May 23, 2016

On Being Invisible

I have a "friend" that shuns me. I am assuming you know what that involves but just in case you have never hear about the practice here is what it is:
Shunning can be the act of social rejection, or emotional distance. To refuse to accept socially; to avoid having  social contact with.
This definition is the one I have experienced from my friend. Although this has nothing to do with religion, the people that she gathers around her do nothing to change her attitude.

This has been going on for many years so I have come to terms with it. I do not know why she does it. It just is.

I began thinking about how being shunned is in a sense becoming invisible to one or more people. I have had women tell me that they feel "invisible" now that they are older. I have asked myself why that is many times.

Becoming invisible can happen for many reasons. I have found that when no one will listen to me I feel as though I am not there. It happens occasionally at family gatherings.

When my opinions are disregarded because of my age, I feel invisible. I am a very smart woman and can out shout the best. But, as I age, I just don't have it in me to raise my voice in disagreement or even affirmation. I suppose I really would like the room to hush when I have something to say. But we all know a hushed room is never going to happen. I feel myself fading awy.

Being invisible also has to do with my basic belief system. Being clumped together with all those other people that share a part of my beliefs actually makes me invisible. Being part of a mass is not the same as being a whole person. I feel myself fading away.

I live with the shunning woman at my country club, in the desert and in social gatherings. By now it is just a fact of life. But I still feel myself fading away.

People have asked me over and over what I have done to her. I honestly do not know. I don't really think she would tell me. I always say that I suppose I am at fault and shrug.

Do you ever feel invisible?

29 comments:

  1. Barbara I have read your blog for quite some time but have never commented. This time it struck a chord. Invisible ...YES! I know exactly what you mean. It is so hard to deal with because they are treating us with a form of passive aggression. It really makes one feel like you are not worthy anymore. Thanks for writing about this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please know that you are not alone...in fact the "sisterhood of the invisible" is very large. We need to hang together.

      Thank you for your readership and comment. That means a lot to me.

      Delete
  2. I haven't quite experienced that but I do suggest that you confront the shunning woman and call her out. Apparently it bothers you - why put up with it? Does she run a successful blog as you do? I doubt it. Get up in her face and go ghetto on her. What have you got to lose? Aren't your friends behind you? Go on and give her the what for!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your support Tami...you made me laugh with the suggestion that I "go ghetto on her". I can just see that. :)

      Delete
  3. You are not fading away, Barbara. This issue is your friend's, not yours.

    I have a friend who decided to end our lunches together almost a year ago. It happened within a two-week period, so it was probably something I said that hit her in a fear place. She doesn't respond to my occasional texts or emails, but if I send her an e-card she opens it! I would love to call her on it, but I'm afraid she'll yell at me! Go figure. I've decided this is a mom issue for me. Who knows what kind of an issue it is for my friend?

    This is not about you. You have many friends who do not shun you. Who appreciate and value you.

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, I know it is not about me and seeing your words makes my attitude even stronger. It is too bad you have lost someone you liked in your life but, if that makes her happier, then you too must let it go...completely. :) Don't give anyone the opportunity to make you a victim. I did not do that. I am very glad I did not act as if anything was wrong and just moved on. I think those around me benefitted from my lack of response because it would have damaged them too. That is something I always try to remember...it actually is NOT all about me.

      Delete
  4. This is not about you, it is about her and something from long ago perhaps broken or hurting in her, so she is being mean. Perhaps you could reach out to her one more time, invite her to coffee? Or ask a mutual friend to mediate? Or else continue to ignore her as best you can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have tried all of the above! I hope that those of you that read this can take something from it and learn. Life is not always a happy place but in my life, 99.9% is perfect. I do what you suggested and ignore the whole thing.

      Delete
  5. Well first, definitely not a friend. Depending on how close you were before the shunning, I might try for a one on one with her. Other than that, you can't live your life worrying. Have fun, move on. This is her issue, not yours. I would not say that you are at fault. I would simply say "I have no idea", and move on. Remind yourself that it is her problem, and her loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have worked out a dance of sorts that has worked for a long time...in fact, she does not even enter my mind anymore. That is good.

      Delete
    2. If this person is shunning you why keep classifying them as a "friend?"


      Years ago my Aunt gave us a book titled, "A friend is someone who likes you." It seems to me this person has become an acquaintance. It's too bad, perhaps you still like them, but why beat your head against a wall?

      Delete
  6. I do hope you will stop taking responsibility for her unacceptable behavior. Adults raise issues/concerns and if they cannot be resolved then are at least polite to each other. Also I do love the phrase "What others think of me is none of my concern" very helpful when encountering difficult people. Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and make your heart sing. You are not invisible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who was it that said "Don't worry what other think of you because they don't."? That one always makes me laugh. Thank you Juhli for your comment.

      Delete
  7. I agree with what others have said. This is her issue. I have learned that one secret of a happy life is to surround yourself with good, caring people. The negativity is something that you don't need. The hard part (I know from experience) is letting go. I tend to be a "fixer". But sometimes there are situations/people that are not fixable. The best solution to inner peace is just to let it/her go. I would not personally waste any energy on trying to change this person; it is likely not to have a good outcome. Who needs that kind of stress!

    Wishing you well Barbara.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do have some wonderful and faithful friends. The fact that we have stayed together in spite of our differences is nothing short of a miracle. I am truly a very lucky woman. I loved your advice. I have let it/her go and that is a good thing.

