Most people experience times when they believe they know what another person is thinking or feeling. Sometimes, you’re doing what is called, “projecting.” That is you are projecting what you think or feel onto the other person. And sometimes your intuition about a situation is accurate. If what you’re attributing to the other person is important, IE. “You’re mad at me,” it’s important to find a way to inquire about it without sounding confrontational or defensive. You can’t have good communication skills if you walk around in the world believing you know when, in fact, you might or you might not.
An interesting thing about adults who were abused as children, whether emotional or physical, is that they tend to be more intuitive than the general population. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t check it out with the other person because it could still be projection or just plain false. It does mean that very often an adult abused as a child can walk into a room and accurately report who is having a good time, who is pretending to have a good time, who is angry, sad, and so on.
Adults abused as children are better at “reading” other people because in childhood they had to be good at reading people. Divorce Attorney Overland Park notes it was imperative that they stay out of mother’s way if she was in a bad mood or they might get hit or screamed at or punished or out of father’s way if he’s drunk because he could become violent with them should they attempt a conversation without recognizing the situation. Their safety and well being depended on how well they could read the situation.
I’ll say again, because I can’t say it often enough, everyone, in adulthood, should ask and not assume, if they perceive someone is having a problem with them.
However, the irony of an adult abused as a child being more perceptive or intuitive is that they are the people most likely not to trust their perceptions. That’s because children who are abused often believe they’re abused because they’re not good enough. If they were good enough, loveable enough, smart enough, strong enough, pretty enough, and so on, their parent or parents wouldn’t abuse them. It’s a negative form of magical thinking.
Those children grow into adults with low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. They are more inclined to believe their perceptions are wrong, that they are wrong, that there isn’t anything to ask about because their intuition isn’t intuition, it’s stupid. They “don’t know what they’re talking about (thinking).
It’s just one more thing adults abused as children have to contend with. They need to learn to trust themselves and to stand by their feelings. So much unlearning has to be done in adulthood by abused or neglected children and this is just one more unlearning. If you were mistreated as a child, stand by yourself if it seems to you that someone is being sarcastic or deliberately ignoring you or mistreating you in any way. Find a way to ask with tact so you don’t begin a fight if there isn’t one. For instance: “Were you just being sarcastic with me or did I misunderstand what you just said?” That’s just one example. Using that example, you can think of other diplomatic ways to ask the question.
You’ll discover that your perceptions are often accurate and will help you as an adult when interacting with the world around you or, in the few instances that you’re wrong, having asked the question will also lead to better communications with those around and sometimes will pave the way for lively and interactive discussions you would never have had if you’d just kicked yourself and walked the other way.