I'm trying to understand the definition of 踏んだり蹴ったり at this site.

... 何故「踏んだり蹴ったり」というのかというと、踏んだり蹴ったりな目にあった当人が踏まれたり蹴られたりするからではなく踏んだり蹴ったりしては嫌なものをそうしてしまった、ということからだといわれる。

My confused translation:

The reason it's 踏んだり蹴ったり [and not 踏まれたり蹴られたり] is not that the person who is described as 踏んだり蹴ったり is being trampled and being kicked themselves, but rather (???) they are doing the trampling and kicking and then are forced to do such disagreeable things.

So what I'm not sure about is the meaning of 〜しては in this context, as it's clear that it's not related to にしては or としては which are the usual ways I encounter it.

I guessed in my translation that this is actually an instance of 〜ては (X and then Y) but I'm not sure exactly how to make sense of it in context.

up vote 5 down vote accepted

「踏んだり蹴ったりしては嫌な」 modifies もの.
"something that you don't want to get trampled or kicked" or "something that you don't want to trample or kick"

You're right that the 「~ては」 means "X and then Y" or "if~~".
「~ては嫌(だ)」= "hate it if~~" → "don't like/want..."

そう refers to 踏んだり蹴ったり.

[踏んだり蹴ったりしては嫌な]ものを、そう(= 踏んだり蹴ったり)してしまった

"they (accidentally/unintentionally) trampled and kicked something that they didn't want to get trampled or kicked / something that they didn't want to trample or kick"

  • Oh, I see now, I bracketed it incorrectly. – jogloran Nov 22 at 19:06
  • @Herb Can you tell me how to say this in English -> 「XXを、踏んだり蹴ったりされたくない」"I don't want to have XX (to be) trampled or kicked" → 「踏んだり蹴ったりされたくないXX」"XX that I don't want to have trampled or kicked" <- Is this correct? or maybe "XX that I don't want to be trampled or kicked" ? – Chocolate Nov 23 at 5:10
  • 2
    As a native English speaker, you have a few choices: "I don't want XX to get trampled or kicked", "I don't want XX trampled or kicked", or "I don't want XX to be trampled or kicked" . The get-passive ("to get kicked") is more natural in some cases than the regular passive ("to be kicked"), especially in cases where the action has a negative connotation. This corresponds well to the passive in Japanese, which often has the connotation that the action is undesirable to the patient. – jogloran Nov 23 at 5:27
  • 1
    @jogloran Ohh... I see! ありがとうございます! ^^ – Chocolate Nov 23 at 10:25

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