Once a Delicate Flower, Always a Delicate Flower (aka: Hi, I've Got Issues)
I'm a 36 year old woman. I have a good job (shut up, you know what I mean), am a proud teacher, pay a mortgage for a house, and am smart, considerate (at least I try) and independent.
So why, when people snap or yell at me, do I regress into a stammering, terrified, ultra-sensitive, wounded 8 year old?
I just interrupted a manager from a meeting and he bit my head off and hung up on me, telling me I really used poor judgment in interrupting him. My reason was a good one even if he didn't see it the same way. I was polite and very quick with my questions. I obviously did not mean any harm. He obviously was having a bad day (he's usually a really great guy).
So why do I feel like shit and why did I have to immediately close my door to quickly burst into tears? Where's my anger or indignation at his behavior? Why can't I just blow stuff like this off? I'm so quick to accept blame, it's amazing. Especially if someone is angry over something I've done or haven't done. I take things like this so strongly to heart.
In the summer before kindergarten, mom enrolled me in a cooking class. Mrs. Tanaka was the teacher. That's right, it's 30+ years later and I still remember the name of the teacher from a 1-week summer cooking class. We were all busy doing our newly-learned jobs in the kitchen. Mine was peeling potatoes. I wanted to make sure I did it correctly and got all the peel off. I was very carefully, proudly peeling away when Mrs. Tanaka came to look at my progress. When she saw I was still on my first potato, she yanked it out of my hand, grabbed the peeler and told me I was going far too slow and to just go sit down. I felt cut to the quick and burst into ignored tears.
In first grade, my teacher told my parents I was extremely over-sensitive. I will never forget the time we voted on our school mascot. There's little 6-year old me, thinking the catepillar mascot design was the cutest thing ever. So that's what I voted. But then I found out that everyone else really wanted the jaguar to win. I flipped out. What if my vote was the deciding vote and we got the catepillar because of me? I would ruin it for everyone! I immediately went to my teacher, crying and pleading for her to let me change my vote so that everyone would be happy. (The jaguar won in a landslide victory, by the by.)
And here I sit, a 36 year old woman, crying in her office because she's been cut to the quick by someone else's quick words of frustration, and feeling like she's let the world down.
What a dorkass.