In my last blog post “I Think I Found My People” I wrote about my Sunday that was actually one of those dreamy sunshiny days where everything seems to go your way. I hadn’t had one in several, several years and was basking in its afterglow all through Monday. Interestingly now, I said to rubycommenting in the comments of that post the following with respect to people being rude or disrespectful:
“For me, I have to learn when it was a genuinely bad attitude or that I thought it was one because of my over-sensitivity. And then I need to heal enough, if it was a genuine bad attitude, to not fall into a pit of pain.”
It’s interesting now because today the glow shut off and it was because I had to go through a phone call from a young woman from an agency I’m a client of. She was rude, ridiculously so. After the phone call I found myself VERY distraught. I determined she genuinely did have a bad attitude, and I was about to enter into a dark pit of pain.
I know most people would have considered her rude and be angry. Some of those would even properly call and speak to her supervisor. That last one I did, too, doing my best to keep a reasonable tone. Only her “supervisor” was being weirdly defensive and, judging by her young age range and manner of speaking, I suspected heavily they were office friends. So I then left a message with the office manager who, being an older male, I’m hoping is not part of the office “buddy circle”. It was near the end of the day so perhaps he will return my call tomorrow.
I felt absolutely humiliated during the phone call. It was a feeling I think many scapegoats know all to well, the ol’ here-we-go-again, someone else who just knew they could talk badly to me. I felt panicky and angry, like a cornered animal, during and after the phone call. While normal people will remind themselves to not let such a phone call ruin their day, I was in what can only be called a paroxysm of fear, humiliation, and blinding protective anger. I found myself pacing around the house afterward full of energy that had no where to go. I was on full victim-mode. When I feel like that I feel like I’m going to be annihilated. That’s a word that you’ll read me use again when I tell of the nightmares of my mother (in a form of a demon) when I was younger and it’s totally connected.
It’s just that I’ve had a lifetime worth of disdain, there’s no room in me for any more. I’m so raw from repeated wounding on previous wounds that I HAVE to anticipate it in order to thwart it as I just can’t take any more.
It’s now been a few hours. I felt better after going on the internet to look up what others say or do when dealing with someone who’s rude as a way to integrate what just happened and find ways to think about it that would calm me. I know other people’s reactions to being treated badly is definitely not exaggerated like mine are, but it helped to remind myself that even “normal” people find it an emotionally difficult thing sometimes and will sometimes have to remind themselves to not take it personally. It helped.
It also calmed me a bit to read that others would feel that someone who deals with clients rudely need to have her attitude called out. And that helped me to think she and her supervisor friend probably weren’t laughing about that stupid client who called her to complain but that they just might have been feeling a little worried at the end of their work day, especially since I informed the supervisor that I was going to talk to the manager because she wasn’t taking this seriously.
It is this last thing I learned to do, to not absorb all the horrible feelings of a bad encounter into myself but to begin to put it back on the laps of those who started it. I’m awkward at it, I don’t even know if I do it well, but it’s all I have and I find it a survival technique. I’m hoping I’ll get better at it, more calm, more sure of myself and my position. Until then, it has to be sloppy if that’s how it pans out. I just need to do it.
I had such a good day on Sunday, experiencing a little bit of new confidence. Today was a step back.