Is Your Pattern Of Bad Relationships And Job Problems Really Just Yours?

It is prudent to look around at the culture one lives in objectively if one wants to figure out what's going on with their life and relationships.

If the culture is racist, then the people in the culture are likely going to treat one person better or worse than another based purely on their race. Negative treatment may be due to fear, or it may be due to bigotry, or it may be the way a person was brought up (conditioned). But the fact remains that if the region is racist, then some people will get treated better and some will get treated worse.

If the culture is sexist, then the people in the culture are likely going to treat one person with respect, or EXTRA respect, and another will get treated without respect, or with less.
One person will be praised, helped, and given resources, and another will be ignored, "shut down", insulted, belittled, dismissed, made 'smaller' and 'weaker', and kept from resources. 

If the culture has one bigotry, then it usually has the others as well.
Bigotry and bias are not about specific physical characteristics, they're about insecurity and domination issues.
Bigots will FIND an excuse to target individuals; for example if there's no women around, then MEN will be targeted, using body size, finances, etc. as an excuse,
If it's only women in the group, then certain women will be singled out and targeted for disrespect.

Bigotry in a culture means that there IS BIGOTRY in SOME OF THE PEOPLE in the culture, and it's being practiced, so there WILL BE certain people who are treated with EXTRA "respect", and certain people who are treated with LESS "respect", by many of the people in the region.
People in a given culture will either REJECT bigotry, or they'll allow it, and many often end up going along with it after a while.

Find out if there is bigotry, and what the bigotry is in the culture by observing others objectively.
WHO do people talk about with contempt?
Black men? White men? Blond women? Asians?
WHO do people GREET with a SMILE and a handshake, and who do they seem to barely acknowledge?

WHO do people LISTEN TO when they TALK, or tell stories, or give opinions or information?
And WHO do they tend to interrupt, ignore, argue with, "correct", or "shut down"?

WHO gets to be "in charge" of random things, and WHO gets treated like they need ASSISTANCE and advice with everything?

and WHO is ignored, criticized, made fun of, and gets left out often?

Bigotry in a culture reveals itself when it's observed, very plainly. 

So if a person finds that they keep getting treated with disrespect by the people around them in different groups, or if they find that they keep having romantic relationship troubles, if they keep getting passed over for promotions, or ignored and disrespected no matter how hard they work or how talented they are, or how they dress, it can be a valuable practice to LOOK AROUND more closely at the underlying prejudices and biases in the area.
It might CLARIFY what's really going on.

Don't rule out biases that aren't obvious; for example, not having the same "look" as others (hair, makeup, clothes, shoes), being short, being of a different ancestry but the same "race", having a different hair color, etc.
(A woman I know was rejected from a local church because she and her husband were not from the "right" European countries. ~Another person I knew was told to "go back where she came from" when she started work in the neighboring town, by people who were of the same ancestry.)

Realizing that it's NOT PERSONAL, that we're being treated poorly because of OTHER PEOPLE'S PREJUDICE AND BIAS ISSUES can be very freeing. We can take the "personal" element out of it, and be assured that it's not "us", it's "them".
We can make better decisions and plans when we have more information.

For example: Jackie Robinson, the baseball player, KNEW the difference between being rejected by others because of his PERSONALITY, like they just didn't like HIM, as a person, and being rejected by certain others because they had prejudice issues toward people of his ancestry. 
He was rejected over and over and treated like crap, but he knew it was because of bigotry, OTHER people's issues. NOT because he was some kind of bad person who was unlikeable, or unworthy, or untalented, etc.

There is a HUGE difference between being rejected and disrespected because of bigotry, and being rejected and disrespected because of one's personality or capability.
Each affects one's self-esteem, confidence, and spirit in profoundly different ways.
Jackie Robinson found the strength and confidence to STAY, and keep going, and so did many others, and that may have been due to the fact that they grasped the nature and dynamics of bias and bigotry.

When you know you're getting treated like crap for bigotry and bias reasons, it takes much of the burden of doubt, shame, and fear away that we often have when we think it's because of who we are as an individual person. When it's bias and bigotry, it's NOT about "us", it's about "them".

