Nail In The Coffin – But Whose Coffin?

Quite a lot has happened since I’ve last been on here.  I’ve wanted, many times, to come and write…But I’ve inevitably been so tired that I just end up falling asleep before I get the chance to get any thoughts out.  I’ve struggled with medical issues that continue to plague me.

But that’s not what brings me here tonight.

My job….Isn’t it pathetic that out of everything we as humans (or, we Americans…) can experience and do with our lives, our jobs have the ability to either make or break us?  How wonderful the world would be if we could all seek the knowledge we desire without financial barriers, to discover other cultures, to all learn how similar we are no matter our differences.

I’ve learned in my time now that I can see the best and the worst of people when I work with them.  I’m sure that’s the same of most professions.  How can you not get to know people so intimately, spending 40 hours a week with them?  However, there is something…disturbing to me about my boss, who began his position as director of our office in March.  From our first sit down during his initial week in the office, despite the outward appearance of collegiality, we clashed.  I do not know why.  This is truly not a case of my inability to see how I come across; I have had others confirm that it does seem like my boss doesn’t like me, no matter how kind, courteous, efficient, helpful, or any other adjective I am to him.

Here’s the kicker.

In a conversation with one of my colleagues, who happens to be my closest friend and the only friend who knows the deepest secrets of my past, he said some disturbing things.  He told her about his abusive past, which he’d mentioned before in a way to give context to how he sometimes doesn’t pick up on emotions very well.  He then told her that he “saw me coming from a mile away.”  He told her he could tell I’d been abused.

At that point in time, I’d had ONE conversation with the man.  How the FUCK could he know that.

It gets worse.

In another conversation with him, he was trying to “flatter” me into being willing to become a glorified secretary because that position was cut from our office budget.  My position is so many steps above that it’s not even funny….He has an illusion that he can move someone (me) into that position while retaining my current title.  While attempting flattery….or intimidation…. he commented how well I work with students.  He said it’s something that can’t be taught and that some of it’s natural, some of it’s training, and, of course, some of it’s from my background.

I was totally “there” and “present” during that meeting but for a second I just receded back into myself and started asking, what did he just say?  I wanted to verbally ask, “…And what background would that be?”  But I had lost my nerve.  With that one word, he took all of the gusto out of me.  And he knew it.

He had all the power.  With one word. One reference.

So, after a few other awful things happened in our office to me and to other people, we’ve finally had enough.  We went to the Equity office and Human Resources.  They are conducting an investigation, handled personally by their director.  I’ve already had two sit downs with them.  They’ve pulled in my direct supervisor as well as at least 6 other people from my office.  Yet, during my two sit downs, I couldn’t bring myself to mention his comments about my past.  Believe me, I had plenty of other problems to talk about….But I couldn’t do it.

Until today, when I saw how, over the past few days, he’s still been threatening good people with termination with no cause as if nothing is happening and ignoring the entire office except those who flatter him or get in his way.  So, I decided that I wanted to add a little fuel to the fire.  Perhaps put a nail in the coffin…..I don’t know.  I hope HR is preparing one for him.  But just in case, I’m going in to HR again, tomorrow, to tell them about what my boss “knows”….or thinks he knows.

I’m not a particularly good Christian. I rarely pray, and when I do, it’s pathetic.  Most Christians would probably listen to my views on God and religion and laugh and say I’m going to Hell…But no matter.

I need something tonight.  Prayer.  Karma.  Luck.  Because I’m about to tell someone (HR) about my past, who is then going to share it with someone else and then someone else.  The group of people who know is extremely small.  The amount of people who believe me?  Even smaller.  And, oh yeah….I can’t remember what I’ve put on here and what I haven’t, but my mother knows, or knew.  She’s decided she doesn’t think anything happened now. So count her in the group that doesn’t believe.  Super helpful.

But my boss could see me coming from a mile away.  What is this world that I live in?  How will I ever come to terms with this?  Even when I don’t share anything, my past comes up and haunts me.  Even when I don’t believe my past anymore, something comes up and haunts me again.  I will never be free of this, will I?




3 thoughts on “Nail In The Coffin – But Whose Coffin?

