The more I read, the more I learn. (What is it they say about a little knowledge is a dangerous thing?) The more I learn the more I start to resentfully acknowledge, through gritted teeth, that my therapists MAY be right---awareness is the first step. So this is what I am learning about Type A behavior/personality.
Who You Are vs. Situational Reaction:
Researchers believe that Type A personality characteristics may be more of a reaction to environmental factors, or reactions toward certain behaviors, and are influenced by culture and job structure.
This rings true to me for what I am going through right now.
Type A behavior includes 100% investment in the work you do--home or work. Everything you take on is important AND valuable with a goal of making other people's lives better -- which in turn, makes your life better through feeling a sense of value and self-worth. This is why it feels so devastating when others, through indifference or incompetence, are not likewise invested.
I recently led a project where I created a Google Site and project plan. Kick off meetings were held with all vested internal and external parties, timelines ans tasks assigned and weekly phone call updates planned and the board and City informed that the project was underway. Over the next few months people continued to miss meetings/deadlines with no communication; make decisions that did not reflect the agreed upon plan and flat out work toward exploring alternatives when the organization had already committed and communicated to major stakeholders, the approved plan.
I was incredibly confused and frustrated. Why would you agree to do something and then just .....not??? This seems like a profound waste of time - mine and theirs, a GUT WRENCHING feeling of Type A failure in itself.
The ability to plan and communicate and document and engage along with your desire the desire to help make life better for others increases the odds that not only will you be asked to take on a lot of projects, you will be tempted to do so.
You are good at it, so people want you involved, and once you are, you often take on parts that don't belong to you in an attempt to "do it properly" and before you know it, your phone is ringing, your email pinging with everyone wanting your thoughts and suggestions and you are now in the middle of ten projects, only two of which are actually yours.
And it would all be ok, if everyone was working along that organized, well communicated plan. But they are aren't you...
This creates a massive amount of stress. Which you try to stuff down and keep in check so you can keep juggling all the balls and keeping them moving.
Random questions that lead nowhere, another ball.
Balls you have been juggling for ages, suddenly pulled out, or split into two. To each person who wants your help, these balls are invisible. They only see the one in their hand and can't understand why they can't just toss ONE thing at you.
"It's just a two hour meeting that we need you at for the beginning but would like you to stat for the whole thing because we need your input on the scope."
"I know you have been working on that but really, no one knew the budget so we are going to put it on hold right now. Keep it on the back burner as we will start reworking it next week."
People don't see the "space" your projects take up in your brain. Each ball in the air or on the backburner has a compartment and you check in on them daily, even if they are not moving. You can only subdivide one mind so far.....until it shatters.
And for me, that causes the dark spiral. And then I can't do anything. The balls all fall and I the doors on the compartments are locked.
I go from scared to then tired; terrified of failure and yet can't be productive;
want to reach out to friends but absolutely CAN'T socialize.
I care about everything, I feel everything---and it is all too much--so then don't care or feel anything, at all.
Most people I work with seem perfectly content to operate in the ...
"I'd like you tell you we weren't making it up as we go along but..."
...philosophy the CEO bubbled when I questioned the contrast between espoused values and contradictory actions.
So they don't see the spiral and most days I can picture them at work thinking:
"I am glad we didn't support her on this. Seems she wouldn't have been able to handle it anyway."
Which makes me want to SCREAM in frustration at their fuckshittery!
(which causes imaginary them to shake their heads in pity at me and turn away)
My doctor has added a new medication to my regiment to see if it helps. She wants to get a "a handle on this" dark spiral before it gets too fast I can only ride it all the way to the bottom.
Instead, I write. To stay in the moment. I don't want to go back to work. That place will not change and I don't think I will either.
So far, that is as far as I have gotten. It's a little ledge on the spiral where I can rest and catch my breath while I figure out--what next.