Beware of Narcissists

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cowkrer

I began writing this blog post weeks ago.  I’m not sure where I was going with it, but I felt that it was a relevant follow-up to yesterday’s post.  ~ Pam

In recent years, I have been engaged in a war, my own private, personal holy war.  I hadn’t realized it until recently, but hindsight has a way of pealing away the layers of emotion to reveal still shots, vignettes, of truth.  To look at me, no one would be able to guess the battles I have waged and the exhaustion in my weary mind and body.  From the outside looking in, I appear to be calm, successful, and in control of my lovely life.  In reality, I am wary, cautious, always looking deeply into the eyes, minds, and hearts of the people who enter my life.  On what side of this war have they placed their allegiance?  It’s not always an easy thing to identify.  The enemy is  clever.  They cloak themselves in good humor, joviality, even friendship.  They are intelligent and always charming, but eventually, it is impossible for them to stay under cover.  The black spots on their souls eventually appear.  Most of them aren’t clever enough to cross the guard posts that surround me.  My experience is my defense.  My security is tight.  Very few people are allowed to cross into my camp.  My circle of real friends is small.  I keep most people out, or at least far enough away not to allow them to hurt me.  If I don’t allow myself to care, I won’t be hurt..  I don’t allow many people to enter into my emotional world.  No doubt, this keeps good people out, but that is of little consequence to me.  I don’t care.  The most important thing is to keep the enemy at bay. Continue Reading »

Musings on Henry Miller and Anais Nin

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Note:  I have been going through my old “unposted” posts.  I’ll post a few of them from time to time.  This post was originally written on July 24, 2011.

I have had a year-long fascination with Henry Miller.  To be exact, I have been fascinated by the love affair of Henry Miller and Anais Nin.  No longer.  I have done enough research, read enough bibliographical materials, and read enough of their own personal works to be satisfied that they were both dogs.  They seemed to operate without care or conscience to those around them.

After her years of financially supporting her lover, Henry Miller, Anais Nin moved on to other men.  At one point, Nin kept what she called a “Lie Box.”  Apparently being married to two men, one on the east coast and one on the west, entailed a great deal of deception.  She wrote her lies down on cards and carried them around in her Lie Box.  It is said that she carried an enormous purse at all times containing the necessary paperwork to keep her life of lies going smoothly.  It was also said that her long-time, original husband “chose not to know.” Continue Reading »

Sometimes People Suck

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Anyone out there who thinks that government employees are overpaid, lazy people who can’t get a job in the private sector, think again.  Most of us have been employed in the private sector at one time or another.  Many of us will return to the private sector again at some point in the future.  That’s where I’ll be once again when I can no longer take the stress of being a government employee.  While I can only speak for myself, I am in this job, because I want to make a difference.  I believe in what I do, and that means something to me.  I’ve been in jobs before where I was nothing but a corporate drone.  Now I’m in the trenches, and most of the time I like that.  Although, all too often the people I am fighting for perceive me as an enemy or “one of the bad guys.” Continue Reading »

Yelling Sucks

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Today someone yelled at me.  It was at the end of the day.  I am sick and exhausted.  My energy was already depleted, and the yelling sucked away whatever remained.  Even now, hours later, I am shaking.  I didn’t deserve to be yelled at.  While I spoke in a calm, reserved voice, this person blamed me for causing their lack of control.  No.  No person deserves to be yelled at, and no person can be the cause of another’s lack of control.  Hang up the phone.  Walk away.  Table the discussion.  Mentally healthy adults do not yell…..under any circumstance.  Yelling is a selfish, weak, self-absorbed way to handle a difficult situation.  Yelling is cowardly. Continue Reading »

Shun/Un-shun

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I have thought a lot about shunning recently. The definition of shunning is “to avoid deliberately; to keep away from.”  The act of shunning is common in some religions.  It’s also common among middle school girls.  Various forms of shunning are used among family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers.  For shunning to have any meaning, an emotional or social connection needs to be present.  Shunning is a form of bullying.  Shunning is also one of the most  insidious, passive-aggressive forms of abuse. Continue Reading »

Crazy Stress

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The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  I have missed writing, but I haven’t had time or energy.  The worst part was the fact that I have not allowed myself to write.  I have had nothing decent to say.  I have once again been mired down in frustration, stress, and depression.  Work has been a political, back-stabbing fest.  People I had once considered friends seem to be going out of their way to trip me up and make my life a bit uncomfortable.  Decency and kindness have been in short supply.  The past couple of weeks have been topsy turvy and confusing.  Mostly, it has seemed as if FRUSTRATION has been around every corner. Continue Reading »

Kindle Me Happy

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I question everything.  I seek understanding.  Until I have answers to my questions, my mind won’t shut up.  If I don’t understand something, especially the behavior of others, I mull it over and over until I am satisfied with their motives, reasons, or what is causing their behavior.  If someone snaps at me without cause, I try not to take it personally.  Instead, I want to help.  What has them upset?  What’s wrong?  What can I do to help?  Most times in my life, this has served me well.  My attempts to empathize and understand the behavior of those around me (and not take it personally) has given me a better understanding of myself and has kept conflict to a minimum. Continue Reading »

Radiating Anger

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I am too easily influenced by the emotions of those around me.  I seem to feel the pain others experience on a gut or a spiritual level.  I’m sure a lot of people do that, but sometimes I wish I could be more aloof to the feelings of those around me.  I wish I could have more of a “not MY problem” mentality.

