I'm the youngest ("the baby") of a big family of mainly girls, and, despite being in my 60s, still find myself being treated as such by my "big sisters". I was brought up not to stand up for myself, being "put-down" quite a bit; I still am, then get furious afterwards
I've done assertiveness training, but it was very much "theory" with no chance to practise - bit like passing the driving theory test, it doesn't help when you're actually trying to drive the damn car!
A couple of examples very recently. One of my "big sisters" rang me Christmas Day - convo went okay, then I said something about "Well, if X happens, I've got a back-up plan, and i'll just do Y and have a sherry whilst it's cooking." "Not too much sherry!" admonishes Big Sister - I hardly ever drink and even then very little - i am NOT an alcoholic!!!
Then, we got talking about the play "Warhorse" - I'd seen the film, but said i would love to see the stage play. We agreed that it was a) booked up ages in advance and b) very expensive, and i mentioned, ironically, that the Queen loved it, and that she obviously had NO trouble getting tickets. Big Sister immediately "went into one" - well, she's the Queen, she deserves something, what are you going to do, put her in a one-bedroom council flat and just wheel her out on State occasions!" Now, I don't want to get into a monarchist-republican debate - I'm generally in favour of the monarchy (I think the Queen does a very good job, and I also think she and her family are very well paid for it ) - BUT - why couldn't I
a) Point out to her that telling a 63 year old how much sherry she can drink is offensive and patronising;
b) Tell her that accusing me of wanting to kick the Queen out of Buck House, because of an off the cuff remark about privilege, was TOTALLY OTT and unjustified!!
I know these are small matters in the great scheme of things, but they ARE symptomatic; I think of wonderful retorts afterwards, but never at the time, then "mull" over it for days! Whilst it's worst with my "Big Sisters", it does flow over into other areas - and, if I'm honest, didn't do my career any good either.
Frankly, and forgive the language, I'm totally p@ssed off with being disrespected, patronised - AND even more, with myself for letting it happen
Love and Happy New Year to come