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I Feel Terrible for Hurting My Mentor

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Jan 14, 2018

Question

Assalamu'alaikum Wr Wb. May the counselor be blessed with so much goodness, and the About Islam Team as well. Amiin. My question is the continuation of a previous post. I feel my business partner I left after she helped me a lot is really angry to me. I feel she may be having ill feelings towards me even if she said she has already forgiven me. She doesn't reply to my texts when I inform her that her customer texted me. I feel she is avoiding me. Then I read a post on her Instagram saying “whoever doesn’t have any goodwill to support her mission, let them be.” I am really afraid it is about me. I am restless. I feel bad that I hurt her. She was my own aspiring mentor whom I look up to. But I feel there are some grey misunderstanding between us because of the angry sentences she expressed to me before. I felt they were too much. I am confused whether I should write her a clarification or an apology message to her or not. I feel our relation that had been good now is breaking apart because of misunderstandings and my mistakes for holding on my clarification weeks before when I resigned. But if I write I am so afraid that her only believe that I am too much thinking about this so she will even permanently cut off our relation. She is my mentor! She is my self-esteem door. From her, I get a role model of how a good Muslimah can grow fine and learn to be better. But we have different way of thinking. She is more logical and I am more emotional. The letter I sent may make her feel I am too much and not her type and avoid me even more. But if I don’t send the letter or recording file about the clarification and apology, I know my heart feel crippled. Like being cursed for not being able to live to the fullest because I hurt my own mentor, the person who deliver optimism and so much knowledge. The biggest reason I was resigning because I feel I can’t think clearly anymore which may harm the business process too. This makes me unfocused to do the task and the time for learning. Gaining a focused mind is so hard for me. Even if I know I have other reasons such as I envy the new recruit being more friendly with my mentor and I am afraid of being forgotten, and envy of my mentor achievement because she looks so great and real while I am even unable to focus and manage my time. I also envy my other friends, my ex-college that I do not even have bachelor degree and have amount of income and freedom as them. Sister. I feel I am cut out of optimism. Because someone who spread optimism to me is like cutting me off and dislikes me. I feel pessimistic that I can’t be a woman that can follow her great path and optimism. I can’t be so much beneficial Would you give me advise? I am feeling failing from my religion because I hurt my teacher. I am so afraid she will or has already so angry at me and finally cut me off from her string forever. I really don’t want in this world having her hate me like that.

Counselor

Answer


I Feel Terrible for Hurting My Mentor

In this counseling answer:

“Consider everything you learned from her and all the new skills and insights you gained. Write them all down. Then write down all the new things you can do, think about, create, operate, etc. as a result of your learning and application of your learning. Give yourself a chance to see all the good you have worked hard on for yourself. Then get busy finding out what’s next for you! Take that hard work and passion into a new place that suits you best where you can grow and thrive.”


As-Salamu Aleikom,

First of all, I commend you for following up and asking for more advice regarding the ongoing tension between you and your mentor.

If I can be frank with you, based on your description, your mentor doesn’t seem to be as awesome as you have described her to be. I may, of course, be misunderstanding, but hear me out.

Yes, she may have been someone to help you in tough moments, and someone who has taught you things you didn’t previously know. She also has been there to support your growth. However, it sounds like it has come at a great cost.

If she feels that she can put you down with angry texts that felt “too much” in her level of expression, blame you for using the very brain she is supposedly investing in, and ignore text messages from you and so forth, then I would be asking you to reconsider how healthy this relationship really is between the both of you.

She isn’t the source of your confidence. Allah guides you to a path of learning and mentors and after this, you do the work yourself. You do not need her to be confident or amazing. All you need is willpower, determination, and a belief in yourself. With that, you can forge your own path and find a new mentor who is consistently respectful towards you and appreciates your suggestions, constructive feedback, and independent thinking.

A mentor’s job isn’t to have a team of people they control but rather people who they bestow their experience on so that individual can become their personal best in the field.

Trust Your Own Gut

I appreciate the previous counselor’s response encouraging you to reach out and speak with your mentor. This usually solves misunderstandings between most people. This option is still available to you where you sit down face to face and speak with each other rather than relying on text messaging.

However, you resigned for a reason and it seems your gut is sending you a strong message that something isn’t right which is why you are here writing again. It shouldn’t be this hard if you are in the right place with the right people.

Taking it Down a Notch

What would happen if, instead of putting yourself down, you simply accepted that you two don’t have the right chemistry to work together for the long-term? Without needing to make the situation about her shortcomings, it could be as simple as the fact that you two aren’t a good match for a long-term mentor-mentee position.
That’s ok! Working closely with people in business is often linked to people dating (in the non-Muslim world) or getting married. You aren’t going to click with everyone. Even when a person has redeeming qualities they may not be entirely right for you at this stage of your life.

She is a mentor, but she doesn’t need to be the only mentor you have. Engaging with others, whether online, in groups, or in person would help you measure things more clearly. It would be easier to discover which elements you needed to change to improve communication and which things weren’t about you at all and beyond your control.

Change the Story You Are Telling

Up till now, I read a lot of self-blame and self-criticism. Why can’t you be the person to learn from this woman and be on her team?

You are who you are. While you should always be looking for ways to improve yourself, especially when working with others, you shouldn’t feel like you need to apologize for being a feeling person, or an invested person in her projects of the team goals.

It’s time to be fair to yourself and give a fair assessment of what it’s really like working with your mentor. Say it like it is, at least to yourself, and accept the truth.

She can still be wonderful in a hundred ways and extremely difficult to work with at the same time. A person can be a genius at their craft but treat others terribly. It’s not your fault that she handles stress or any other situation in the ways that she does.

Giving Shouldn’t Have Strings

When someone has done favors for you, as you’ve suggested, they shouldn’t come with strings attached. If I do you a favor and then demand or expect something from you, whether compliance, obedience, or control in any way, I haven’t really given you a gift.

If she did good things for you, then thank Allah and make du’aa’ for her. From there you can determine how you want to create closure moving forward. If you’d like, write a letter thanking her for her good deeds she did for you and thanking her for the mentorship she provided. Let her know that you wish the best for her and her work and to forgive you for any offenses or shortcomings of your own. This would be great.

But if the letter is an emotional outpour in a final attempt to gain her approval, I’d encourage you to write it but never send it
. Get it off your chest but resist giving another person that much power over your emotional well-being, optimism, and confidence.

Additional Action to Take:

Consider everything you learned from her and all the new skills and insights you gained. Write them all down. Then write down all the new things you can do, think about, create, operate, etc. as a result of your learning and application of your learning.

Give yourself a chance to see all the good you have worked hard on for yourself.

Then get busy finding out what’s next for you! Take that hard work and passion into a new place that suits you best where you can grow and thrive.

Salam,

Here is the answer for the questioner’s previous answer

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Megan Wyatt

Megan Wyatt is the founder of Wives of Jannah (http://wivesofjannah.com/) where she offers training programs, live workshops, and relationship coaching for wives and couples. She is a certified Strategic Intervention coach with specialized certifications for working with women and marital relationships and has been coaching and mentoring Muslims globally since 2008. She shares her passion for Islamic personal development in her Passionate Imperfectionist community (https://www.facebook.com/CoachMeganWyatt/). She is a wife and homeschooling mother with four children residing in Southern California.

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