From the U.S.: For several years I remained in a job which I did not like — actually hated, but it paid well. One of main problems was my boss’s wife, who also worked in the office. Over the years on a weekly basis, she would say things that I thought were inappropriate creating a hostile work environment (calling me “token,” joking about slavery, inner-city, etc.) The worst moment was when she stood in front of me and said, “On the radio, it is n-word this, n-word that.” She said the real racial slur. I believed she was trying to goad me into saying or doing something. I just sat there in silence.
So, I went to a therapist to resolve the regret and anger with myself for not leaving or reporting her actions. The therapist surprised me by asking me, “Do you think that you are sensitive?” I would defend myself saying Paula Aden and Sterling said less offensive things and not too their employees, and the general public found their actions inappropriate.
I was really taken aback by the therapist’s question. I still do not think that I was being too sensitive and that my boss’s wife frequent use of derogatory words and slurs was wrong.
Am I too sensitive? I want to continue working through this issue.
I don’t think you are being too sensitive in reacting to racial slurs. I do think it’s possible that your therapist has seen other indications that you are over-reactive to what people say and that she wanted you to explore the issue further. Both things can be true.
I’m glad you want to pursue working through the issue. The person you should be asking about this is your therapist. It may be that your letter is an example of what she was talking about. Rather than talk with her about your concern about her statement, you have been troubled about it for some time and turned to me for an explanation. Your therapist is the one who knows enough about you to help you see a pattern if one exists. I only have your brief letter. Please talk with her.
I wish you well. Dr. Marie
Am I a Victim or Too Sensitive?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Am I a Victim or Too Sensitive?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/01/12/am-i-victim-or-too-sensitive/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.