Now in Midlife, I’ve been pondering the fact that so many people I know, or come across, have their own ‘hidden agendas’. We are living in a society where so many people have the ‘what’s-in-it-for-me’ type mentality.
I think you know what I’m talking about. Look at the 'Occupy Wall Street' protestors. I admire their courage and their tenacity. They are fed up and are ’not going to take it anymore’. As I’ve said in one of my much earlier articles - we need to stand for something - or risk falling for anything - in other words, take a stand on whatever you feel passionate about, or get trampled on for doing nothing, just sitting and accepting the status quo . This mentality holds true for our personal as well as our professional life.
I’ve come across all types of people/behaviors in my life. I have met so many psychopaths, a lot of them in the course of business - each one of them happened to have tremendous clout in their particular fields, and some of them, unfortunately, I reported to. These arrogant men shared the same fundamental character flaws. Deceptiveness, vindictiveness, narcissism and arrogance were just a few of the many traits that made up their immoral fiber. It didn’t matter to them apparently that their behavior was unethical and demoralizing to people who worked under them. They felt above reproach. They got away with ‘murder’. Still are. They thought because of their stature in their particular companies that they could, at times, harass and abuse employees under them, all the while feeling very secure in knowing they could, and would, get away with it. They were/are bullies. Their flagrant abuse/misuse of power was stunning! One of them was even arrested once or twice for driving while intoxicated - and spent the night in jail. Yes, amazingly, his company kept the irresponsible, alcoholic psychopath in their employ!
Were you aware that there are hundreds of thousands of psychopaths and sociopaths in the United States alone? Oh yes. Research it. They are all around us.
These immature men were/are in high places and, much to many people’s dismay, they would never suffer any consequences for their despicable behavior. The ’Powers-that-Be” looked the other way. These men were poster boys for who NOT to hire. I don’t care how educated or intelligent they happened to be. Their fundamental character deficiencies far outweighed their supposed ‘value’ to the particular company they were working for. I could, and I should, write a book - the stories I could tell! I probably will one day. It would knock people’s socks off, believe me. The lying, the deceit, the treacherousness of their actions time and time again never ceased to amaze me. One of them would even go so far as to recruit their cronies within the company to secretly harass a particular employee. When a company keeps people like that in their employ - they had better wake up and realize that these psychopathic types are putting their very own companies in jeopardy with their unprofessional (to say the least!) and unscrupulous behavior. They are dangerous - detrimental to a company, certainly not an asset. They are boys who never matured - boys in men’s suits. They have no loyalty, not even to their own company. Many people reading this, I’m sure, can and do identify with what I am talking about.
Now on to the topic and issues regarding personal relationships with relatives, friends and/or people you meet that I would classify as acquaintances.
I’m trying to ascertain whether my current thinking about people is off-track and not the norm, in which case I could be having a midlife situation where I have become very sensitive to these types of people - people who you come across in life - people who have become very adept at reading other people - they almost ‘target’ a person; i.e., get what they need from them (emotional vampires?) - then, in the aftermath of them sucking your blood, they stick a label on you in order to justify whatever they used you for -- as in, “you’re too sensitive”.
When someone tells you that they are just being ‘honest and straight-forward’ as they proceed to say whatever it is they feel like saying to you, regardless of the fact that they are hurting your feelings - I call it tactless and invasive - I see them more as people who have a need to slap a label on you in order to elevate themselves, so they lay out their (premature) defense for whatever it is they wish to say to you in the form of ‘critiquing‘ you. And, letting you know that it’s YOU, not THEM as the sting sets in. It sets the stage for them to act out their callousness. It clears the way for them to accuse you of being ‘too sensitive’ when, in fact, they are too opinionated, condescending and judgmental.
But, I really do believe that it’s not just my thinking process, but that it truly is such a different world we are in now - where it is so hard to trust people and even harder to allow them into your private, personal world. I have several thirty-five-plus year friendships that I treasure but the older I get my feeling is it’s almost impossible to cultivate long-lasting friendships. There are people I know who do not have any relationships/friendships outside of their immediate families.
