Tag Archive: stubborn


Impostor Syndrome

The very title has me hanging my head in defeat.

Who do I think I am?  Why do people think they can trust me with these responsibilities?  Surely everyone knows that I’m a fraud, just as I know it.  One day, they will know that I’m not who they think I am and will point and say “SHAME!”

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor Syndrome is a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  It strikes smart, successful individuals.  It often rears its head after an especially notable accomplishment, like admission to a prestigious university, public acclaim, winning an award, or earning a promotion. 

Source

I have felt like an impostor most of my life.

Why?

I don’t have a ready answer for that question.

When I was a child, I didn’t feel like I fit in with the other kids.  I wanted desperately to fit in, but my likes and dislikes didn’t fit in with theirs.  So, I changed, as best I could, to try to fit into their mould.  I loved wearing dresses in elementary school, but no one else did – so I forced myself to wear pants.  They loved music, I preferred my environment to be quiet and peaceful – when I did listen to music, it wasn’t what everyone else was listening to; so, again, I was labeled different.

Going into the teenage years is awkward enough for most kids; to me it seemed like everyone else had figured it out, but I was from another planet.  I liked school, loved learning – but that’s not what rebellious teenagers are supposed to do.  So I didn’t study, my one avenue that I could successfully rebel at – and succeeded with good grades anyway.  I was in honors classes, and I questioned why – I didn’t study, I didn’t want to care about getting good grades – couldn’t the adults see that?

And then it happened, I actually failed.  It came at a time when I should have been at the top of my glory – a senior in high school, a major part in a play, a leader on my team – and I failed English class.  School rules state you cannot participate if you fail – and I finally proved what no one else knew but me – I was a failure.  I was ashamed of myself.  I ran away, literally dropping out of school, certain that everyone was pointing at me behind my back.

The months that I was away from home were not all roses and fun, but neither was it gloom and doom either.  I learned a lot while I was away – about the world, about myself, and about life in general.

I had no direction, no purpose to my life at that point.  I fell into adulthood working, paying rent and wondering what was next.

Marriage – which was again a failure (if you count that I divorced him within 2 years).  Yes, I had my wonderful son Buddy out of the deal, but even that made me question myself at times.  Flotsam was ashamed of our son; he was ashamed of his disabilities; he was ashamed of me for “giving” him a disabled son.  The doubts would occasionally creep in, would make me wonder – am I a failure as a mother too?

Work was no better.  I was quickly promoted, a high-school drop-out, from employee to supervisor – the youngest in the company (I was only 21).  I had other employees questioning, within my hearing, what I had done to deserve the promotion over them?  I blew the comments off, I worked hard, and I learned all I could.  But still, I felt like I didn’t belong there.

Every few years, another promotion to another department, brought back the same doubts, the same questions – why?  Why do they believe in me?  Why do they trust me?

During this time I married Hun, with his three children; and Jetsam who openly questioned my value.  She acknowledged that I was a mother, but sneered that I was obviously not as good of a mother as she was.  That I failed at being a mother.  The kids, feeding off their mom’s disdain for me (desperate for her approval), echoed her statements, determined not to give me a chance.  So it became a self-fulfilling prophecy for them – in their eyes I am a failure of a parent.  Today, I still question what I did wrong; how, when I love these kids so much, how did I fail with them?  I question this as the failure is all mine.

And then it happened, at work I was promoted to the point that I could no longer succeed.  I failed and I could no longer handle the pressure.  I crumpled and quit, willing to throw away a 20 year career.  The stress of trying to prove that I was worthy was too great.  I was a failure and now everyone knew it.

I stepped back; I examined my life, my hopes, my dreams, my own desires.

My mind wandered – researching, learning, soaking-up how to find myself again.  Reading, podcasts, journaling, meditating; all in hopes of rediscovering who I truly am.

I concluded that I had not been living an authentic life; that I had been living my life for others, to make them happy rather than myself.  Glimpses of my true self had poked through, straining to free itself from the cage I had placed it in – trying to appear “worthy” of those around me who wanted me to be someone else, someone different.

The times I had stood up for not only myself, but for the kids – to Flotsam, to Jetsam, and even to Hun.

The time I had insisted that I wasn’t ready for a promotion – knowing in my heart that it would lead to the failure it finally did.

Ignoring those around me, admonishing me that I cared too much for kids who didn’t return my feelings, telling me to give up – standing my ground and saying “no, I will not!”

