AUDREY: HOW DO I REJECT, REJECTION?

My one and only New Year’s resolution this year was to be less hard on myself. For the most part, I have done okay. In what would have been in the past a potentially intense or anxiety riddled situation, I have either been able to consider it from a different angle and maintain a level of distance that at times has surprised me. I have definitely had lapses, where I have given myself a telling off for ruminating about something inconsequential, but overall I haven’t allowed the hostility to reach a crescendo against myself.

But I have noticed a pattern (which perhaps has become apparent since taking my vow of being less hard on myself) that many of the incidents that cause me the most anxiety are related to experiencing rejection in some way or another. The pattern usually goes something like this; I experience some form of rejection (a friend fails to respond to an email/text, a colleague fails to acknowledge me, a disapproving look from a stranger… the list goes on), my anxiety builds (heart rate increases, stomach sinks, I am unable to focus on anything, that sort of thing), I ruminate (this has no pattern or structure, in reality, it could be for a matter of hours, an entire weekend or even years!) until the next event occurs. Rejection, ruminate, repeat.

I guess my position of being able to look at what could be one of my main reasons for such wild and vivid reactions to experiencing rejection comes back to when I was growing up (such a cliche, I know). I recall times when my parents rejected me in ways that still give me chills, like the time when I was still at school and I was being bullied by some classmates and when I asked for my mum’s advice (her help!) and she replied, “You’ll get over it.” Or when friendships have turned sour. I still dwell on a sleepover at a so-called friend’s house along with so-called friends who largely ignored me for the entire evening that left me crying into my pillow wishing I was at home.

I thought that I was ‘doing better’ but I find that this realisation has, rather than helped me, it has broken me and I am now reliving my chequered history of rejection. How can I move on?

From,

Rejection, Ruminate, Repeat

Dear Rejection, Ruminate, Repeat,

It is said that experiencing rejection is akin to physical pain. We all know the horrendous pain felt when we stub our toe but we may not be able to recall a specific incident in our past when we actually did this. However, we can very quickly flick through the ‘SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS IN OUR PAST’ file in our minds and find examples of when we have been rejected (the ‘Childhood’ years probably contains the most examples): your mum rejecting your plea for help or when those so-called friends ignored you for example. But what rejection boils down to is when you feel sidelined, you and your feelings are being ignored or marginalised, and for many (myself included) it causes panic. We wonder where we have gone wrong; what did I say? Did I cause offence? Did I not laugh/show concern at the appropriate places? Was it my hair?

Evolutionary science provides an insight into how rejection has been adaptive for humans, in that it helped people to survive. Living in tribes when we were hunter-gathers, to experience rejection was much like providing you with a warning signal to get your ass back into the tribe’s fold. If you were living on the edge away from the tribe’s protection you were likely to die, so it was imperative to be part of the group. Of course in modern society, we may not have to be in the ‘cool group’ to survive, but the basic premise is the same – we experience rejection as it provides a warning signal of some sort. The social and cultural norms are a fuckton more complex now and so this warning signal system and crucially our response to it can become maladaptive.

Another important human trait to consider here is that generally, humans look for patterns in behaviour. Often running behind the scenes in our minds, by analysing situations for repeated behaviour of some sort or a pattern it helps make our life chug along that little bit easier. Except when it doesn’t. And this is where the maladaptive response to rejection and this pattern seeking can get twisted. We can begin to seek rejection out. This can take the form of examining cues from our surroundings, particularly with those we are interacting with. And after some time of doing this, rejection becomes kinda comfortable. We know it for what it is and how it makes us feel inside, even if that is sick to the stomach.

The re-living of those memories could in some way be your mind purging some of the feelings associated with the events, through a personal and private exorcism. Alternatively, your mind could still be dealing with the emotions attached, neither are necessarily bad. Your early experiences of being rejected may in some way have contributed to your sense of self, cliche or not, but now things are different. The fact that you have been able since taking your vow of being less hard on yourself to take some steps back highlights two things; a keen self-awareness that many people would truly envy and that you are far stronger than you recognise. You are seeing the world and yourself through different lenses than before and this is perhaps the scariest thing right now, so your mind is going into over-drive to try and compensate. You have formed patterns that have felt comfortable and weirdly safe. You are evolving (growing just sounds too much self-help like) and it consciously started with making that New Year’s resolution. So please try and stick with it. That’s not to say that you won’t slip up again, but you are seeing changes and they are positive I can assure you.

