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Counseling/Upset Over A Small Matter


hello dr.defoore,
i was out getting some exercise. on the way to my destination, i walked through a parking lot. as i was walking through the parking lot towards the exit corner, i heard a car coming. so, i thought i would walk faster and beat it to the it. as i was approaching the exit, the car cut me off. the young lady in the car didn't show any kind of emotion. she could have at least said she was sorry or waited until i passed. instead i had to stop and walk around her. this happened almost three weeks ago, and i feel like it was yesterday. i'm a fair sized guy, and i think i would seem at least a little intemadating. it's almost like i wasn't even there and it lowered my self-esteem. i just need some feedback on how to rise about this matter. thanks for your time.

Hi Greg

I'll give you a couple of ways to address your feelings, that will hopefully help you in the short term with what you're feeling now, and also help to prevent this type of emotional reaction in the long term.

No one likes to be ignored. That's natural. The question is, how much does it bother you, and how long do you stay upset...which is why you asked your question here. You don't like how bothered you were, and how it has lasted almost three weeks.

Something in you got "triggered" by this event. It's important to figure out what that is, and deal with the problem at the level of cause, so that it doesn't keep happening.

Try the following exercise, to see if you can get to the "bottom" of your reaction: 1) Do a personal review of every experience you've had of being overlooked, neglected, ignored or rejected by another person. The deepest impact is in early childhood, so put special emphasis on those memories. 2) Identify the three events that bothered (and perhaps bother) you the most, and then rank those from strongest to mildest impact. Use these imagery processes to revisit those memories and offer comfort and emotional healing to your younger self.

Another approach that you can use now, or any time these types of feelings come up is in the realm of self-talk. Here are some examples of what you can say to yourself in the type of situation you describe with the young lady in the car ignoring you:

"She's upset too. That's why she seems so frozen. She's not looking at me because she's embarrassed and scared and isn't strong enough to take responsibility for her careless behavior."

"What other people think about me is none of my business. The only thing that matters is how I feel about myself."

"I'm a good person. I may have also made a mistake by trying to walk faster to beat the car. I will learn from my mistakes, because that's the kind of person I am."

"I will use this experience to get stronger and smarter. I will understand where my feelings come from, and that self awareness will serve me well in the future."

Feel free to add your own statements, or modify any of the above to fit your situation and feelings, Greg. I have also written a web page on self esteem, which you will find helpful as you process your experience.

You will come out on top of this, Greg. Take this "bull by the horns" and make up your mind that you're going to be better because of it.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore


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William DeFoore, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about depression, anxiety, anger issues, marriage issues, parenting, addiction issues and general life coping problems. I will give a positive perspective, offering encouragement and an action plan about the next best steps for you to take.


I have been in practice as a counselor for over 38 years, working with individuals, couples and families with good results.

I am the author of: *Anger: Deal With It, Heal With It, Stop It From Killing You. Health Communications, Inc. 2004. *Anger Among Angels: Shedding Light On The Darkness Of The Human Soul. Health Communications, Inc. 2000. *Serai: Bringing The Children Home. Wingspan Press, 2007

B.A. in Sociology; M.A. in Clinical Psychology; Ph.D. in Counselor Education; Licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor

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