Ego, Memory Lapse, and Ownership

An intriguing, and also often aggravating, thing that some people do on a regular basis is claiming ownership of ideas, knowledge, and things.

A very common example is when a person learns how to do something, and then treats others as if they are stupid or ignorant because they have not learned how to do that yet. As if the knowledge they have...
acquired is innate, they were born knowing it.

People who do this also tend to do something else: they want to be the "One Who Knows", as if the knowledge is a solid object that only one person can own. They will often treat certain others as if they do NOT KNOW what THEY know~ they couldn't possibly... (If they know how to run a machine, you don't. Because in their minds, the knowledge to run the machine is like a stone held in your hand. Only one person can hold a stone. If they are holding it, you can't be holding it.)

I have run into this on a regular basis in the building trades. It looks like sexism, and it is to some extent, but it's not really about that. It's about the individual's ego. "I know something that makes me special" or "I know something that proves I am one of the Men" is very common, and obviously an issue from childhood that was not grown out of. "Masculine knowledge" does not exist in reality; all knowledge can be learned by anyone who wants to learn it. But the sexism is just a symptom; the men who keep trying to prove that a woman does not know what they know ALSO do this to other men, based on any kind of superiority/inferiority issue.

As a personal example, probably the most poignant one I can remember was: a male friend who does manual labor for carpenters part time (he has a full time office job) explained to me for literally 2 hours how he dug holes for footings of a deck, and how much work that was, how much dirt was moved, and how it takes a long time, how difficult, what it was for, etc etc etc, (something he had done the previous summer), and how NO ONE UNDERSTOOD HOW MUCH WORK IT WAS. Why was that poignant? Because he was telling ME all this, as if I had no idea about digging footings, or building decks. That same day I had LITERALLY left work, taken a shower and drove out to meet him~ the shower was to wash off dirt and sweat from DIGGING FOOTING HOLES all day, manually; it was the fourth day of it; I had to dig them manually because of the location, and they had to be extra deep, and the dirt had to be moved up a hill... for MY CONTRACTING BUSINESS. My friend actually interrupted, dismissed, and ignored me every single time I started to explain that yes, I could relate to the difficulty of digging footing holes...
Another glaring example: One day my partner, my employee and I were looking at a kitchen remodel, where the closet wall had to be reconfigured. I assessed it and explained in detail what I thought we needed to do to achieve the goal. The two men were silent until I finished. My partner then proceeded to repeat exactly what I had just said, nearly word for word, explaining it as if he had thought of it completely himself. My employee just stared in surprise~ I said "That's what I just said" my partner said "No you didn't~" my employee said "YES, she DID." That kind of thing happened OFTEN, with lots of different people, in various scenarios.

There are plenty of women who do this as well, especially with things that bolster their identity as a "Woman", just like when men do it. If one of these women knows a recipe, she often convinces herself, and everyone else, that she is the only one who can make that dish, or make it well. This woman often is the "only one who knows how to do the laundry", as if this knowledge is innate. Exactly like the man who believe they are the "only one who knows how to use the chopsaw". This woman is also the Authority On Child Rearing, she is the Only One who know how to wash a baby, how to make bottles, how to hold a baby, how to dress a child, how to discipline a child. How to make a bed. How to vacuum, how to mop, how to fold towels, how to do secretarial tasks. Anything that she knows how to do, especially if it can be labeled "Feminine", she is the authority, and she will condescend to women when she can get away with it. Exactly like this same man will condescend to other men when they can get away with it.

They seem to completely forget LEARNING how to do things. They were simply born knowing everything they know, and they would rather not have someone else share this knowledge.

You can also see this same behavior with THINGS. with many of these same people. If they receive something they like as a gift from you, they often convince themselves that they are the one who acquired the thing all on their own. Sometimes they will even invent a story about acquiring it. If you let them borrow or use your equipment, they often come to believe that it belongs to THEM. They simply forget or delete that the thing is yours. (How many CDs have you lost to this?) I have lost thousands of dollars of tools and equipment over the years to this.

I have also lent things to others who not only decided that it was their own, but "forgot" that I was the one who showed them the thing in the first place, and even that I had any interest or experience in the subject. They completely convinced themselves that they were the one who discovered whatever the interest was, and then proceeded to behave toward me as if I had no knowledge, interest, or experience in the subject at all. They literally have to "Own" EVERYTHING that is in their possession, or in their heads, and they seem to completely delete anything that is related to you giving them the thing, or you doing the thing, or you knowing about the thing.

These men and women will DELETE anything that shows what they believe isn't right in their heads. BOTH men and women who do this also go along very much with gender roles and sexist sabotage; it makes it much easier for them to "Own" knowledge and things in their fantasies. BOTH males and females will dismiss men who are regular cooks in the home, who are the main child-caregiver, male nurses, stay-at-home-fathers, etc, and will dismiss female auto mechanics, politicians, doctors, carpenters, engineers. If something has a "male" or "female" connotation to it in their heads, they will dismiss a person who is not the right sex, and will deny that they could POSSIBLY have any "real" knowledge, skill or experience.