What to do when you feel you have been treated unjustly

So over the course of recent year I have seen several people being promoted who I thought never really deserved a promotion. Furthermore, I still have my temporary working contract and I have been assured that they have no intention whatsoever to prelongen it. I will not really go into the details of this whole situation, but suffice to say that as I had a development talk with my boss with him pointing out some of the reasons as to why they cannot keep me (some of it was really actually straight up wrong and others parts felt more fetched up) I did end up feeling the injustice. Moreover, as my boss went over the long list of blaming me for not being able to get any prolongation, I actually felt more upset than I have felt for a long time. Mostly, because I felt that I had worked really hard all these years.

I spent several days feeling like a victim and feeling that I had been unjustly overlooked. I was really upset….Until it dawned on me that no one cares that I am upset. This might at first feel like it should make me even more upset, but it actually had an opposite effect. I thought – the only person who ends up feeling bad if I constantly keep focusing on the perceived injustices is….ME. My boss does not feel bad, my colleagues who thought got their positions through nepotism do not feel bad. It is only me that feels bad. So essentially in addition to perhaps having being treated unfairly, I am making it way worse for myself with focusing all my energy on their negative treatment of me. I am giving them way too much power.

So the thinking process went on in a way – who cares if my soon to be former boss does not appreciate me. It is one person. He should really not been given such a big role in my life. Not only is this one person, but furthermore, it is someone who obviously had a lot at stake in defending his choices. Should I feel bad about it? Should I see myself as a victim? Should I continue to focus on the experience of being violated?

So instead I decided that I don’t want to see myself as a victim. I observe his behaviour, I analyse his negative opinions and I make decisions accordingly. In this particular instance I will take an active role in seeking employment elsewhere. Lets face it – you probably don’t want to in a long run work anyways in the place where you feel unvalued. So, in a way they have done me a favour by forcing me to change the environment. Otherwise I might have probably just continued there, feeling invisible and unvalued, but not really up for any changes either.

So my suggestion on a situation where you feel treated unjustly is to give this emotion back to the person who caused this reaction. Don’t give them the power to make you miserable. They probably will not feel like they did anything wrong anyways and hence will not really see any responsibility in you feeling miserable.

We get what we think we deserve

So, I have spent quite a lot of time recently thinking about my previous relationships as well as my work experience. By relationships here I don’t only mean romantic relationships, although I am going to use those to exemplify my point.

So, I have been recently ghosted by two guys. I hate to admit this but in both cases I was hoping that the guy comes back. In one case I was pining over him for one year thinking we had something special. This kind of pining is nothing new for me. I have done it several times before. I am guessing partially I engage in such behaviours because it is safe. I mean if the object of your affection is far enough he cannot hurt you right? But partially it has been because I have always felt that these guys were something special, that we had some special connection, it is just that they had not realized it yet.

The thing is, even if we had something special, I was totally willing to look past the obvious lack of respect which was shown to me upon their disappearance. I think I have also done the same with friends….You know you are this one friend that keeps contacting others and they never contact you…I always thought that there was something wrong with me for ending up in such situations. In a way there was…me thinking that somehow I needed to convince others to hang around me. Me thinking that I needed to show to some reluctant friend or partner that I am really worth spending time with.

The thing is, I cannot imagine someone else trying to win my approval like this. I think it would probably be off-putting, someone thinking they have to jump through hoops to spend time with me. But this is exactly how I have functioned most of my life, thinking myself was never going to cut it – I needed to put in special efforts in order to keep people around. And I did. And it never quite worked. Mind me, being me is not yet working well either, but at least I feel less disappointed when someone rejects me.

I have always felt that it was me being judged and not me evaluating whether other people are fit enough to be my friends or partners. I never thought I was even in the position to choose. And no, this is not one of those posts which describe how bad I was and how I have miraculously recovered and now apply selection process upon other people. That would be a lie. It is never such an easy process. However I have gotten to the point where it makes me sad to realize how other people have treated me over the years.

My conclusion thus far is that it is also about the treatment I was willing to accept. I would have willingly taken back those guys that ghosted me just because they came back and it somehow boosted my self-esteem. It would have not been their luck to get me back, but instead my luck to have them back. I would have felt validated because they decided to return after all. Rationally I am starting to understand that this is the main problem in my thinking, but oh boy, emotionally it still feels like nothing is wrong in this mentality.

So overall, I know rationally that I accept subpar treatment, but it will be quite a struggle to get there emotionally….

Feeling like you are all wrong

So I have made some pretty big discoveries lately and hoefully also big leaps in terms of my recovery. I had a fight with a friend that made me feel like a weeping toddler and pushed to figure out why I felt so out of control. There it is…..