Rejecting all rejection from your life is an impossible ask, as you may never ‘be over’ some of the pain you associate with people and past events. But if you are able, and it appears that you have already started down this road, to take steps in rejecting something far more significant – feeling bad about yourself.

You are not broken RRR, you are anything and everything but. You are remarkable, wondrous and totally awesome.

Love, 

Audrey

JUST ONE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION THIS YEAR

It’s December 31st, 2003 and I am in a wine bar in my hometown. Unfortunately, I am not there to drink or party, instead I am working. The bar provides a paycheck and therefore a vital lifeline to some much-needed funds during my holidays whilst studying at university.

It’s the second year that I have worked on New Years and here in actual fact. It’s a ticket only event so although it’s busy, the faces are the same, which adds a nice level of familiarity to the evening. Plus, I get paid double my usual hourly wage and the sneaky glasses of wine (paid for by some generous and drunk customers) help the evening run pleasantly.

The big boss is also here. He runs the wine bar and the restaurant next door and so he can usually be found barking orders at people there. I don’t particularly like him and I think that the feeling is mutual, though he is gruff and obstinate with everyone – who work for him that is.

He makes me nervous and when I am nervous I make mistakes. A case in point was on my first shift at the bar a little over a year earlier; where the manager of the wine bar had asked me to take some drinks around to the restaurant via a connecting tunnel between the two buildings. On my arrival to the restaurant I am greeted by the big boss of whom at this point I was yet to meet. He glares at me and rushes me to provide the drinks to the guests, it turns out that one of the waitresses is sick and so I am helping to cover when the restaurant was busy. It was heaving. I duck under the bar and turn to grab the tray. Except I didn’t. In my haste I had put the tray on the edge of the bar and the tray along with its contents come crashing and spilling to the floor. The noise reverberates around the restaurant and I swear the music momentarily stops. It leaves the big boss and I staring at one another. Me, feeling like an absolute idiot and wanting to crawl away. Him, wondering who idiot was who hired me. He shouts at me in one of those ways where he doesn’t actually raise his voice, it’s more body language and facial expression and I practically run back through the tunnel to the bar to make another tray load of drinks.

If it wasn’t for that incident, in my time since I have also locked myself out of the cash register so that he had to help me out, failed miserably at a cocktail training class (which he organised and was present for also), shattered more glasses and just generally messed up when he’s been around. I really didn’t make a good waitress.

And now back to New Year’s Eve in 2003. Despite the big boss’s presence; things are going ok: he hasn’t glared at me or even spoken to me for that matter, as much like our first encounter, the place is heaving. However, my optimism is short-lived when we have our eventual but inevitable clash. I am serving a customer when I manage to lock myself out of the cash register again. This isn’t an issue that happens solely to me, but in my rush (seems to be a pattern here) I fail to input my login code twice and it freezes. This creates a hold-up and he charges over and shouts at me. From what I can recall he says something like:

“I thought it’d be you, it’s always you.”

It was my turn to freeze as he continues to berate my crap skills as a waitress in front of customers. I say nothing and when he finishes fixing the register he marches off. As I hold back tears and continue to serve customers, a dark bitterness overcomes me, I make a resolution that I would never return to work at the bar after I head back to university.

However, much like many of my other New Year resolutions throughout the years, it didn’t stick and I was back at that wine bar at Easter doing my best to avoid the big boss again and because I needed the money.

Throughout my 20s, I usually made grand New Year’s resolutions. Epic you might say, including things like buy a new car, lose weight, buy a house, go travelling, quit my soul-sucking job (whatever it was), just for starters. Anything that would take me away from where I was and who I was at the time. And back in 2003, I didn’t know who the hell I was and it couldn’t have gotten more epic than sticking two fingers up at my boss, metaphorically speaking rather than literally.

Losing weight, getting a ring on it or going travelling are all worthwhile if they are truly what you want, but in my case I was making grand resolutions to help me escape myself.

I hate to sound like a cliche, but both time and age have made me realise two things; making grand resolutions are a bad idea and if you are going to make any then you have to keep working on them. So this year, I just have one resolution and I see it more as a work-in-progress for hopefully years to come: to stop being so hard on myself.

This is in regards to the things that I want to achieve and to acknowledge the things that I do manage. If I manage to finally finish the book that I’ve been working on for the past two years? Amazing! But I am going to try and not let the fear of not achieving this ruin me. If I manage to make a move finally out of teaching into something new? Yippee! But I acknowledge that this is a road that I have been on for some time now and like many paths there are quite a few turns on the way.

