I'm not sure how I learned this, but somewhere in the distant reaches of my childhood there was an agenda pounded it into me purporting that an authority figure is always right. It's a false belief, I know, but I instinctually tend to believe my bosses, trust my parents, believe my boyfriend is truthful, think my employer looks after my better good, and that cops are always good guys who rescue people.
Along with the first false belief, the second was that questioning the authority figure is "wrong." I figured out later (while thinking this is wrong, this is wrong) that questioning authority does get more information from the person--they usually love to blab about how great they are. Later, you can use this information as a basis for arguing with them when they capriciously utter contradictions to the first commandment and claim it's what they've "always said about it." That's the part I added as an adult, the questioning and the requiring them to list off the reasons "why."
I discovered that so-called authority figures made stuff up early on, but I would still get sucked in because I was scared they would use their power to harm me—fire me, arrest me, whatever. Often, bosses issue demands and decrees that are a bunch of b.s. manufactured on the spot, subject to change at any second, and then follow the b.s. with threats of punishment for "not listening, not taking me seriously." Authority figures will punish you, or not--depending on the day, the weather, whether you are the middle child or oldest child, what your bra size is or whether or not you cry on demand. The Great Betrayal here is that on any given day, there is no way to know whether the authority nut will blow up or back you up on what they said.
The power rests with the assumed authority figure or the person I assigned authority to. Or does it?
For instance, I work in a pharmacy and months ago a pharmacist heard me taking a telephone order from a nurse in ER and said, "Don't do that." "Why?" "Because that is like taking a prescription and techs can't take prescriptions, only pharmacists." "But, I have always done it." "Well, don't do it now, you aren't allowed to."
Dutifully, I made a note in my mental palm pilot (chastising myself for being in the "wrong") and put little flashing asterisks next to it. I followed these instructions for months while noticing that the same pharmacist would occasionally let another tech do what he said I couldn't—certainly never jumping anyone's case like he did mine--yet I would excuse him each time. Then the ah-ha! moment arrived. A tech took a phone order, mumbled "I shouldn't have done that, should I?" and he said, "No, it is just fine, you are allowed to do that."
Metaphorically speaking all 10 of my claws sprung out, and I attacked him from the back, knocking him off of his chair then stomping my stilettos into his extra left rib. Without mercy, I pulled out his hair in chunks, tore his nails off by bending them backwards and generally mussed him up.
Not really, of course. But it's how I feel when this betrayal thing occurs...how I believe someone and I try really, really hard to please them by doing what they ask, by going overboard to carry out what they ask, making sure I "mind" them, trying not to cause them any problems--only now and then letting the bitterness flick out in snotty comebacks regarding their discrepancies and lack of fairness, and they aren't certain whether I'm cracking jokes or firing missiles. Ok, I fake it a little because that's part of the "falling for authority" problem: You don't feel secure so you always watch your back and quickly cover up anything unpleasant you say while protecting yourself.
Does this make sense? Do you know what I am saying?
It's like my boyfriend who always said his favorite things about me were my creativity and passion. Then, one day I tell him what color I want to paint the kitchen next, and noticing his lack of interest I ask him, "What's up?" He snaps, "IF you ever did any of these ideas would be one thing, but you just talk talk talk." Feeling flustered and confused, I snapped back "I like to talk about my ideas, I thought you liked that." No one spoke for the next 90 miles.
I think I must have been getting on his nerves with my "creativity and passion" because later that week while driving somewhere I reached over and stroked the hair on the back of his neck. Like a million times before. Only this time he arched his head away. Oh boy. He erupts, "don't do that, I hate it. It's very distracting and I am trying to drive." I shouted, "and after four years you are just now telling me this?"
You would think I would have known by then that taking his words at face value was a mistake because he'd acted like this before. No, I believed he was sincere each time he made statements.
Why do people claim something, make promises, or state something as gospel, then assuming you will try to please them they suddenly do a one-eighty?
I have thought of five things for future:
1. Don't believe anyone until they back it up with action.
2. Any discrepancies in their behavior is grounds for authority divorce (don't tell them this though).
3. Sudden changes from day to day indicate psychosis on their part, and simple naivete on mine, if I was suckered in.
4. Use a small recording device concealed in my left armpit, keeping the right arm free for writing down what they say word for word, to be used by me later (to remind myself I'm not the crazy one).
5. Be really, really fake. Pretend to believe people and smile a lot when they talk; nod earnestly, as if I believe them. Appear to do what they say, for a time. Because really, it's important for my own self-preservation to make sure their outsized egos are stroked. If they truly are an authority figure it will keep them off my tail. If they aren't, it doesn't matter. Either way, learn to be flexible in that I don't have to take people at their word, ever.
Remember that old adage: "Never put the trust before the truth."