Work is making me frantic with anxiety at the moment. It is maybe all about this boss, M. I’ve always wanted him to like me. And he did, to start, it seemed. He was nice to me, niceish. He seemed to value my opinion. He included me a bit. Not a lot, it was nothing major, but it meant a lot to me. I’d had such a bad boss experience in my last contract. And this guy is intelligent, personable, friendly, good with his staff, super competent. This isn’t romantic by the way. He’s not especially good looking, he’s partnered up, I assume living with some nice man in the west end.

Now M has changed. He seems to avoid me, he won’t meet my eyes, he doesn’t listen when I say anything. We never had a lot of interaction, but what we had was positive, and now it’s not. OK, people are weird, people change. I should not let it bother me like this. But I do. I’ve been super anxious, trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong. Maybe it’s something with the project – my writing, or the timelines. Or what? I actually assumed it was something to do with my work – but now I wonder. It’s hard to say.

It’s hit me so hard today and yesterday. As if his changeableness put me in some kind of danger. Which it really doesn’t.

Tonight I’ve a new worry – what if he thinks I’ve fallen for him? That would be embarrassing. We did have this meeting where I had bad anxiety – my voice shook a bit. Stupid. Maybe I need to be taking meds before meetings, the way I used to. It’s social anxiety, paired with being new and not knowing the subject well, paired with basically disagreeing with their approach but not feeling able to say so. It’s not love. For some reason, this man’s good opinion matters too much to me, but the reason is not romantic.

I’m also not fitting in well at work. I’m still struggling with talking to people, though I chat a bit. I worry what they think of me. Some of my anxiety is down to that – I’m spending the days alone, in a corporation, and it is anxiety provoking.

I’ve written to Ron about this, but he hasn’t replied yet. I think he will reply.

Work is hard. People are difficult.

  1. That’s so hard, when people’s whole attitude toward you seems to change, and it’s impossible to know why it happened. It must trigger so many feelings from when your dad stopped speaking to you–and then it was kind of a life or death thing, because you really need your parents, even if you aren’t little and totally dependent on them anymore.

    Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, that’s it. It’s triggering of my past relationship to my dad. That’s insightful. Something that’s not that pleasant, but not disastrous, becomes a disaster in my mind. Thanks Ashana.

      • It was a disaster when you were a teen to be totally rejected by your father. 😦

        • Ellen said:

          Yeah, I guess it was. I’m just starting to feel it, and it was pretty bad.

          • Aside from being a child still and being powerless in their house–you can’t even choose to avoid people who aren’t nice to you and make you feel bad–I would imagine there is a very significant component of grief, that his silent treatment meant there was just no relationship anymore. It was never a great relationship, but you had a father. A father who won’t talk to you is not a father anymore. And you had no support or understanding to help you with the grief. It was just this awful thing you had to deal with all the time. Was it like that?

            I’m so sorry.

            • Ellen said:

              Yes, something like that I think. I don’t remember feeling grief, but I think I dissociated it. I remember feeling depressed most of the time, but couldn’t give a good reason. I did feel teary reading what you had to say about it. It’s something that’s difficult to talk about, because it’s not obvious abuse to most people, the way beatings or SA is. No therapist I ever saw, before Ron, ever made much of a deal about his behaviour. It’s new to me to try and even articulate it. Thanks Ashana

            • To me it is severe abuse. Physical abuse hurts because of what it does to your heart. The students here tell me they would rather teachers hit them than criticize and insult them. The verbal abuse is more painful. And not speaking to someone is the strongest statement you can make that someone has no worth to you. I’m so sorry.

            • Ellen said:

              No one except Ron has ever said that to me. Thank you.

  2. Ashana M made a good observation. I hope it was the change in weather and won’t effect you. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m feeling better about it again. Hugs to you Ruth.