You know these people that make you feel like you are some knock-off copy of themselves. Like you are the Chinese version of whatever technical product there is….Yes, my mum and my ex where those people. It was not only that they criticized me, they wanted me to become them. They scolded me about things they were good at, letting me know how horrible I was compared to them. They did not pay attention on things I actually excelled at. Furthermore, when I said something good about myself, both were quick to put me down.

Essentially I think there are two reasons why someone would do that. The first one is, that probably both have so low self esteem that they needed to constantly put someone down in order to feel good about themselves. They also needed to rationalize that the way they are, is good. Their character traits are the ones one should aspire for. So naturally admitting that someone else would have character traits that are valuable, but which they did not possess would make them so insecure that they could not let it happen.

The second reason is that it is about control. You are making the other person part of yourself. You push them to aspire for becoming you, through critizing the things you are good at and they are not. By focusing on your natural talents, you are always one man up.

So I realized, I have spent my whole life feeling like there was something wrong with me. Like somehow I did not measure up, character wise. I still have little belief in my positive traits, the ones which neither my mum nor my ex acknolwedged, and I tend to treat them as worth very little. I have spent my whole life trying to focus on things which I was perhaps not naturally the best at, just to please someone (or not even please, because they were never pleased). I am instantly critical about any of the good traits I possess which my mum (and my ex) did not. For instance I know I can be pretty charming if need be, but I just see it as superficial and vain.

To be honest, correcting this seems like quite a bit of work from my end because I will need to start actually analyzing and acknowledging what I am naturally good at.

Can someone make you feel not good enough in a relationship

I watched an interesting show today on people who were looking forward to getting back together with their exes. The interesting part was that there was a couple where a woman claimed that she felt so bad when she was together with her ex and she felt as if she was never good enough for him. The way she presented it was through putting all the responsibility on a guy. The more it advanced the more I got annoyed, but not with a guy, but rather with the woman. See, I have been this woman….

The thing is there is no victim in this relationship. Someone can take control and make you feel bad about yourself only if you give them this power. I was together with my ex at the time I was an immense people pleaser. I never believed in my worth without other people’s validation. I needed this approval and naturally I kept seeking for people whose approval was hard to get. My ex was one of these people. But was he responsible for me needing this approval and me going out of my way trying to be the way he liked me – no. If he had not been there I had found someone else whose approval I had sought.

See, it was me who was constantly asking questions from my ex about how he wanted me to be. At the point my ex told me he does not love me, I even asked what I could change about myself. I thought, well, if only I could be more perfect, maybe he would love me. It was my ex that needed to refuse this request and told me straight up that he is not going to give me guidelines on how to become someone else.

If you feel someone is making you feel that you are not enough that means you are giving other people this right. Furthermore you don’t accept responsibility for your own bad feelings about yourself. Lets face it, I would have felt not good enough without my ex as well. However in the shape of my ex I had a way to externalize these feelings.

So back to this woman from the show. I actually feel bad for her that she has yet to come to realization that it was not guys fault that she felt bad about herself and that she let him devalue him. She is still not owning her inner feelings of unworthiness. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the guy is innocent, but hey, at least he seems to have done some self-reflection on what he did wrong all the while the woman I walking around telling everyone how it was all his fault.

Can favors and gifts be self-centered?

It has taken me a while to understand what my problem with most of my ex partners has been. I cannot say these guys were selfish. In fact if anything they did more things for me than I did for them. It seemed at the time selfish of me to still be dissatisfied. I mean, what else was I missing, I had guys doing grocery shopping, giving me massages – it was great.

So today it dawned on me that, yes these guys did many great things for me, but those were mostly the things they wanted to be done for themselves. Let me explain – you all know probably someone who always gives you gifts they wish to receive. I mean couple of first times it is kind of funny, but after a while it starts getting really annoying. I mean, on the paper, the gift giver is doing you a nice thing. It seems selfish to be angry at them, but…..you just cannot get rid of the feeling that something is off….

So I had this boyfriend who gave me as a present stuffed bear for Valentine’s day. I hate stuffed animals, he knew it. So when I received a gift, I actually did an impolite thing and asked him about it and he said, yeah, but it is still nice, is it not? The same boyfriend also gave me as a gift the book about women’s health and again I asked him if he has ever gotten the idea that this topic is something that excites me and he said no, but this is something you should be interested in. It took me years to understand that this guy actually did not like who I was and his gifts were part of him turning me into who he thought I should be. They were never about me, they were about creating a perfect partner for him.

Then I had another boyfriend who was very generous also with the kind of favors I wanted to receive…..but only when HE felt like it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t assume people to always say yes to my requests, however at the point when you do these favors mostly when you feel it and not when other one actually needs them, again, they cease to be about the other person and become self-centered acts, mostly done when you feel like you need a fix in terms of being a good person. So one evening you feel down about who you as a person are, you figure, now it is time to give my partner a massage so I will feel good again. I mean if she actually needs a massage is beyond the point, I mean on the paper you have done something really good, right?

