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Offended Older Worker and How to Stop Being Victim / David McMillian, LPC, LMFT
Posted by: admin - May 29, 2009
I just turned 73 last month and am still working full time. Several of my younger coworkers seem to think its hilarious when I stop to organize my thoughts or something just slips my mind, and they make a big deal of it calling it a "senior moment." To be honest, Iíve always done those things. If I object, they just grin and say I'm being overly sensitive and defensive. Iíve read a lot about memory loss and I know for sure that I don't have it. Am I wrong to be offended? How can I get them to stop this nonsense?
Old Geezer Going Strong
You are absolutely entitled to feel offended by your coworkerís comments. I donít know if you can get them to stop, but do consider who might be the foolish ones here. My message to you is keep on going! I hope youíre still working and going strong when some of the folks youíre speaking of decide that theyíre ready to retire. You are also absolutely on target in labeling whatís happening as ďnonsense.Ē Your coworkers may think that what theyíre doing is all in good fun, but obviously itís not at all sensitive and itís WRONG thinking on their part too. In a recent article in Newsweek, Harvard psychologist, Dr. Aaron Philip Nelson, stated: "Misplacing the car keys, forgetting the name of an acquaintance or briefly losing track of what you were doing moving from one room to the next usually result from lapses in attention; they are not early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia."
Beyond this issue, there are other reasons to stop offering a negative diagnosis, even in jest, about a moment of forgetfulness. The most important is that these thoughtless comments can create unwarranted anxiety. Any form of anxiety tends to intensify a problem, and getting older does present most every one of us with all kinds of problems. As we age, we all face innumerable daunting challenges, and who needs to hear comments that negatively reinforce the predictable decline? Yes, even those folks who are laughing now will face the inevitable, but I doubt that they will be able to do it with the fortitude and grace youíre modeling for them now.
Deepak Chopra, who is himself 62 and has written many wonderful books, says that "research suggests that aging is controlled by consciousness." Heís saying that that the type of thinking that's connected to aging has a profound influence on its outcome. He cites numerous individual and cultural examples of how a creatively optimistic attitude can positively effect, and even sometimes dramatically slow, the aging process. Consider some people who are ďmatureĒ and still making a positive and dramatic difference in our world.
∑ T. Boone Pickens turned 81 last Friday
∑ Pope Benedict XVI turned 82 last month
∑ Henry Kissinger turns 86 on Wednesday
∑ Mike Wallace turned 91 on May 9th
∑ President Jimmy Carter is 84
∑ Cloris Leachman turned 83 April 30th
∑ Barbara Walters is 79
∑ Maya Angelou is 81
∑ Helen Thomas is 88
I could go on and on, but Iím sure you get the message. When your coworkers start up again, just smile to yourself and think about who really has true wisdom, fortitude, and grace. Keep on going!
More often than not, I feel like a victim. Iíve felt this way all my life. Is it possible to stop and how do I?
Iíll be very brief. Yes, it is definitely possible to stop feeling like a victim, and youíve already done some of the work toward stopping by your conscious awareness of your feelings. Make a firm decision that you are a non-victim right now. Forgive the people who have harmed you. Leave the past in the past and resolve to live in the present moment. Make a conscious choice to choose your thoughts and even your feelings. Be willing to go get help from a therapist if you need to. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you as you continue to evolve and grow in your life.
| | | | Article Posted by: admin
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