Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dealing with Frustration

Sometimes I get frustrated at work.  Oh hell...I get downright pissed.  My boss is still not totally sure of me AND she's a control freak AND my role has not been clearly defined so I end up being a very well paid gopher and assistant most of the time.  It's frustrating because I'm a highly qualified learning professional and my skills are going to waste.

Of course I knew all this when I prayed for and took the job, because at the end of the day, it's the people and the company that are most important to me (assuming I'm being paid enough to live); but it still gets frustrating sometimes.

Right now I'm frustrated and I'm trying to figure out the best way to deal with it.  It's hard to remember how I used to process frustration like this but I'm sure I wasn't doing it right.  Which leaves me to the hell do normal people deal with frustration?

I have learned to walk away, calm down, think...and then speak.  Well...most of the time.  But often that doesn't really get me over it.  Sometimes I carry resentment that, as we all know, can sit and fester and rot until it does some real damage either to me or those unfortunate souls who happen to be in close proximity when it occurs.  Well that can't be healthy either right?

I've also been trying to breathe through the resentment and what ends up happening is that total strangers will look at me like I'm hyper-ventilating and pull out their phones in the event I need 911 assistance.  Clearly that's not the solution either...either that or I need a refresher on Ojai breathing techniques.

Sometimes I come out here, like I'm doing today, and write it down.  Working through the feelings on "paper" is really, really helpful.  People told me about "journaling" for years and I own some beautiful, completely blank, journals.  It wasn't until I came to the blogging world that I realized how beneficial just writing it all down could be.  It also helps that, for the most part, this blog has remained anonymous.  It helps me to write freely.

I pray about it also.  That is probably the best option but often I find God saying, "I'm with you kiddo but some things you have to process through on your own."  Kind of what I say to my kids when they are struggling with something.  But as my presence and support gives them comfort, His presence and support give me comfort as well.  I just wish He could kiss my boo-boo and make it all better. 

So I'm working on it.  Many moons ago, I took a training course which was basically a bunch of pop-psychologists spoon feeding a lot of touchy feely bullshit.  They did more damage than they did good.  However, I took away two things from that ridiculous experience,

1.  It is important to recognize when we are reacting to situations rather than really listening and seeing them for what they are and nothing more.
2.  Most people are good and are not out to get you.  Try not to take things (especially at work) so personally.  Assume positive intent.  This one remains the hardest for me to do...but I'm getting better.

So I will step back from this situation and breathe, pray, try to bring myself out of reaction and assume that this is about her and not me.  This may take some time...



  1. Frustration and anger are the hardest emotions to learn to work through I'm finding. It sounds like you are using good strategies to deal with in though. I've been focusing on your #2 for a while now. It's hard to retrain your brain, but I tell myself some day it will be my natural reaction. Our pastor said that assuming the worst instead of the best from people is rooted in fear...which makes a lot of sense. And that responding with love instead of fear is the cure.

    1. What a great way to look at it. I've been praying for God to help me release some of my fear...maybe by replacing it with a loving heart I can get somewhere!

  2. This is what I was thinking throughout your post.

    It is IMPERATIVE to have healthy open communication at work. An open door and a welcome sign for constructive criticism.

    My boss stops by my office a couple of times a day. "How's it going?" We're establishing a real open and honest rapport with one another. He knows that I always need to know where I stand with him. Your situation must cause a great deal of discomfort - the unknowing. I just hate that. Do you have the type of relationship where you could sit down and learn where you're at, how your boss feels about you, your work. And ask him/her to use this time as an opporunity to inform you of areas of weakness.

    Know what else I see? And only becuase this used to be me with any new arrangement.
    Are you projecting at all? Spinning assorted thoughts around in your head until it looks like a big tangled ball of yarn? I used to sabatage my "now" with old experiences and the certainty that doom was lurking. This is messed up thinking and it has alot to do with having control issues. I am not speaking of you; don't know you well enough regarding that topic,,, but for myelf,, I was SO enamored by control that I could not breathe, relax, sit back and CHILL. When I was really sick, I would say,, "F it, I'll just quit; I'm gonna get fired anyhow"

    I must toot my horn because this is one area I have really grown - today I can be in this moment and appreciate it for whatever it may be. I may reflect on yesterdays, but not obsessively, and I do not project outcomes. I'm not God. Today I can say whatever will be will be. I put my best foot forward and pray for contributing behaviors. If, at night, I realize I messed up in an area, I'll fix it if that is needed, or I'll learn from it.

    Yuck, being frustrated with work is awful. Thoughts??

    1. Hmmm...where to start. Nope, don't have that kind of relationship with her...none of us do. She's a control freak who is also passive aggressive and defensive. But I really LIKE her! Most of the time I just love her where she is but every once in awhile it gets to me.

      And to answer your second set of questions...HE'LL YES I'M PROJECTING. That's a given! I'm better than I used to e but I still go there from time to time and wallow. That's why I've learned to back off, breathe and regroup.

      And I have been in that place where I've said, "Fuck it...I'll find another job before I get fired...OR...I wish they would just lay me off." Then they laid me off. That REALLY sucked.

      Then I got sober and started to recover.

      Thanks for the great thoughts! Good stuff.


  3. Ugh, I have been having trouble at work too. It's hard NOT to take it personally. Something I learned after a hard meeting this week at work was this: people there aren't psychic. Unless you clearly ask for what you need they do not know. I learned that I have to be assertive (not aggressive) and ask for what I need. And to ask again if I have to instead of lying awake worrying about what's not happening when I'm doing nothing to make it happen!

    My boss is also very defensive, and passive aggressive- the male version of yours!

    And I have this weird thing about worrying that I'm going to get fired. For no reason. Talk about needing to let something go!

    I'll be chanting "Number two, number two, number two" at work when things get dicey. But only in my head, cause well, you know. ;) (please excuse parents of small children for thinking poop jokes are funny.) :)

    1. Poop jokes ARE funny. Just trying shouting "toilet paper" at the top of your lungs while driving in the car with them - they will laugh their heads off!

      Mine still laugh when I do it and they're almost grown.

      Thanks for the support.


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