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Animosity!

I'm blessed to have wonderful friends and family and so I've been fortunate enough to receive a lot of love and good wishes from people in my life.

There are, however, people in my life who dislike me intensely.  I know it because I actually feel real hatred from certain people at times.  I know I've no animosity towards anyone - except perhaps when someone has shown hatred or animosity towards me in the first place - but that's normal, isn't it?

It is a curious feeling to have someone actually hating you, or maybe just treating you with disdain for some reason.  I treat it like a learning experience, when I'm up to it.

One of my most interesting experiences with animosity happened about eighteen years ago when I was still in Dublin.  I'd just secured a temporary position as a clerk typist in an Irish government organization which supported people with disabilities in the community.  There were a mixed crowd of people.  Some were qualified medical personnel.  Some were technicians.  Some were office staff and some were executive officers.  The season when I worked there, there were a lot of refresher courses going on in customer relations and leadership skills and the like.  Once, I found myself on a two day course in a hotel with the usual mixed bag of  people doing this workshop course on communications.

The facilitator began by asking each of us to introduce ourselves in a few words and also to say a couple of words on what we were contributing to the group and to the organization,  by way of our personal experiences.  I racked my brains for a suitable answer.  When it was my turn to speak, I explained that as I had worked for the Indian Embassy, a lot of my work had entailed interacting with Indian people who were living in Ireland as foreigners.  Out of their usual environment, they were living in an atmosphere where they could very easily feel alienated. I mentioned that this experience could be a useful factor in my work in serving the disabled in the community, many of who feel alienated in society because they feel they don't fit in.  I wasn't smug about it, I was simply trying to join in the exercise in an appropriate way.  Imagine my horror when one of the executive officers, a lady who, for the purposes of blogging I shall call Anne Filbert, summed up the group session with the words:

"What a wonderful  session - and so nice to know that if we're feeling alienated, dear Maria will set us right."

I went scarlet and looked down at the ground, feeling that I'd blown it.  Things should have improved later in the day but they didn't.  Anne Filbert and I were in the same workshop group.  Someone nominated me as the 'rapporteur' back to the main group to report on the issues we'd discussed.  I listened carefully do the group discussions without commenting and tried to sum up each issue discussed in one sentence each.  When my turn came to report back to the main group, at least twice during my report, Anne Filbert sweetly interrupted me with the comment, "that's not quite the way I heard it, Maria", thereby embarrassing me horribly in front of the whole room.  I thought the day would never end.

In the breaks, Anne Filbert proceeded to make a complete ass of herself.  A single lady of mature years, she flirted shamelessly with all the men in the room and even shared some little vignettes from her childhood.  Her father, she informed everyone, had wanted to christen her Gabrielle, but had been overruled by her mother.

"Imagine!  I could have been Gabby Filbert," she simpered.  Seeing her rather corpulent figure, I figured that Flabby Filbert would have been more appropriate, but I held my peace.

Brenda Maher, another executive officer with whom I had an excellent relationship, advised me to have a sense of humour about the whole thing.  She was right, of course.

It's strange what wisdom by hindsight does.  Looking back now, I know exactly what was going on.  Anne Filbert and some (but thankfully not all)of her  executive officer colleagues were unhappy at the idea of doing workshops alongside typists and in some cases, cleaning ladies.  My enthusiasm was probably making them sick.  But not all of them were as bitchy as Anne Filbert about it.

The best way to cope with animosity?  Lovely Brenda Maher gave me the formula.  "With a sense of humour and a touch of  irony."


This is my weekly post for the Loose Blogger Consortium. We are a group of bloggers from different parts of the world with diverse views and styles of writing, and we post simultaneously (well, we try to) on a weekly basis on a given topic.  Our members  are, in no particular order,  Anu,  Maria,   Magpie, Will Knott,   Nema, Noor, JoePaulAkankshaDelirious, Padmini, AshokConrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, and Rummuser.  This topic 'Animosity' was chosen by Padmini.

Comments

  1. It is horrible and unsettling when people turn against you for no apparent reason. I think that was excellent advice from Brenda!

    I've met a lot like Flabby Filbert - they never seem to change unfortunately.

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  2. I suppose that there must have been people like that in my life too. They perhaps held their peace due to my formidable size and presence! I never got to know about their animosity. Now, I suppose I can qualify for the title of flabby dabby or something like that!

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  3. That is the only way they can make themselves seem important. ..... to criticise others in public. I think we all know people like that.

    I am pleased this blog is letting me comment much easier than before!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

    ReplyDelete
  4. The world is full of people who behave like Ms Filbert, they often do so to cover their insecurity or inability to fit their position.

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  5. I've met a few Flabby Filberts in my time too. The animosity is often because of their own insecurities particularly when faced with people who are enthusiastic and popular...a touch of jealousy I think.

    ReplyDelete
  6. oops having problems with comments again...not sure this is working!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Its hard when somebody seems to dislike you from the get-go. I'll admit I've been on the evil side of that divide, you can't do anything about it; everything you do just confirms their opinion.

    I''m sure its worked against me to.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree with Grannymar and Ayak. Sounds so much like jealousy and her own insecurities. Instead of making you look like a dummy (which you are not at all), it made her look stupid. I can promise you the other officers were laughing at her behind her back.

    Politics in the office always upset me. Thankfully my bosses know if they talked to me like that, I would speak up. Politely, but firmly. The best part of getting older: confidence.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This reminded me of a similar experience of mine. I was assigned as a missionary to work with an older young woman. For some reason, she hated me from the start. Every day she would call her old companion on the phone to complain. My reaction was to ignore her daily complaining, and to pretend that I didn't know she didn't like me. With time, this approach worked, and she learned to like me. :)

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  10. There are so many stories in your hard disk....I like your words..hindsight...Why don't we ever look at things clinically in advance. Maybe because we are knee deep in it and cannot be objective! Sigh!

    So right about hoi polloi mixing with creme de la creme....who resents it more is moot.

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  11. Good for you and Brenda Maher.
    I also suspect that Lady Flabby Bountiful was comdemning herself from her own beal bocht.
    (I also like the easier commmenting.)

    ReplyDelete
  12. A case of feeling threatened I think. How many times has that sort of thing happened to me? I've lost count.
    If one bides ones time opportunity usually arises to put the unfortunate offender in their place. Believe me, they are usually very unfortunate.

    I wonder if Ms Flabby is reading this and can identify herself?
    (wicked laugh)

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  13. I've been blogging on nablopomo this month and I miss you! I had to hop over to your blog and say hello.

    ReplyDelete
  14. GOOD READ AND SUPERB REFLECTION OF THOUGHT

    NAQVEE

    ReplyDelete

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