Our mother Mary and our stepmother Beatrice were both like faulty coffee makers. They each were missing their filters. They always shared their opinions and thoughts, no matter the audience or event. In fact, they were both constantly guilty of oversharing with anyone and everyone within range of their voices.
Thinking about the other person’s feelings was non-existent to both of them.
If you are worried that you may have this problem, the primary question you should ask yourself is whether you say:
Well, I’m just being honest.
after offering your insight to another person. If the answer is Yes, that is your first clue that you may be living without a filter.
Another hint is if you find yourself with more ‘five minute friends‘ than you can shake a stick at. This may also indicate that you have the need for a reality check. These so called friends are clerks, waitresses, and other employees who are paid to be nice to you (and everyone else, for that matter). They are doing their jobs, not being your ‘friends’.
Our stepmother Beatrice loved all of her new ‘friends’ and until you questioned where they worked, you might think she had stumbled upon a group of zombies or aliens who were desperate for human contact.
Mother found that even if she bellowed and threw fits, most people would not put up with this kind of behavior. But as with so many other aspects of her life, she simply didn’t care. Obviously, my sister Abby and I seldom asked for her opinion but this did not stop Mother from offering up a non-stop slew her caustic comments. She would tell us how horrible our hair looked or how the clothes we were wearing were ugly, usually said as were heading out the door. These were, of course, real confidence builders. Way to go, Mother!
Our stepmother Beatrice also loved to drop bombs of negativity at our feet. This was an attempt to put us in our place, I guess. All it really did was hurt our feelings when we were young. As we matured, we learned to ignore her clueless behavior or to laugh about it and compare notes with each other later.
The best thing my sister and I gained from these two unfiltered women was our own self-respect, resilience, and independence. All this in spite of, or perhaps partially because of, all their unfiltered gibberish and negativity.
We once again learned a valuable lesson: filters are not just for coffee makers, cars, or furnaces!