How To Hurt A Grown Man’s Feelings

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

What I am about to say might sound unbelievable, but I know this to be true about myself as a 31 year-old dad and husband.

There are only two people in this world who can, or at least, who do hurt my feelings: You and Mommy.

Just to be sure this is accurate, I asked Mommy just now, if in our 6 years of being together, she could think of one time she knew of where anyone besides you or her who has hurt my feelings.

As I expected, she couldn’t think of even one example.

For me, it all revolves around that famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

You and Mommy are the only people in this world who I allow to be able to hurt me on an emotional level.

If anyone else, no matter how well or how little I knew them, tried to insult me in any way, I just wouldn’t be able to take them seriously.

However, I gladly accept constructive criticism from anyone, despite the emotional connection, because it helps me to become a better human being.

The way I see it, when someone other than you or Mommy says something to me that could, would, or should insult me, I automatically filter it as either constructive criticism or a failed attempt to hurt me.

If I thought that you or Mommy even hinted that I wasn’t a good daddy or husband, it would devastate me. However, if anyone else in the world hinted the same thing, it simply wouldn’t register on my emotionally scale.

The comment would be received in my brain like this:  ”You are not emotionally close enough to me for me to allow you to offend me. I don’t value your opinion enough.”

A perfect recent example of this happened yesterday. I received a comment on “Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science.” Here it is:

“Do these writers not have editors? Blatant typos, syntax. If you’re writing you’re a writer. Write like one.”

The first thing I thought was odd (and ironic) about the comment was that I think there should be a comma after the word “writing.” Then I wondered why the person seemed so angry, bitter, and passionate about the fact I accidentally typed “a” when I meant to type “I,” as well as some other petty typos.

I suppose I offended her by not being a polished journalist, but instead, a blogger whose job is to attempt to create intriguing content.

Yet she didn’t offend me. The approach was simply illegitimate, aside from her lack of emotional closeness to me.

In fact, had I not Googled her email address and found her own blog, which had some typos on the first page (she used the word “life” instead of “live” and misspelled “poisoning”) I would have thought she was just another Internet troll; like a heckler at a comedy club.

Either way, I corrected the typos and still can’t figure out why I bothered her so much. And again, that bizarre event didn’t at all register on my emotional scale. (Though it did register on my humor scale.)

So how do you, as my 2 year-old son, hurt my feelings?

When I come home from work, having missed you all day, and you only want to play toys with Mommy: “No, Mommy sit here. Daddy go over there.”

Sure, it’s my job to teach you that it’s not polite to speak to anyone that way. But yeah, it definitely hurts my feelings.

You and Mommy have a special power that no one else in this world has. Granted, it’s important that I allow you both to register so easily on my emotional scale.

I wouldn’t be a good daddy or husband, otherwise.





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  1. by Ferne

    On January 26, 2013 at 6:44 am

    You’re such a boss! I screwed up “you’re” and “your” last night. Winning on every level!!!