Work and therapy

Work is better. The day after I wrote the last post, I had a meeting with my manager, and he was super nice. He made such a stern, reserved, critical impression at my interview, and I thought this was his personality. He’s actually nice. He isn’t expecting miracles, he wants to help as much as he can, he is interested. He was so reassuring, in contrast with my meeting with the other manager. I never got the impression he thinks I’m slow, or not getting it, or anything negative really. And he’s a director, so several levels of management up from my last banking boss. I’m kind of impressed with myself for having such an elevated boss, lol. Main thing for me, though, is he seems to like me well enough and is encouraging. The last horror of a boss really cut deep into my confidence, and I am so happy to have someone who seems like a good egg.

What a relief. I even slept better than usual, I was so filled with relief. And I’m having longer chats with my cubicle neighbour, and it’s fine. And, today I had a long informal meeting with the other manager again, but this time, she didn’t seem angry. She’s very quick and focused, and wants to get a lot done very fast. So it was fine also. She is incredibly helpful, as long as I mostly listen and reflect what she’s saying.

I think realizing the triggers I have with silence and people not talking was really helpful to me. If I can just de-escalate those bad feelings so I don’t become swamped, when they come up.

I still want to go over last week’s therapy, but of course, I’ve forgotten a lot at this point.

We talked again about whether Ron was keeping secrets, about his divorce. He said he’ll answer any question I ask him. I say, well, what would I have asked – Are you still married? Then he says he doesn’t feel he’s keeping secrets – people around him know he’s divorced. Then something about how he doesn’t want to process his own stuff in clients’ sessions. Well, fair enough. I don’t want to pay to have to help him with his feelings. Then I say that there’s a difference between clearing up a mistaken fact, like I had that he’s still married, and trying to process his stuff during my session. And he agreed that he might have said something when I’d asked if he’d gotten his wife a Valentine’s present.

And I also got in another quick nosy question, which had bothered me. I don’t know if it’s nosiness or pain. It feels like pain. I asked if he was living with anyone else – a younger model perhaps. A lot of people do that.

Ron wasn’t offended. He smiled and said that yes, a lot of people do that, but no, he’s not living with anyone, younger model or otherwise.

I felt this great sense of relief. Maybe he is the honorable person I hope he is.

So I leave it at that. I feel OK about it again.

One part I remember most vividly was at the end. I start asking why I have no friends. Is it obvious? Maybe Ron knows exactly why, and isn’t telling me? I start to cry – I’m extremely emotional, all of a sudden. I brace myself to hear why I repel people.

Ron says that no, it isn’t obvious. I cry some more.

I tell him I’ve been to church for six months, and tried, and haven’t made one friend. The professional Christians talk to me, but few other people will. Then the group I tried, I didn’t make any friends. I hadn’t been going long, which I forget about in the heat of the moment.

Ron says that he thinks I have all this self-consciousness, that gets in the way. Instead of figuring out who I like, I worry so much about how other people are reacting to me.

I say no, that’s not it. I think with parts, it’s difficult. Sometimes different parts will speak, and it’s not really me, so people who might like me, don’t know me, they just know these parts a bit. It’s a bit of a mess.

Ron says OK, that may not be the whole problem, but i think it’s a problem.

Afterwards I remember clearly what he said. At the time, I thought it was completely lame. But later, it seemed there was a lot of truth to it.

  1. That’s really interesting…. Worry about who you like, not how the other person is responding. I’ll have to think on that one, too.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes. Ron says interesting things, often, which I often miss because I’m so emotional, but this one stuck. Thanks.

  2. Jay said:

    Really glad to here you had such a good chat with your boss and feel more empowered in the workplace. It can make a huge difference to that sense of security.

    You are really brave for asking Ron about his personal life! And it seems he was quite open with you. Could you explain what you meant when you asked whether he was living with a young model… What was the significance of that for you? Curious 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      Living with a younger model? Men my age, like Ron, tend to ‘fall out of love’ with their spouses, and ‘fall in love’ with someone new, who just happens to be twenty years younger. That’s what I meant. I’m not sure that it has a personal application to me, beyond my general irritation with male behaviour. Cheers.

  3. manyofus1980 said:

    I get it about there being lots of parts. And sometimes friends know one or two parts, and they expect you to be like those parts all the time. You seem like a really sincere person. And always so nice in your posts. I’m sure many people do like you. I know I we do. XX

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Many. I’d say, yes, I’m not repellent – people like me well enough as an acquaintance. I’m missing anyone who actually cares, in a more positive sense. Blog relationships do mean a lot to me, but they aren’t the same as real world relationships to me. You only see a tiny, edited slice of me here. But I appreciate the liking and support.

  4. Sounds like your work is going better than you thought. I heard something similar from my counselor to stop worrying about what other people think and focus and being the person I want to be. I have several friends now that are very different from the people I tried to be friends with before.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m also trying to be open to people who are different from before. The old, distant type of person no longer appeals. Thanks.

  5. I always struggled with thinking that people did not want to be my friends and if they did then they needed something from me. I never trusted in the relationship. So much has changed for me over the last 10 years. I do have some new friendships I am developing now. Friends I picked because I thought they could help me grow to my greatest potential. That is what I want from relationships. I want them to help me do more, be more, laugh more, etc. I don’t want relationships that are superficial anymore. I do not have the time or energy for them. I want friends that are interested in growing and finding their greatest potential as well. People who know they are enough as they are but who have the impulse for more.

    • Ellen said:

      I really like your description of the kinds of friends you are looking for now Janet. They sound good to me also. I’ve realized that I really value someone interested in personal growth. Thank you.

  6. Cat said:

    I love your posts, Ellen, they are always so direct and honest and insightful, even if you do not quite realise the insightfulness at the time. It’s excellent that the ‘big boss’ is so nice, which makes the other managers less important. The realisation in your last post will see you past this, it just takes time and practice…. Try to be patient with yourself as you learn to respond differently.

    I had a few giggles reading about your “nosy” questions to Ron and how he is still, “honourable”, it was so very real but somehow rather funny at the same time. I could see a sitcom play out before my eyes.

    I think you and Ron are both right about why you find it difficult to make friends. It sounds to me like you were the scapegoat of the family, disrespected, and ignored, starting from the top and everyone else just joined suit. It makes sense this might play out in other areas of your life, as it certainly does for me.

    People used to say I was ‘stand-offish’ until you get to know me, but in reality, I was just so terrified no one would like me and would be so preoccupied with my own critical thoughts, I must have had a permanent scowl that frightened people off, or something.

    Sorry, I got carried away again with an essay-reply. Hope you’re having a good weekend

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for the kind words. I think writing helps us be more insightful – putting stuff out there gives enough distance that we see things in a new way. Yeah, it’s great the boss seems to be a good guy – so far anyway.

      Always glad to provide you with entertainment. 🙂

      Shyness can seem ‘stand-offish’ sometimes. Yes, my family did treat me like that. I’m getting confused with this topic, but I can see you relate to this issue also. I don’t feel I’ve made much headway on the friends front – it is one of my core difficulties. Almost like others may suffer from anorexia, or self-harm – I suffer from the social fears.

      I’m always interested – feel free to write comments as long as seem good to you. Cheers

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