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About a week after my last post, I was fired from my contract. I have to work out my two weeks’ notice, which has been excruciating so far. I have one more week plus a day to go. I wish I could afford to quit, but I can’t – who knows when I’ll next be working.

After the last post, where I was experiencing all kinds of anger with this manager, I calmed down. However, she started in with the silent treatment. She’d try and pretend she didn’t see me come in when I arrived in the morning, though as we sit side by side, it’s not actually possible that she didn’t. I’d say good morning to her, forcing a response. But that would be the end of any communication through the day. If she needed me to do something, she would email me or message me.

I find this behaviour very painful. I was treated to this practice extensively as a child, and it makes me quite crazy. So I was frantically trying to figure out both what I’d done, and also what I should do in response. Did it make sense for a contractor who has only been onsite for two weeks, to ask for a meeting with the manager about the strange behaviour? I talked to friends, and Ron. There was no clear answer, but most thought that in the circumstances, I should let it alone and see what emerged.

So I did that. And what emerged was she fired me. She also fired a fellow contractor who was more on the technical side, who had been there two months. One final contractor remains, a database guy.

I hadn’t yet had a chance to turn in any real work. I was finally assigned something, which the manager didn’t look at until after I was given notice.

I am quite angry and also quite traumatized. I don’t know what I’ve done. The agency I got this contract through has informed me I am not to ask the client what happened. Ron has suggested I ask anyway. He was quite outraged on my behalf actually, asking in what sense is this a contract, when it’s for six months, but they can fire me without cause with only two weeks’ notice. I considered going to my manager’s boss and asking her what happened. I realize she has signed off on all this hiring and firing, but my manager seems impossible to have a conversation with.

The agency is not important to me – I can work through any agency, so it doesn’t matter if they disapprove of something I do. The agency has been extremely poor overall. Some person I didn’t know from them called to inform me of the two weeks’. Then my actual recruiter emailed me a few days later to say she would call me, and she hasn’t. They really only care about the client, not the workers.

I waited three weeks without pay for this job to start. There was no on-boarding whatsoever – I wasn’t even introduced to anyone, not even the other contractors on the team. As soon as whatever it was went wrong, I was treated to the silent treatment instead of feedback or discussion about what is expected. Now I’m heading into the holiday season, when hiring stops altogether, so may not work again until next year. I’ll have a huge gap on my resume, or, I’ll have a tiny job I’ll have to explain, for which I won’t have references.

This manager continues to act as if I have done her some huge disservice. She’s worked for the bank for thirty years – has she ever gone without a paycheque? Is she really the injured party here? I suppose in her mind she is.

I’m trying to keep my spirits up by asking fellow contractors to join me for coffee breaks. They are these techie guys, and don’t seem to care about having human companionship, but once in a while they join me. I’m trying to avoid the situation of having no one say a word to me all day long. When that happens, it’s easy for me to slide into a morass of feelings that I had as a child being ignored.

This is in a way an opportunity to confront within myself this particular bad situation. I keep reaffirming that I am not at fault here, there is nothing wrong with me. It really helps. It’s hard though – 8 hours a day, with nothing much to occupy me – it’s rough.

One more week. Plus a day.

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I went back to therapy Thursday. I’d say the session was helpful.

We chatted a tiny bit about Ron’s vacation, and how it’d been four weeks since we’d met.

I spoke about the work situation I described in my last post. How furiously angry I’d become, and how it seemed out of proportion to what was happening. Ron had pointed out previously that with bosses, I almost always fear they don’t like me, or don’t like my work, or that they are somehow displeased with me, and he thinks this is the case now. I couldn’t really point out anything specific this boss had done that showed she was angry with me – I just assumed.

Well. I do think I was getting up her nose a bit, because she doesn’t like a lot of questions. Ron pointed out that my anxiety was likely affecting her also. And I did find, on Friday, that as I was less anxious, she reacted better to me.

I found after a while, I really wanted to leave this topic of my new boss and myself. I was feeling more and more anxious, and gaps occurred in our conversation, and then I was tempted to change the subject. I had other things to talk about, and parts also would have liked a say. However, I mostly do jump about a lot in therapy, and as a result, never tackle any subject in much depth.