  3. cardamone5 said:

    I know you have already thought of this, but maybe he’s got something unrelated to you going on that is causing his behavior change. It is hard to let it go, but if possible, try, because either way, there’s really nothing you can do about it, and all your worry does is stir you up. Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      I actually felt better the day after I wrote this, and wrote to my therapist. It felt like I needed to go through it, but I’ve either got through it, or it’s subsided again, ready to re-emerge. I really don’t know what’s going on with him, and it’s not my problem unless he actually does something bad to me. It’s so hard when I’m triggered though. Thanks

  4. Cat said:

    Yes, people do change like the weather, but it still rips us apart whenever they change like that towards us. It’s not very professional of him. It makes no difference whether he’s having a bad week or decided you’re not so great after all, he should never be treating staff like this… moron! I’m trying to think of that quote, “The way people treat you is not a reflection of who you are as a human being…it’s a reflection of their moronism.” Okay, I made the last part up, but it’s something like that and so very true. The more we worry about people’s opinions, the more we seem to sink into that pit of isolation, but it’s so difficult to stop it from happening. I wonder if you’re more sensitive to all this because of the things coming up in therapy. I hope this week feels a little better 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      Your comment made me laugh Cat. Thank you. 🙂

      I feel better about it all again. I haven’t seen the boss for a few days, and his emails are fine….I think maybe I just needed to get it all out. I know about that ‘pit of isolation’ – from too much worrying.

      This week has been better. Cheers.

  5. I’ve been reading long enough (for years, actually… 🙂 ….) to have seen you write about this feeling before, with previous co-workers and bosses. I remember you feeling like the one before last disliked you so much, and then you had a lovely going away lunch and you decided maybe he hadn’t really disliked you as much as you thought. At least that’s how I’m remembering it. So maybe, just maybe, it’s about perceptions rather than some huge change in him. It’s like Ron, a hyperawareness of his every detail (clothing, facial expressions, tone of voice etc) … standing in for some bigger conflict or abandonment. But when you bring it up to see if that’s what’s really happening, with R, it’s often a miscommunication. I am 100% confident you are doing a great job at your new place, and that you are respected by the team, including mister boss. Totally confident. And ps, isn’t it nice that spring is finally here???

    • Ellen said:

      Hi OBD! I had no idea you were still reading along. And you do know my issues. Ahem. Yes, you’re making a good point. I have been in this place many times, with various bosses. This feeling at this time feels more severe, because I actually respect this boss, which I didn’t so much, with the ‘lunch’ boss. I guess with him, he did get rid of me, nice lunch or no. Just, yes, I think he had mixed feelings, and I took it for entirely bad.

      But because of the situation with my father – yes, I do look for signs of abandonment everywhere – as Ron has also been telling me.

      Thanks for the pep talk. It could be I’m doing a good job and am respected by all. 🙂

      Thank God for spring – it’s not very confident, but it’s coming along. I hope all is well with you.

  6. Jay said:

    It really stinks when our minds immediately jump to the conclusion that it must be about us, even when it may not be about us at all. And people saying it’s probably not you doesn’t make that panicky, suspicious, danger feeling go away, at least not for me. As far as I understand from my numerous readings on anxiety, it has a lot to do with being wired in such a way that we are hyper vigilant and see danger where there may not be. In other words, we misread the environment. Now that doesn’t help a lot because it’s not something we have 100% control over. And I understand that talking to your boss for clarification on his behaviour could be more anxiety provoking. I don’t think I have helped much here. Just know that I know anxiety can be a bitch.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, I think I am predisposed to see danger and rejection everywhere. And because it’s business, and I’m a consultant, I don’t think asking him about this is a good idea – it’s too vague, and I’d come across as paranoid and anxious. I think, if it was a friend, then yes, i could check out the behaviour, and it would be a healthy thing to do.

      Thanks for understanding.

  7. manyofus1980 said:

    Ellen, I’m sorry work is hard. Try not to read too much into the reasons behind your boss’s sudden change. I know thats difficult, but it could be just him, and his own issues. There could be stuff going on in his life that no one knows about. I hope the weekend is being good to you. XX

    • Ellen said:

      I agree, it could be his own issues. It does feel personal though, but may not be, or may be just some passing weirdness. I’m feeling much better again, kind of over it, thank you Many.

  8. Agree there. People are so bloody complicated.

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