Bad day

I had such a bad day at work. I feel about two inches tall at the moment, surrounded by blackness. I also don’t feel good about my therapy session from yesterday. I have this urge to write to Ron and quit. I tend to hate it when he’s in a cheerful mood – he seems to start trying to fix my life. If I was capable of fixing it, I would already have done that.Β  He seems to stop listening as well. Maybe he’s just briefly extroverted and doesn’t know what to do with that, as he’s mostly so introverted.

At work I was defensive and impatient. I reacted angrily when I’d probably have been better to not react.

It was the director, D, the person there who triggers me. This all happened by email, but unfortunately other people were copied on that as well. A few days before, I’d written him this polite one liner because I needed his group’s help with a small project, which is for the head of the department. He didn’t reply, as per usual with him. But finally, this morning, I get an email from him that’s quite complicated with many mixed messages. I took those messages personally.

He basically said he had no time available from anyone in his group. He wanted more details on the request – it was a plain and obvious request, so I assume this was just his BS. He said he’d already given all kinds of time to me on this issue, and he’d expect specific questions, not a general request. He’d expect efficiency and something else, I forget what. Which I took to mean he hadn’t seen any efficiency from me yet to date.

So I defensively responded, I’d only needed two hours of his group’s time for this huge deliverable – hard to see how I could be more efficient. Could he be more specific as to when a resource would be available? I said I’d need about an hour. Did he feel that the info I needed had already been provided?

I’d been seeing red, but writing the email and sending it seemed satisfying. I copied my boss, because he needed to go back to the head to say there were timeline issues.

I remembered my experience being bullied a year ago. This felt similar, but less intense, because this is not my boss luckily. But the thing is, being quiet and taking it doesn’t seem to help with bullies. Standing up to them is more effective.

On the other hand, I’m just a contractor there, and D is a director. Big difference.

So first I felt better, and that lasted a while. I no longer felt afraid of D or worried about him walking by etc. But by afternoon, I was more and more regretful that I’d sent this email. After all, it’s his business if his group has time or not. It’s not my business is it.

On top of that, my work has dried up. My client E sent me some documents to read, and I dutifully did so, but they were almost incomprehensible. Then I put in time – made tea, went downstairs, clicked through some documents they have there. Clock watching just kills me.

So now, I feel in such a low mood. Bad day, bad day. I consider apologizing for the email, but can’t decide how bad it was, if it needs an apology. I consider apologizing to the boss, but ditto. I know E would object to it, but then, he avoids all conflict, to an extent which I don’t think is effective.

I don’t know why therapy seemed like a waste of time this week. I miss feeling connected to Ron. I consider lashing out at him, telling him the session was useless or something. I wrote him an email about something we talked about yesterday, and he replied, which usually feels nurturing, but today left me feeling cold and empty, like he just doesn’t get it.

I didn’t even say goodbye to the silent young man who sits next to me – I felt too sad to be bothered today.

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13 comments
  1. Sending supportive thoughts.

    The email that you described did not sound bad at all to me… Just direct.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you. I actually had a good day today. I still stand by every word I wrote, even though I was angry at the time and now I no longer am. I asked my client what he thought about it first thing, and he said the same as you – it was very direct, but it didn’t bother him.

  2. I wouldn’t apologise! The email wasn’t bad in the grand scheme of things. If he took offence he’d tell you and then you apologise that ‘he misinterpreted’ it. As for Ron, you seem to have to have variable sessions. I don’t know if that’s because of triggers or because he is so inconsistent. But I’m sure after this much time with him whatever is missing will be restored. You have trust and openly communicate. Have a nice weekend, try not to second guess yourself and start a fresh on Monday 😊

    • Ellen said:

      I didn’t apologize. I didn’t see this director today anyway. I doubt he’d tell me if he took offence – people don’t here. I’d prefer to know really. I actually feel fine about the email today – go figure. I also feel much better about this individual – no longer scared and no longer angry.

      As to Ron – I think it’s to do with me. I swing around from feeling to feeling. For instance today, I really appreciate him and his therapy and I think it’s helping me a lot. And nothing has changed except my own mind.

      Thanks for the support Penny.

