What a wonderful world

I really don’t do conflict well, the last couple of weeks have been simply awful. Every now and then I have to attend a meeting of colleagues and I know enough about group dynamics to understand that someone is always in charge and its not necessarily the manager.

It doesn’t matter if I change jobs, in every workplace there is one queen bee who wields power and influence, treating those around her with contempt -they are privately hated and despised but are woefully oblivious.  I have lost count of the number of personal remarks and public humiliations – this particular queen bee dishes up under the label of ‘helpful advice’   She crossed the line so far – I couldn’t step back anymore, I had to speak up – I would like to say I did it well, but I didn’t.

What irks me is this, within all groups there is a surface tension of appropriate behaviour, we all pretend that we are a ‘team’ we don’t upset the applecart – we ignore nastiness because the only option is to break below the surface tension of politeness and start ripples that make everyone feel more uncomfortable.

Believe me in these circumstances,  there will be sympathetic colleagues who will listen to you, they will even site their own experiences, and there are others who like you are upset, but won’t complain.  Don’t be lulled into imagining this support will be there if you speak out. The moment you break the surface, you will be alone, friendless, facing a battle not just of the bully but your team will pick their side against you.

You see, everyone hates wars, division, having to choose sides – its as if by revealing the nasty underbelly you are opening up a huge wiggly, slimy can of worms and everyone backs off in horror.

Your manager is the person who has to take action, you are the softest target, no one wants an uprising and usurp the queen bee, better take out the weaker team member, load lots of guilt and blame their way, suggest they are being ‘overly sensitive’ that no-one else is complaining –  the Manager can file the incident away nicely, ticking off their boxes,  equilibrium restored.

I don’t think there is a bullying policy that can tackle the sad fact that in all groups power has a role to play. I am still not sure what I need to do to ‘pass this life lesson’ or how to walk in among a group of colleagues and not tremble. Someone might have the power to make me cry, or belittle me in the eyes of team mates, but I don’t have to play the incident over in my mind a hundred times; worse listen to my inner critic, how I should have said this or shouldn’t have said that. I make such a mess of the whole thing, that I end up wishing I never started.

In the last few days I realise I have an overly optimistic view of society, I blithely go through life imagining that we live in a wonderful world. I expect people to be kind, I try not to back bite, gossip or belittle people, not because I am ‘good’ but my self esteem scaffolding is based around acts that uphold who I want to be. Spite, running people down is self sabotage that hacks away at our inner self esteem – it never occurs to me that people do this and so when it happens it really knocks me hard. I blame all the books I have read over the years, where friendships were deep, tightly bound by loyalty. Where wrongs were always righted, the bad people were easily identified and satisfyingly punished – a world where justice reigns.

My naivety has been well and truly smashed (again!),  people aren’t nice, it is rare that people are challenged on their behaviour let alone punished, colleagues let you down and queen bees get to reign another day. Its not personal, I believe that most of us can’t express our anger to the right people, so we offload to the next available target, the guy who cuts us up on the road, the telesales caller, the person who looks sublimely happy, what has she got to smile about!

Mindfulness tells us that stress begins with wanting to alter what is; that peace comes from acceptance.


Maybe I finally understand we live in a world that is half in light and half in darkness,

We have never been able to explain why there is suffering, only that it exists.

A world of breath taking beauty where earth quakes kill innocent people, just like me.

Where the miracle of birth happens in the same hospital where it’s a battle to live, many don’t win.

I know that the longest night is also the longest day,

In order to have winners, we also have to have losers

That you can only see the stars at night because the sun’s light blocks them from view.

I understand that you find the darkest shadows in the brightest sunlight

And being happy attracts bitchiness like a magnet,

I may take the odd knock to my confidence,

but my self belief is shored up by acts of kindness,

loving has never been difficult,

I haven’t had to choose between satisfying my hunger or that of a child,

Or facing prison because loving someone is deemed illegal.

I have never needed to put someone else down in order to lift myself up

I haven’t had to close my eyes to someone else’s suffering, for self preservation.

I am not entirely sure the laws of Karma are as fixed as the laws of gravity,

But I can dream, cling to the belief that somewhere out there, its all in some form of balance

I can imagine I have the power to change the world, a little bit,

That my smile to a stranger lightens their load,

or the compliment to the tired bank clerk rises above the complaints when she remembers her day.

I have faith that these small acts ripple on our world wide web

After an awful week – there is a warm hug,

visits from friends,  a smiles from a strangers

Even the darkest night weakens with the first rays of a new day,

Malice might hurt but it needn’t be fatal.

21 thoughts on “What a wonderful world

  1. I related to a lot of what you wrote here, as I have been through similar experiences. Amazing how everyone agrees that a situation is unfair when talking behind someone’s back, but when you decide to take the first step in solving it, they all drop you like flies and even deny ever saying anything or treat you like they have no idea what you are talking about. So I am sorry you had to go through that at work. You’re absolutely right about everything you write here and I for one am happy to know there are people like you in the world still, who after such injustice are still willing to make someone else’s life brighter.

