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How can I deal with confrontation better and worry less about needing approval?

(13 Posts)
JenFriend Tue 09-Jun-15 13:43:18

As a child, my parents picked at me constantly and I was told off about every little thing. Nothing was ever good enough. I would get a huge bollocking for saying thank you in the wrong tone or my parents would imagine that I gave them dirty looks.

I have grown up terrified of upsetting people and needing approval.

I do everything that DH says; I hate it if he is cross with me or doesn't approve of something I do.

At work I now have to share an office with a woman who is quite bossy and awkward. We both use the phone a lot and she is very loud on the phone but yesterday told me not to use my phone if she is on her phone as she can't hear! Of course, she has no right to say that but I am now sat at work only making calls when she is off the phone! When really I should have told her I will make calls and and when I need to and that she is the one with the loud voice, not me.

How can I stop feeling this way

goddessofsmallthings Tue 09-Jun-15 14:56:35

Start making calls as and when you need to and if the office bully makes any such further request, tell her your work can't be tailored to her requirements.

I'm concerned that you "do everything that dh says" as this appears to indicate that you may be being bullied at home as well as work.

I have no doubt you'd benefit from a self-esteem and assertiveness course or counselling sessions to further explore why you don't believe you have the same right to be on this planet and freely express your opinions as the rest of us.

Do please take action to rid yourself of your desire to please at all costs otherwise your physical and mental health will pay the price.

Do you have dc? If so, that's all the more reason to start now as children need parents who can instill self-confidence and demonstrate by example how to form healthy relationships with themselves and others.

FredaMayor Wed 10-Jun-15 09:17:04

I think you may have some 'hardwiring' to untangle, in the sense that you grew up being bullied and it is in your psyche to think it is normal, at least for you. The self-esteem and assertiveness training seems like a good idea, it will allow to rehearse situations where you might be disadvantaged and let you deal with them more easily.

Your best friend is undoubtedly you, so be that best friend.

JenFriend Wed 10-Jun-15 11:39:02

Well I am at work again today and making calls but she is huffing and puffing and making a big show if it when I make a call and is clearly pissed off that I'm not doing as she says. I'm just ignoring her mood and talking to others, but I am finding the disapproval hard.

pocketsaviour Wed 10-Jun-15 12:18:22

Some visualisation might help here - try imagining you've got a big blue/purple/green/pink bubble around your desk, which lets in people you want to talk to, but any sulkiness from across the office just bounces right off.

I would also recommend the book "If you had controlling parents".

goddessofsmallthings Wed 10-Jun-15 12:26:12

You are allowed to disapprove of her huffing and puffing which is incredibly immature and unprofessional in the workplace.

Perhaps you could practise raising an eyebrow for when she huffs and puffs again? If she's got a problem with you doing your work while she's doing hers, she can take it up with your team/line manager.

bladibla Wed 10-Jun-15 12:37:13

You have done no more wrong in your childhood than anyone else. It seems you had toxic parents. (there is a book on the subject).
That quest for approval can be endless, make you do the silliest things and be unhappy. You will never gain the approval of your parents and your partner is bound to disagree with you at times. Quit.
Your boss can have her own opinion you know you are doing your job right. Do a list of positives that you put in your phone call that make you a worthy worker.
I agree that counselling and assertiveness courses can help a lot with this.

Joysmum Wed 10-Jun-15 13:06:03

Do you share an office with others as well?

Could it be worth asking them discretely if your telephone voice is above normal volumes as you're concerned?

If you then get confirmation you're ok, then approach your manager with her attitude issues.

JenFriend Wed 10-Jun-15 13:14:20

Currently we are in an office together with no one else however I have shares offices with others before and had no complaints

MonstrousRatbag Wed 10-Jun-15 13:25:45


When I first got together with DH I simply couldn't do confrontations. Of course he ended up finding the mysterious unhappy silences worse than any row. It was a revelation that, unlike in my upbringing, I was in a relationship where it was not only ok for me to express anger but expected that I would, if that was what I was feeling. The sky didn't fall in. If I was right, I got an apology. If I was wrong, I got DH's anger right back and we talked it through.

Things I have found helpful:

1. Think.About how you feel and why. Whether you do or don't say anything, stay in touch with what you are feeling. Recognise it. Fight the urge just to squash it immediately because it is bad. Anger isn't bad. It just is.

2.Keep telling yourself you deserve just as much consideration and elbow room as everyone else. Why should your work be sacrificed for hers?

3. Ignore huffery puffery. This is generally what people do when they haven't got much of an argument but want you to toe their line anyway. If she says anything, say the two of you will have to agree something and ask for suggestions that are fair to both of you. If she gets stroppy, find someone to help mediate.

4. Ask yourself what is the worst that could happen. The most outrageous consequence you can think of. Name the fear. Then consider how likely this really is. I did this when I met DH. And would end up saying to myself: HE IS NOT GOING TO LEAVE YOU BECAUSE YOU GOT CROSS ABOUT THE WASHING-UP!

Your worst case scenario is probably that stroppy cowbag stops talking to you, at least for a while. Result! Remember, the fact that someone dislikes you or is angry with you does not automatically mean you are horrid or have been unreasonable. It may just mean you decline to let them oppress you.

mommyof23kids Wed 10-Jun-15 20:24:44

I would feel intimidated by your managers behaviour and would find it difficult to confront too. If you can ignore her or address it with her than I think you are doing amazing.

JenFriend Wed 10-Jun-15 21:58:56

She's not even my manager, she's just a colleague, but she thinks she is in charge.

wingsflyby Thu 11-Jun-15 12:44:21

I find this hard as well. Have you tried CBT? Even standing up to this woman could be the first step to re gainign some confidence.

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