Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Who am I, really?

One of my sisters has told me that I can be a bully both through manipulation and being mean to people. At first I had a hard time believing this because I don't think of myself as a bully. I think of myself as a nice person who is a good leader and usually a good negotiator. Today I realized that no matter  who or what I thought I was - and don't get me wrong, I know I'm nice and pleasant most of the time - my sister was right.

I can be mean. Really, really mean. This is a behaviour that I know I learned from my mom and that I've worked hard to remove because I'm ashamed that I behave this way. Most times, I'm not as mean as I was even ten years ago but that side of me can definitely come out when I'm frustrated or upset. I also know that I can treat people badly if I don't like them or think that they don't know what they're doing. I behaved that way towards a colleague when I was working and I also behaved that way towards my sister and I feel guilty and sorry about doing that to both of them. 

These days, I don't think of myself as someone who manipulates other people to get what I want. I know I did it a lot when I was young and I made a conscious effort to stop behaving that way as I got older. I think I succeeded in doing that as I gained confidence. However, that confidence has a downside: I can come across as forceful, cold, and arrogant. Amongst other people who behave the same way, this isn't an issue. However, most of the world isn't like that and I can see how this behaviour could be seen as steam-rolling or manipulative. Or bullying.

Since my mets diagnosis and through the support groups at Hopespring, I've been working on being more compassionate. This is all new and something that I'm learning a bit at a time and as soon as I am scared, angry, frustrated, or annoyed, all that compassion goes out the window. When the compassion comes back I feel guilty and sorry and ashamed. 

The shame I feel about these behaviours means that they really only come out towards people I know really well or people I don't know at all. I hide these behaviours from almost everyone so the people who are on the receiving end have no real support... meaning that I'm not held accountable for these behaviours so I can keep them a shameful secret, presenting one face to most people and leaving a trail of meanness in my wake. This isn't the person I want to be.

One of the things I hope to achieve through therapy is learning to not behave in those ways because doing it on my own has not been successful. I'm tired of hurting people and although I can apologize to the people I've hurt, if I don't behave differently those apologies are meaningless. I am deeply sorry that I've hurt my sister and all those other people. I can't take back anything that I've done (although if I could, I would); all I can do is move forward with the help of my soon-to-be therapist.

1 comment:

Jennifer Campbell said...

Wow, that is so brave of you to post on a public forum. It's good to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and honey, we all have them! Not one person is perfect...we all hurt people (especially those people closest to us). It's important to always be bettering ourselves...kudos to you!