  3. Ashana M said:

    That’s really hard. I think that is one of the hardest aspects of being in parts. From one perspective, it sounds assertive and professional, like you stood up for yourself in an adult way so that you don’t get kicked around From a different perspective, it was defensive and out-of-line. Which one is correct? It’s like the information is not there all in one place and you can’t really weigh it objectively. You’re kind of looking out of two eyes independently instead of together.

    I hope it becomes clear from here. That’s nervewracking.

    • Ellen said:

      It is like that, and I hadn’t thought of it as a parts problem. At the time, I genuinely could not work out whether this email was out of line or not. I’d jump from one opinion to the other.

      Today I’ve decided it was OK. I finally had the courage to fish it up and have another look. I never actually attacked, though I did defend myself. I felt so much better today – no longer worried about this individual. I asked my client what he thought and he thought it was ‘very direct’ but it didn’t bother him.

      Sometimes you just have to stand up for myself. There’s something very good about that feeling. Thanks Ash.

      • Ashana M said:

        That’s one thing that happens for me a lot less now. It’s such a relief to eventually come around to some conclusion that feels satisfying, instead of like the other shoes is going to fall all the time.

  4. Sorry to hear you were doing poorly, I’m just reading this. I’m glad to read you are doing a bit better today. Standing up to bullies is such a mixed bag. I agree with you that staying silent does not work with bullies but speaking up isn’t always effective either. I found therapy to go up and down and round and around. Ron may have missed cues this week. I noticed that sometimes my counselor just didn’t seem to be on the same page with me. Then a week or two later I was able to talk in a more productive way and feel connected. I think the changeability of counseling is part of the challenge. It doesn’t go on a straight smooth path. More of a crazy zigzag. Hugs. Hoping your work smooths out a bit.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, I’m interested to see if I’ve made the situation with D better, worse or had no impact whatsover. It did seem that when I was truly being bullied by a boss, a year ago, if I stood up for myself and even counter attacked somewhat, he grew uncertain and pulled back – this had a good effect. This current situation isn’t as clear at all. I hope I haven’t made things worse. I am ready to try again at least, for my part.

      Interesting about your counseling. What I find too is that it helps a lot that Ron doesn’t pull away if we’re having disagreements. He stays steady and is always ready to engage again. In my family, I would instantly be abandoned if there was any disagreement whatsoever, so it’s a relearning that this doesn’t have to occur. That part feels really good to me.

      Thanks Ruth

  5. Rachel said:

    Sending support. It is hard to know when we are just being assertive, and when we are being aggressive, because for us (I am projecting here of course), when we are used to being a complete doormat or completely ignoring our voice and needs and lines, to make any move towards self-expression feels incredibly wrong. I think you are being strong for yourself, all parts of you, and those people you work with probably don’t think twice about it. Too absorbed in themselves, anyways.

    • Ellen said:

      I think for women in general, it’s not expected that we stand up for ourselves. In my case though, it’s not exactly like for most MH bloggers out there, because I do express anger, and don’t turn it on myself in the form of SH and other things. However, it’s not necessarily appropriate – I have a lot of suppressed anger from my childhood, and so I have to try and figure out what is my stuff and what is legitimate. Combined with a culture that discourages expressions of anger, especially from women.

      That said, I didn’t send an outraged email. I’m sure it was noticed though. I asked my client what he thought, and he said while it was very direct (add look of surprise here πŸ™‚ ), he was fine with it. I think mostly I just didn’t let a lot of things D said slide, which is what I’m ‘supposed’ to do. I asked for clarification on what he meant on specific things. In one case I defended myself.

      Well, as you can see, I am still obsessed a bit. I do think a man wouldn’t worry about it the way I am.

      Thanks Rachel

      • Rachel said:

        Yeah, still rattling in your mind. But that is okay, it is healthy to process and get it out. And this is a perfect forum. I wouldn’t necessarily say that you don’t turn it inward – we all manifest differently, but anger turned inward can manifest as grief and numbness. You may not cut or have an eating disorder, but certainly there is pain and anger inside you that has been stored up because of the day your family treated you. And that all deserves to be heard and supported in therapy (and other relationships). I’m not trying to argue with you, but I just see a lot of pain that I think deserves compassion and attention. And you don’t have to be self-harming for someone to see it.

        • Ellen said:

          Oh, I definitely have lots of pain, no question. I also have PTSD type anger that may or may not be appropriate. It’s just a mess to figure things out. Thanks for the support

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