It has startled me, in writing this post, to come to the realization that I have been an impostor.  That I have good reason to feel like one – because I am one.

I have been trying to be someone I’m not all this time.  I have failed at being Karaboo.

All this time, I have been ashamed of who others think I am, instead of embracing the greatness of me.

Yes, I am stubborn – but that also means that I am determined, persistent, steadfast, tenacious and tough.

I can be opinionated – but also confident, bold, courageous, undaunted and self-assured.

I tend to be judgmental – which is a combination of my intuition, awareness, experience, reasoning and understanding – and more often than not, my insights are correct.

Finally, I have been accused of being uncaring – they see the surface of my intensity and not my passion, dedication, and spirit.

People who know me are going to say I have changed.

They will be right.

Cousin:  Why do you let her get to you?

Me:  What do you mean?

Cousin:  Jetsam.  Why do you let her bother you?

Me:  I don’t know.  Maybe because I view myself as a strong person and she makes me question that.

Cousin:  Exactly, you’re a strong person.  I’ve never seen you let something bother you like this.

Me:  Because she makes me question if I’m doing the right thing, if I really am being a strong person or just being stubborn.

Cousin:  Oh.  I can understand that.

I had this conversation very recently and it has stayed with me, begging me to explore it more.

Am I being strong?  Or am I just being stubborn?

It’s a fine line.  One that I know has blurred in the past.

I tend to be stubborn about my convictions.  In my mind, that doesn’t seem wrong.

My opinions tend to follow along my convictions.  I know that my opinions are not necessarily right, just my opinions.

So…..why does it bother me so for Jetsam’s opinions to rub me so wrong?  Is it because her opinions are so different than mine?  Is it because she speaks her opinions so earnestly that I see myself in her?

I don’t think it is any of these reasons.

I think I have such a hard time because I know she’s lied about so much, that it is hard to discern when she is lying and when she is telling the truth.  I can totally relate to someone who is passionate about their opinions when it is based in facts.  It is so much harder to respect someone’s opinion if you’re constantly attempting to figure out what is a truth and what is a lie.

So, why do I let her bother me so?

Because I want to respect and honor her as the mother of my children, but I cannot respect and honor her because her attitude and opinions towards me goes directly against my own convictions.

So, what do I do?  For now, I’m going to keep following my convictions.  It’s what allows me to sleep at night.

A Welcomed Change

I have mentioned before about subtle shifts in comments my kids make that make me take notice.

There is a momentum that is starting to build that cannot be ignored.

I still will not say anything – as that would be counter-productive, but I am noting the change and watching closely.

Recently, Hun and I had to talk to Monkey about her telling us she was in one place and actually going somewhere else.  As usual, us attempting to hold our kids responsible for their actions had her attempting to tell us we were being unreasonable and horrible parents.  Sorry kiddo – that tactic does not work with us.

But a couple of things happened during that conversation (and a later one a few days later) is what really what this post is about.

The first thing that happened – Rowdy didn’t try to insert himself into the conversation like he has in the past.  He knew we were talking to Monkey (we never involve the other kids when talking to one about behavior – but they are usually aware that a conversation is happening).  I’m pretty sure he was listening as closely as possible from another room with the TV on.  And still he stayed out of it.

This is a GOOD thing!

Another thing I noticed was that Jetsam was not a prominent subject matter during this conversation.  One of the kids usually will invoke their mom during our conversations to highlight how much better she is than us and as an attempt to derail the conversation.  In the early days, this worked to a certain extent – despite our best efforts not to let it, so the kids keep attempting to deflect the focus away from them in any way possible.

In fact, Monkey went so far to comment at one point that she didn’t like her mom’s house.

WHAT?!?

This comment has NEVER been uttered in our house before.

Like I said, we didn’t make any comments when that comment was made, but it was very notable.

We kept the subject focused on the choices Monkey was making and what the consequences of those choices would be.  She wasn’t happy with what her choices resulted in, but that’s what happens when a kid rolls the dice hoping they won’t be caught.

The lesson was short learned though because she was caught doing the same thing just days later.

That conversation had me telling her how disappointed in her I was and that she had now lost my trust.  I received attitude in return and not even a hint of remorse was displayed.

I’m sorry, but when a kid displays these traits to me, I become very stubborn and I’m unlikely to react cooperatively with said kid.  In fact – I will act over-the-top obnoxious to drive my point home to the kid who thinks that behavior is acceptable with me.  I realize that all of the standard parenting gurus will tell me that this route does not work with kids and not to do this – but it is part of my personality, seems to work for me and until it doesn’t, I’m going to use it!

