When the Big Bad Wolf Ignores Red Riding Hood – or – Time To Stop Being Someone’s Door Mat!

The Mind Loops Blog – Nov 2021

There must be something about that red cape. Because like a bull rushing for the red muletta, the wolf was always after Little Red Riding Hood.

That is… until he got a cell phone.

I ran across this New Yorker cartoon and thought: Omg!! This artist hit the nail on the head!

Yep, I’ve been there (in Red Riding’s shoes). Ignored, and dissed. By a damn phone of all things! And I don’t consider myself boring, either. But, as my story will illustrate, it’s sometimes hard to compete with a cold, tiny, non-human object. (alas)  

But that doesn’t mean I (or you) should accept it.

The Competition Begins

A while back, I was dating someone who had an obsession with his cell phone. Didn’t matter if we were at a restaurant, riding bikes, hiking in nature (or even other more – ahem – intimate situations)… If a call came in or a ding of a text rang out, INTERRUPTION ENSUED.

You can imagine how “special” I felt. And you can also imagine how much I began to FUME.

After being patient a few times, I finally brought it up. I explained how I felt to be interrupted, ignored, to have an interesting conversation dropped like a lead balloon at the beck & call of his phone.

His reaction? Sweet as a button, the dear! Totally understood! A real knight-in-shining armor.


No. His actual reaction was defensive. Excuses. Justifications. And FINALLY… understanding.

Or so I thought.

Within a week or two, the ringer would “accidentally” be left on again. Or I’d get the “I’ll just grab this real quick…”

Habits are strong. Obsessions are powerful. And this habitual-obsession bordered on an affair with a hot digital mistress he couldn’t quite let go of. Sure, he’d do really well without “her” for a couple of weeks. Then the old pull of the hot kisses (translation: text ding!) would lure him back in.

Meanwhile, on my end, mind loops of resentment began to boil like a lava lake on a hot summer day.

Sometimes You Gotta Get Creative To Make A Point

One lovely evening, we sat at an outside table in a sweet Mexican cafe. As we sipped margaritas and munched on chips, all seemed fine and dandy.

And then his phone rang.

“Please let it go to voicemail, we’re at a restaurant,” I said as politely as possible.

“Oh! It’s Wayne!” he said gleefully. “I’ll just be a sec.”

He’s lucky I didn’t dump the salsa on his head. ‘Cause I’ll tell ya, I had had ENOUGH.

During the next few minutes, while he talked too loudly on his phone, I had a sudden, mischievous inspiration.

He ended his call, and I put on my sweetest smile. “Tell me about one of your FAVORITE moments during college,” I said. (One of his favorite subjects). Oh how his eyes lit up! And he started in on a cherished memory.

Right IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY, right BEFORE THE HIGHLIGHT of the story, right in MID-SENTENCE, I suddenly jumped up and said, “Oh, hold on! I’ll just be a sec.”

And I LEFT the cafe.

I took off down the block. Took a right. Kept walking… It was one of those long, double-blocks. Time was a-tickin’.

I took another right. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but I was moving! Breathing deeply! I felt free and light! And oh, how I was grinning!

I was also growing more and more anxious about what would happen when I’d return…

Returning to the cafe, I spied him sitting there alone, with his head down.

I paused.

When I approached… he suddenly JUMPED UP… and surprised the hell out of me with a huge, delighted, sincere GRIN on his face – and applause!

“I GET it now!” he exclaimed, “I finally GET what you’ve been trying to tell me!” He laughed. “That was ingenious! I’m so sorry. I had no idea how you felt. I couldn’t put myself in your shoes – until I was rudely interrupted MYSELF. Brilliant! Just brilliant!” And he high-fived me.

The Downside of NOT Speaking Up / People-Pleasing / Conflict Avoidance

When we don’t speak up for ourselves (or when we people-please, or conflict-avoid), MAJOR problems ensue for us:

  • We become doormats
  • Our self-esteem plummets
  • Our confidence takes a dive
  • We make ourselves small…

until we’re shriveled up versions of the GRAND SPIRITS we truly are.

When we don’t speak up for ourselves, MAJOR problems ensue within our relationships – whether romantic, or friendships, co-workers, parents, children:

  • Mind Loops of anger, resentment, jealousy, and disconnection begin to grow like toxic mold
  • Love diminishes, generosity shrivels up, compassion wilts…
  • …and sometimes versions of hatred even begin to take hold.

Even when we DO speak up, sometimes the message is not heard.

That’s when we need to get creative – like take a walk around the block during dinner. Or sometimes… we need to cut out the toxic people from our lives – by seeing them less, if at all.

As always, it comes down to what is in OUR power. And one of our greatest powers is the ability to speak up for ourselves.

It doesn’t mean we need to rant, complain, judge or blame another. It is about expressing our experience to them.

The Trouble With Speaking Up

The trouble is… it’s not easy! Especially if you’ve been a people-pleaser or a conflict-avoider for years. I’m a recovering people-pleaser myself, and it has taken me years to figure out how to speak up for myself with clarity, strength, and compassion for both parties.

But if you’re in a situation where resentment has begun to rear its ugly head, speaking up for yourself and/or setting a boundary is already overdue.

Begin by simply IMAGINING what you would say – in a way that doesn’t blame the other person. You’re simply expressing your experience. Depending on the circumstance, you may also need to set a boundary. Know that you are WORTH saying it. Then… SAY it.

Understand that most people will be defensive at first – especially if they’ve gotten their way more often than not. Remain open and curious. Allow your words to sink in. If they’re someone worth having in your life, they’ll listen.

Because NO ONE deserves to be usurped by a digital device – or ignored, disregarded, disssssed in any way. You are a LIGHT BEING!

And know that I, your fellow Light Being, is there in your corner, rooting for you – while sipping a margarita and munching on tortilla chips.

Want help speaking up? Unmatting yourself from being a door mat? Setting boundaries? De-looping resentments? I’m available for 1:1 coaching: barbara@themindloopgroup.com .

And/or learn how to interrupt those VERY irritating looping resentments by reading my book, How To Stop Negative Thoughts. Xo!

Barbara Ireland
Author of the #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller, How To Stop Negative Thoughts
Contributing author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences

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