In this long process of rebuilding Myself, there are certain triggers that threaten the entire project. One of the biggest is rejection. Rejection by my peers or those lateral to me, rejection by others around me on a daily basis, rejection by leaders. This rejection if left unattended can begin an inward pull that at it’s worst, leads to suicidal ideation. I think it is the instinctual fear alarm of getting eaten by a predator and the ensuing suffering. The suicidal ideation is about alleviating that suffering.
Let’s pick it apart so I don’t end up in the emergency room. There are no giant predators between my studio and my job, church, or my ACOA meetings, so I think I can safely put fear of immanent harm by saber-toothed tiger aside.
For many species one can simply migrate to another group or even join a different kind. I don’t know why this doesn’t just click in for me. Rejection is so wounding that almost no normal thinking can take place. Maybe sometimes rejection is accompanied by perceived or actual betrayal and that’s what undermines my progress. Maybe it’s betrayal of what I think I’ve got as a constant that I am wrong about. That constant isn’t an honest, safe, or consistent constant. Maybe it is this realization that sends me into a spiral. When I feel that someone doesn’t really care, will withdraw that care, or that I am important only until someone better comes along; I get to feeling unsafe. I get to feeling worthless and disposable. These are overly strong feelings for the situation most times and I know it.
At work there are various individuals and groups of individuals who have been my almost total support for the last three years. This is lessening by the month as I rebuild financially, socially, and emotionally. Very soon I will need to also recover academically and professionally, but I am not there yet. Anyway, yesterday a couple of my main supporters, one in particular, was aloof, almost ignoring of me and with the addition of another whom we don’t often see, they got very cliquey. Basically it was high school all over again. I am getting better at this, but it did sting.
With one of them, I am her pal until someone better comes along all the time. I almost can’t get away from it, so I am learning to flow with it seeing her for who and where she is and not letting it get to me, although professionally speaking, I want to kill her. Another one is much most consistent in her consideration of me as a person, co-worker, and occasional confidant. She usually does step away from the clique to converse with me. The third co-worker who graced us with her presence yesterday is someone with whom I have had a stormy relationship. She greeted me in the beginning of the day, then let me be, which I prefer.
It was a great day all told. My feelings of rejection may not have been that accurate. The one I usually want to kill, had pissed me off some days ago and she knows it, so maybe this was just a break for her. She had two of her pals with her so she didn’t need to make requests of me. She got so caught up in whatever they were yakking about that I easily slipped away. The one with whom I used to do battle, may have simply not needed anything or had anything to say to me, so there wasn’t any dialog. I probably wasn’t rejected, just left alone.
In reality I took the opportunity and ran with it. Being free of three co-workers and their charges was fabulous! I spent most of my time in other areas, enjoyed those around me, and doted on some of their charges. I actually enjoyed the care I provided and was who I like to be.
My day was winding up nicely, then two things occurred. One was that the person coming in to be in charge doesn’t speak to me. At all. Ever. For any reason. This is hard to deal with. It is my fault that they don’t talk to me. I made them so mad over a long time, that they declared that they are “done with me”. I have since completely changed the behavior that made them mad, but they still won’t talk to me. The behavior was not intentional, not even entirely known to myself, and not meant to make anyone mad; but it did and the result is the silent treatment, probably for life from this one. Another person with whom I have struggled to talk to myself, and they me as well, has joined in on the silent treatment; so I have two leaders who ignore my existence. So I ended up with high school on one side, and my silent treatment preferring mother on the other side. Oh joy.
I still did well. Thank God, Athena, Buddha, and Muhammad that my work environment is enormous! As my day wound down so did I. I was upset, yes, but my thinking remained clear and my self-esteem remained intact. I was neither nervously apologetic, entering martyr mode, nor was I clearly hurt, angry, afraid, and wanting to get the hell out of there. I wasn’t numbing out either. I was thinking GRIT. I was thinking about perseverance, resilience, diversifying, and personal integrity.
Quite a lot still needed to be done making me nervous about passing that information on to the next person who tends to be crabby, bitchy, and mean. The second thing that occurred was that meanie didn’t show. Great. If I stay, I am mad and carrying out martyrdom; if I leave, people can be left in the lurch, information doesn’t get passed on, and apathy reigns. This person did not text me to cover for her, my fearless leader did not inform me of anything nor give me direction, and this is normal. I am routinely discounted at the end of my day.
I left. Silently I went home. I walked to my car alone. In the darkness as I drove, sadness seeped in. For a few moments I was 8, or 9, or 13 and alone. I had a bad day a school and no one cares. No one will talk to me at the end of my day. No one will hear my worries or encourage me. No one will tuck me in bed. No one will ensure my safety. Sometimes set-backs occur or almost occur because while I may survive the crash, I still die of internal injuries. Injures no one bothers to think about, including myself, until now.
I can rise out of my own instinctual fears. I can use cliquiness to find my true people, the silent treatment to stop my most offensive behaviors, snottiness as a reminder that it isn’t always me, sometimes it’s them, and the disrespect/discounting of another to raise my price.
Maybe rejection is just an arrow pointing me in a different direction.