AUDREY: HOW DO I TAKE SHIT LESS SERIOUSLY?

I really envy those people who have the ability to move on from stuff thrown at them. They just brush the dust off their shoulder, Jay-Z style whilst I feel as though I am sinking in a heap of shit.

A recent example was at work where there was an oversight on my part about something. Although the blame cannot be entirely put at my feet, two other colleagues failed to notice the error also but I couldn’t stop myself from ruminating and how it was all my fault. My brain immediately went into panic mode and I began self-flagellating about how crap I was and why the hell was I doing my job as a child could surely do it better. The matter was dealt with pretty quickly (my colleagues and I put things right), but my place of work doesn’t have a particularly strong culture of support and the management are useless about well… most things, so you constantly feel under surveillance. And one wrong step and they’ll drag you in for a ‘meeting’ to point fingers and inform you about how inadequate you are.

I know that when I look at my reaction from taking a few steps away, I recognise a pathological neediness and genuine craving for reassurance from others. This is nothing new. In a way, though, I wish it was a new thing as I would have hoped that by now a woman in her early 30s would have got better at dealing with this kind of stuff somehow.

Look, I know that some shit is serious and what I do really isn’t in the grand scheme of things. It’s not like I am not dealing with life or death situations, but this doesn’t make me feel any better. Why do I take some shit so seriously? Is it some kind of narcissistic tendency to assume that I have to take on the burden for everything as I’d love to know,

One who takes shit seriously

Dear OWTSS,

Who are these people who take shit less seriously? As if you know anyone who honestly, truly, madly, deeply is able to take the shit thrown at them with a handful of salt, then I’d love to know them as much as you. We all experience a whole barrage of shit each day, some of the less demanding stuff and the stuff that you’d rather just sink to the bottom. But if there is anything that stands out from my measly attempt at advice then it’s this: your self-worth is in no way related to whatever shit is thrown your way.

Your workplace sounds like a whole heap of fun where chaos reigns, but not like chaos chaos, like people running around like headless chickens, more like chaos in its more pure form where there is something inherently negative about its shape, something malevolent and odious. Constant surveillance? Meetings to tell you how inadequate ‘you’ the staff are? Jeez… that’s a workplace culture that needs to chill the fuck out or at least remove some of the hate. I am not trying to trivialise your job, the environment or even your superiors but it seems fairly likely that some of the people you work with are either power mad control freaks or have no fucking clue what they are doing, so instead they manage using fear and intimidation. And that combination of fear and intimidation is pretty toxic.

Is there anyone at work who you can speak to? Have you got yourself some peeps that can shoulder some of the shit you experience and live it a little through your eyes? Perhaps they are seeing the same things? Have you considered leaving? That might not be possible but consider it for a moment, if the culture of your job is not working for you in terms of the support or lack thereof, then is it time to look elsewhere?

Woah! So many questions! But seriously, there is a difference between doing your job well and taking that seriously and taking your job too seriously.

Addressing the problems with your workplace won’t necessarily address how you feel about yourself, but they are a start. The way that you ruminate and catastrophize are indicative of something much deeper as I am assuming that this does go deeper, so I wonder if it is something that you might need to explore with a professional. You say that it’s not as though your job deals with life or death situations, yet your brain immediately jumps to a conclusion to the contrary. It’s crazy and twisted how reassuring rumination and catasphorizing can be to our fucking amazing brains; both place responsibility for pretty much everything firmly on your shoulders – global warming, the Syrian conflict, Trump, and even human errors made at work. Those inner voices demanding that you bring on the self-flagellation are mechanisms that you have learned somewhere and validated somewhere along the line. In some ways, they act as a form of protection and by beating yourself up it prevents you looking outside of yourself at how others are dealing with their shit, and there is a lot to learn from doing this. I don’t believe that you’re narcissistic, as that would imply that you are self-centred AND there is an element of pride in that. I think there is anxiety and I think there is someone who is scared of being vulnerable to others, so you look outside of yourself for reassurance.

I have always sought personal validation from others and gosh when you get it, it can feel so good when it’s positive! But that whole looking outside of yourself for validation is fleeting, you end up craving a bit more and then a little more.

Yes, there are people ‘out there’ who seem able to let things bounce over them/appear to let things slide, and that is because they have learned strategies to do this. They have probably spent time and I want to add here, with the support of others, to learn what is worth getting bothered about and what isn’t. It could be a personality temperament thing too for sure or even something genetic but don’t be fooled by a cool, calm exterior when the shit hits the fan. They may be ruminating just as much as the next person.