So I have come to realize that I was not selfish and crazy when I perceived that there was something wrong with those favors. They actually were self-centered and had very little to do with me. However these guys could always use these favors against me, on a count down when it came to justifying why I ought to do something for them or how I was super selfish.

 

How self hate can be good…

It has been a while since my last post and I have mainly been busy with both work as well as with therapy. So today I thought I will write a bit about something which I am currently working on. Namely anger towards oneself.

Self hatered actually makes a lot of sense and is a perfect protection mechanism. If you were a child that was unfairly punished and had to deal with a lot of parental behavior which did not make sense to you (because it was never about you), then learning to hate oneself was probably the only way to gain some control under such circumstances. See, admitting that your parent is unfair and is unleashing their own issues on you would have made you very vulnerable. Suddenly you would be admitting that you are living together with an irresponsible sadist (at the extreme). It is much easier to believe that there is indeed something wrong with you and you have somehow caused your parents anger. I mean then you have at least some hope for change….

There is however a drawback. It is not like hating oneself is easy or nice….It will probably make you relentlessly trying to change yourself. I mean, I have invested my whole life into self development, pushing myself to mainly be someone else. The problem was that whatever change I did achieve, it never really made me feel better about myself. Quite the opoosite. Each change was just a testament to how this feeling of self hatred never left. But, heyyy, at least I felt like I was in control. But with what price…

So now I am starting to accept the fact that I was never in control and this has created some serious anxiety. Admitting that the punishments you received were random and somewhat sadistic must have been one of the most difficult things I have done in this life. In a way, my self hatred protected me till now from this absolute feeling of lacking control.

The bottom line is that I assume that like for me, for a lot of other people, self hatred was very functional under the circumstances they grew up in…

Nobody owes you a relationship 

I am occasionally reading a family forum where once in a while there is a topic about new girlfriend of a man who has chosen to leave his family (of course with the question as to how they can potenially every be happy with this guy knowing he left his former family). Maybe I am not the best to give value judgements here, because no one has ever left me because of some new woman (men were so miserable with me that they did not need a new woman to help them :D). I can understand the feelings of betrayal and disappointment when you are being lied to or cheated on and I think both the new woman as well as man should be held accountable for that (in case there was a parrallel relationship). However what I do not understand is the kind of mentality which I often think follows such posts, which is thinking as if these men owe it to be with the wife.

I think this kind of mentality is very dangerous and I have seen it with my ex best friend as well as my mum in relation to me. Mostly in their case they imagined that because of what they had done for me and because of our history together, they could treat me however they wanted and I somehow owed them my company and loyalty. I am a very loyal person as well as very grateful to everyone that has ever done something for me or showed caring. However, there was a point where even I had enough.

In my best friend’s case there were examples such as me going to my home country for two days and she lamenting about me not allocating her the exact time she wanted. Whereby she just asked why the hell I bothered to come at all if I do not even have time to meet her. Mind me, the next time we met, she was mostly criticizing me and telling me what I do wrong with my life. So that was the point where I understood that she does not put any value to my loyalty. She takes me for granted and even more so, she thinks that I ought to be loyal and offer my company to her. What happened to my mum was pretty much the same.

So every time I hear someone accusing their ex for being an asshole for leaving them, I get suspicious. If someone is unable to point out a single mistake they did in the relationship which might have caused their former partner to leave, I can fully empathize with the leaver. Quite honestly, I would leave as well. It is difficult to be together with someone who thinks that they are never at fault and is so keen on blaming everyone else, besides themselves. I understand if this is a period, but if someone meets me one year after their breakup and they are still mainly convinced that their ex is an asshole and they were the greatest partner ever, then I will try to distance myself from this person.

In my mind people who have the entitlement complex are dangerous. They assume that just because this other person once chose to be with them, that somehow makes them entitled for their love. No, it does not. You actually need to keep treating this person nice; you have to actually listen to them when they are trying to communicate about potential relationship problems. They do not owe you a relationship or family. There is no reason why your problematic behavior should somehow be ignored. If they leave, it is probably because of you both, not only because they were unable to be a good partner.

 

Relationships with entitled people

Do you have people whose every phone call makes you shiver and want to run miles away? Well, I realized that for me such a person has been my mum. And then my ex best friend and perhaps one of my exes and a few other people… What joins all these people together however is a sense entitlement and the very demanding attitude they have taken towards me. The underlying idea seems to me the following – they assume I owe them my love and well lets face it submission since they provide me certain other services. It really is a contract where as a gratitude for some protection or what not I become the person satisfying their needs. When these needs are not satisfied, logically I get an angry reaction.

