Monday, March 1, 2010

That Old Familiar Feeling.

Garnet left a comment on yesterday's post, wondering what had prompted it. I'm being exposed to someone who is trying to manipulate me into doing what she wants, and was watching my own response to it.

A member of a group I attend, (not an Al-Anon group) had asked for help with something - I thought it sounded like great fun, so agreed happily. We were trying through emails, to set up a time to get together to iron out some details, and she was pushing to have the meeting at a time which is flat-out inconvenient for me.  I gently explained "That won't work for me, I've got other committments, so how about this time? Or this, Or this?"

Suddenly, this person who had replied within an hour or so of every other one of my emails, hadn't replied after four days. I just thought she must be busy, and I'd talk to her at the next meeting. She ignored me completely at the next meeting.

At first I found it rather amusing to be so obviously shunned, but as time went on, I began to feel a creeping anxiety. I know what this is, it's people-pleasing, feeling that maybe I'm being selfish to not agree to her time, and maybe it's more important to keep harmony in the group, and maybe I should this and maybe I should that. Slowly, silently rising, the way a fine mist in the woodlands rises to obscure first the undergrowth, and then the tree trunks, and pretty soon you can't see your hand in front of your face.

Fortunately for me, I have program habits which kick in, so that I (eventually) remember to step back from the mild anxiety, call a program friend, and reason it out with them. I know that it isn't my fault if another person decides that the way to get what they want from me, is to try to manipulate. I know that I've done nothing wrong, just stood my ground on a very minor issue.

I know that if I'm willing to suffer the discomfort of the feeling, the anxiety will pass if I just ride it out, and I won't have compromised myself to make someone else happy at my expense. I know that if this person decides to never speak to me again, I can live with that, too.

Today, I'm grateful that this has happened so early into the process, because it might have been quite a bit more difficult to withstand this sort of pressure once we'd been working on the project together for a month.

 All things happen in my Higher Power's time.

 Perhaps I've had a narrow escape; I like that idea.


  1. I wondered! Thanks for sharing it. It does sound like a narrow escape, doesn't it. I love when I recognize that, now.

  2. It's good when we recognize it, isn't it? I had a friend drop me over an argument we had. I was bothered by it for a long time until I examined the "people-pleasing" side of myself as well.

  3. Isn't Garnet wise? :) Thanks for sharing. I learn from your experience.

  4. It sounds as if the person needs to get over herself. I find such behavior to be controlling and it immediately sends off an alarm.