OVERBEARING: dominating or dictatorial

This shouldn’t be a long posting today.  I doubt that there are many people “out there” who can’t identify with this term, overbearing.  It has to do with someone being overwhelmingly “on top of you” in the sense of being dictatorial, relentless, and generally a pain in the neck.  Is there anybody who has never experienced this?

A person who is overbearing is so focused upon [himself] that he believes that he is always right, has all the answers, has the right to set all standards, and that you and everyone else are “less” than him.  He may be a boss, a parent, an officer of the law, a military drill sergeant, a teacher, a coach, or…you name it.   In each of these (and other roles) a person believes that [he] has been given the right to intimidate, humiliate, and demean.   Rules are solely at his discretion.

The idea that there is only one way of doing something (obviously his way) defies all common sense.

I worked for a man once (summers during college) who ran a business which he had imagined, developed, and run with precision.   There were tiny little rules for everything, and he expected them to be followed to the extreme.  Any variation from them was considered an indiscretion and the employee was subject to dismissal.    He was never blustery or loud, just clear.   His overbearing quality was intimidation, and he could do it in a quiet way, but a way that you could not ignore.

What is interesting is to discover now, many years later, that he was right about most of his rules.   My respect for him has grown over the years as I have discovered this truth.   For instance, one thing he demanded was that you never force a piece of equipment, whether it be a sticky drawer or a belligerent screw.   Applying the correct level of pressure and using common sense would always solve the problem without jamming it, shoving it, pounding on it, or straining it.  It was infuriating when something would jam and, for the life of me, I couldn’t budge it.  But his principle became operative…because he demanded it.   And, sure enough, it eventually unjammed and the machine went back to work.  Infuriating!

So overbearing is a quality that frustrates us, and, in many cases, is overdone.   But there’s a lesson to be learned that there may be something redeeming in the person who makes you so angry.

Am I getting soft in my old age?  Probably.


Cartoon Credit: Dennis Kendrick










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