At one point, Ron asked me to speak in both voices – the part that wants to continue with the topic, and the part that wants to change the subject. I found that really hard to do. Like a pros and cons list, he said. OK, I could do that. Pros of continuing on – we can go deeper with the topic, it’s good to stand up to and tolerate anxiety, instead of running away from it. Cons – it felt like this was a conversation I could have with a friend, and didn’t need Ron for, and there were other things I wanted to talk about – a massage I’d had, and some troubles after exercise. Ron said maybe we could discuss this in a way that I couldn’t with a friend, and that we could come back to the other topics next week.

So I stayed with this. The boss. The feelings of anger. How it tied back to being criticized as a child, how nothing had been enough for my father.

I can’t remember any grand conclusions actually. But the next day, I felt calmer at work, in a way.

That night though, I couldn’t sleep. Parts of me were furious with Ron for not getting a chance to speak about their concerns. I actually wrote him a furious email in the middle of the night, but luckily I didn’t send it. I felt differently in the morning.

At the end of the session, Ron asked how it felt to be back after the break. I didn’t really know – I didn’t feel anything in particular really.

This adult way of doing therapy is kind of new. I like it in that i don’t have a huge therapy hangover the next day. And spending time on a topic seems good. The downside is younger parts don’t get to speak. But, maybe that’s OK. Speaking in therapy wasn’t really getting us anywhere much except triggered.

Things were chugging along, but now once again not so much, so of course I am writing another post. Why bother with them when things seem OK right?

I fear I’ve landed in yet another contract which sucks. Or is it me that sucks? One or the other, but when the same type of thing keeps happening, albeit in completely different ways, you have to wonder.

Today I got home and was just so angry. I felt furious through and through.

I’ve been working a week and a half now at the new big corporation. My boss is, it turns out, an IT person who is now tasked with getting a particular new project off the ground. They have also engaged an outside contracting agency to do some of the work offsite. I’m onsite, ’embedded’ as it were, while the people from this agency are off site and working together elsewhere.

Anyway. It has emerged that my boss has severe communication problems. She seems to dislike speaking and struggles to explain herself. So she was almost completely unable to explain even what the project is to me. Eventually after a week and a half I have gathered the basics from other people.

Unfortunately I’m not at all an expert or even knowledgable in this particular specialty. I just have worked a fair bit in the financial sector, which is very broad. To be fair, I was not hired to be an expert, I was hired to write. However, I can’t pull the info out of my manager as to what she’d like me to do. I’ve spent a lot of time reading their collected files and intranet. Sometimes she gives me something very brief to do, and I send it off to her, and she never mentions it again.

Meanwhile, the group is under severe time pressure to deliver a part of this project by end of week. I have the strong feeling that I’m expected to be doing things, but I can’t work out what.

As well, the clients have been complaining bitterly about the other consulting agency, that they are not delivering what they need. Well, if they communicate with them the way they do with me, I’m not surprised to tell the truth. And I suspect they are saying similar kinds of things about me as well.

Today at end of day, when I’d normally go home, I received a final file from the consulting group. Now my manager and I are supposed to modify this, ready for executive review tomorrow at 11. As well, my manager was in meetings all day, and again disappeared at four. So, I left. I had no direction, I’d spent a lot of the day filling time, I didn’t know when the manager would be back. She didn’t seem concerned about this upcoming deadline. OK, so I decided I’m not either. So I left instead of staying late. No one had asked me to stay late, I had no direction to speak of.

I also feel guilty for leaving. I don’t want to leave her in the lurch after all. But honestly, there is no one more aggravating than a boss who cannot speak. But if she won’t say what should be done, I will simply keep asking, and when it’s time to go home, I’ll go.

I must be triggered to be feeling so very angry. It’s a feeling of not being enough. As if there is some huge expectation that I can save this project, but I’m not doing this, for some reason, and therefore I’m not good enough.

I am so aggravated by this manager. She’s bantering with co-workers and such, and doesn’t seem worried by this looming deadline. On the other hand, she did say she worked until 1 am a couple times last week. It’s not that she’s not conscientious. I think she’s likely one of those people who only work alone. She doesn’t know what someone else would need to know. We did have one working meeting booked, and she simply sat and typed while I sat and watched her. She surely didn’t want to have any kind of conversation. I suppose that made me feel unimportant. Which I realize I am, but why book a meeting with me then?