On the subject of family - For most of my adult life, there has been such sibling rivalry and petty jealousy among my own siblings towards me. I have had a strained relationship with one of my siblings for a very long time - as has my sister. It seems my extended family of several cousins (and even some of their children) have decided to ‘take sides’. They have shown me, through their actions, that they have ‘sided’ with my sibling over me. It has caused me much heartache - aside from the fact that it is none of their business. These same family members would be absolutely shocked if they knew the hurtful, psychological damage that I have endured due to the behavior of my sibling and, especially, his cruel wife (apparently she sees me as a threat).
I was left in the dark for so long wondering why some of my relatives were cold and aloof towards me whenever we found ourselves at one of the family affairs (especially when I did the right thing and attended most of the family functions). It took a conversation with my sister wherein she ‘wised me up’ by telling me my relatives have taken the ‘side’ of my other sibling. Say What? Well, now I wonder no more - now I am angry. I cannot comprehend, after suffering verbal, mental and emotional abuse (time and again)from my sibling’s unstable and insecure wife how my own family of cousins can decide to pass judgment on me! Apparently, they learned or were told of me not speaking to my sibling (from whom I wish I knew) and have decided to be judge and jury.
One of my cousins even angrily confronted me some years back after we departed the church wedding of another cousin. She yelled as she informed me (while embarrassing both of us in front of the church) that my feud with my sibling was ‘ridiculous’. I didn’t see that coming. That same cousin even ignored me at her own birthday celebration although she had invited me there; and only because there was just a handful of us guests remaining at the end of the evening did she finally say hello! But, that’s only the tip of this iceberg. Funny - but from what I understand this same cousin who has acted so hurtful towards me has no animosity towards my sister - even though my sister will not speak to the same sibling that I am being vilified over. Hipocrisy. Mental and emotional cruelty IS abuse!
So, now, after all these years the mystery is solved as to why my own relatives have ignored me at family functions. Hmm, I thought gossip was a sin. Didn’t the Lord say “Judge not lest you be judged?”. These are people who are church-going, God-fearing people, yet they have apparently decided that, not only is my sibling the ‘wronged’ party, but they seem to champion him as well. I have always made a habit of staying out of other people’s affairs but I have not been as fortunate when it comes to others interested in my business.
As you may have guessed by now, I feel I have had more than my share of emotional and mental abuse. Don’t you just find it contemptible when someone who is annoyed with you (i.e., a neighbor) decides to act 'holier than thou' and badmouth you in an attempt to get people on her (it's always a 'her' because men are not catty like women can be) ‘side’ - and before you know it, these gossipers have bent the ears of others until they have successfully blackballed you (if they know what's good for them lest they suffer the same fate for not cooperating in the blacklist plan)in the neighborhood. These people need to get a LIFE. Oh boy, this has been a constant theme in my life (are you listening, neighbor?) - such infantile behavior, 'followers' who do not have a mind of their own. Well, guess what, neighbor - Slander and Defamation of Character is grounds for a lawsuit - keep that in mind. As you can see, I do not ‘suffer fools gladly’.
I have a low tolerance for people who ‘use and/or abuse’ (opportunists). I think an abusive childhood, followed by an abusive marriage, not to mention abuse in my work-related relationships, qualifies me to enter into the remaining years of my life abuse-free. Anyone who passes judgment on me can stick their judgmentalism you-know-where. Let those with no skeletons in their closet cast the first stone.
My ‘Significant Other‘ has told me to leave it to Karma - as in, what goes around, comes around. He insists that I not take matters into my own hands (vis-a-vie angry letters and phone calls telling everyone off). I hope he’s right - and that Karma will take care of everyone. After all, I know that Karma has a way of righting all wrongs -- I can only pray it doesn’t take a lifetime before it arrives.