his face when he starts.

    • He IS more ready than me – that’s what helped make the decision. He was so excited about it I couldn’t hold him back! I’m sure he’ll thrive, and I will muddle my way through somehow (prob with support of this awesome blogging community!)

  10. I don’t have a thick skin. I’m a lot les easily offended than I used to be, but i’ll cry at the drop of a hat of you confront me. It’s so frustrating! Especially when you know you’re right!
    As for school, it’s heartbreaking, it really is. Let yourself grieve his independence, and then try and move on. That’s my only advice. Xx

  11. We share a lot of similarities Aroha – I’m the same when it comes to how I confront (or rather avoid) confrontation – it can be so frustrating at times. As far as preparing for school, try to stay positive and relaxed and make sure you maintain good communication with the school so you can best support your boy. Good luck with it all!

  12. We sound so similar, Aroha. I’m very emotional, an angry crier, and much less articulate when confronted than I usually am.

    I found distraction was the best thing when the girls first started school, then I learned to go with the flow and enjoy my time away from them. Whenever issues cropped up, I stressed and carried on like a pork chop, but eventually you learn to work out which ones are within your power to fix (and most teachers are approachable in my experience). The others, you have to let them sort for themselves. That, for me, has always been the hardest part.

    Thankfully, the learning curve is a gradual one and you’ll become more resilient over time without even noticing.

    • Well I work 31/2 days so that will help keep me a bit distracted, but the half day is on Sunday, which I’m not going to want to do when he’s in school. Unfortunately I might not have much choice. Thankfully I have quite a few friends with kids starting school this year too, so we will weather it together!

  13. When I was younger, I use to get very emotional for everything. Now, many things I have gone through made me have a thicker skin. But it is still very difficult for me to not take everything personal. It’s a work in progress. But, of course, there are some days I just feel more down and those days it’s harder to have a thicker skin. But what I say to myself is that people who say what they think without worrying about the feelings of the others are not happy people… They probably have many issues in their own lives and they try to hide their feelings by hurting the others around them and take out the focus from them.

    • So right and true Rita. This woman I worked with was NOT a happy person, and didn’t have many friends either. I’d rather be a bit emotional and live a loving, happy life surrounded by friends! Thank you!

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