Stop Looking over my Shoulder!

I hate people looking over my shoulder, it’s the worst. They’re close and intrusive and they’re stealing my actions with their eyes.

It’s even worse when it’s me. I am so fed up of me looking over my own shoulder. She’s ridiculous.

I’ll be messaging someone a cheery, “How’s things?” And she throws in a helpful, “Are you sure that’s how you want to phrase that? Have you considered all the possible interpretations? What if their things are not doing well, is the cheeriness conducive to openness or does it close down the conversation? What if the response is awful? What if they’re dead?!”

She’s a plonker, and she’s always there, pointing out the faults and the worries. She’s one big “WHAT IF..?”, and I have to argue with her every day, over and over and over again, if I’m to get anything done.

Sometimes the argument is too much. I don’t have the energy to discuss why it’s ok to do what I want to do. Instead I slowly delete the words and step back from the interaction.

Then she points out that not sending anything could be interpreted as antisocial. I can’t win.

I made this monster. I cultivated her and built her from scratch. She is the result of having a brain that provides me with questions and not answers. She is my replacement for my lack of an automatic social-processor, and, on so many levels, she’s great.

She’s helped me notice things I might have missed; “They said they’re fine, but they’ve got a creased brow, maybe this time the words should be overruled?”

She’s helped me help people that I might have thought were fine if she wasn’t peering over that shoulder so firmly. She’s helped me interact better. She’s helped me be a better friend, a better wife, a better human.

That doesn’t mean she’s not annoying.

It would be nice to just know. It would be nice to not have to question and re-question every interaction. It would be lonely too. An automatic mind will miss the wood for the trees.

I wouldn’t be the person I am without her; My little personification of myself, who sits on my shoulder like a bossy older sister and tells me what is what.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I wish she’d shut up.

14 thoughts on “Stop Looking over my Shoulder!

  1. Your view of the looking-over-my-own-shoulder function sounds kinder than mine. I might have to- scratch that, I do have to reconsider the matter. Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Absolutely brilliant, Rhi 🙂
    As I was reading, I started to just steam, like “who the heck can be so annoyingly rude?”, only to realise right before you revealed it, that yeah, I know who that is, the same as my bloody old “grandma” -which doesn’t even resemble that much to my late saintly weirdo grandma, except for the core, plus the Eric Cartman version of myself around- sitting stuck between my cerebral hemispheres, smoking pipe, sipping coffee, you know, your grumpy old bat…
    But as you said, I can’t lobotomise “her” out, just could do with some “shut-up you old f**t” times… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I got my inner critic having put her noose in everything I do. She dosen’t say much just wrinkels her noose and gives me THAT look… That says more than a 1000 words. But I’m getting better and better at looking back at her telling her to mind her own business 😎

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yep! I really can’t handle other people literally looking over my shoulder, it is an intrusion of both my privacy and space.

    The little gremlin who prompts meet to self censor is always there….. what if, why … it ‘d be better if you’d do/say this that or t’other. I know where this comes from … it is the accumulated criticisms from others and self over my entire life. Myself, in attempt to survive the world of relating to others… one that is unfathomable… and even through I see the futility of trying to fit in, it is the attempts to successfully communicate I’m concerned about.

    This gremlin self, as you too have found Rhi, has , like everything else, its place as long as one side of it doesn’t dictate. It can be really insightful and also a tormentor.

    I guess I could call it my Perspective Gremlin.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that. Perspective gremlin is right.

      She is very useful, but as you say it’s so important that she doesn’t get the casting vote, she just gets an opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have autism. I don’t know how to say it anyway other than to be blunt about it. I have a little shoulder me, too…and it’s loud and obnoxious. I spend most of my day piddling around online, writing or drawing…but not really…my shoulder me is easily distracted by some of the smallest things, even at this age (37). “Okay, look, it’s itme to get some work done..” But shoulder me is undisciplined..he lacks it, severely, and gets distracted at the tiniest things. “I need to draw my homework assignment..” Shoulder me is like ‘YES! Let’s do this! But first, let’s check e-mail, let’s check social media, let’s wath a video to play in the background and then get distracted by that, and then, by the time it’s all done, 3 hours will have passed and you’ve done nothin’! What a productive day!”

    When you want to be social, you do pick up on the physical nuances, mannerisms, and micro-emotional responses…But sometimes, it fails you, especially where sarcasm is concerned..My shoulder me used to be really, really, really bad at interpreting sarcasm and casual jibbing from strangers. People I know and know their mannnerisms better, I can tell they’re joking…but it used to be they did it to get a rise out of me, and I knew that, but shoulder me would take the reigns and I’d yell, cry, lash out. I wasn’t getting it.

    I get it much more readily now. So does Shoulder Me.

    Shoulder me has a great gift if he’d learn to use it, to break away from “living in a box”, and trying to be a better artist and person overall..But shoulder me is also easily driven to anger when their intelligence is insulted..A high IQ, for most people, means that you’re highly articulate, highly functional, nnot prone to emotional or other outbursts..To shoulder me, his anger is triggered by being dismissed simply for being Autistic.

    But there is more than one shoulder me.

    There are several, each one is another mental disorder that stops me from being able to function as well as others on my own.

    Asperger’s, ADD, ODD, Bipolar, Generalized Anxiety, EXistential Anxiety, and depression are my shoulder me’s.

    Very few times do they ever work in unison…and then, it’s only for short moments of time where they’re all behaving…Existential Anxiety makes me feel like it’s all pointless, Bipolar gives me the extreme ends of the emotionnal expectrum, the anxiety flares when I think too much about life and death and the possible, likely finality of the struggle..

    I think the part of me that doesn’t want to be forgotten fears it the most..

    Getting anything done without a schedule or someone to tell me to do things is very hard with all this stuff pushing and pulling for the center of focus…It works to my detriment..

    My shoulder me’s and I are at odds…the analytical part of me is always at odds with the part of me that just wants to get it all done, no matter how good it is, or makes me analyze my own work in negative ways at times, annd I have to reassure myself that it’s a process..

    Shoulder me burns food on the stove because of distracts, too. “We’ll check it in 10 minutes…” Says I, but Shoulder me says “YEah, after this 20 minute video..”

    The analytical side also believes that medication would be a bad choice, because of experiences missing doses as a kid and being an emotional terror the rest of the day. It makes the connection between antidepressants shootings..and I then decide I would rather be a little crazy, forgotten, and a little forgetful than to be remembered in infamy…People who had just one bad day… THat’s all it took, like The Joker said.

    So shoulder me’s are a terrible burden when you have too many of them, and don’t know what to do about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your shoulder me’s with me. They sound like an unruly gaggle, and you sound like you’ve got the measure of them (not that that helps a lot of the time, but it’s a far cry from not acknowledging their existence at all).

      I wish I had some solid advice for you that would definitely help, but that is not my place. I can tell you that I hear you. Maybe tell you analytical side that the number of people taking ADs compared to the number who do something horrific and unforgivable, is probably in the same rates as “regularly eats bananas and went on to do shootings”. It probably doesn’t help, but if you do think ADs might quieten some of those shoulder me’s, don’t deny yourself help for fear you’ll turn into a monster. Monsters are driven by hatred, and I don’t hear hate in your voice. I hear someone with a lot of self awareness and a tricky life to balance. It sounds like you are doing amazingly – though I doubt it feels that way. All the best, and thank you for sharing such a thoughtful comment.


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