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The Loony Bin

August 7, 2012

Have you ever been a bully?

I have.

It’s not in my nature to be snarky or talk about people behind their backs. but I have to confess that I’ve been tempted at times.  If I give in to the urge to gossip or be unkind, it says a couple of things:

1.  I’m feeling insecure …. and

2.  I’m unwilling to honestly look at myself and my feelings and have decided to point the finger at someone else.

Case in point?

There was the medical spouse that I knew during fellowship who faced every single day with a smile on her face.  It drove me crazy not because she was happy, but because if I mentioned the struggle I was having she said “Oh come on, it’s not hat bad”.

It was so bad for me, but our spouses were in different programs with different work hours and family obligations.

I wanted to point out to her that I had 3 children and she had waited to have children (which definitely made her experience easier because she had more flexibility and less responsibilities….that’s my story and I’m sticking with it!)

I sat next to her at auxiliary meetings and I was nice to her … but my warm feelings slowly eroded and instead of being honest with her, I …. I talked about her with my best friend.  I even wished that her husband’s residency program would get worse or that she would become pregnant with triplets.  I couldn’t understand why my mind was nearly consumed with negative feelings towards her.  I was ashamed of myself and and yet I just couldn’t seem to get it together.

We lost touch after my husband and I finished fellowship training.  I got an email from her a few years later. Her husband had decided to apply for a fellowship program that took her hundreds of miles from her family.  She had a baby and was surprised to find herself unexpectedly pregnant.  This from the same person who had once said “I can’t believe you had an unplanned baby.  That’s just silly.” only a few years earlier.

I wanted to feel smug.  I wanted to pop a bag of popcorn and savor every moment … but I couldn’t.  I had moved passed my hard feelings and had recognized that her experience earlier had been limited.  She didn’t understand what I was going thorugh back then because she couldn’t….and I genuinely felt sorry that she was going through such turmoil.

Recently, I went through something similar again.

A great new resource for spouses of physicians called Doctors Wives Living splashed onto the scene. It’s an online magazine for Doctor’s Wives that features relevant articles that are fun to read.

The little gremlin of envy and resentment reared her ugly head in my mind.  I refused of course to immediately see it for what it was, but the truth is that I felt threatened.  After years of failed attempts with MDFamily and trying to get members at iMSN to write articles (mostly unsuccessfully in recent years) I had started to feel like there was something wrong with me that I was failing.  In my mind, I saw the women who started this site as having the potential to be more successful than I ever had been able to.

So I … badmouthed the site to my online friends … looking for reassurance that they still thought that I was relevant … and not a failure.

It was in poor taste, and I regret it.  I have since removed the offending post.  In the meantime, it has taught me again … to work it out a little better with myself when I feel like being snarky before acting on something unkind.  When you know better, you do better … and I knew better.

If you haven’t visited Doctor’s Wives Living, please do.  It would make my day.

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