      Delete
  8. I feel shunned everyday when, because I am deaf, I am excluded from most of the conversations around me. As you say, I become invisible. I used to insist on being informed on the conversations but like you have not done that as much as I did when I was younger. The tepid response I got back then was usually not really worth causing the stir.

    As everyone else has said that is not my, or your problem, it is theirs. But sometimes being invisible is actually a good thing to embrace.... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RJ, I cannot even imagine how it must be for you. I am with you....embracing our life is so smart and above all good. Be well.

      Delete
  9. A very interesting post with some insightful comments. I know that becoming old makes me invisible to some people, but it also makes me visible to others like me. I've changed the people I socialize with as I've aged. Becoming invisible can be an asset. One of the Grace and Frankie episodes deals with this issue with humor, and I found myself smiling and realizing that aging can be fun! I don't know what your "friend" has for an issue, but I agree with the other comments that this is not about you. Sending you lots of virtual hugs. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DJan, I like that you take a positive look at what life is at our age. And, were it not for my sense of humor, I would really disappear. I know that this is not about me now but it could have been in the beginning. Communication is very difficult it seems. :)

      Delete
  10. This one hit home for me…I've felt invisible. I've never understood why someone would intentionally hurt someone else. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never gotten that either. Who knows why? Sigh!

      Delete
  11. I sometimes sing the refrain from "Frozen" - let it go; let it go. You said in your post that it's been going on for years so you have come to terms with it. Like so many have said, it's about her, not you. It seems to me that if you hadn't come to terms with it, then that part would be about you. I have experienced the unpleasant feeling of being left out in many different settings. I have to ask myself - what does that say about me? What validates me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somethings we cannot change. In this particular case there is no escaping my world. However, I have moved on. We are civil to each other and we share friends. It all works for me. I think I am sound, smart, strong and above all forgiving. I like that about myself.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Delete
  12. At times, being invisible can be a good thing. My wife and I can go to a concert or club where the average age of the audience is much younger than we are. We are left alone because we are either not seen or thought to be a bit of an oddity in that setting. Thus, we can enjoy whatever we are experiencing without interruption. It is great for people watching.

    I have never really experiencing the shunning you discuss, Barbara, but I am sure I would find that upsetting.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am a great people watcher. I agree...I like to just blend into the woodwork and watch. Many of my blog posts come from just such a situation.

    Be well Bob.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I understand the feeling of being invisible... and I'm just starting to get used to it. But, I wouldn't trade my life for anything! I think I'd try to talk to the woman who is shunning you. I know a lot of people would just ignore it and let it go, but it would bug me. Is there anyway you could have a private conversation with her? Then, if it's obvious that she's just a nasty, petty person, you can at least feel that you tried to reach out. This main thing is to stop letting her shunning have any power.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, that has all been done. I just move on without even acknowledging her conduct. I decided from the get go to take the high road. She knows but cannot bring herself to quite get past it.

    Thank you for your ideas. I like to know that others experiencing the invisibility problem. I think we should form a club of the "Invisible Women" and work for good! Where is my cape?

    ReplyDelete
  16. When I was younger I had the type of looks and personality that never allowed me to blend into a crowd. I both loved and hated this. I was always listened to by men, my best friends, in school (I always took classes) and at work. But some jobs wouldn't hire me--- I worked as a temp paralegal for 18 months. Other people were hired over me though the paralegal supervisor said I was the best Qualified (it was obvious to everyone). He counted on my understanding and my not suing. I didn't understand but I didn't sue because surely I must have done something that made me not worthy.,.....in groups that were primarily women I wasn't listened to. I do have a very soft voice and tried pretending it was that but knew better. Later I was to learn that it was my invisible disability---the one I didn't know about until 10 years ago next month. So in a sense I've been in training for this stage of life forever. I moved and at first it wasn't easy. A partner would have really helped, but....I finally met incredible people who probably not coincidentally have leadership roles here. They listen! I don't think it's worth caring about people who for some reason no longer want our friendship. It's their problem. And as I'm forever telling my sister who doesn't have my disability. People are strange. People have moods. People have problems that we don't know about. We can't let that affect our lives
    I feel so lucky to have people in my life who will travel long distances just to see me for a day or two. And new people who invite me to their family holidays and much more. The rest don't matter. I've always felt like this but only recently have I began to become very comfortable in my differences. How many people can say their next door neighbor bought her house in large part because she was so attracted to mine? We've become very close. She's 20 years younger than I am as are almost all my new friends. I think younger people are more accepting. And I have my old friends and family for talking about our shared pasts. I think being open to different kinds of friends khelps keep us from becoming too invisible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this comment Pia. This continues to be an ongoing problem but I am getting better at see it for what it is. The secret I am finding is not letting myself see myself as a victim. I could give you an update but it would not matter. As you say to you sister, people as strange, people have moods, people have problems and, I would add, people are jealous and vindictive. I have learned to never respond in anyway...why would I add fuel to the fire. I like my life so that is that!

      Be well.

      b+

      Delete

I don't publish anonymous comments. But if you want to identify yourself, I would love to hear what you think.

Featured Post

What IS Important?

Note: I published one year ago on this date. It is still important to me. How about you? I have had this on my mind for a few days. I thin...