I think I get unreasonably distressed when big companies treat me badly. I take it badly. And I take it personally. Which has to be unreasonable. After all they don’t give a jot about me!
Being bullied by people in power is called a double-bind. It’s basic structure goes like this.
- You treat me badly.
- But I can’t walk away.
So I have to absorb three bad things about myself.
- You treat me badly.
- I can’t walk away.
- I am in a position where I cannot resolve this dilemma or even talk about it someone else. You certainly won’t listen. You will just deny that you are treating me badly.
Side-stepping a double-bind
I understand all this stuff. I am a psychologist after all.
So why do I take bad treatment like a kick in the solar plexus and spit in my face?
I pondered this a few days ago and had this ‘eureka’ moment.
Because suffering humiliation suggests I am investing in the wrong things. Because the petty humiliations hint that I have been horribly mistaken about what is true and good in this world.
If I catch the fleeting hint and look at it squarely, I can ask myself why I continue to pursue this life.
If this life is what I want, then maybe I can find a way to remove the irritant, compensate for the irritant (or pay it back), or simply put it in the irritant box.
The key question is not what to do about the irritant.
The key question is in the fleeting hint : is this the life I want? What have I assumed about what is true and good?
Do I still believe I have chosen the right direction in life knowing what I know now?
Good morning Jo. I thank you for this post. It illuminates a sesne of humiliation I feel in the interactions between me and a clinet that i have invested a great deal of time in but leaves me humiliated in the ned.
Gave me a new way to think about it.
Thanks for the perspective.
Not sure whether there is ever an answer, but at least we can ask the right question.
I agree that often there isn’t a black and white answer, but sometimes it is not just about the “right” question but about those questions which open up our perspective, as yours did for me this morning and give context to this area of my life.