Say What?!

So…..

Today after a 30 day absence I returned to work.

And……

It was fine, better than fine, it was like a new fresh beginning.

My bosses and colleagues were wonderful.

I had to face the truth at long last. That I am, or was, utterly paranoid.

No one was out to get me.

No one was whispering in a corner about how terrible I am as I made my way into the office.

No one shouted or snarled or sneered at me.

They were all lovely.

My brain had betrayed me. It had led me to believe there was harm and danger in every direction, in every situation, in every person.

I know this sounds unbelievable, but I believed in what my brain was telling me. I believed in the danger, I believed that everyone was out to get me, that everyone hated me.

When the boy tried to gently tell me I was paranoid I genuinely believed he was wrong, that he was naive, that he was lying to me.

I feel like I am finally seeing the world for what it is. I feel like I am finally seeing the truth. I feel like I have been given a lifeline.

I don’t know how long I will be in this job. I don’t know how long this feeling will last. I don’t know what tomorrow holds.

But today I feel strong and happy.

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Be Assertive, Be Be Assertive

I have struggled all my life with being assertive. There are a number of reasons for this. I have the belief that I must never be impolite, dominant or assert my rights, because people will only hate me if I do.

The fact that I think they will hate me even if I am nice and kind doesn’t seem to help me change my mind about this way of living.

I remember one time when I was 18 I was in Pizza Hut with my boyfriend. We were going to share a pizza. We ordered a pizza that was all vegetables (I was a vegetarian) but had chicken on half of it. Somehow this confused the waitress and the pizza came out half vegetable and all chicken.

Do I really have to tell you that I didn’t complain and instead just painstakingly picked the chicken off my half of the pizza?

Yes, on that occasion I was a complete and utter twit. But to be honest I haven’t learnt my lesson, and I still can’t confront people.

A couple of things happened this week to highlight my inability to be assertive.

The first is a bit long and has been causing me a lot of stress. I go to an exercise class with a group of girls and we each pay £4 a session to cover venue hire.

Because I tend to pay for a month’s worth of session in advance as it helps me budget better, sometimes I end up in credit if I miss a session, which is what happened before Christmas.

I missed a session at the start of January and then paid for a group of sessions when I next went. The person who normally collects the money wasn’t there so I paid to the person collecting.

When I next went and the girl who normally collects the money was collecting I said I was paid up, which confused her. This set of the panic in me and I asked her to check when she got home as to where I stood.

She did and said I owed £16 after her calculations.

I know this was wrong and told her so, and she said that she must have made a mistake. (She is a very lovely person and I harbour no ill will towards her-she really is great-but I will carry on with my story)

As it is now February when I went this week I paid for all the sessions that I will go to before the next payday, and due to a bit of miscommunication I think she thought I was paying for the amount I was supposedly in debt by. So I have since sent a message to her explaining that it was for this month’s sessions that I paid for this week.

But I know me, and I am thinking two things.

  1. She doesn’t believe me and all the other girls will turn against me and say that I am screwing the sessions and short changing them all.
  2. I know me, and even though I know I have paid for every session I have attended and am not in debt, I know that to ‘keep the peace’ I would pay for the amount I am supposedly in debt by as they are bound to hate me if I don’t.

So this has been a major source of stress and I don’t know how to proceed.

To be clear-none of the girls are mean or capable of mean thoughts and most likely believe me and I am worrying over nothing. They are not bad people. I am just merely trying to explain my anxiety and how I feel people perceive me.

It’s not that I think the worst of people, it’s that I think the worse of me, and see it as only natural that people would turn against me.

Today there was another incident where I should have stood up for myself.

I went to have coffee with my friend and as it was my turn to pay I went up to the counter to order.

There were four staff members behind the counter having a conversation, and despite my size not exactly making me invisible it was a while before any of them finished their conversation and served me.

The person taking my order did not make eye contact as I ordered a small latte and a large americano.

They then served the person behind me.

The person behind me had his drinks made first.

They then asked me to remind them what I had ordered.

They then served the drinks in cups that were very clearly the same size, despite me ordering two different sizes.

I said nothing and instead went back to my friend and was in a little bit of a daze about what had just happened and probably won’t be going there again anytime soon in a hurry.

They didn’t overcharge me, I know that much, but it was still a bad exchange.

The trouble is I can only defend myself against the people I am closest to. The people who I know love me and will still be my friend/relative/partner even if I say they are being a dick.

What does it matter if a random cafe person hates me because I tell them they have got my drink order wrong?

I can’t defend myself when I’m in the wrong. I can’t defend myself when I’m in the right. I have an absolute desperate need to have people like me which I am wise enough to know is an impossible task as no one on the planet is liked by everyone.

My boyfriend has told me that I am holding myself back, that I am ruining my life, that I am letting people walk all over me.

For the most part this is all true.

I need to be assertive.

Trouble is that feels like an impossible task. Something that seems easy to do but in reality is so hard to actually put into place.

But I must change. I can’t carry on living this way. I am holding myself back.