I wish that I could wave a magical wand to show you abracadabra style, rather than with the Jigga man, just to illustrate how remarkable it would be to have this power, to know in advance about the things that are going to cause you anxiety. But it turns out, you don’t need me. You actually already have some of that power at your disposal already, it’s right there in your fingertips, or rather in your brain. It’s not perfect this power and don’t assume it is. Sometimes it won’t work or won’t operate in the way you want, but keep reminding yourself that you have already identified some of the things that cause you stress and anxiety. This, you should be seriously proud of.

Get some support from someone who can help you take a step back and learn more about yourself, look at some other options for work if you can, and importantly don’t put yourself down for feeling as though your own shit is not together. As in this mad, wonderful world having your shit together is actually all about how you step up and start shovelling the crap out of the way and then moving forward.

Love Audrey

AND WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

It’s been a good few weeks (cough… months…) since I last posted but I have good reason or at least that’s what I am telling myself.

Life kinda got busy.

The new academic year began in earnest and in what seems like a blink of an eye I am already a whole two months and a bit in. And whilst I have welcomed new students, greeted those returning, and got stuck into my planning, I have been reminded of some of the lessons I learnt as I worked through the course with Careershifters. Primarily, I have been wondering where do I want to be, as I have felt myself sink pretty quickly into a familiar malaise with my job once more.

I expected this. But it doesn’t mean that the discontent gets any easier to experience. 

The malaise is nothing new, the chain of thoughts attached are relatively similar to those that I have experienced for some years now but once again I am finding myself struck by some familiar thoughts bubbling to the surface associated with frustration by what part of me sees as a lack of tangible progress.

But if was only one thing that the careers course taught me and it’s that I have made progress. And a few events recently at work as well as the general malaise have led me to make a pretty bold decision. I am finally ready to try something new.

TIME FOR CHANGE

In my current teaching position I am required to provide one years notice to my employers of my future intentions. One. Whole. Freaking. Year.

I can certainly see it from their side, they want to advertise early, interview candidates, essentially find the right people for the job. Be organised and all that.

But a lot can happen in a year! And unless you are sure of wanting to stay (in which case it’s a case of signing on the dotted line and handing in that intentions letter immediately) then it leaves you in a conundrum. For me, it was a case of do I let them know that I have intentions of leaving hoping that something does come up, or do I hedge my bets, see what jobs arise and then hand in my notice if something significant comes up? And potentially have to stay a further year before I can hand in my notice? 

Well, I opted for the former. And I have discovered that my job has already been advertised! A cynical part of me screams, ‘You’re dispensable! I thought you knew that already?!’

So that’s me, dispensable but oh so very happy with the decision. Freaking nervous to the very core. But grinning from ear to ear.

AUDREY: WHY DON’T THEY LIKE ME?

Audrey,

This is going to sound like a really odd request for advice particularly from an adult but for as long as I can remember I have needed to be liked by pretty much anyone and everyone I interact with. But it’s more than just a need for people to like me, at times it verges on obsession. The crazy thing is that this doesn’t just include people who I am close to like my friends and family, it also includes people who I may only meet once or only interact with in small doses such as colleagues. I know that I shouldn’t give a shit about people who are either indifferent towards me or certainly those who are rude to me, but counter-intuitively, they are the ones I am more bothered about, particularly the ones who are rude or mean to me.

This obsession with social approval isn’t anything new. I can remember as a teenager when I forced a friend over the phone to speak to her younger sister and discover why she apparently didn’t like me. I really didn’t have much evidence to go on apart from the fact that she didn’t speak to me at school and the only link we had was her older sister and my friend. I could hear the sister saying all the things that as a rational adult I know I should just brush over my shoulder: she’s annoying, she’s boring, I just don’t like her! But I couldn’t let it go. By the end of the call I had managed to ‘persuade’ or rather coerce the younger sister to say that she did like me after all. What a way to make friends?! Through simply pestering (irritating) them into relenting.

Another sore point as a kid was that I was dumped a lot, that is I was picked up and dropped by a group of (mean) girls who I thought were the real deal when it came to a friendship group. I was constantly made to feel incredibly lucky that I was even admitted to this group. When they tired of me, I was left out from parties and cinema trips, only to have them pick me up again and regale all their wonderful friendship tales during my absence. I can even recall on one of the girl’s birthdays sitting in the cinema crying quietly as there weren’t enough seats for me to join them on the row. I was made to sit on my own and no-one offered to join me. Yet, I STILL wanted to be friends with them!

