We all have done it. Whether we deliberately intend to speak those words, or they just kind of slide out when our mouth opens. But things that we should’na said are suddenly floating there in the air for someone else to digest. Then we live with the consequences. Usually not a good thing.

There are reasons this happens to otherwise well-meaning calm, even-keeled people. Those folks who usually are known for saying things that are easily stomached by those around them. But every once in a while…people just simply slip up. No, I’m not referring to telling raunchy jokes, or swearing until the old seasoned sailor would blush. I’m referring to normal people, who for one reason or another, say something hurtful and totally out of character for them. Why do they do that?

Enormous stress coming from fear of personal loss is usually a bomb threat. Somehow that emotion can loosen the tongue like little else can in life. For example, if a person – always known in the community for being a quiet sweetheart – is put under enormous stress from fear of  loss, it can cause the mouth to open and spikes of fire will come out. Leaving the unfortunate one who said the wrong thing incinerated and feeling like crumpling into a pile of hot ashes. (Or, more likely, Mrs. Unfortunate will strike back with her own claws out.) Ouch. Many good relationships have been damaged when fear of loss enters the picture.

Want to hear another threat-producing scenario? The centuries-old emotion of pure anger. “You did so-n-so to me or my loved one, and I am so furious that I’m not responsible for my behavior or my next words!” Again, said target of that anger probably won’t just knuckle under and apologize. Most likely, narrowed eyes will begin to center with laser-like precision on their target, the mouth opens, and war begins. Another relationship goes down the drain.

One more reason. Deeply hidden shame that has been triggered by something someone else said or did. Nuthin’ like feeling that your hated secret is exposed to the world to make a person want to burn the hide off their exposer. Sometimes a vindictive exposer knows exactly what they are saying and means to say it. Other times, their innocent comments accidentally hit a long-buried hurtful issue. Then the surprised speaker can suddenly have their eyebrows singed. All because of someone’s hidden shame. 

No matter the reason, the result can be the same. A usually mild-mannered person can become an activated verbal time-bomb with the right provocation. And then, when the crisis is over and gone, that usually normal person is left wondering, “Why in the world did I….ME!!… say all those things? I don’t treat people that way!”

I’ve said it before, and I say it again.  Cut each other some slack. We all have our issues and sometimes we need forgiveness and understanding.

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