Familiarity Breeds Contempt

It’s an old saying that dates back to the early 14th century. I figure if something has persisted that long, there is probably a kernel of truth buried in the verbiage. People probably felt this way for centuries prior to putting the words on paper.

In short, knowing someone/ something too well leads you to disdain of said person or thing. It’s not just disdain, it’s stronger…bordering on intense dislike. I go through cycles with my life and activities that almost always end up at this point. It’s nothing personal. I used to think it was boredom on my behalf, but it feels like more than that.

For example…my medical doctors. A few months back, things seems to be stabilizing. We got into a groove in our relationship that I felt was actually a good thing. Then, an issue arose. I saw things one way, the docs saw it another. Because we had slipped into this comfortable rut, we’ve ended up not liking each other very much when opinions differ. I am on the short end of this particular stick since the docs are the gatekeepers. I hold just a bit (snort) of contemptuous feelings for the group right now. It’s only a matter of time until the issue gets sorted out on its own. It will be interesting to see which way the cookie crumbles in this case.

I also feel this way about one of my jobs. It’s been getting increasingly awkward for a week now, with my supervisor not catching on that there are boundaries being crossed. They’re not red flag boundaries, just some of my personal ones. Yes, yes….I could say something straightforward and hope it changes the work relationship. Instead, I’ve used sarcasm. Note, the supervisor in question is taking my sarcasm as humor instead of the warnings I intend. Today, the supervisor crossed the boundary. It’s small to those who don’t know me. Again, not a red flag boundary. Rather, it’s one where I can see an outcome that is very likely and the supervisor is choosing to open a can of worms instead. Yes, I should just say something. I just don’t feel like it’s my place.

Thus, contempt. I know too much at this point. I know my supervisor’s skills and abilities very well. I know my supervisor’s strengths and weaknesses. I know how my supervisor responds to situations. Unfortunately, part of what I do internally is watch people and file away information about them. I can’t help it. It is part of how I cope with people. Patterns of behavior are comforting for me to understand. I can deal with shifts in behavior much easier when I understand where the behavior stems from.

So, I left. I just decided it was better to leave instead of expressing my thoughts. I’m fairly certain the supervisor would have figure out I did not respect the decisions that were made. Fight or flight and I chose flight. Maybe a day or two away will allow me to reenergize and prepare to deal with this situation.

How many times have you walked away and not said anything? Is this a luxury I have because of the terms of my employment? Would I do the same thing in a different work environment? Well, the answer to the last one is yes as I have done this as recently as six months ago.

I’d say this was an Autism piece of me. Seeing patterns and mentally arranging them is something I’ve done for years. Losing patience when people can’t see “my” patterns is also something I’ve done for as long as I remember. Feeling contempt is, unfortunately, not new either. It’s not a “superiority” thing. It feels more like watching one of those videos where someone is doing something you know is not smart. You can see they are going to have a spectacular wipeout. You just know. And then when they do, you laugh anyway.

 

One thought on “Familiarity Breeds Contempt

  1. I understand this all too well, if the other person is lucky most generally I will walk away, there have been a few not so fortunate though. It takes all the strength I can muster at times but it’s better if I do. I hate confrontation, it saps me of all my energy so for as long as I can remember I have watched, observed and filed information away. It makes me sad at times though, I feel like I’m not part of the party so to speak, I have to gauge before I can partake. I wish it weren’t so hard for me to dive in and just muck it up with everyone else but I can’t. It’s lonely at times but then I think, they don’t see what I see, or know what I know, they’re not listening to what I hear. I go about my business and interact when necessary.

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