I had a meeting with my boss today. I am super anxious about bosses. He is a director, which is a higher level boss than I’ve had before. It was a working meeting, with me asking questions about my document.

So he is nice. He has a PhD in physics. He doesn’t act ‘smart’, he’s very low key and pretty focused. He doesn’t speak ‘management’ which so many corporate types do. And he sympathizes with wanting to write plainly and clearly, so more than the regulators will read. At least we make that possible.

So I am very grateful he has this attitude, so different from the other boss. And the meeting went longer than an hour, and he used up half his lunch hour so we could finish up.

And I didn’t even thank him for that, which I should have. I was feeling depressed. I felt badly dressed. I felt really really boring. It can be kind of boring to have to answer so many questions about a document. I felt like I was just not the right person somehow. Like he did like me, before, but now I was deeply disappointing him.

He didn’t do anything at all to make me feel like that. It’s all me. I have so much anxiety about bosses in general. Then, with him, because he has an academic background, I start to feel more at ease with him, because those are the kind of people I grew up around. My father also has a PhD in physics. He is a completely different type of person though.

So basically, all is well. Just, I am beating myself up mercilessly ever since. It feels like Red, the person who seems to physically beat me with sticks. Everything you can imagine is wrong with me according to her. It is quite distressing being beaten up like that. I just have to at least realize it’s happening, and survive it.

I mean to do well but I don’t do well. Like how hard would it have been to thank big boss for extending the meeting for my benefit?

I just hope I can put it aside and sleep tonight. At least there is more to do at work again. I hate running out of things to do – they give me too little work. I can get through about three times what I have in the endless time available.

  1. I’m sorry that the meeting brought up old issues for you and made you feel so uncomfortable. Would it help you feel better if you sent a short email tomorrow thanking him for using up part of his lunch hour to extend the meeting?

    • Ellen said:

      I might still do that. Thanks Cat.

  2. Rachel said:

    It does sound awful to be beaten up mercilessly by the self-judgment. I am impressed you have that insight, that it is internal judgment, and not actually a reflection of what is happening externally. I bet that he didn’t think twice about the meeting the way you did, and was not judging you harshly as you judged yourself. He probably thought what you were talking about was important, hence why he was willing to extend. I’m sorry you are feeling so bad about the meeting. And I hope that you can extend some self-compassion to yourself for doing your best. Meaning to do well, and doing your best, is good enough. Take good care.

    • Ellen said:

      That critical part that beats me up came up in therapy before, so I recognize her. It’s like a frenzied irrational attack, and it can be just brutal.

      Thanks for the good viewpoint of the meeting. Kid parts want to repeat what you said – doing your best is good enough, right? right? right? 🙂

      Thank you Rachel for the kind comment.

  3. Is it possible to communicate with Red around how you feel when she does this? That it makes you intensely sad and anxious and doesn’t improve anything. In fact, you probably get more wrong when she does this? Compassion seems like it would help.

    • Ellen said:

      I’ve had no luck with the internal communication with Red, though I can see it would be a very good thing. I’m working on just hearing her but not believing her or taking it too personally – she is a child after all. Thank you Ashana.

      • It happens when the fear is really high. I’ve had a hard time communicating with some parts recently too, as very terrifying memories come up.

        Can Ron help? Can he explain to Red how this feels when she does this? Or find out what she likes (so that you can soothe this part)?

        • Ellen said:

          I hadn’t thought of fear – could be. Though my memories are not as terrifying as yours must be.

          Maybe Ron can help. Thanks.

          • I think criticism is scary in a different way.

  4. Cat said:

    Having insight over where the feelings are coming from is half the battle, IMO. It’s a little like my issue with being a people pleaser. When I made myself stop, I felt incredibly guilty that I wasn’t being enough or giving enough, but the more I refused to be sucked in by old messages, the less guilt I feel and the more comfortable I am with not resorting to trying to please everyone

    • Ellen said:

      It’s interesting you think it’s like being a people pleaser. Could be. That feeling of always needing to try harder, and nothing is ever OK. Inspiring that you are overcoming the messages. Thank you Cat.

  5. The inner critic is tough. My counselor called that inner critic my mean boss and I needed to fire her. It gave me a mental image to work on. I still struggle with self criticism but I am more likely to balance the criticism with acceptance that things went well. Cat’s suggestion to email him later is a good one. It can sound like a followup with a thanks at the end for his time.

    It may not work with Red but something my sister tried with her inner-critic was to challenge it to come up with something new. That is when she realized it was the same old criticism harped on by our parents with nothing new to add. Sad when parents feel so insecure they sabotage their own children. Hugs. I’m glad you were able to have a good discussion with the director.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m actually trying more to accept that part than to fire her, but to give her a new job. 🙂

      Interesting about your sister. Thanks Ruth.

      • I like the idea of accepting her and changing her assignment…..I wonder if she would take on head cheerleader?….I need one. Hugs.

  6. I’m glad the meeting went well and was so productive. I have parts who are critics too. Its hard to deal with that on an ongoing basis. XX

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