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?