Conflicts in Volunteer Groups #2

Follow up on the previous question:
Thanks for the coaching. Here are some follow-up questions:

C: D IMs and emails me after I speak about the project at the membership meeting
T: His actions are inappropriate and annoying.
F: Anxious? (judgmental?)
A: Forward his messages and emails to two group leaders, avoid responding to his email, think about how he is wrong, think that if I was a man he wouldn’t do this, think that this is why women don’t take active leadership roles, don’t take responsibility for clear communication, don’t consider all sides of the issue, think about quitting, waste energy doubting myself, spend a lot of time thinking about the circumstance as a problem
R: I am inappropriate and annoying?

Can you clarify for me about the result? How is this helpful and not beating myself up? I think the problem to some extent comes from my low self-esteem and reluctance to set boundaries. If the result is that I am inappropriate and annoying, how is this helpful for me to realize? I get it as far as trying to check my ego but it also feels kind of like beating myself up.

“If you really don’t want to be doing this work, what is the reason you tell yourself you are staying there?”

This is a great question. It’s almost like I am compelled to do volunteer work and keep working on this project because stopping feels like a failure. Also, many people have told me the project was great and we should keep it going but about half of the leadership team dropped out after the elections.

Throughout the project, I kept getting roadblocks with other people in the group sending me emails or communicating in meetings in ways that seemed confronting (this has happened with 4 people since my last project started in June). Each time it has been around me wanting to move forward with action items and them not wanting things to go so quickly,or basically wanting me to stop forward movement on action items.

I like doing some volunteer work. It can be really rewarding, but I tend to spend too much time volunteering instead of taking care of things that need attention in my life. Maybe it is a mirror of my desire to step down from the leadership position, which probably will mean the end of the project. I’m not sure there is enough momentum from the other group members to keep it going without me.

“Your fear of disapproval is a window into what you think as well. Is that the thing that is motivating you to stay?”

I don’t really believe I can avoid disapproval. Some people will approve of me and some won’t. This is a big theme for me though. I’m often thinking about avoiding disapproval when I make decisions and doing my work. I am motivated to stay because I believe the work is making a difference and I am part of a group that is working to create lasting change in the community.

I know chasing other’s approval is a dead-end street. It feels harder to get things done with people “pushing against me.” This happened in two of my previous jobs with co-workers that were at my same level in the business structure, or just senior.

I feel like I am just showing up and doing my work. Then people confront me strongly about not liking things I’m doing, and in those instances, it contributed to me no longer being in the position. I was fired from both of those jobs (though with the second one, being fired was not directly related to that conflict.)

I’m not the type of personality where I quit easily, but I also feel like continuing to work in an environment with people actively working against me and my project isn’t sustainable. I also feel tired and discouraged. I think I believe that as a woman, someone will always disapprove of me no matter what I do and my only options are to tolerate it or leave the situation.

C: People say words and do actions
T: They are against me
F: Frustrated
A: Fume, think negative thoughts, shut down, resent others, lose focus on the work, don’t recognize or spend energy on people who do support me, don’t believe in myself, give them the power in the situation
R: I am against myself

Thanks for your thoughts and insight.