And now as a 30-year-old woman, I still identify with that overly-sensitive kid, and this obsession with social approval has become almost crippling in its ferocity. I agonise over not just what I say to others but also how I say it, so that in some social gatherings (particularly around people I don’t know well) I am at one of two extremes: super quiet or talking the ears off those around me because I don’t want them to think I am boring or have nothing to say. And when the party is over I am left with snippets of memories reminding me of a joke or comment I made to X or Y that could have been interpreted in a way that I didn’t intend.

A recent example of this social approval obsession is with a new colleague. Even on my off and sometimes grumpy days I make an effort to say hello to colleagues I see in passing, or at the very least I give a smile. This particular colleague attempts neither of these with me, or if she manages to muster the energy to reply she cannot even bear to glance in my direction. Anyone else probably wouldn’t think too much of it, perhaps she is thinking about other things, she doesn’t want to stop and chat, let alone say hello. But in being relatively passive towards me, I take it as a deep personal affront.

I have a fantasy that one day I will let the anxiety and obsession float over me, that I will stop fucking worrying and not let others bother me or at least not as much. How can I move in that direction and grow the fuck up?

30 going on 13

Dear 30 going on 13,

I can feel your desire for approval, as to a greater degree, we all crave it. That’s right, everyone. Some things can get easier as we mature and grow, we think that we are going to be able to do things right, be better than before. Progress. We can master our vulnerabilities and then it’s onwards and upwards whether that’s from a bad relationship, a crap job or lifestyle set-up. And it’s true, some of us are better at battering off the anxiety associated with certain social situations and blocking those freaking annoying thoughts that can plague your very existence. But this idea of progress is in reality deeply subjective and tenuous at the very least.

Perhaps you can link your desire for social approval to your childhood; were you striving for your mothers or fathers (or even both) good graces but your advances were met with rejection or a dismissive attitude? Perhaps it stems from making and fostering those early relationships with friends, including the mean girls. You never knew where you stood. So in response to this, you unconsciously decided that it was up to you to seek approval, rather than others seeking it from you. You wanted to be in control.

You say hello to colleagues in the corridor assuming that they will reply, you want to know why people may find you annoying, you expect to be able to sit with ‘friends’ (mean girls) when you go to the cinema. And fucking aye! I agree! There are basic social norms that we should expect from others, a little decency and a little humanity can go a long way. And perhaps that’s why there are certain people that we choose to hang out with, after all, they are the ones that tick some of the boxes like we tick theirs. But there are those that tick far less or even none whatsoever and we still spend time with them. We are rarely rational and you are judging others by your own social expectations (although sitting next to people you go to the cinema with is a given). This obsession to understand is only resulting in a never-ending negative feedback loop. One person fails to adhere to your social code, so you seek out answers for their behaviour, you aren’t able to find out or comprehend what their deal is, so you keep looking for unattainable clues unless you choose someone/something else to obsess over.

That colleague, those girls, the younger sister all have something in common. Your need to control the outcome. You want that colleague to at the very fucking least to acknowledge you, those mean girls to permit you into their circle with no conditions attached, and the younger sister just to give you a real goddamn answer to a very simple freaking question, “What is your problem with me?” And when you can’t control the outcome you lose your head, “This wasn’t how it was meant to be!” And then you try your darndest to fix the problem, you want them to see you in the way that your family and close friends see you.

And what about those people who love and cherish you? Why is it difficult to hold onto the positive thoughts and feelings associated with them? Or rather, them of you? Perhaps it’s because you don’t believe it’s real. You’re waiting for them to have a sudden epiphany and realise that you are boring and have nothing to say! You know what? At times, we are all boring and have nothing to say. But right now and since your teenage years you are judging yourself from this mythical ‘out-there’ worldliness that is somehow better than this world. Your self-worth is firmly placed in other peoples’ hands.

I wish I could say, “Don’t worry about it! Chill out! Why do you care so much? Stop being so sensitive!” But I imagine you’ve heard all of that before. Though if there is anything in life that I have realised and that is being sensitive is NOT A BAD THING and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise or make you feel bad for it. I absolutely hate it when people say shit like that, as though expressing yourself or showing some emotion will send you to the depths of hell. If you want to cry, cry! If you want to scream, just do it! And if you want to walk past that colleague and ignore her then feel free. You don’t need to explain your behaviour, like in truth, many people don’t need to explain theirs to you. They have their own shit going on.

