By Kristi King-Morgan, LMSW
I had my car stolen from the employee parking lot at work a little over a month ago.
I’ve had to deal with more than my fair share of judgmental and hypocritical people in my life. This is my latest story of being on the receiving end of it. I’m sharing this story as a reminder to everyone: Please, don’t be so quick to judge someone for their actions. You don’t know their whole story. You’re not walking in their shoes. You do not, in fact, know what you’d do if you were in their situation. And even if the other person did make a huge mistake, why do you care? We’re all human. We all make mistakes sometimes. It’s not your place to point out the speck in someone’s eye. Please tend to the beam in your own. A lot of people blurt out judgmental and hurtful remarks thinking they’re simply making conversation. I don’t think they realize they’re pushing a boundary with their comments; they simply feel the need to quell the awkward silence so they say the first thing that pops into their head. Others feel better about themselves when they can put people down.
Definitions of judgmental:
Having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.
Tending to judge people too quickly and critically.
Someone who rushes to judgment without reason or without knowing the facts.
Did you leave it unlocked? Were the keys in it? Where did you park it? Why did you do that? That was stupid! I bet your learned your lesson.
Judging without reason: The questions above are appropriate coming from the police, the insurance company, and anyone involved in this in any way. They have a reason to know the answers to these questions. They also need to know the facts. My husband has a right to know the details about what happened because we share finances and this affects him financially. The comments about being stupid and learning my lesson are not appropriate from anyone, yet these have all come from friends, family, and coworkers who felt they had a right to flippantly comment on my stolen car or question me about the details surrounding how it happened.
A more appropriate response to learning someone’s vehicle got stolen? I’m so sorry to hear that! I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. Is there anything I can do to help? That sucks! Are you okay? That’s scary! Or as one friend put it, your car got stolen?! LOL OMG! – Yes, these are all responses I’ve gotten that I felt were appropriate. Why? Because they acknowledged what happened and that it couldn’t have been a fun thing for me to go through, and they left it at that! Yes, it happened. Yes, it has been a pain to deal with. Thank you for acknowledging that. Any questions beyond that are just nosy and none of your business. I received some more responses from people such as I park in that lot too; I better park somewhere else so it doesn’t happen to me! Comments like this are not intrusive, so I’m okay with them, but they are showing selfishness on behalf of the speaker who didn’t voice any concerns about me. Only themselves.
Yes, the door was unlocked. Yes, there were keys in it. Not in the ignition, but in the car.
My reasons are none of anybody’s concern. However, I’ve been repeatedly questioned and put on the spot by people who seem to be making snap judgments about me based on just this tiny snippet of information.
I did not ask to have my car stolen. I didn’t put a sign on it asking a thief to take it. Whether I parked in a well-lighted, secure parking area with cameras (which I did) or in a questionable area with no security shouldn’t matter. This was a violation that I did not ask for and did not deserve.
Deserve. That’s what it comes down to. Judgmental people are trying to decide whether a person deserved what happened to them.
The drunk girl in a mini-skirt on a date doesn’t deserve to be raped. She didn’t ask for it. Yet our society as a whole still seems to think it is okay to judge her and say her rape was her fault. If she wouldn’t have dressed like that. If she wouldn’t have gotten drunk. If she wouldn’t have gone to that place. Sounds a lot like what I’ve been hearing concerning my car. If you hadn’t left the doors unlocked. If you hadn’t left the keys in it. Why didn’t you park in the parking garage instead? All of these questions/statements are blaming me, and that’s not okay.
People can have a bad day or a moment of forgetfulness. Have you never forgotten to lock your car doors? What about running into the gas station real quick and leaving the car running because you’re just going to be a minute? Things happen in a split second, and sometimes there’s nothing you could’ve done to prevent it. People tend to make excuses for themselves and justify their actions when they do something that might be deemed a stupid or bad decision, but are so quick to pass judgment on someone else for doing the same thing.
My reasons, not that it’s anybody’s business, go deeper than just a moment of forgetfulness or neglect. I don’t owe anyone an explanation, but I’m sharing this in the hopes that you will learn to keep your mouth shut next time you want to judge someone for a situation they find themselves in.
I have a progressive and debilitating illness. More than one. The past couple of years have been really hard on me, and some of the medications they’ve had me try have only made things worse with the side effects. Most days I’m in so much pain I can barely move, and I have no idea how I’m still getting out of bed every day and going to work. I’ve spent several weeks in a row at different times recently in a complete brain fog. When I look back and try to think about those times, I draw a blank. Memory impairment and cognitive functioning has been affected, and at times I’m nothing more than a walking zombie. When the episode passes, I’m myself again, but these episodes are happening more and more frequently and with no warning.
The result? In order to function, in order to still work a job and support my family, I’ve had to make severe lifestyle changes to cope. There are too many changes for me to list here, but one of the consequences has been a stolen car. That’s not the only thing I’ve had to suffer because of my illness. I’ve lost friends, a social life, and the ability to do a lot of things.
Rock and a hard place. The same people who blame me for my car getting stolen would be the first ones to make hateful comments about me if I were to end up on disability or any kind of government assistance because of my condition. I don’t want my hard-earned tax money supporting you while you sit there and don’t work! Or you did something stupid and got your car stolen; it’s your fault this happened! Which is it, people?
If hearing about my illness makes you feel better about my stolen car, makes you feel that my reasons are justified now, then you’re part of what’s wrong with this world.
Edited by Blair Hill
UPDATE: One doctor says its migraines. Another one said fibromyalgia. A fourth one has diagnosed me with an autoimmune disorder. I take 20 pills a day, and those are just the ones that I take on a regular basis. I have others I can take as needed. The good news is, the autoimmune diagnosis seems to be the correct one, and the treatment for it has helped tremendously. I feel almost like myself again. There may be more flares in which I have difficulties, but I’m thankful to finally be on the right track in regards to my health. Thank you all who have been there with me through this difficult time.