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Messenian, I was being sarcastic. All jokes put aside, what I really need are some concrete steps to add to my action plan.



I agree with this. However, I'm not a very social person. I happen to have a bunch of IXFP as friends and at times we understand one another, but overall it's pretty lonely. I've never been the type to engage with others purely for the discovery into the Self/Other, nor have I ever sought depth of meaning in an I-Thou Buber-esque relationship.

I do appreciate all your input. But sitting back and waiting for the earthquake isn't going to lessen my anxiety or the physical symptoms that come with it. Although I wish it did.

Yes I noticed the sarcasm, which is why I mentioned irony and sarcasm in my post as part of an ineffective answer to your predicament. Or it may be simply part of what you meant in your opening post where you spoke of this being "a lovely journal completely open to comments and feedback". Or at least completely open only to those like me who don't mind their feedback being met with sarcasm and irony?
So you are not a very social person and whenever you tried it in the past, it didn't quite work so well. So? Try again.
You are in your 30s so you know by now that the way to outgrow and expand beyond the limitations of our current personality is not a series of comfy and easy little steps that allow you to maintain your current arrangements whilst adding a bit of growth here and there. Real growth involves pushing yourself beyond the boundaries of your current depressing comfort. Only when you step beyond them do you realise that the boundaries of what you can tolerate and of what you are capable of, are not where you thought they were all this time.
It will happen to you one way or another, because your restlessness suggests that your spirit is not satisfied with your current life. The water has already spilled over its current vessel, and the trickle will become a flood. There are dangers when this happens. True. But there's also the promise of growth, and growth has to be better than the silent stillness of corpses
 

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And just to give an update,
i'm coming late to this party, i guess. but some thoughts:

I have just flat out lost respect for her and her methods.
what's the core issue with this? you resent implementing instructions that you don't respect? you cannot implement instructions that don't make any sense? and i don't mean in the 'woe, i'm too clever and pure and intelligent to lower myself' kind of way. i mean in the 'i can't build you a mauve database' kind of way.

Beyond the cute playful BFF attitude she has with everyone
irritating, but not your business.

she is a gossip with my coworkers and myself
uncomfortable, but manageable with wariness and awareness that you don't trust her. so what's the issue with managing it? that doing it will add sub-level tension you can't make room for, to your daily life? that you just don't want to? that you resent adapting your world in any way to coexist with someone you disapprove of?

I don't think she knew what I was really saying. She just giggled and agreed.
well, fwiw passive aggression is a poor way of communicating. so i'm not sure what you expected to gain by the remark in the first place.

Beyond the personality differences, she spends ridiculous amounts of money
how in the world is that business of yours? i do get what it's like to hate a place where you are for legitimate reasons, but in situations like that there's often a point where you're just sitting back and allowing your personal fire to feed itself. this seems to me like an example of exactly that.

half of the staff are now her daily after-hour drinking buddies
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i don't want to entirely discount the discomfort of knowing there's an 'in' crowd at work and you're excluded from it. it actually is very uncomfortable. nonetheless and once again, in most important respects what she gets up to in her after hours is no business of yours.

It's almost pointless when I'm forced to endure her loud shrill laughter in my ear and sputtering giggling jowls hovering over my shoulder as she teaches me something
what i get from this is that you hate being instructed by her because she has something you need (information) and you hate her. i have to agree that being in a 'recipient' position vis-a-vis anyone i despise is extremely difficult and it's something that i hate as well. but ime there's a bottom line going on there. you either hold your nose and extract what you need from the interaction, or you cut off your nose to spite your face and deny yourself the information, in service to your personal hate.

I'm either going to have to tough it out and hope that she eventually gets fired on her own
wrt the bold part, in my own life i always see it as a bad sign when i start engaging in those kinds of deus-ex-machina 'rescue' daydreams. it's also a bad idea to hang my own notions of 'freedom' and being comfortable again within my own life, on the idea of someone else being punished for being whatever they are that's become problematic for me.

or I need to find something else. I'm thinking I might choose the latter
plan then. it's hard to look for new places when you're being drained by the effort of enduring a current one that you perceive as toxic to you. you probably realise this, but i'll mention for form's sake: looking for a new job by discussing how detestable the current one is usually doesn't work well.

so at some point (and this applies whether you quit this place or tough it out, because either way it's going to be on your resume. so it's something you'll need to discuss in a civilized, reasonable kind of way anyhow), you are going to NEED to get out of this intrusive-hate loop that you're in. you cannot go to new interviews and sit on the candidate's side of the desk airing your private grudges.

what i suggest is: a future-based mindset can be helpful IF you're thinking about it in those kinds of practical terms. 'how would i frame this if i was talking to the next person i hope will hire me'. i got myself into a very nasty contract a few years ago, and it was when i startd planning in a real-world practical way how i would get myself out that i became more able to deal with the situation itself. it wasn't 'i can hack this because miracle x is goign to swoop in and rescue me'. it was 'i can hack this because it sucks but here's the objective reality of what's going on.'

and the other thing i kept telling myself - five times an hour at some points - was 'don't you do anything to make it worse than it already is.' mind your own business. pick your battles - even the ones you choose do fight personally in your own head (maybe especially those :p). don't borrow trouble. don't hunt for grudges.
 
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