But all in all, retraining your brain to like yourself a bit better may be perhaps the way to move forward. Forgive the vulnerabilities of those mean girls, the younger sisters and the colleague as if you look close enough there are cracks that we are all try to hide. Learn to hold yourself up a bit higher by spending time with loved ones, sit back and take it in. Therapy could certainly help but see if you can enlist loved ones and take small steps. You’ll get there 30 going on 13.

Love, Audrey

AUDREY: DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?

Audrey,

The other day as I was leaving a meeting a colleague approached me and asked if I had seen an email that he’d sent the day before. I said that I hadn’t, to which he replied that he had definitely sent it during the previous afternoon. He had obviously been expecting a swift response. I was fairly certain that I had had no such email, but then I started to doubt myself, perhaps I overlooked it or it had got swept up in one of my ‘What the hell is this?’ moments and I had deleted it with another load of emails.

Then my colleague identified the title of the project. Said project had absolutely nothing to do with me. Rather, it was to do another (female) colleague who had also been present in the meeting.

He said our other colleague’s name out loud as though he was addressing me. To which I replied, “Well I’m blah blah and I don’t deal with that area.” He had obviously thought that I was in fact her! This is despite working together for nearly a full year and him having addressed me with my actual name a bunch of times.

Upon realising his mistake, I anticipated some sort of acknowledgement from him, at a push an apology, neither of which transpired as he simply walked away. I however walked away feeling irritated.

My irritation morphed and grew into full on rage by around an hour later. I had assessed the situation and the damage to my self-esteem and found myself thinking: this happens a lot!

I am often mistaken for other people and usually to those who I don’t feel like I have a genuine physical similarity to in the slightest. To make matters worse, this is not the first time that this has happened at work. Only recently, the head of Human Resources called me someone else’s name and began telling me about something (which I can’t recall now). When I corrected her, it was as though I was in the wrong and I couldn’t actually be who I actually am!

Why does this happen?

No one seems to know who the fuck I am! I feel that I am disproportionately mistaken for other people at an alarming rate. I don’t know whether I am over-reacting or perhaps I am just one of those people who blends into the background like someone with a faceless face.

From,

Don’t you know who I am?

 

Dear DYKWIA,

I feel your pain.

I also have experienced that sinking feeling when someone is talking to you as though you are someone else. This is an existential blog after all… but putting that aside, it doesn’t ignore the fact that you are pissed at the idea of other people not knowing you.

The frustration at this incident indicates a deeper level of questioning of who you are. You want to know why this is happening? Why it keeps on happening? And with a particular significance due to the fact that it is colleagues who seem to be utterly incapable of putting the correct name to a face.

Our memories in spite of their awesome complexity and genius have a terrible way of convincing us of taking false information as fact. I was once convinced that I had contacted a colleague about some work related issue, adamant in fact. This was to the point that I was steam-rollering over any say otherwise. It was only when I checked over a back catalogue of emails that I realised that I was in the wrong. I had to see the mistake in Times New Roman before I backed down, held my hands up and admitted defeat.

So by any chance, are you more annoyed at the fact that he didn’t apologise or the act itself?

Look hard at that question. As one part relates to your normative understanding of situations and interactions with others, whilst the other relates to your ego.

Your ego of course helps constitute part of your consciousness. When that is indeed questioned, it casts doubt on your sense of self. You may wonder at one level, why doesn’t she or he know who I am? But at a deeper level, you are wondering who am I? What am I projecting to others that they either don’t or choose not to see?

Whichever, the issue lies with you. It is unlikely that your colleague has spent much time ruminating on this incident since. In fact he probably hasn’t thought twice about it, because after all he doesn’t know who you are.

Enough of the philosophy and introspection, maybe you want some concrete, practical advice:

  • A name badge may help, you could even make a new name up that no-one could possibly forget. There are plenty of helpful websites out there. I suggest something mythical straight from Game of Thrones.
  • Alternatively, you could get in your colleague’s face as much as possible until he has absolutely no uncertainty about who the fuck you are. If you choose this option, pretend like you are drunk and shout your name a few times in the next meeting. Then he has no option but to take heed and listen.

Another way to look at it is that at least if you have one of those faceless faces, you could rob a bank and maybe no-one would know it was you? You could even blame that colleague of yours with the remarkably similar features, or even better yet the one who thought you were one and same?