Agnes felt miserable.  She tried to do what was right but she often saw herself stepping forward, accepting praise for jobs well-done and even feeling glad when people gave her credit.  And she resented other people when they took credit for her ideas and efforts.

Agnes was tormented because she didn’t follow the old rules and roles her parents had drummed into her.  She kept apologizing and putting herself down because she wasn’t perfect.  She’d been taught, “Don’t take credit, don’t be proud, don’t be pleased when you get credit, don’t criticize or judge other people, do good and eventually others will appreciate you, a good girl holds back quietly, pride goeth before the fall.”

We know the extremes those rules and roles are warning us about; being arrogant, proud, obnoxious, greedy, pushy or demanding, and seeking praise and power.  But those warnings are about the extremes.

Agnes wasn’t anywhere near that extreme.  But she bullied herself constantly for fear of taking even the slightest step in that direction.  She beat herself at the other end of the spectrum.

She criticized and bullied herself with false humility and modesty.  She constantly apologized for herself.  She lied when she told people she was incompetent and not bright.  And she was secretly livid when other people in her extended family and at work didn’t value her, took credit for her ideas and efforts and ignored her.  Her voice didn’t count.

Agnes was at war with herself – between what she’d learned from experience and believed now, and what she’d been taught long ago.

Midlife was the age and stage appropriate time for her to take stock and change her old rules and the roles they forced on her.

Agnes decided to guide her life by new ideas that she accepted now, as an adult, with all the wisdom and experience she’d gained.

  1. She’d accept the truths she could discern about people and situations.  She wouldn’t pretend or lie that some people were all good or nice.  She wouldn’t pretend she didn’t know anything or couldn’t judge wisely.
  2. She’d examine every rule and role she had in order to ask where and when it might be useful and, especially, not useful or effective.  Children accept rules as black-or-white, all-or-none.  But adults have more experience and wisdom.  We can see the gray areas in life.  We can accept that there is often no one-right-way of doing many things.
  3. She wouldn’t hold back and pretend she hadn’t thought of or done something she had.  Holding back only created a vacuum around ideas, credit and power which became a great temptation for other people.  That vacuum tempted some people to take credit that wasn’t theirs.  That vacuum also attracted the most nasty, controlling and vicious people to try to take credit and power.
  4. She’d speak up, as a wise older woman, to become the guardian of the best standards for the whole of her family and the benefit of her whole company.

This decision and her changing strength and roles caused some problems for her extended family and at work.  But most people adjusted to the new Agnes.  While a few resented her, more wanted to be her friend and ally because she was now straightforward and honest.

Of course, there are many complications depending on your situation.  The best way to learn how to get over old, self-bullying rules and roles, and to be the person you want to be now is to hire Dr. Ben for personalized coaching and counseling so you can:

  1. Develop the strength, courage, will and determination to be and to act your best resolutely, diligently and effectively.
  2. Develop a plan and master the skills necessary to create the life your spirit has always hungered for.

Since all tactics depend on the situation, call me at 1-877-8Bullies for expert counseling and coaching by phone or Skype.

AuthorBen Leichtling