My ex best friend contacted me recently after two years of total silence. This was a big one. I was just there in shock, trying to figure out what to do. Finally I did something which I am still so proud of.  Namely asked if anything in her attitude towards relationships and friendships had changed over the years and if she thought that there was some evidence which confirmed that we could get along today.

I assume that it was a shock for her. People like my mum and my ex best friend do not think that way. They think you owe them something and that it is just a matter of time till you come back to them because you are so dependent. It surprises them if you choose not to return. It surprises them even more if you actually start setting boundaries and also setting demands on them. Somehow control is lost.

For years I was an errandboy for my mums needs. Whenever she would call with another demand, I was there to run and please. Being in her proximity made me nervous because there was always some hidden expectation which I never realized and which would make her explode. Through my reaction to my ex best friends contact I realized the pattern was the same with her. I felt like I needed to conform and realize her needs and demands without words being expressed.

I am not saying these were one sided relationships, not at all. After all I got my protection, I got some caring and whatever else that I wanted. However, I am realizing that I do not need the benefits anymore. Not if the cost is having to be constantly alert to someone else’s needs and having to be ready for an anger outburst if I have not attended to their needs.

So essentially I feel I have made great progress because I am actively choosing to say no to demanding and entitled people in my life. After so many years, I do not really think I will end up in another relationship or friendship with such a person.

Why some people act entitled?

I am currently visiting my mother and that has given me so much food for thought. Today, inspired by a recent event with my mum, I wanted to talk about entitlement.

The event in itself was following. My mother asked me to help her with something. However it quickly appeared that she had most her days booked and she in fact had only very few times she could do the chore. Instead of telling me, OK fine, I must have made a miscalculation here, she started blaming me for never helping her and resorted to her room where she sat pouting the whole evening. This behavior just puzzled me so much, because there were so many things wrong here. I mean…..

If you ask someone a favor, in my mind you are going to be accommodating towards this person and you do your damnest to agree on a time that fits them. What you definitely do not do is to demand that they cancel their plans. Finally if they refuse, you do not go into pouting mode, which only lets the helper know that you are unable to take into account their needs.

So I concluded that there are some people that just feel entitled. Mind me, my mum does not feel such entitlement about other people, but she feels it about me. She feels that she is entitled for accommodating and nice behavior from me, irregardless of how she behaves herself.

And now comes the moment of honesty. My ex told me numerous times that I acted entitled during our relationship. I never understood what he was talking about. In my mind he had issues with people’s expectations (and he did). However, I am now starting to see his point of view. So why did I act entitled?

I acted entitled, because I thought asking people for things made me inferior. It set me to the position of one man down, so I did not do that with strangers, but in relationships, I thought I should not have to do that. This imaginary position of inferiority made me feel so bad that I would rather go around and tell him what he owed me than actually ask for things. Of course, my ex would also go around telling me constantly what he had done for me, so this did not help with my feelings of inferiority.

Anyways, based on my own behavior, I assume that people who act entitled feel extremely vulnerable when asking something from someone. In order to avoid feeling vulnerable, they would rather go and aggressively demand it, because then the other people do not see that they are actually in need of help. Instead they show as fighting for their rights or whatnot. Anything but not weak and vulnerable. I think, at least for me, understanding where this entitlement comes from, makes it easier to deal with it.

How do people deal with uncertainty in relationships?

Sometimes I wonder how people survive the dating period. You know, you do not have any kind of security, everything seems to be out in the air. Or even, how do people survive any kind of waiting period, waiting for their partner to be ready to get married, waiting their partner to be ready to have kids whatever..

I think my trust in people has never been my greatest strength, but my last relationships have made me just so insecure about people around me. Seriously….First, I move to another country for a guy who then starts doubting whether he wants to be together with me. I mean not that such doubts are ever nice, but such doubts are definitely not nice after you have discussed how many kids you want to have or which kind of house you would prefer. Somehow the security which you thought was there is swiped underneath you feet….Then I have a long relationship with a guy who just makes his own plans and lets me know that he has now planned to go to foreign country for two months, furthermore, he also does not bother to communicate much during this time. Finally, I date with a guy who just disappears without saying a word. My trust in guys is destroyed, I am afraid…

Other people seem to manage just fine, which makes me think, am I somehow with my negative thinking creating these scenarios. Does my insecurity scare these guys away? Or do I choose guys who are insecure about me by definition? I have no idea. Actually I have no idea anymore how I would be able to sustain my trust and cool during the dating period after so many negative experiences.

Even though part of me means that I should work with my insecurities and just learn to accept that I do not know where life takes me, there is another part which says – but if a guy cannot even offer me any kind security in terms of where this relationship is going, what good is he? Maybe trying to keep my cool is what lead me to such situations after all, maybe if I had trusted this insecurity, I had broken off these liaisons way earlier. You see my struggle here?

Honestly, I do not have an answer….The only thing that I can say is that I have not felt myself secure with a man for a very long time.