Shit Flinging and Seeing My Part…

Erin Schaden
6 min readFeb 23, 2024

I attempt to see my part all the time. And most often, after years of practice, I can find it pretty quickly. But there are times that I cannot see it at all. Despite the fact that I ruminate and spend hours of my life attempting to find my part.

Sometimes it is still illusive.

And I try really hard to not shit fling. Having been the recipient more times than I would care to admit, I really never want to do that to someone else.

But there is this particular situation with other people that has kicked my ass for years. And it has been particularly tricky because it is convoluted and involves different people and different situations over the years. So it has been hard to tease out what exactly the issue is and was. And like most things, it was a combination situation. Some of it mine and some of it theirs.

What is the situation?

Well it has varied over time but this is it in a nutshell.

I am being me which, of course, is an amalgamation of character assets and defects. And while I am over here being me, the best version of me in the most healed state of me to date, someone will just decide to not like me, be mean to me, cause shit or just generally treat me badly. And this has happened a lot. Most particularly with people I barely know. People who I have only a passing acquaintance. And it has been historically super painful to me because I just haven’t been able to figure out why this person I barely know would come after me like that.

Now I have known for years that other people’s behavior is really about them. But regardless of that knowledge, their treatment of me always felt like some indictment. Like if I was a better person, then…

And that was the problem. I am always trying to be a better person. At no time since I got into recovery have I EVER said, “you know what, I am not going to work on myself anymore, I am not going to attempt to improve, this version of me is good enough…fuck it!”

Not one single time.

So it felt very personal when these veritable strangers came after me in this very personal way with mean spirited gossip, character assassination and/or direct fucking assholeness.

And it happened again on Tuesday. I was just living my life, and me doing that caused this other person to reach out at me and to me in a way that was covered in “niceness” but really the message was I don’t like the way you are doing this and you need to stop right now. And I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I wasn’t violating any laws or previously laid out rules. I was just doing the best I could to be open, inviting and inclusive.

And while the words used to tell me that I was wrong, doing it all wrong and that I needed to stop were sugar coated that actually made it worse. And this from a person I have never had a personal conversation with much less a confrontation.

I was immediately wounded. I am an alcoholic to my core and I cannot help my first reaction being injured and then upset and then to feel like I do not belong that I should immediately cease all interactions with all other humans save my mom and children and a few close friends. I am dramatic, sensitive, immature and grandiose. And all of those fuckers were operative as this went down.

A very large part of me would love it if I were the kind of person that I would have just addressed it immediately and publicly. But I was not raised like that. No, my habit is to retreat, saying nothing to anyone and lick my wounds in private. And Tuesday was no exception.

But I was kind of pissed about it all. I felt defensive. I felt wronged. And while I could see the other person’s side of things, I also could see my own and as usual, I was very unclear on which of us had more right to feel the way we did. And while I totally respected each of our right to feel the way we felt, she took action which made me feel excluded, judged and wronged.

I didn’t respond to her snarky text. But it vexed me. I didn’t shit stir things and cause a scene. I completed my commitment and then left. Setting the wound aside and moving on with my day.

Feeling one more time that people do this to me because I must have some inherent flaw in me that invites this kind of shit. I mean I am the common denominator…so for like ever I have left these types of situations feeling like it is all my fault. And Tuesday was no different.

But something happened to me this time. I was able to set aside the defensiveness and really dissect this, do an inventory and see what was my part. And after all my assessment, I was just being me. And really, I had done nothing wrong. This other person just didn’t like me being me and felt like she had the right to tell me that I was wrong and bad and that I needed to be different. And I have arrived on this particular evaluative shore before.

But yesterday while talking to someone I trust and love very much I had an epiphany. The reason this has hurt so much is because I always assume the other person’s feelings and actions are valid. Like somehow I deserve the treatment I get. That I invite it and if I were less wrong, bad, fucked up, less me, then I would be above reproach and people wouldn’t just come at me like this. And yesterday, finally, I fucking saw that this was what set me up to have this happen in my life repeatedly.

I have allowed other people’s opinion to trump my own. I have allowed their missives and often misdirected animosity to land in a way that supports, fosters and grows this idea within myself that I am bad, wrong, fucked up, inadequate and deserving of the treatment they give me. And I always pick that up. I take it on. I allow it to become truth for me.

But yesterday, I saw that this was HER. It wasn’t me. And I didn’t now have to fundamentally change who or what I was because she said so. Instead of taking this on personally, I could just allow her shit to lay at her feet and walk the other way. Nothing else needing to be done or said. And I will tell you that I had a fucking giant change in my life.

I think this has always plagued me because there was something about this other person’s behavior that I thought I deserved. So I took it on. I allowed THEIR reality to become MY reality. And yesterday, I said NO.

I am not mad at her. I am not going to address it with her. I am not responding to her. I am just moving on. Allowing her to just move into that ever increasing group of people whom I do not allow in my life. I swear to God that group is getting larger by the fucking day.

I very intentionally and metaphorically laid the shit she threw at me to be laid at her feet and I walked away, clean. Not angry, not feeling persecuted, not feeling like there is something desperately wrong with me. I walked away feeling like, perhaps for the very first time, there is something wrong with her and my part in this whole debacle is that I am always so wiling to think, believe and take on that which is not really mine. It isn’t my fault people treat me this way. Their behavior is about THEM. And perhaps this issue has persisted in my life for as long as it has because I was always willing to allow other people’s shit to become my own.

Well, not anymore. The shit is hers. I didn’t deserve the shit she threw and for the first time, I didn’t stand there and let her fling it at me repeatedly. I saw this was all about HER. And I just allowed that to be so.

And I went on with my life, freer than I have been in a very long fucking time. I took my fucks that I give out way too fucking much and I went to the gym to pump iron where everything in my life makes more sense to me. And I got on with this whole business of living…allowing the shit flinging monkey to remain in her cage doing what she seems to want to do…FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!

Fuck yeah!

Just a thought — monkeys fling shit because they don’t speak, perhaps people throw shit filled words because we can…

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Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.