  1. (((Kashley)))) It’s good to hear from you. I am sorry for the situation you find yourself in. Your boss sounds so creepy. Someone with that kind of instinct for someone who has been deeply wounded, but who’s response is to exploit it, is an abuser. I think you are making the right decision to go to HR and tell them about his comments.

    I know that someone perceiving that you have been abused on so little contact can call forth feelings of being somehow obviously damaged but that is not the truth. The truth is that long term childhood abuse deeply shapes the person we become and there are some broad patterns of behavior that manifest. Because I was abused, I have a very strong instinct for identifying another abuse victim (for one thing, they are people I’m drawn to and who are drawn to me. I was amazed after I recovered my memories when I realized how many of my closest friends had abuse, or neglect, or an alcoholic parent in their background). It usually takes me from one to three posts on Psychcafe to identify an abuse victim and a number of times I have done so years before they themselves remembered. But here’s the difference. That is their knowledge and I have no right to express my beliefs even to them (ESPECIALLY if they have not yet remembered. It’s hard enough to believe yourself when the realization comes from within). And I certainly wouldn’t say anything to a co-worker. That is not the kind of confidence you force or even seek out. You only make yourself available if someone chooses to speak.

    I’m sorry about your mom. My mother did the same thing, told me she believed me when I told her then later decided that even though I believed I was abused, it never really happened. It was all about her protecting herself from a truth she was incapable of living with. Hell, she cut me off rather than face it. Your mother’s belief and behavior say nothing about you, only about her protecting herself at your expense.

    You will never be free of it in the sense that there will always be effects from the abuse and situations that will be more difficult for you because of your particular reactivities. But as we heal and own our stories and integrate our memories, it becomes something that may occasionally slow us down but it does not blindside us or overwhelm us. It moves into our past, part of who we are, but nowhere near the totality of who we are. You will eventually move the shame to where it belongs, to your abuser and understand that you do not have to be ashamed. You did nothing wrong. Something terrible happened to you and you have been courageous enough to face healing from it. You will also understand someday that you have strengths and insights that grew out of that healing. For me, when most people come at me, I think “please, I survived my father, how scary do you think you are?” That’s the other powerful part of going forward, you do have to sit still and silently endure whatever this man does. I will be praying for you (one bad Christian for another 🙂 ) I hope it goes well tomorrow.


  2. I remember you telling me that you recognized abuse from my posts before I even knew, AG. It’s funny now that you mention it (not funny, but you know). Another colleague of mine that I was somewhat friends with ended up disclosing that she had been abused as a child and I was not at all surprised…I’d suspected something in her past for a while.

    My meeting with HR went very well. I’m incredibly fortunate to have very compassionate colleagues in HR, and one of the two that I met with (who I’ve met with on several occasions now) disclosed today that he had a “difficult” childhood as well. They validated that I did the right thing coming to them and told me all sorts of nice things that I just have a hard time hearing.

    Just got back to work (yes, naughty me), and I can’t talk to anyone without the risk of crying even though I was pretty held together during the meeting. I’ve been doing well for so many months now – it baffles me how I can fall apart now. Well, not quite baffling…But I’m used to being able to pull up my bootstraps and moving on! Even my Klonopin isn’t helping! The shock of the meeting will pass…And we will see what repercussions follow over the next few weeks.

    Thanks for much for your never-ending support, AG. I’m a shitty person for just writing here and having people comment, and I never take the time to go and support others. I know part of it is a fear of validating any experiences I may or may not have had, but otherwise, I think it’s just shitty-ness on my part! So I’m sorry. I really hope you’ve been doing well and that BN is as wonderful to you as always. All my best to you.

  3. I’m glad it went well with HR, but curious what has happened since? I have to agree with AG that the childhood abuse deeply shapes who we are…I often wonder where I would be had it not happened. Sure I could stuff it away, like I did for a long time, and pretend my life is normal, but that dark spot always seems to be there in some form. Anyway, I’m glad you’ve shared your experience and I do so hope your boss has been let go.

    You are NOT a shitty person, by the way…far from it. You are just trying to survive and live your life. Other people’s opinions of you don’t matter anyway… Take good care of yourself and looking forward to reading more from you!

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