When we feel whispered about, undervalued and misunderstood

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The girl, with her thin lashes and small eyes, looked at her.  What was her name again?  Bee?  Bernice?  Benny?  Something with a B.

Angelica looked back and waited.  “Helloooo?!” she thought to herself, and wanted to knock back as if to say the punchline to a knock-knock joke.

Oh mercy!   This job was getting to her.  She was at the same level as her five-year-old nephew who made up what he thought were jokes, like,

“Knock-knock.

(Mommy say, Whose there?)

‘Whose there?’

Robby.

(Mommy say, Robby who?)

‘Robby who?’  Robby poopy face!”

The kid had a brilliant career in comedy coming.

Brianna was still looking at her and Angelica finally asked her how she could help her.

“It’s your note, Maom.”  Bernice, or was it Brenda, had this way of calling her mom and ma’am all at once, reminding her that she was too young to be either, but she may have well of been since she couldn’t remember the note or many other details about her colleagues.  She’d always been like that though.  It bothered her as she became more aware of how undervalued she thought she was.  All Angelica did notice were the criticisms that came to her from administration.  It made her feel like everyone was talking about her behind her back, but she knew she couldn’t be that special.

Angelica shifted in her chair.

The last boss-message was verbally delivered about when she took her lunches.  She had sat there and taken it.  Wondering, where had all the hard work gone, she gave what she thought was a polite smile.  Where was the appreciation?!  Angelica replied with thanks for the feedback and that she would continue to work on her timeliness.  Yes, she would like to revisit this in a month and how supportive that was, boss-man.

Beonca was holding her hand out and Angelica reflexively shook it.  Wait!  Was she crying?!  Hold on here.  And now she noticed that B was swiping her nose with her sleeve.  Oh hell.  Was she sick?  Great!  Now she’d get it.

“Your note was so sweet!  Thank you for giving that feedback on my job performance in to boss-man!”

Oh yah!  Now Angelica remembered.  After she’d last gotten the pearls thrown at her regarding lunch hour timeliness she had decided to put some words on paper that were good.  Since nobody was noticing her goodli-lishissness she’d notice theirs and start her own powerful paper trail.   Just cuz.

One of their customers who was giving Angelica a hard time was really happy with B and had told Angelica about it.  Instead of losing brain time on wondering what the customer did not like about her, Angelica had put in a note about how much the customer had liked B.

Since then, Angelica kept a stack of customer feedback slips handy to fill out any time she noticed a colleague and/or herself doing “it” right.  She was going to overwhelm boss-man with good stuff and just enjoy knowing that the stuff had been noticed and said.  No more would she be unappreciated.  Even if only by herself.

Angelica looked at the crumpled paper in B’s hand and read,

“Germaine is an excellent worker.  She found merchandise a customer wanted with speedy response today and the customer specifically told me about it.”

Germaine!?  Ah well.

Angelica leaned over and gave her own wet-eyed sticky hug back.

It is universal for all of us to feel whispered about, undervalued and misunderstood.  And then what?  Let us give it the elbow jab and be our own advocate.  Put it on paper.  Say it out loud.  Be grateful about it and ruminate the gratitude.

Personalizing what is not about us gets worse with brain illness.  It is almost pathognomonic for it in fact, when it gets to the point that it cannot be redirected by conscious decision, when it interrupts interpersonal relationships and when it takes away our ability to feel pleasure.  Taking medical treatment can change the way we feel and behave without beating ourselves up over it and moralizing what is not moral.  However, this kind of elbow jabbing Angelica decided to do is just plane friendly.  And if you want…?  Well?

Questions:  Have you felt whispered about, undervalued and misunderstood?  Have you been able to get friendly with it?  Or do you feel the victim?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Acknowledge yourself and others.

8 thoughts on “When we feel whispered about, undervalued and misunderstood

  1. I have had some interesting experiences in my life with people talking about me behind my back, or in front of my face as if I wasn’t there. I found it interesting (after the shock wore off) if I took a step back and looked at where it was coming from, and the fact that it wasn’t a personal attack even if it felt like it. I needed to use curiosity. It was an approach that took time and self awareness but I did and have gotten better at it.

    I have been gifted with the following knowledge recently: people don’t really mean what they say. The say stuff but they don’t really mean it and more importantly often, they don’t know what they have said. And if you were to tell them what they said or showed them a video they would be in deep denial. Sana you know names for this type of thing, but I am observing this quite a bit lately in my own husband even. His mother does this as well and he is beginning to see it first hand. Cutting remarks, anger and lashing out and then the storm is over and moving on and can’t figure out why everyone is wiping the sweat off their brow and not talking to them. And they become resentful because they are sitting there going “what happened” why won’t anyone play or talk to me. Wow, it took a long time for me to see that (a long long long time) and perhaps if I hadn’t been so wrapped up in me I might have seen that sooner. I am not living anyone else’s stories about me and who I am or am not anymore. I AM LIVING GOD’S STORY FOR ME! That is my declaration.

    Also, I try to always see the good in others and tell them. It makes me feel good to be able to to that and to feel the genuine bond that happens over that. But hey . . . maybe they don’t believe me because they have had stories told about them too?!
    Wow we are a confusing lot sometimes.

    As always, great questions Sana

  2. One of the 12 Step mantras is “It is none of my business what other people say about me.” I would rephrase that into some along the lines of “I can’t control what people think or say about me” but if one is badmouthing me some confrontation will definitely occur.

  3. It’s been an incredibly busy week and, although I’ve loved that this is a once a day thing (if only for the length of your vaction, which I hope you’re enjoying, Sana!), I haven’t let myself take the time to respond to most of the posts. This one got me, though!! Oh, yes! I am still, after almost 20 years since my breakdown, very conscious of the talking behind my back, the inability of some people to accept me as I was before the breakdown, and MY inability to adjust to where I am now and how much I feel I missed during those 20 years. I wish I could do step 12, Carl. I HATE worrying that what I am conscious of happening around me – or behind me, if you will – and allowing it to hurt. I also hate that most people don’t understand mental (brain) illness and are never helped to understand it. That understanding is something that society REALLY needs to address!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • hey stranger, lady! yay! u r a busy duck and i’m glad of it. when u r not, i wonder after u! thank u for tagging in, and as usual with such candid eloquence, pertinent to topic and community needs.
      u can do a 12-step program, though, of course silly duck. any one of them works the steps in relatively similar manor.
      btw, we got your back. keep on.

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