Home truths

It’s never nice hearing things about yourself – difficult, uncomfortable things -that, deep down, you know are true. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that out there, there are people who don’t like you. There are people out there who find you brash and dismissive. There are people out there who talk about you in the same way that you talk about people you don’t like.

And that is why, this afternoon, for the second time in as many months, I was crying at work.

Work evaluation meetings are tough at the best of times. You have to justify what you’ve spent your time on. You have to prove you’ve hit your objectives to the best of your ability. You have to prove your worth over and over again.

For me, the work bit – the “what” – is easy. I get things done, to time, planned, goals achieved, I’m passionate, I don’t like failure etc etc. I’m a good person to have on a team if you want things done.

But I have faults. Of course I do. And these were the bulk of my discussion with my manager today.

<note: what follows is not written in an attempt for you to contradict me. That’s not what I’m looking for, I don’t need that, I don’t want it. What follows is how I’m feeling, how I’m trying to process it and it’s about me starting the journey towards something new>

I’ve already talked in the past about realizations I’d come to as a result of starting dating. In it, I talk about the fact that I’m a bit of a bitch. When I wrote it then, I think it came across as a little self-deprecating. A bit “that’s just how I am, take it or leave it”.

The problem is, I no longer want to take it. I no longer want to be this person that I am. Or, at least, that other people think I am.

My manager was lovely – genuinely lovely (why else do you think I cried) – and she and I had a conversation about the way in which I came across at work, and what kind of effect that had on the people I work with. Although at first, none of it was new to me, the more I think about it, the more worried and scared and upset I’m getting because I realise that I don’t want to be this person. I’m not this person, inside, I don’t think. And if I am, Jesus, it’s no wonder that people don’t like me. That I don’t like me.

I’m domineering in a group. I like to take control and be in control. In that capacity, I can be incredibly dismissive of other people, of other ideas that aren’t mine, of other viewpoints.

I get frustrated when people don’t understand things the way I understand them. I get frustrated because I don’t understand why they don’t understand. I come across as being superior – as if I think I’m far more intelligent than others.

I am rigid in the way I work. I don’t like ambiguous situations (again, back to the control thing). I am not fair, I am not nice. People are scared of me.

I know I can be sharp. I know I can be sarcastic. I know I constantly say the wrong thing most of the time. But I sort of hoped that people understood it (why they would, I don’t know). But now I actually realise that they don’t. And so I look at the way I behave, at work, at home, when I’m out, and I feel something inside me want to curl up and die. Honestly, if I was around a person like me, I wouldn’t want to be my friend. I wouldn’t want to hang out with them. I wouldn’t want to work with them.

So why do I do it? Why am I like this? I know that I’m not a bad person. I know that I love my family and I love my friends and that I want to be there for them. I know that I am loyal and protective (too much, sometimes). So why doesn’t this show. Why doesn’t this better person come through. Why is this facade? What is this facade for?

My manager suggests that there’s vulnerability there. Somewhere. She suggests that I see that as weakness, and therefore don’t let it show. But why the vulnerability? What have I got to be vulnerable about? Maybe I feel that people won’t like the real me (whoever she is) because I don’t think I like her very much (whoever she is). And so this other person dominates. This default. This personality I return to time and time again as some form of what…? Protection?

My mind is going in circles. I know I have to change. I know I want to change (seriously, who wants to be the person that everyone hates?) but I have no idea how to do it. I have no idea where to start.

Or, maybe, this is it? This is the start?



Tagged ,

9 thoughts on “Home truths

  1. Smidge says:

    (I’m not sure if we are allowed to comment, but i’m going to)

    You sound like me, work wise. I never miss a target, i’m driven, etc etc. I also come across the same way, according to my manager. I was told (by my work) to do a personality test.

    Whatever mumbo jumbo it comes out with, well its helping. I am a plant/shaper. Someone who can both create ideas and do/push the work in the right direction. Great for delivering creatively good work, but not so great for people who don’t have the same skills, or for working as part of a team – it easily comes across as intimidating, stubborn, and critical – very critical. I’ve been told to sort it.

    So how do I fix it? Well for me, I have to take the negative aspects of my work personality (bad humour + frustration mainly) and each time I act that way I stop and remember how it looks to other people. Flagging myself up each time stop it. Well its working for me. Hope that helps!

    (and delete the comment if you don’t want it, I am happy for it to be ignored – see i’m trying very hard at this!)

    • nuttycow says:

      Thank you for this! Of course you’re allowed to comment, I love all insight and experience I can get.

      I’m in the process of going through counselling and a 360 at the moment and I’m really finding it’s helping. The counselling is more like therapy than work stuff – there have been tears and all sorts. Slowly, though, I’m starting to realise what is driving me and my behaviour and trying to sort it.

      I think you and I are similar, as you say. I think the frustrations of work are coming out in my personality and so I’m trying my best to work through that.

      It’ll be a slow journey though, I think!

  2. Ellen Marshall says:

    If you haven’t already, read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown – I think you might find it interesting. It covers the vulnerability question – ie why we hide it, how showing our vulnerable side can actually be useful – very well. It sounds a bit self-helpy but I thought it was great. X

  3. Kasia_ says:

    What Smidge said. Luckily I’m in the work environment that’s too relaxed for my personality traits to become a huge problem, also I don’t work in a team anymore – but the fact that I am a bit of a bitch at work too became apparent when due to a work situation I had to go to counselling. Doing a personality test does help – or it did for me (I suggest MBTI) – it helps to understand your motives and as Smidge says, it helps to see when the bad moment is coming and control your negative gut reactions.

    Having said it all – in a perfect environment your employer should ask everybody on the team to take the test and then learn about each other’s personality types. We all have our own ways dealing with duties/challenges/emergencies/stress – and the way to work together is to understand each other and ADJUST – not CHANGE.

    • nuttycow says:

      Hey Kasia_

      My boss has actually made the whole comms team do the MBTI and the results were pretty unsurprising! I’m going to do a 360 based around happiness and wellbeing which takes into account about 15 different facets. I’m really interested to see what the results will be. Will let you know!

  4. Oh dear, what an utterly clear and lucid beating you’ve just given yourself. It sounds to me like all those personality traits you’ve described could just as well be interpreted in a fantastically positive way, in a different context and with different people, in a different work-culture. Could you just be in the wrong sort of role for you? I don’t know you, but you sound like someone I would like. I bet you’re fiery, focused, smart, driven, determined, sharp-tongued and opinionated for good reasons – there are situations where someone like that is perfect. So please don’t be too hard on yourself, even if others are being hard on you.

    • nuttycow says:

      Thank you for your kind comments. You’re absolutely right when you question the work environment I’m in. I know it’s not the right place for me but, at the moment, it’s all I have. This will change (I have a plan!) but in the meantime, I think that it’s a good opportunity to try and improve my style so I can kick arse in my next role!

  5. Nutty,
    That was an incredible post, well done. I work with people going through their dark night all the time. I can work from a distance (and do), and via Skype, if you’d like a hand you’re very welcome to get in touch.
    Millennium Housewife is fictional so don’t use it to base your assumptions on my ‘real job’ (however we’d define that!), I have a website (unfinished needs editing but gives you a gist). No charge, get in contact if it pulls at you. And good luck with it all, the breaking open process has to happen to us all – it’s how we grow (hippy alert).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *