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gunny sack

gunny sack (Photo credit: chuck_heston)

In case you don’t know what a gunnysack is, it is an old fashioned name for a rough woven burlap bag used to hold  things like large amounts of potatoes.  Gunnysacking is a term for what people do when they feel they have unthinkingly been hurt by someone and they collect these slights in their imaginary gunnysack until they are ready to dump them on the person who they think is responsible for the making these slights.

An important part of this activity is that the person who gets dumped on generally is not aware of what they have done so they can also be labeled as insensitive by the gunnysacker.  Also it is important to note that the person keeping track of these unacknowledged hurts does not initially speak up about them.  What is behind this is that he or she feels that the person involved knows that they are taking advantage of them and continues to accept their help selfishly instead of being considerate and letting them off the hook.

Having had a particular gunnysack dumped on me one time made a very strong impression on me.  As a result, I became very cautious about having someone do something for me no matter how nicely they offered.  I felt that I would rather do something by myself than have someone think that I took advantage of them and not find out until later.  In a sense, I, like the person who held these things  against me in the past, was not being  totally honest when I said I didn’t need help.

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