Is it Competitive or being a Bully? – Self observation

June 20, 2019

I grew up being a “tomboy”.  I had two sisters that I did not know until I was about 9 years old.  I played with and learned from my boy cousins.  They were the brothers I never got to have.  I loved them more than anything, they kept me safe.

So instead of being interested in Barbie dolls, make up, and pretending to be a mom, I instead wanted to be a soldier, fight, play football, climb trees, and go fishing.  It was good times until we all hit puberty.  Then my role as the little cousin turned into “our girl cousin”. The boys discovered girls and I had to learn how to be around my girl cousins instead.  It was annoying and I fought it until I finally hit puberty at the young age of 11.  I felt lost from that point forward.

Between the ages of 11 to 18, it was a rough time in life for me.  Instead of learning how to be this nurturing person, caring, and docile, I became very competitive with everyone. It was the anger of being abused that fueled it.  I was bitter, angry, and didn’t care who I hurt as long as they felt as bad as I did.  I was lost in my own pain.  Happy thoughts would turn into a cold depressive wave of insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.  Being verbally and emotionally abused coupled with the physical abuse created this wall that has stayed for a very long time.

That wall is hard for anyone to break through.  Many friendships and relationships have died trying to break through it.  Most gave up on me and that was it.  I know after the last few years of counseling that it is up to me to dismantle it.  It’s a slow process, one brick at a time.

So in order to compensate for the way I felt, I turned to competition as a way of leveling the playing field. I worked hard to become the best in whatever I attempted.  I read, learned, paid attention, practiced, and strived to become an expert.  Granted, most of my knowledge is, well, pretty basic.  Things that anyone can learn but I found out along the way that most people see the unknown as daunting.  They would rather have someone else do it and they just watch.  I feel free when encountering something new, a little hesitant but willing to try.  You never know until you try.

Lately, I turned my focus on a new job with a purpose.  I’ve been trying to become this indispensable base of knowledge.  Twenty years in the military, education, and work history is proof of what I can accomplish. They were impressed with my resume and how I carried myself during the interview. They hired me.  I thought that 30 years of work experience would go in my favor.  I was wrong and it’s starting to affect the thoughts about who I am as a person.  I was asked during the interview if I could be the person to help take this team and its function to a different level of efficiency.  I said yes.  Not because I was overly confident but because I know how I work.  I know what it takes to turn an organization around to work better, more organized, efficient, less downtime, and working toward an expanded purpose.  It’s not my first time to help reorganize and turn things around.

Now it’s a year later and after some recent much needed turnover, there is doubt about me.  I only showed them where the weak links were and how it was affecting the bottom line of what we are trying to do.  I did what I said I could do.  I am afraid that the competitiveness and confidence is coming off as being a bully instead of being helpful.  The only problem is I don’t know why?

The question that continues to invade my thoughts is “Have I been wrong this whole time?”  I think I’m average, awkward in most social situations, and the only redeeming quality, I thought anyway, is that I am honest to a fault. Most people seem to like me and said my competitive nature is what attracted them to me in the first place.  I was always flattered by it until they realize that it doesn’t stop.  I’m always this way. It’s an instinct to survive.  I don’t say things unless I’m absolutely sure about it and I have to have some sort of proof in hand before I will act upon it.  Yet, despite this, I get the feeling that others now feel threatened by my presence.  In pointing out the flaws within our group dynamic, I inadvertently pointed out theirs as well.  It was unintentional but it happened.  There’s nothing I can do to fix it.  

Before all of this happened, my opinion was valued, now it seems like it is being squashed every time I say anything. It is being systematically being devalued.  Expected behaviors were put upon me and others haven’t been told the same thing.  It’s causing distress within my own mind to the point I haven’t been sleeping well.  I feel threatened and afraid to speak up or say anything because of the anticipated repercussions.  When I do speak, people don’t listen, and over talk me.  Where I was once depended upon is now slowly becoming isolated and side stepped. This isn’t the first time it has happened in the workplace, I’ve been in this place before.

I’m not sure what to do at this point.  Give up and quit?  I can’t until I find another job to replace the income.  Keep going and ignore it is the only option at this point as painful as it may be.  There has been a lot of self-reflection about how I carry myself and how others view me going on. I am who I am.  I have survived 48 years being this way. If I go through hundred more jobs before I die then I guess I just keep gaining knowledge and skills.  If someone doesn’t like me then we were not meant to be around each other, that’s all.  I live my life, you live yours.

All I know is that I am a good person.  If I hurt you, I always apologize. I’m a human being and I make mistakes, all the time. I’m not afraid and I’m unapologetic about who I am, can you say the same?

We exist together because of time and circumstance but that’s the best part, we can always keep moving along.  The universe was created from chaos and so was I.  I’m eclectic by nature. That’s who I am, so who do you think you are?

Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes to you always.

Have an awesome week!  

Suzanne

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