Saturday, May 22, 2010

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

intimidation_2_smallThe other day I heard the funniest thing.  It wasn't something one of the boys said, which is usually the case.  The funniest thing I have ever heard came out of my sister's mouth.  The fact that my sister said something funny is worth writing about in the first place.  In case you haven't been paying attention, I am the funny one.  Just ask me, I will tell you. 

It all started with a conversation about how I had confronted someone that was not speaking to me in a respectful tone.  I was explaining to my (older) sister that I had been dealing with this issue for about six months and was just fed up with it.  I was tired of being spoken to and treated like a six year old.  I was tired of being second guessed.  When I finally addressed the individual, I was not confrontational by any stretch of the imagination.  I thought I handled myself very professionally and with tact. 

I made a comment during my story that this was totally out of character for me.  After all, I hate to rock the boat.  I hate to make others uncomfortable.  I hate confrontation.  I hate it so much that my heart pounds, my pits sweat and I talk too fast when confronted.

Wait for it.  This is when it gets funny.  My sister then says to me, "if you don't like confrontation, why do you scare the hell out of me?"  I could not contain my laughter.  Then I asked if she was drunk.  She could have been; it was after five!  My sister begins to defend her sobriety by describing my intimidating nature.  I asked her to elaborate.  The only thing I intimidate are pedestrians when I try to parallel park downtown. 

The only other time I have been called intimidating was by a former employee of mine.  It was 2000 and a young man by the name of Mark worked for me and Brad as a video editor.  Mark was having some reliability issues that were not only affecting his attendance, but his ability to meet project deadlines.  Brad and I planned a meeting with Mark to discuss
our concerns.  Much to our surprise, he arrived on time for once...with his mother. 

As we sat down to discuss the situation, Mark was silent.  Mother did all the talking.  When I finally had an opportunity to jump in the one sided conversation, I asked Mark what is mom was doing there.  I didn't put it like that really, I just politely asked Marked why he felt it necessary to bring his mom. His response was short and sweet; "you scare me".

Since this was the first time I had heard anything like this, I laughed even harder and longer than when my sister offered this assessment.  I can only imagine that my laughter compounded the situation but I just don't see it.  This people must have me mistaken for someone else.

Isn't it interesting that what we see in ourselves is completely different than what others see in us. Good, bad or indifferent, I am trying not to dwell too much on what others think of me.  I think that has contributed to my problem of not speaking up in the past.  I was afraid others would be unhappy with me or think differently of me.  There are people out there that truly do not care what others think of them and I am a little envious.  I do care what others think, but I will no longer let that affect my ability to communicate my feelings or do what is right.

I kind of like the idea that some think I am intimidating though.  I will go with that for a while.


Tara R. said...

Maybe you should think of it like a secret superpower... intimidationator?

I try to tell myself I don't care what other people think of me, but in reality, it matters more than I will admit. But, I still doubt I scare anyone.

Karen C. said...

Carie, When I very first met you, I was a little intimidated. You are gorgeous, smart and outgoing and that can be intimidating for a mouse like myself :-). But I quickly figured out you are open, honest, sincere and kind -- so very kind. Your concerns about others are genuine and heartfelt and you are driven by the need to do the right thing. Anyone who spends more than a few moments with you will see this.
I understand why you resist confrontation. It sucks, frankly, to have to step up to someone. But you did the right thing, and I admire and applaud you for it.

putz said...

i have always enjoyed you carrie, just thought i would stop by and say high to someone who looks and is outgoing as my daughter