The female auto-mechanic who got fired from three different shops never made one serious mistake, but she was told that her personality was abrasive, and that she slowed the shop down because she couldn't work fast enough. At first she believed them, and her self-esteem took a nosedive. She thought "I'm a bad person, I'm annoying, I can't make friends, no one likes me", and she thought "I can't work any faster, I'm a failure, I'll never be able to keep up." But then she overheard her ex-boss talking about her with another mechanic... and she found out they had been setting her up, and that the thing about her personality was just to add "weight" to the excuses to fire her. Then she heard him say "Chicks just don't belong in a &&^%$ Garage, they belong filing and making coffee". They had FIRED her, compromised her LIVELIHOOD and her life because of THEIR bigotry issues. She didn't press charges, she didn't do anything to retaliate, she just got another job. After she got the job, she told the new boss that she knew all about the bigotry crap in the other shops, and she told her lawyer as well. It never happened again. Before she knew it was bigotry, she really believed that it was HER, and that she might really be a bad person and a failure; she was about to give up. After she found out what was really going on, her confidence came back and she took control of the situation.
In another situation, a person might decide to move away and find a better place to live and prosper.

Even people who aren't "bigots" are usually affected by whatever the general cultural biases are in their area. AND, even people who are members of an "oppressed" group can be riddled with biases and prejudices as well, even the same ones as the rest of the region.
So it can be a kind of accepted cultural habit that few seem to be consciously aware of.
(BUT, if you talk about it, they all get really defensive...) 

OF COURSE, we are each and all responsible for our OWN behavior and actions, and sometimes it IS "US". There might be bigotry in the region, AND we might be acting like a jerk, or acting irresponsibly. Some people like to blame everything on other people, and deny responsibility for their own behavior.
When we practice genuine objectivity, we can observe BOTH ourselves AND our culture, and find ways to improve both.  

Nobody's Perfect ~ Solace Or Excuse?

"No one is perfect."
This popular phrase can reflect either empathy or narcissism, depending on the point of view and motive for the person who is using it.
When spoken about another person who has made an error in judgment, or done something hurtful or painful toward another, it can be an expression of sympathy and understanding for a person's "human condition" of imperfection, frequent mistakes, and emotional reactiveness. All of us are under that umbrella.
However when spoken about one's self, it MAY be about cutting one's self "slack", or not being so hard on ourselves. That's healthy, of course; demanding perfection from ourselves and judging ourselves harshly is not healthy.
But it can also be spoken in defense of one's actions and behaviors, in order to justify or excuse an offense one has committed.This is when the phrase is incorporated into Narcissism.

So, Sarah backs into Darlene's new car and breaks a tail light, makes a dent, scrapes some paint.

DARLENE says "Well, nobody's perfect!" and they exchange insurance cards and phone numbers. Darlene is empathizing and sympathizing with Sarah's human condition of being prone to mistakes and errors. She helps diffuse the tension, Sarah's embarrassment, and what could have been a terribly stressful incident.

During the same incident, SARAH says, only to herself, "Well, nobody's perfect." She gets out of the car, apologizes to Darlene, and they exchange insurance cards and phone numbers. Sarah is sympathizing with her own human condition and calming her own harsh judgment toward herself, diffusing her anxiety, but she's not making excuses or justifications for her error; she took responsibility for her mistake and was respectful and courteous about it.

Same incident again, but this time Darlene is visibly shaken up, the crash scared her, and she gets out of the car and runs around to look at the damage. Sarah gets out ALREADY in "defensive mode" before Darlene says a single word.
Sarah spits out in a hostile tone "Nobody's perfect!!!"
She does not apologize to Darlene, and she reacts to Darlene's FEAR and ANXIETY as if Darlene is JUDGING and ATTACKING HER.
When Darlene starts to display some anger because of Sarah's rude and blame-avoiding behavior, Sarah repeats the phrase again as if it's a defense... "What's your problem! Nobody's perfect!!!" 
On the phone with her brother, Sarah repeats it a third time, recounting her version of the incident to him in a defensive tone. "I mean really! Nobody's perfect!!!"

Needs, Space, And Respect

There is a huge difference between expressing one's own needs, and demanding that another person fulfills those needs.
All healthy relationships have everyone's well-being to the fore, so ongoing compromise and negotiation always exists.
For example, Jess needs to sleep later in the morning because she stays up late for work, but Jerry gets up at 7 a.m. for work. Those are NEEDS, and each should honor the other. Jess works at home, Jerry works outside the home. So, Jess needs to be quiet and make sure not to wake Jerry up at night after he goes to sleep, and Jerry needs to be quiet and not wake Jess up in the morning while he's getting ready for work.
Jerry respects Jess's privacy and need for peace in order to concentrate while she works, so he doesn't make noise, interrupt her, or bother her with non-emergencies, or try to make her "feel bad" for not doing other things since she's in the house. 
Jess respects Jerry's need for leaving the house on time in the morning, and respects him while he's at work, not calling and bothering him all the time with non-emergencies.
They BOTH keep contact with the other during their respective work times, and maintain their connection in a PLEASANT way.
Very simple, no drama required.
There is no reason for Jess to sacrifice her work or her sleep FOR JERRY, and Jerry does not need to sacrifice his work or his sleep for Jess.  
When there are child care issues, events, celebrations, or problems or crisis, if BOTH Jess and Jerry actually RESPECT the other, for real, they will both WANT the other one to keep their needs as fulfilled as possible in figuring out how to handle whatever has come up.
Neither one of them, IF there was genuine RESPECT and care, would want the OTHER one to  SACRIFICE their needs (or comfort), or to make more sacrifice or effort than themselves.