Monkey responded with calling her mom and attempting to “tattle” on me.  I encouraged Monkey to tell her the WHOLE truth and that if she wouldn’t, I didn’t have any problem talking to her myself.  Monkey finally put her on speaker and I stated my position.

Wonder of wonders, Jetsam sided with me and took Monkey to town on her behavior and attitude.

Shocked I tell you!!

The next day, I did receive an apology from Monkey for her attitude and behavior.  I’m not sure where that came from – whether from remorse, a suggestion from Hun or Jetsam, or something else.

I accepted her apology and we’re working on building the trust back.

These shifts are noticeable and a welcome change from what our family has experienced in the past.

Blind Copied

I hate asking a question and receiving a non-answer.

I also hate being told “because I said so”.

Neither of the above statements bodes well for playing nice in the corporate sandbox.

And with that wonderful intro, I’m here to announce that I’ve had my hand slapped at work.  All because I received a non-answer to a question I asked, was then told “because I said so”, and so I went to another source to find my answer.

Like I’ve said before, I’m stubborn and I tend to dig my heels in when something rubs me the wrong way.

Oh…..wait…..that makes me sound just like Rowdy doesn’t it?  Huh….and all this time he claims that I have no idea what I’m talking about….

Anyhoo….

Little did I know, until after the fact, that the online site I went to for an answer to my question has the capabilities to email new topics to whomever signs-up.  So…the first clue that I get about this awesome ability is Fauna (co-worker) stating I had already received a response to my question.  Uh…I didn’t tell her about posting that question….crap….who else knows now?

Oh….only….everyone….

A few hours later, I receive an email from the original person who responded to me with both a non-answer and a “because I said so” and it was obvious by the subject line that the email was about my online question.

This email sat there waiting for me to open it…staring at me from the screen….daring me to open it….taunting me from cyberspace.

I started back at it for 20 minutes….refusing to open it….knowing that it wasn’t a good thing….I couldn’t handle staring at it any longer….so I did what any rational person would do in my situation….

I logged out of email, clocked out for the day and went home.

And then I obsessed about the email all night, thought about possible responses to an email I had no idea what it said, and spent a sleepless night trying to figure out what I was going to do about the insidious thing waiting for me at work.

I never said I was rational….just stubborn….

Finally make it back to work, log into email, and….stare….damn….it’s still there.

I finally screw up my resolve and open it and come face to face with a screen shot of my online question (complete with my name and timestamp) and a response like one I have never seen before.  The response covered half a page, includes some history on corporate decision making arriving at the point of my question, and an offer to help in whatever way I need – complete with proper spelling and punctuation.

Holy ____…..it’s worse than I thought.

How you might ask?

Easy….the response was all show.

Never once has this person ever responded to my questions with more than 3 sentences….if I was lucky!  Most responses I have received (if I actually received one – I’ve had plenty of questions left unanswered as well) only had one sentence, no punctuation and occasionally horrible spelling.  Snarky remarks usually added for no additional charge….

Immediately I am aware that this response is meant for more than just my eyes.  Someone else has been included in this response, maybe more than just one someone else.  I have no idea who else….they’ve been blind-copied.

A situation like this calls for a special response.

I went about my day, doing my tasks and keeping my thoughts to myself.  At the end of the day, I responded.

I was professional.  I thanked them for the additional information.  I pointed out that if I had received that information in the first place, I might not have needed to look elsewhere for an answer.  I included additional information regarding why the answer given might not be the best solution as a one-size-fits-all cookie cutter response.  I made a suggestion to improve efficiency across the corporate system by revisiting processes because surely I wasn’t the only one experiencing my problem that prompted the question in the first place.  And I took them up on their offer to help me.  I included an item they could help me with by replacing it into my software process, complete with a question of why was the item was initially available a month ago, but had now disappeared; and if it was originally a corporate decision to have it set up that way (as indicated in their initial email), where was the corporate decision to change it and did I miss the communication that was shared with the rest of the entities regarding this change?

While I can’t be sure of anything at the moment….I’m pretty sure the response I gave will not be welcomed by the person whom I responded to.  I’m also pretty sure they will hesitate forwarding it on to whomever they blind-copied.

I had no hesitation forwarding my response, complete with additional thoughts and why I responded in the way that I did.

I’m sure I’ll be talked to again.  I’m just not sure what the talk will be about next.