Hi - I just had an upsetting encounter at the Western Union depot, and I guess I need to vent. I was standing in line, and when it was my turn, I told the clerk something to the effect that I needed to pick up some money that someone had wired me from overseas. (I didn't say it in that way, but you get the gist.) She immediately started looking at me really funny - and kept staring at me funny as she told me that I needed to fill out a form in order for her to process the transaction. She directed me to a place where the forms were - and I walked to that area to fill out a form. The way this woman had stared at me - and just her overall tone as she helped me - was stuck foremost in my thoughts as I was filling out the form. It bothered me.
Well, immediately after I left her desk to fill out the form, some other people got in line to be helped by her (I lost my place in line). While waiting my turn again, I had the chance to observe her demeanor with other people. She was perfectly friendly and normal with these other people - no weird and probing stares like she did with me.
This was really getting under my skin.
Here recently, I've been getting kind-of "bold" in confronting people whenever I feel offended - I've just reached a point where I'm tired of keeping all of my feelings inside and tormenting myself with them - sometimes (definitely not all
the time, but sometimes), I do a little "externalizing". I either (in a nice way) ask people what problem they have with me - or - in some way or another - let my negative feelings be known (even if it's just by facial expression, etc.). So I decided to ask her why she stared at me funny when I initially told her what I was there for. I'm "bold" and crazy these days.
So I get up to the desk and ask her the question. (she was nicer to me at this moment - I guess because my body language changed and I seemed "stronger"...) She answered in a nice tone of voice that it was because I seemed "shaky" as I was telling her what I was there for - that I seemed "unsure". (she actually used these words - "shaky" and "unsure") She said she was trying to figure out what I was actually there for so she could give me the proper directions. Her explanation bothered me a lot, because I hate being so transparent. I hate
the fact that people pick up on my "shakiness", and that I betray to others signs of my disorder. But I accepted the answer - for the moment.
She started processing my transaction, and as she was busy processing it, I was thinking about what she had just told me. After a few moments of thinking, I started to become skeptical of this answer. Maybe it is a bit of paranoia on my part to doubt her answer, but to me her initial demeanor toward me seemed to be "more" than just observing that I was "unsure" and her genuinely being confused about how to help me. There seemed to be more hostility or negativity behind her stare. I thought that there may have been some underlying jealousy about how I look and how I talk - she felt threatened by my overall look and demeanor. And when she saw that I was timid and unsure, she took the opportunity to express her latent resentment of me, and/or to try to intimidate me. I know it may sound outrageous and "paranoid" to verbalize something like this, but I sense underlying competitiveness and resentment from other women sometimes - especially on days when I "fix up" a little and look decent and presentable.
But anyway, after thinking about this for a few moments - I got "bold" again. She was still busy processing my form, and I spoke up and said, "people are often hostile to 'unsure' and 'shaky' people, aren't they?" (I didn't say it exactly like this, but it's close). As soon as I said this, she immediately slipped into a negative mode again. With a frown, and in a negative tone-of-voice, she said something like, "M'am - I'm friendly with everyone. I never get hostile to customers. I'm sorry if you took it the wrong way. I wasn't being negative." etc. I said, "Well that's how you came across, " - and that was the end of our "words".
This interaction upset me so much that I didn't finish doing the rest of my errands. I was supposed to go to the mall to see about getting some new glasses, but I thought that something similar might happen again - especially since I was so upset (I'd look even more "shaky" to people). I was no longer in a frame-of-mind to be trying to deal with people.
I drove to the mall, and ended up turning around and driving home. I was crying in the car - berating myself and cursing God for having this disorder that is so obvious to others. I was bashing myself for being so emotionally-fragile that I would let something "minor" like this upset me to this degree. And I was lamenting the fact that the world is so cruel -- it seems as though the moment you show cracks in your armor and look less that 100% self-assured, people pick up on it and take advantage. They don't treat you as nicely, they stare at you funny, or just take the opportunity to take out their insecurities on you.
Yes, I have the problem that when I approach employees and ask for help - I am initially a little timid and unsure of myself. Much of this is because of s.a.d. (of course), but part of it is also due to "logistical" reasons that are too complicated to get into (this post is already waay long enough). I often pay dearly for this "shakiness", as I did today.
Now that I got actual "feedback" of how I come across, I can look back and remember countless other instances where I bet people were thinking the same thing as this lady - that I seem "shaky". This causes them to respond in such a way that bothers me - I get stared at, people get meaner, etc. I'm such a hypersensitive wreck.