Anger and rudeness that everyone else can see but that I can’t even feel.


Returning to work after my vacation wasn’t that bad, except for one thing.
A customer complained about me, saying I was rude to them. Of course I was hurt by this, but when I thought back to my exchange with this customer, which was about three weeks ago, I couldn’t think of anything I had said or done that was rude. In fact, I remembered having a friendly conversation with this customer.

I probably should have just let this roll off my back, except that when I went in to my boss’s office to try to find out more about why the customer complained, I protested, “I’m not rude to customers,” and her reply was, “well, sometimes you are. I’ve received a few other complaints.”

I don’t understand this. I always try to be friendly and accommodating. I really can’t recall any incidents where I did or said anything that could be construed as “rude.”

I thought I had become mindful enough of my own behavior and had enough insight to see the way I treat other people, including people I don’t know well, like customers. I thought I’d gotten pretty good at seeing myself the way others see me, but apparently I still miss a lot. I’m genuinely mystified as to why people see me as rude when I’m sure I’m not.

This actually isn’t a new problem. I’ve been accused of being rude in the past (I’m not counting my abusive ex or my mother or any other narcissists who tried to gaslight me by saying things like this) and I’ve also been told I always sound angry when I’m on the phone. This is something else I can’t see. I don’t like phones, but I really don’t see myself as sounding angry or upset during a normal phone conversation.

Does this happen because I’m from a Northern state and maybe come off as a little abrupt to people who live in the South and aren’t used to that tone? Or is it hidden anger sneaking out whenever I speak to people, anger so hidden even I can’t see it?

It really disturbs me that I still apparently can’t see myself the way others can; that this rudeness or anger or whatever it is, is noticeable to others when even I can’t feel it and am not aware it’s showing. I want this to stop. I don’t want to be this way. Is it social awkwardness?  Covert narcissism? Borderline rage? What the hell is it? Obviously it must be true or so many people would not have said this about me.   I hate getting angry.  Anger scares me.  I grew up in an angry, chaotic home.

I used to scare myself when I’d explode after weeks or months of holding in my rage.  I still repress anger, but I don’t fly into sudden rages anymore.  Is it leaking out anyway when I can’t see it?    I know I must have a lot of rage that needs to be worked on that underlies  (what I thought of as) my nice, non-confrontational  exterior.  Is that just some kind of mask????  Have I really never learned to cope with anger, instead unknowingly building a mild mannered false self over my BPD, becoming a covert narcissist in the process?  Yikes.  I really hope not!

Even my therapist has remarked on how I never seem to get very angry in session or change the subject whenever the conversation veers toward anger.   So this anger or rage comes out as rudeness in general?   Arggghhhh!   Do. Not. Want.

I’m going to bring it up this week in therapy and see what can be done about it,  or find out if he’s noticed anything coming from me that I’m not aware of.  I feel just terrible about this right now.



11 thoughts on “Anger and rudeness that everyone else can see but that I can’t even feel.

  1. I “liked” this because you’re being honest, but I don’t actually LIKE that you’re going through this. How frustrating!

    But you can take some consolation in the fact that 1) you are now aware of this and 2) you actually care about it. And also, 3) that you intend to do something about this. To me, this makes you a hero. So much better than the person who has an issue, doesn’t believe people who tell him (okay, or her) about it, and blames it all on their perception.

    So yay you! You go!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Have you asked friends for their opinion? I’m very assertive and I ended up taking a course on assertiveness because I was told there is ‘no assertiveness’ just aggression. I rely on my friends guidance to tell me if I come across as to harsh. I’ve also found it is part cultural. Being English I am direct, when the New Zealand don’t tend to speak so directly, especially in a first meeting. So people firmed opinions about – sometimes negative until they got to know me. I have to take cues from facial expression or the honesty of people to question me. Over a phone that must be very hard. I wonder if it is as you’ve already identified, part of your own cultural difference. The only way you can assess is to have a variety of honest responses. A generic complaint with no feedback is frustrating. Could you have repeated the conversation back to your manager as a way of getting input? I hope friends and/or family can help you identify it. But of course, I think in a lot of cases, some people just moan for the sake of it or interpret hostility because they themselves are having a bad time. I really respect your honesty and openness to consider your position. I also feel for you xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One thing i dislike about my job is the lack of any real feedback. We don’t get evaluations (it’s the first job I’e ever had that doesn’t give those) and rely solely on what customers say. The only “evaluation” is a Quality check, but we never find out the results of those, which makes no sense. I plan to have a private talk with my boss when her schedule allows it, and try to find out more. It’s the only way I can really get any real feedback. I’m not in trouble or anything, but apparently this is an issue with me even though if I hadn’t brought it up myself, nothing would have been said.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m different online I think. But it could just be that i’m very socially awkward in real life social situations and that could come off as rudeness or coldness. I don’t have Aspergers but for a long time i thought I did.
      I don’t think it’s a rumor because f the context it happened and the fact I never met this customer before that day.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand, I don’t feel comfortable around most people. I don’t do small talk well, I’ve wondered if I have Aspergers as well at times. I’m sure a lot of people think I’m different.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with a lot of the points made in other comments above. I have been told that my social anxiety comes across as cold and aloof, so it could be a matter of learning some skills in small talk with customers, not because you are lacking in some way, but because it’s always good to have even better skills for a job. It is also likely to be a very small number of complaints (if it is true) compared to the number of people you’ve interacted with, and there are always going to be some people who just don’t like you for some reason. However, I do think it’s really great that you’re able to listen to this comment and that you want to do something to improve the situation. This takes great strength!

    Liked by 1 person

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