    Liked by 3 people

      • It was truly my pleasure. Like I said, I relate a lot.
        I had not considered that the books I read influence the way I think about people, that they are naturally good and that the bad ones are easily spotted and punished.
        The fact is the real world is not like that and it’s a struggle to stay true to our principles while living in this reality. I have to admit I don’t always have the strength. Often times I just feel like hiding in a hole!
        Or a book 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had such an awful time of late. Must have been a hard post to write too. Sadly, you’re right it’s rare for groups not to have a Queen Bee, who needs to lord it up over others. l’m sorry to hear no one backed you up when you stood up to her, but maybe you still did some good by doing so. I hope so. I think it important to challenge these creatures – although never easy – and resistance to their whims is often more effective. The ‘you’re too sensitive’, is such a crap thing to have hurled at you – as if being a hardnosed bitch is a good thing! I think these people are often driven by insecurity and unhappiness, but it does not excuse what they do. Many people are insecure and unhappy without inflicting unkindness on others. My solution – not that it saves me from falling into that trap of hoping people will be nicer than they are – is to stick with the friends who are sincere and kind and to keep putting out the positive. It might not save the world, but at least we’re not adding to the negativity and hopefully we’re helping make things more positive for others.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Bekki, you are right I believe being sensitive means I relate to others and I would not like to lose it. Great point about not adding any negativity, and I am very fortunate to have some lovely friends.

      I have always delved into books to escape reality, and if nothing else it highlights the need in a tale for justice! Maybe I’ll write a story,,.. now what would be appropriate justice! lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, I have been criticised many times for being ‘too sensitive’ and struggled because I am sensitive, but I wouldn’t trade with those who are less so. I think we all delve into something to escape reality and yes I guess stories where justice prevails can make us too hopeful, but justice does prevail sometimes. Now steady on with that story 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure it is a gift and agree it makes us more open to understanding other’s perspectives, but does it make us less able to understand the less sensitive characters?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good point, I am not entirely sure. I am a story teller, no matter what happens I create a back story to explain their behaviour. I am not sure though if I could write nasty characters..

        Liked by 1 person

      • But nasty characters always think they’re doing the right thing/can justify their actions to themselves – so your back story that explains their behaviour should allow you to understand them.


  3. Sending you virtual hugs because I’ve also “played the incident over in my mind a hundred times; worse listen to my inner critic, how I should have said this or shouldn’t have said that.”. The last time it happened to me (about 4 months ago), I walked away from a group of people I thought were my friends. And I thought, at the tender age of 62, I knew a little bit about friendship, reading the warning signs…oh stupid me! I was reminded at the time of these lines from Martin Luther King Jr. “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”. More hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Pippa I am sorry that you have had similar troubles, sending a virtual hug back. I wanted to write honestly about this because I believe it is so widespread and while it may be unpleasant at least knowing that other people have the same problems takes some of the sting out of this. big hugs. xx

      Those words ‘In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends’ that is a spine tingler! thank you for taking the time to write, all the comments here mean a lot to me.


  4. I hope your ok. I think people are often to scared to stick up for people as they think they will be treated negatively themselves. You are obviously a good strong person and better than them.x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Shazza, You are right, its not always easy to stand up, but I really do feel better for doing it. Its as if the fear of speaking up was as bad as the behaviour.

      sorry your comment was late in arriving, it was in a queue and I only just found it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am sorry – it sounds like an awful experience. As you can see by the comments, you are not alone. Sadly, I can relate, too. I have to say: You should give yourself credit for speaking up, regardless of the outcome. That takes courage! It is good that you are expressing your feelings and the injustice and pain of the situation. I think your post also reflected your resilience – it really shines through toward the end – the unfortunate experience has not gotten the best of you. You find your solace in knowing your kind acts can ” ripple out” and help others. I have a similar coping mechanism. Like Bekki put it, “stick to friends who are sincere and kind and keep putting out the positive…” Take care, and be extra kind to yourself this week.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think so any people feel the way you do. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to stand up to your superior for the repercussions that might occur. You wrote a very insightful blog that many people should take to heart. I encourage you that if this ever happens again with anyone you stare them directly in their eyes and respond firmly and confidently, “That is an inappropriate thing to say to me. But I forgive you.” That is possibly the hardest things to say, but I have to tell you it works in most cases. It lets the bully know that his behavior will not work with you. Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tarussellauthor – that is such a warm comment, thank you so much. I shall take your advice next time someone crosses the line. I wrote about it because I know I am not the only one, and maybe one day someone finds it a comfort. I am sure those wise words will help others in the same way it has helped me, so thank you for taking the time to comment.


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