Several years ago a not-too-young woman applied to the office for work as Front Desk Reception. Observing females very nearly winced - while astonished men ogled. Even the bossman shuddered!
This individual offered excellent credentials and verifiable references, a pleasant outgoing personality and quick mind. Her application was, predictab declined.
Others who were already acquainted weren’t concerned…she would likely shrug it off casually and counsel herself that a better opportunity would come along anyway.
Quite recently I had occasion to sit next to this same woman at an adult meeting of like-minded people who share personal concerns and seek solutions to the various quandaries they find challenging. Of course I spoke immediately, so as to make her feel welcome, and in return felt her hand slip around mine with relief. Outwardly, as do most people from time to time, she appeared calm and collected in the face of personal adversity – but her hands shook like a tiny leaf and were ice-cold.
The moments passed and the meeting moved into full discussion, I realized with admiration, that the self-absorbed and apparently insular persona which felt almost discomforting was, in actuality, an insulating mechanism to deflect rather than attract personal involvement.
As time passes and more self assurance develops through learning the coping skills she needs in providing care to her parent, this lady will blossom as her strengths are identified and capabilities grow.