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is anyone else scared of the term thank you?

E

emily1890

at least for me, growing up, the term thank you was associated with abuse.

in context, things like, I'd thank you to just shut up, or I'd thank you to keep your mouth shut about what I'm doing to you

so now when someone says thank you (even if it's meant well), like thank you for doing this for me, or thank you for being a friend, it's just a trigger for me and I don't like it

anyone else?
 
at least for me, growing up, the term thank you was associated with abuse.

in context, things like, I'd thank you to just shut up, or I'd thank you to keep your mouth shut about what I'm doing to you

so now when someone says thank you (even if it's meant well), like thank you for doing this for me, or thank you for being a friend, it's just a trigger for me and I don't like it

anyone else?
Not thank you but yes ma’am. I know in the south of the USA it’s meant to convey respect. To me it conveys contempt.

So far I’ve struggled to reframe it, but where I live it isn’t commonly said and often my students who say it do it for that reason which rubs the problem wrong.

I think Thank You would be hard to reframe because it’s said so often. Do people in your life now use it for anything other than its intended purpose? If not then maybe think about what you did that deserved the thank you and see if that can help you reframe it.
 
"i'm sorry" would be a similar trigger phrase for me. 1) when one of my 10 sibs told me they were sorry, it warned me they were plotting revenge. 2) "i'm sorry" is so often a platitude that translates as, "shoo fly. you bother me." 3) my fellow survivors all too often apologize for having been abused. it's not your fault, my sib-in-healing. when i hear, "i'm sorry" in this context i answer along the lines of, "no further sorrow needed."

i reframe the phrase with honesty, such as, "no, i can't do that. i hope you find someone who can."

i love word play enough that i often reframe for the fun of it. a few suggestions i have for thank you are:
i am grateful for your effort.
your time is greatly appreciated.
what a beautiful gift. it will be loved.
 
I am sorry for you @emily1890 . I don't relate to that particular saying but definitely for other words or terms, or the way some people talk about them. It can literally make my heart race and I have to flee. Or I feel like the room is spinning, or the feeling I will burst in to a flood (river) of tears. And fear is often a good word. For me, fear or despair.

That being said, when I grew up 'please' and 'thank you' were also considered the basic of manners, and requisite. Now, no one wants to have to say or have said to them thank you if it's not authentic, but I like @arfie and @Charbella 's suggestions: is there some other way to say it or repeat it that is true? Like, "I really appreciate..", or, repeating it back differently, "I am glad I could be helpful (or, xyz)"?

If you are really brave, you can say something like, "I know what you mean- the term 'thank you' is a disturbing one for me- but you are more than welcome and I'm glad (I could help/ it makes you happy/ etc etc)" . They might think enough to try to choose different wording next time. But i think most of the time it's just managing a trigger if it is one, and honing a tool that works for you. Such as even singing a funny song about it in your head that you make from the words. And always remembering they mean well, or it is simply manners or professionalism, and they hope it will be a happy thing for you, not a negative.

Best wishes, that's a hard one to avoid. 🫂

ETA, It's an important thing to master, or get a work around for, because it's critical professionally and in all relationships, one of the number one things required to recognize what one another does for one another and acknowledge it and appreciate it, even parents and kids. There are work arounds. It will feel great when you find what works for you and doesn't harm you. 🫂
 
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