One of my cats, Sugar, loudly cries while pacing through the house with a large stuffed monkey in his mouth whenever I am not immediately accessible to him. He does this when I am asleep at night, am on the phone, have company, or leave the house.
His sad expression is a performance, one that is communicating a deep sense of despair. But is he doing so for himself or for me?
I tend to think that he is doing it strictly for himself. He performs this act both when I am at home and when I am not at home. It is a means to soothe his spirit, not to provoke me.
When we communicate in any situation, so often it is for ourselves and not for the other person. We may be thinking about our interpretation of who that person is, or what we would like that person to do, but both of these are rooted within ourselves.
I think it is helpful to remember this in our interactions with others. When others say and do things that we find offensive or hurtful, it is an expression of themselves; it is not a reflection of us.