As much as I love my job, working for local government is challenging on even the best days.  The general public doesn’t understand allocation of funds.  They don’t understand that if we spend in one area (because grant funds were received) that those funds can’t be used to save jobs in another area that is undergoing budget restraints.  It is often frustrating to be accused of wasting taxpayers money  instead of being thanked for writing a compelling grant narrative that resulted in a grant award for our community.  Stimulus money was being thrown around right and left.  Shouldn’t we have tried to get as much of that as possible to flow into our community?  Of course we should, but now that the projects are underway, the perception is that we’re wasting taxpayer dollars to fund them.  What the public doesn’t understand is that those grant funds MUST be used in a certain way and for certain projects.  It’s not a blank check.  It’s not fun money.  Grant funds were awarded for a specific projects.

The people in my department are some of the most conscientious, intelligent, talented, hard-working people I have ever known.  A great team has been assembled.  Years of planning, pushing, politics, and a tremendous amount of work are culminating into an economic building boom in our community right in the midst of a “mini-depression.”  Our unemployment rates are among the lowest in the state.  Our local businesses are seeing steady improvements in their sales.  They are hiring additional staff.

You would think that our community would be proud, right?  Wrong.  While our local economy has been booming, our City budget has not kept up pace.  City Council has refused to increase taxes even as expense are on the rise.  During the first wave, all non-essential staff was let go.  As positions became vacant due to retirement, they were not filled.  The work was absorbed by others.  That was last year.

This year, all non-union workers were told that there would be no pay increases  until further notice, not even the increase we had been promised six months ago.  We were also required to “donate” three days back to the budget.  That meant we had to take three unpaid days of leave.  That’s OK.  I didn’t hear any complaints.  We were all happy to still have jobs.

Still…City Council would not consider a modest increase in taxes.  Still…costs continued to rise.  Our elected officials were listening to their constituents.  No more taxes!!!  (Oh, and City services?  Please continue those without interruption.)  Everyone worked harder.  I’m here.  I can attest to the truth of that.  We all worked harder, longer hours, with more responsibilities, and of course, the promise of no financial incentive as a reward for the increase in those duties and responsibilities.

It looked like it was working.  “See?  We didn’t raise taxes.  We trimmed the fat.  Those under-worked, over-paid city staffers are finally pulling their weight!”  Still…City Council was advised that if there was not an increase in taxes, the budget would continue to be in the red.  But why would City Council listen to the finance department staff?  They listened to their constituents.  “No more taxes!”

It’s that time of year again.  Budget hearings have been going on this past month.  There wasn’t much more “fat” to be trimmed from City staff.  More cuts would be forthcoming, though.  Should garbage service be privatized?  Sure!  What about EMT Service?  HUH????  Well, wait a minute.  We can’t cut firefighters’ jobs.  They are heroes.  Why not take the money from that economic development project?  Well, you can’t.  Those are grant funds.  So what!

I have twice had to cross picket lines to get to my office.  It has been hellish these past few weeks, and it all came to a head last night.  The final vote on the privatization of EMT service was going before City Council.  A dozen firefighters were potentially going to lose their jobs.  Emotions were running high.  Police protection was requested to bring a routine economic development matter to Council.

More picket lines.  Red in the face yelling.  Gavels pounding.  TV cameras all around.  Some of the nicest people I know being harassed, threatened, and criticized.  None of it was said to me.  I am hurting because I have watched human beings FORGET that they are dealing with other human beings.  Who tells someone that they hope they have a heart attack as they leave the building?  This was said to such a gentle, kind-hearted woman.  She is overweight and terribly self-conscious.  I hurt for how those words must have stung her.  It was proclaimed that others would burn in hell or rot in hell.  Take your pick.

Today an angst-filled group was once again hanging around in the lobby of City Hall.  As I crossed the foyer, I smiled at the group of people standing there, and said “Good morning.”  I received a scowl in return and heard colorful, muttered comments as I passed by.  What did I do?  I had nothing to do with this decision.  I made no recommendations regarding this matter.  They hate me anyway.

I felt the weight of their anger pressing down on me.  At lunchtime, once again, I sought the peace of the river.  I sat there in my car, my beloved old car.  I sipped a Pepsi, and dipped my fries in ketchup.  The world is a mean place.  People are just mean.  I wished for a place far away…a safe place.

When I got back to the office, I spoke to someone who was there last night.  I said that I was sorry.  I said, “My heart hurts to see such anger and meanness,” and I gave her a hug.  As I walked back down to my office, I passed others in the hall.  Everyone wore a haggard, haunted look on their faces.  There is a black cloud hanging over City Hall today.