There is a huge difference between enforcing one's own boundaries, and expanding one's "self" to invade another person's boundaries and space. 
For example, when Jess expands her business into wood-carving, she discusses with Jerry (who owns the home equally) where to set up "Shop", and how much space she would need, and how that would affect Jerry's space and freedom of movement in the home.
She doesn't ASK JERRY FOR PERMISSION, OR TO MAKE THE DECISION, she ASKS for his INPUT, and how much space he would be comfortable with converting to a "Shop". Nor does she just TAKE the garage or the basement "over", and just say "WELL THIS IS IMPORTANT, IT'S BUSINESS, THIS IS WHAT I NEED, YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT". Nor does she EXCLUDE Jerry, like he's an "outsider". She doesn't create a Clique of wood-carvers that excludes Jerry. And she doesn't try to DISMISS Jerry's interest or skill in wood-carving, or his input, in order to feel superior to him.
Jerry RESPECTS that this is JESS'S idea and project; SHE is the "leader", he is NOT the "leader". He doesn't try to take over, criticize her, give her unsolicited advice, or try to "show off" with any bits of skill or knowledge he might have about wood-carving.
When Jess asks Jerry for help, he respectfully helps her in the way that she ASKED HIM for help if he is able, (as long as she asks politely); he doesn't take it as an OPPORTUNITY to assert control, power, or authority, or to use it as a way to make himself be superior to her somehow.

By the same token, when Jerry starts a band, he doesn't just "Take Over" the garage or the basement, and he doesn't make it into some kind of Clique that excludes Jess.
He doesn't make it a "guy thing" in order to have an excuse to exclude Jess, nor does he allow other band members to create a Hostile Environment to make Jess uncomfortable and feel unwelcome.
He INCLUDES Jess, respects her musical interest, talent and ability, respects her as a PERSON, expects other musicians to respect her as not only a PEER, but also as HIS FRIEND/partner, and also as the owner of the house. He does not "break house rules" in order to look "cool" and to paint Jess as his "strict MOM" who has "strict rules" that he pretends not to agree with when other people are around. When Jerry asks Jess for help, she helps him in the way that he ASKED HER for help if she is able (as long as he asks her politely); she doesn't take it as an OPPORTUNITY to assert control, power, or authority, or to use it as a way to make herself be superior somehow.

Both Jess and Jerry are RESPECTFUL toward other people who are involved in each of their projects, and both Jess and Jerry are RESPECTFUL TOWARD EACH OTHER, and expect the other people who are involved to BE RESPECTFUL TOWARD THE OTHER ONE.

NONE of these things are AT ALL DIFFICULT for those who actually respect and care about their friends, partners, roommates, family members, coworkers, or fellow citizens.
In fact, it's EASY, and "second-nature".

Drama is created when one person expects to be treated with ENTITLEMENT over others, when a person does not RESPECT the well-being or needs of another, when people have weak boundaries, envy, resentment, identity, ego, and control issues, and when people are trying to create and enforce unnecessary and melodramatic "HIERARCHY".

Rejection From Abusers... Not A "Bad" Thing...

Remember, when a Narcissist or just a garden-variety abuser or manipulator rejects another person, they're not rejecting the person because they're "not good enough" as a Human Being. They're rejecting the person because they don't give them some specific thing they're trying to get.
They're like miners who are after Silver, and are too ignorant to realize that the "empty mine" they're abandoning is covered with Gold. They don't know what it looks like, they have "Silver" on the brain so they plow right through chunks of yellowish, weird stuff mixed in with the rocks and dirt.
They don't know what those crystal-like rocks are, either... so they throw them in the gravel pile... Those diamonds might be very grateful that they're being "left behind" by those Silver hounds, only a real Gem artist knows how to properly care for such precious stones.