I have had a highly uncooperative schedule this week, so there’s a lot of pent up stuff about to be thrown onto this blog.
I want to apologise upfront if this sounds whiny. Only because I hate, hate whining and the oh-poor-me tack. But if I don’t talk about this, vent some of it, I’m going to snap.
I have become extremely sensitive to not being listened to. Not being taken seriously. Not being respected.
This is perhaps one of those chip on my shoulder type lenses that I view the world through; I am trying to be very careful and attentive and not let it spiral into that, but I keep detecting this pattern. And not just one where I am occasionally irked and I blow it out of proportion.
Maybe this is where some of my readers can lend some perspective. So here is why I think this is a recurrent issue:
It starts out with work. I will tell my students you need to do X, Y, Z to learn this well and be able to do what you want to do with this. After weeks, more often months, of them not doing it, suddenly it’s their idea (or in some cases, the parents finally get with it) and now we’re actually enjoying things so much more. Similarly, I have had clients in the past whom I present with my policies, how I run my business, and the specific requirements for taking them on, and they feel that I ought to be flexible (often without actually talking to me about it, they just think I’ll do whatever they want later because these are just words) and I don’t mean what I say. That I’m ‘hard’ because I expect that when they book with me they keep those bookings and don’t render my limited work hours useless so my income is less. That I ought to have some ‘strategies’ (fuck I hate that word when it comes out of a parent’s mouth these days) for helping their child that does not involve everything I’ve already said the parent and child ought to be doing but won’t.
Then there is my wonderful Mother. I love her so much. I respect her too, immensely. That woman has been through hell more than once. She’s still incredibly compassionate, giving, and just wonderful. But she does not listen to her daughter when it comes to her business. Oh. My. Gosh. I can research and suggest and recommend and explain, and it isn’t until it comes from someone else saying the exact same thing that it becomes a good idea. She waffles on things a lot, I understand that’s part of her personality. But it becomes very frustrating. So frustrating. Because she won’t give things a good try. It has to work immediately, or she’s discouraged and impatient. Dandy.
Nevermind the fact that every single remotely reliable source says that any new business venture needs at least a year to begin making a profit. And we won’t even hit the one-year mark until next May.
Can you feel my eyeroll?
Then I have friends, some incredibly close friends, who are still harping about the same issue, over and over, and why oh why oh why are we still talking about this? It has been months of them saying they are moving on from it, that they are so totally free from it and it has zero bearing on their life anymore. They are moving on to the next phase of their life, leaving it all behind…
…after we rehash it all again.
I get people need to vent and process and be heard. That’s the whole theme of this blog. I get it. But what really drives me up the wall is when I attempt to point out that continuing to focus almost obsessively (I do phrase it nicer than that, perhaps that’s the issue) on this particular thing it does not foster the moving on we all were promised. I will make suggestions, encourage them to try things that I know will work, and they either ignore me entirely and barrel through with their continued rehashing of things I could pretty much recite from heart (it helps that they just said it about fifteen minutes earlier), ignore my questions (honestly, like they did not even hear/see it, until I repeat it. I may need to grab their sweet little faces between my hands…), or, my new favourite, they will claim my ways (which we saw working literally days ago) will not work or they have something better, and they do that and lo and behold shit-storm: the sequel.
I also apologise for the swearing, I am right ticked off today and trying really hard to be loving and kind despite it. Except here. Here I have my angry eyes on.
The cherry on top of that ridiculous sunday from hell is that they then have the gall to lecture me, literally lecture me, explaining all these amazing insights they’ve learned, as though I know nothing of this stuff that is my life, my career, and what I’ve been telling them for days, weeks, sometimes freaking months.
*pauses to scream into pillow*
So right now my method of dealing is this. I get fed up when I realise that today we do not have our listening ears on. I listen but pretty much do not even attempt to say anything except to acknowledge and encourage them when I think they are possibly paying attention. It’s far less exhausting and helps me refrain from banging my head against the desk. And frankly, what is the point? If they aren’t going to hear me, if they aren’t going to listen, then why?
That’s pretty much how I solved many of my work issues. I try everything I can think of, contracts, evaluating my flexibility and offering it where I can (without demolishing my livelihood), explaining carefully, sending reminders, giving incentives, and sometimes just refusing to babysit grown adults and letting them crash and burn a little bit). And then, if after all that we still are not getting it, I do not pick them up next season. Sometimes I even politely but clearly explain why. But usually not, because that implies there’s room for some discussion, i.e. the person believes they have a shot at convincing me to go through this for another year.
I am also trying to remember not to make these things an issue of pride. I don’t have to be right all the time. I am trying to let things go, and I feel like I’m letting a lot go, a lot of theological points, for instance, that I deeply disagree with but it just isn’t perhaps the time (by the way, this is the bit with friends not with clients – I know someone reading was like “Well, perhaps don’t debate religion with your clients, that might improve things”). I am trying to remember that sometimes people need to learn things for themselves.
It just still bugs the daylights out of me when they come to me for help, I tell them, they reject/ignore it, and then we either get a repeat production or they come around to the same conclusion by another route.
Imagine. Imagine if we just listened in the first place.
How much easier would this all be if we just. Freaking. Listened.
There is a part of me, the somewhat spiteful, push me and I’ll slap you, part of me which I fondly refer to as ‘the Cracken’, which would really like to start keeping track. The number of times I could have said ‘I told you so’ in the last few months alone is ridiculous.
I know my attitude is not stellar here, and I am working through it. I don’t want to wallow, that’s a recipe for disaster. But I am not able to just shake it off and go back to the same routine as though this hasn’t been a miserable experience for the last several months. There is a limit.
I would really love to talk some of it out. I do with clients, as I said, although I do not feel it necessary to explain how deeply disrespected it makes me feel when they pull crap like that. So I just drop them. They’re adults, they should know this, and if they don’t then it definitely is not my job, nor do I believe it’s appropriate or likely welcome, to teach them.
With my Mom, I feel that would do our relationship more damage than good. I just distance myself, let her run things how she chooses, and I offer to help but I no longer attempt to problem solve except for where I know she will listen. I also don’t get overly attached to our plans because those get changed about every other day (another thorn in my side, but I digress).
With the friends, oi. I don’t even know. A conversation was attempted today, and that pretty much accomplished nothing other than an acknowledgement of their feelings, and then a veering off course into another discussion which I personally don’t think was overly connected to what I’d just said. But perhaps that will percolate and things will happen.
Right now, I really wish I knew why this happens. I really wish I could figure out why the heck I have to border on ‘bitchy’ in order to get my voice to register for even a little while. Why I have to be in tears to be taken seriously. And why even then people are looking for ‘the issue behind this, the problem under this problem’. No, this is the freaking problem, pay attention. Work with me a little.
My Dad, whom I love with all my heart, has this habit of lecturing on something until you are agreeing just to make it stop. I jokingly say that I get my lecturing skills from him. But honestly, I did not miss being on the receiving end of that.
So I’m hoping it’s a phase and they just need to work through these things and eventually we will get to the listening portion of the program again. In the meantime, I am doing a lot of praying. For grace. That God will give me a more generous heart. That He will work on my attitude. And that He will help me combat this exhaustion I feel from feeling like my thoughts and beliefs aren’t respected when they come from me, but only when they come from someone else. Like I’m not the person who deserves to be taken seriously.
And that’s enough of tripping down that rabbit hole.