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.