Recently a subscriber wrote with the following problem:
I need your help making a decision. I recently had a
situation where someone that I was dating got into my
e-mail account and read the mail in my “sent” folder.
There were personal things in there that I had forgotten.
“When I realized what had happened, I confronted them and
they were honest and said that they had issues relating to
trust and they felt really bad about doing what they did.
Since I had nothing to hide, I was okay with the whole
“My question to you is…What would you do with someone
“Please give me your input and help me figure out whether I
should feel as violated and as hurt as I do. Your
friendship means a lot to me and I know that you will help
me make sense of this situation.”
Adrian (fictitious name)
MY RESPONSE FOLLOWS:
Rosella here. Since you asked, I”ll be frank with you. You
probably figured I would be, eh? 🙂 Gotta take care of my
buddy, you know!
First of all, you ask for help to figure out whether you should
feel as violated and hurt as you do.
Adrian, it”s not a question of “should” or “shouldn”t.”
Feelings are neither good nor bad, they just ARE, so if that
is how you feel, you need to honor those feelings.
We”re so used to trying to bend ourselves like pretzels in
an effort to please and accommodate others. Sure, we need
to try to get along well with other earthlings, but NOT to
the disregard and detriment of our own feelings.
If you are feeling violated and hurt, you need to respect that
and then examine why…
According to your code of ethics, what this person did was a
serious breach of trust. (I happen to agree with you, but
what I think is not really the issue. It”s what YOU think
Having been caught, this person suddenly became “honest” and
repented. You say that since you had nothing to hide, you
were “okay with it.” Obviously you”re NOT okay with it, or
you wouldn”t be seeking advice right now.
And I think that what you”re REALLY seeking is PERMISSION to
feel what YOU feel!
Adrian, you are the only one who can give yourself that
permission, AND you are also the only one who can deny
yourself that permission.
DO YOU SAFEGUARD YOUR MONEY MORE THAN YOUR HEART?
Let me give you an analogy here.
As a general rule, we humans tend to be more careful with
our money than with our own emotional well-being, so let”s
say that this person didn”t invade your private email box,
but instead they invaded your private cash stash. You with
Now, when you catch this person, they get all shame-faced
and apologetic and blubber on about having “financial
Now, nice guy that you are, you WANT to believe that this
person really feels bad about having tried to steal from
you, and no harm has REALLY been done since you had just
gone to the bank and deposited the few thousand dollars that
had been accumulating. Your “friend” only found 83 cents.
Now, my question to you is this: What would you do with
someone like this?
Granted, this isn”t a perfect analogy, Adrian, but does that
shed a slightly different light on the situation for you?
Getting back to the real situation, we teach people how to
treat us. If you accept the “apology” and elect not to
express the true depth of your feelings candidly, you are in
essence teaching this person that they may disrespect you by
invading your privacy. And it will be okay with you because
you”ll stuff your feelings in order to “make nice.”
RESPECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS WILL, TOO
Adrian, it is NEVER okay for anyone to treat you
disrespectfully. If you let someone get away with such
behavior, then YOU become the one who is guilty of
Always strive to treat yourself, your feelings and your
integrity as you would that of a beloved and respected true
friend. You ARE that true friend.
I understand this urge to people-please, and I also understand
how damaging it is to one”s own sense of self. There”s great joy
in having someone stand up for you. And it feels even better
when you yourself are the one doing it!
It”s funny how we can put a different face on the same
situation and all of a sudden, we don”t recognize what we
may have just learned. No matter. If we keep going to bat
in our own favor, we get to where we can spot knotty
situations before they have a chance to materialize.
And so we grow stronger each day, becoming a better friend
to our own person, and our own hero. We learn to crave
validation from the only source that really matters, our
very own self.
I applaud you for not just stuffing your feelings, Adrian.
Good work! And thanks for letting me share with you.
Take care now, my friend.
Love and respect,