Have You Ever Been Bullied? Part II-Adulthood

RedBull gives you wiiings!

My entry into adulthood was nothing short of a grand stage entrance high on RedBull!. I was charged-up, driven and determined. I had set out to do something that no one in my family had ever done before. I was going to learn to fly and become a pilot with absolutely no idea how I would do it!

I had my heart set and worked diligently towards achieving it. Like they say, luck favors the brave! Well, brave I was which soon made me destiny’s favorite child. I was an early bloomer. The single-minded focus and concerted effort helped me reach many targets and hit many milestones ahead of time, both personal and professional.

However, a confident, competent and disciplined girl was not the norm, compliance was the expectation most of the time. I was not intimidated easily and was determined to speak my mind. A desired quality in co-pilots, unfortunately only on paper. Even though I tried, I was unable to ignore comments on my hair, size, clothes and relationships which earned me quite a reputation.

I could not wait to get my Command. (I cut my hair real short as a expression of freedom!) I looked forward to having some autonomy to do my job to the best of my ability without worrying about fragile egos. Like many co-pilots, I had been in some pretty uncomfortable cockpits and was mindfully certain to never let that happen in mine.

Ready for the responsibilty.

I was oblivious to how I was seen by others, though. I lived in this fantastical universe with my own alternate reality which left me disconnected from the rest of the world. (That was my coping mechanism I referred to in PART-I). I was good at what I did and I imagined that should be the only thing that mattered. Well, as I discovered, I imagined wrong.

After several years of command experience, during the assessment process for an upgrade, I was openly warned and threatened to be failed more than once by more than one person. This came as a shock as I had no idea what was brewing. An opportune moment was found to “fix” me. I was being judged on my “attitude” and not evaluated on my performance. The entire experience lasted a few weeks. It felt hostile and belittling as it was made ugly and personal.

(I was never actually failed as they would be answerable and it would raise eyebrows but they managed to break my spirit. It was abuse of power and they got away with it. I was blindsided by people I trusted and respected. That is textbook bullying but I didn’t know that then.)

The incident shattered my imagined world and left me in a dark haze. I felt debilitated, confused, angry, violated and helpless, all at once. It shook me to the core and made me question my ability and my life’s work. At the time I was unable to understand that bullies react from envy, insecurity and threat which says more about them than me. It was the lowest point in my life.

The thing about lowest point is that it is also a staring point. As Malcolm Gladwell would say, “The Tipping Point”. It was the starting point of my inner growth. My growth as an individual, a woman, Captain, trainer, mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend. I started to take a deeper look within.

I may have been an early bloomer but I only started to truly blossom well into my thirties. I would love to share my growth journey in PART-III Coming of Age!

Until next time…@thethinkingcaptain

In case any of you identify with what I said, read the following article. You are not alone. https://www.thefemalelead.com/post/how-to-deal-with-workplace-bullying

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/thefemalelead_when-women-are-described-as-bossy-aggressive-activity-6737785612125904896-Chk_

40 thoughts on “Have You Ever Been Bullied? Part II-Adulthood

  1. Your journey resonates we ith mine in many ways! Loved how you have sembled it all together.
    Just when we think we know a bit about life, along comes another lesson.
    Lovely read. Wish you the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

    I am sure a lot of pilots will relate to your stories. Bullying , ‘uncomfortable’ cockpits.

    Also liked what you wrote, Lowest point and the starting point which actually is , in the curve.

    In AI , getting away is many a times so easy.

    Good day Ma’am.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. πŸ‘ I do understand fully. Best thing is you came out of it with flying colours and are now able write and tell others…
    God bless you.
    Tappu chacha.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wowwww, bullying at work, specially in aviation is something ppl don’t talk about, since most of the assessments are based on evaluation by individual examiners. Kudos to your openness and expressing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Vimal. I know that you have been in this business for decades and are aware of the power play. But the truth is that this goes beyond one company and one profession. Your thoughts?

      Like

  5. Nice readπŸ‘πŸΌ some of it resonates ….as I have also had to put up with some bullying at work. ….In hindsight when I look back I could have dealt with it a lot better….. but I guess that wisdom comes with age, experience, maturity and confidence in your own capabilities. …Agree wholeheartedly that the lowest point is also the starting point 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Red Bull ! I like that !
    Yes I can too imagine the level and severity of abuse through power !!
    Seen , its curves in all forms and well camouflaged, not knowing where and where it may strike !
    Well my dear we have lived through it and Iam glad you voice it out here and share your thoughts.
    All I can say we ended up being better pilots and even better humans !
    God speed !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TouchΓ¨. I’m so proud of you for recognizing that it’s beyond one company and one profession. Better humans, yes.
      I’m so thrilled you like the RedBull. It best expressed my feeling!!

      Like

  7. Thank you for sharing your experience with the world Geetanjali… I’m sure many out there, would not know what hit them in life until it really does and gives them a reality check. You’ve surely helped show a way, that enables many to look beyond and find courage to get up, if one falls!
    Kudos Captain!! Well written and more power to you.
    Looking forward to your next …. πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! That’s a loaded compliment. Yes, you are right. Pay it forward is my philosophy. Spreading awareness is the goal and it is a slow process. We all experiences, good and bad. It’s worth taking about it.

      Like

    2. First of all, let me tell you, I love being called Geetanjali by you. The customary ‘di’ is so dated.

      Secondly, you echo my emotions to the point. It is for a higher purpose. Not to turn heads or play victim. Simply to comfort and say it’s ok. Shit happens and you will be fine!

      Thirdly, thank you thank you thank you. For reading and taking the time to give feedback. Love it

      Like

  8. Geetanjali, thank you for sharing your experience even though it, probably, meant revisiting not so pleasant memories! Kudos for coming out strong and using your experience to help others πŸ€— because unfortunately bullying is more common than we think.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kudos Khaddy for sharing what a lot of people would not share and β€˜flying’ out of it stronger. Love these reads! Also, had no idea you shared a dorm with seniors when you were in 6th grade cause you met the height requirement πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was in Meera house. Some bizarre logic. It was horrifying. It was segregation at it’s worst. Thanks for reading and acknowledging. I never thought I will be able to write about these things before.

      Like

  10. Geetanjali, thanks for sharing your experience, even though it probably meant revisiting not so pleasant memories. Kudos for coming out strong and using your experience to help others because bullying is, definitely, more prevalent than we’d like to think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you every bit. It is widespread. Can be found in all ages, gender, workplace, playground or home. We need to recognize it first. Thanks for being persistent and giving me feedback.

      Like

    1. Thank you , Aunty. Happy to say it is now a part of system. To be able to share from a place of empowerment rather than victimhood is my achievement. Thank you for your loving words. You are awesome.

      Like

  11. So well written di.. thats what we learn in hostel lives, never to give up..
    Love that part where its called the tipping point since it is going to turn around and go back high into the skies
    Wishing you only the best always!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We’ve all gone through this, man or woman. Had no idea you shared a dorm with the 6th std, didn’t know such a situation existed, kudos Captain.
    Knowing someone as strong as you can also be made vulnerable, let’s your readers know that they are not the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You read more than just my words, Aditi. Thank you for the compassion. I feel your emotion and not being able to fathom the dorm situation. I had no idea what or how to be among these senior girls. It was horrifying.

      Like

Comments are closed.