I’m going to continue to moan about my work situation. Though it is the last bit of Ron’s holiday, so I’ll be getting back to therapy topics next week I hope.
Speaking of which, I’ve weathered this break better than any in the past. Not sure why exactly. In previous years, I’ve been depressed, lonely, and feeling as if something was badly wrong the whole time he was away. This year, I am not feeling any of those things in regards to his absence, though my life has not been happy. But the unhappiness is for other reasons.
What a relief. That is a huge recurring source of pain that has evaporated it seems. Maybe it was the pre-break session, discussing how I’ve been abandoned in the past. Maybe connecting those feelings back to my past, instead of being convinced they are about him, has really worked at last. I hope so.
I’ve been reading a book on emotional flashbacks. Maybe most of my bad feelings are emotional flashbacks – feelings I felt as a child, abused or abandoned or whatever great combination of those was on tap at any particular time. Thinking about this, especially as I feel completely traumatized by my work situation, is helpful. Then it’s not so much that I’m once again in an awful place with work. It is not good, but it is not the complete nightmare it feels like to me either. Events there are triggering emotional states for me that are from the past.
I’ve also been craving alcohol – wine specifically. There is a wine/liquor store, a small one, right at the stairs of the building where I work. I find myself looking longingly at it time and again. Sometimes I just browse the shelves, looking for a particular wine I’ve read a recommendation for. Sometimes I just visualize the half empty bottle of chilled white I have sitting at home in the fridge, how I’ll pour myself a nice soothing glass as soon as I get home.
I’ve never had a problem with substances. I’m not used to craving anything like I am now. I do easily stop after a glass or two. I never want to get drunk, or keep drinking and drinking. I think I’m looking for something to take the edge off all the pain I’m constantly in. Wine works for me.
I only drink nice wine – wine I like. Never super cheap, never liquor in order to get drunk. But is that next on the horizon for me? I hope not. I grew up drinking wine with dinner, so for me, it’s not any kind of forbidden fruit, and I don’t have memories of getting drunk as a young person, partying, etc. I sometimes think that for people who did not grow up drinking wine as a natural part of a meal, any kind of drinking becomes this special forbidden thing…..and so irresistible? Maybe I am fooling myself, making excuses.
Last session in therapy, I talked about how I believe my mind was changed by the abuse I went through, because it happened when I was so very young. I think the structures of my mind were simply altered, and I will never really have the same kind of a mind as someone who didn’t have those experiences when they were as young as I was. Ron added that it was also an effect of the severity of what I went through. I’m not sure – what I remember outright was not that severe. However, I’ve obviously forgotten a lot of things.
The reason I talked about that, was I was noticing how fragmented my conversation with Ron tends to be. I compared it to how E, from the group I went to years ago, was able to tell her story. She’d go into great detail, linking all kinds of things together, and it all made sense. She could talk without stopping for ten – fifteen minutes at a time. While I’m stuck with talking about things in bits and pieces…..A little bit of this, and then I run out of things to say about that, then a little bit of something else. It’s as if my brain will not tell a coherent story.
And, to prove my point about fragmentation, now to my work situation. Which continues awful, but it does keep changing.
I took the Monday off to deal with the stress I was feeling about work. I kept bursting into tears all weekend, and felt generally that I was really seriously sliding downhill, so I took the day to try and ground myself. It helped a bit.
On returning Tuesday, I had some work come in, so I felt better, just having something to occupy me. I decided against trying to talk to my boss about anything. What really can I say to her? You are acting out, or, what am I doing wrong, or I feel like crap working for you….All of these are true, but none can really be said in a work context.
I also realized that there’s a sever triangle happening. My co-worker, B, my boss, J and me. J was constantly trying to show that she preferred B. She even gave her some work that is in my job description, while I had nothing to work on. She spent hours talking to B at her desk, discussing work, and would act put upon if I so much as asked her a question. And B kind of likes this. She is completely passive, and extremely accommodating and soothing. She is pretty much looking for any crumbs of love that may be available…and they really are crumbs. Yes, J rewards her somewhat for her compliance, but she is also apt to turn on her at any time.
I got somewhat mad that B got this work that falls under my umbrella (we have pretty separate job descriptions). I had been trying to be friendly with B – exchanging little comments in the morning or after lunch break. Now, I felt I’d had enough with her caretaking, passive behaviour. I could see she really really likes being the favorite. So, as she’s so very quiet and never speaks with anyone except for J, I stopped commenting on things. And she in turn never ventured to say anything to me first.
Surprisingly, the fact that B and I weren’t particularly friendly anymore was very soothing for J. I believe she was quite threatened by our striking up any kind of relationship. She let up on the blatant favoritism behaviour. She came over to B’s desk much less frequently, just kind of let up on whatever she was acting out. Weird. Unexpected for me. It was like I could kind of breathe again.
I dislike passive and passive aggressive behaviour, and super compliant behaviour designed to keep a superior calm. Echoes of my mother. So in a way, I don’t miss B. However, now work is echoingly lonely. No one talks to me all day. The culture there is very very introverted, where it seems unsafe to speak with anyone. Team work is a completely foreign concept – questions about work are seen as indicating you are incompetent or unintelligent.
So now I have pulled back, though I would respond if B ever wished to say anything to me, work is just so very lonely on every level.
Today J and I clashed again. Her boss basically insisted I do a small project, which she wanted to do herself, or give to B. She criticized how J did the first draft, while I was present. I get that this feels bad, and so she is angry. She took that out on me. I took two long breaks in the afternoon just to deal with the anger I felt in response.
I don’t see what I can do. Talking to J – how would that help? It’s her personality that is the problem. Plus the issue of having almost nothing to do day after day is huge. But I’ve already met with her and asked her to give me more to do – what else can I say?
I know if I had some friendly relationships with co-workers, those would mitigate the stress of a bad boss. So not having that really adds to the awfulness. I get so paranoid, and have no reality checks whatsoever.
I have been wanting to quit. I was thinking perhaps I could talk to J’s boss and explain a bit of my situation. She’d told me to come talk to her next time things between me and J got out of hand, before I quit. If there is some way I could report to someone else, I could manage to stay until end of September.
J doesn’t like me, I don’t like her. It did hurt today, when I went over to her desk to discuss something she’d asked me to discuss, and she looked at me with such contempt. Before talking over me and not listening to anything I was saying about the work I’d been doing.
She is like a child. In her boss’ office, where her boss was explaining how she wanted the document different, she seemed to shrink and really looked like a young high-school student. Then of course, she took this out on me. I should have avoided her, but I was eager to work on this project her boss had given me.
Some of these intense feelings of despair and loneliness must be from my past, as per my book. I need to take care of the feelings, show myself compassion, without dwelling too much on the stories I’m spinning around it all. That’s what the book says.