In other news, I’m also trying to feel feelings instead of dissociating them, as when I do that, they come and hit me later and make me feel exhausted. Plus, feelings can have needed information on how to act or on what is going on. It’s a hard road to try and do this. At work, the temptation always seems to be to be a talking head, with no feelings.

I hope to move through the anger instead of pushing it down. It’s not at all easy.

I also have fears of being let go. As a contractor, it’s easy for them to decide to let you go, if you’re not all that they hoped and imagined. So probably fear is driving my anger as well.

Suffering from anxiety today.

I got a new contract last week, and it starts last week of August. I actually got two offers at the same time and picked the best paying one. I hope it was a good decision but can’t really know. I don’t know how to tell what the manager is like in a half hour interview. They always seem OK to me. It’s after that problems arise.

This morning, unexpectedly, I had to do a second telephone interview for the contract, which I’ve already signed. It was stressful for me. I cancelled a plan I’d had for the afternoon to be ready. Then at the appointed time the manager didn’t answer her phone. Eventually my recruiter let me know she’d be calling later in the afternoon.

So I did that interview. It was very project specific, with the person going on about the details of her project. Very hard to say anything to the point. She was looking for me having had the exact experience before, which I haven’t. Each contract is different, just like each job tends to be different. Well, different and the same. So it was a frustrating conversation, but in the end she said she’d look forward to meeting me in a few weeks, so I take that to mean it’s OK. She’s not the hiring manager, but some other manager who presumably I’ll work with also.

Anyway. That was anxiety inducing, bringing up my fear of being judged big time.

Yesterday I went for a massage. This was a good experience for me, but I suspect my anxiety today is related.

In contrast to previous massages, I told the RMT that I do have some issues with touch and some trauma issues, so I need her to proceed gently. She looked a bit shocked to tell the truth. Oh well. While I had a stiff neck and some lower back pain, I decided to ask her to focus just on massage for stress.

So she basically did that. She did gentles strokes on my back, hand massage and foot massage. Then she did a head thing where she held my head and kind of rocked it. I mostly felt good – I enjoy being gently stroked. At one point it felt like I wanted it to be over, but that soon passed. And I’d asked for only 30 minutes, which seemed a good length.

And after, I felt fine. I felt a bit glowy from being touched nicely and gently. And because of previous experiences, I kept expecting to be hit by waves of sadness and depression, but that didn’t happen. I continued feeling good and slept pretty well.

This has been my first massage that felt good after. So I think my plan of asking for gentle stress relief was a good one. Usually, I’ve only gone for massage when I had issues I wanted addressed. Maybe the more intense massage, trying to get kinks out and addressing aches and pains, is too much for me emotionally…..

I do have back pain that I’d like to get massage for. Maybe in a few days I’ll go back and get half and half – half stress, half back pain massage.

I was actually thinking that everything brings up trauma for me. It’s great to find something that doesn’t seem to, and actually helps me feel better.

I’ve been trying to address my lack of a social life by going on various meetups. So far this has not been a great success. I picked a walking group meetup because I do walk quite a bit, and I find it enjoyable to walk and talk. However, they walk much too far and fast for me. I can do it, but then I’m hit with a huge amount of trauma shut-down afterwards. Last time the walk was in the morning, and I spent the rest of the day and the next day completely shut down. It’s such an odd feeling – I feel like a robot. I feel like I am outside of my skin somehow – I can feel my skin, but can’t feel further in than that.

So also trying to be friendly with fellow walkers is difficult. I feel fake, I think because after a while I’m probably fending off various feelings, and it’s too much to talk much to anyone at the same time. I have a sort of fake person persona that can take over but that feels pointless. As well, I feel somewhat judged there, as being weak and somehow not as good as others. It’s too much of a complicated situation. Although I was enjoying seeing other parts of the city I’m not familiar with, I think I’ll drop this group for now. Anyway, once I’m working I could not afford to have two entire weekend days where I cannot function after one of these walks.

It makes me mad that I’m in this situation, and that it’s so hard to make progress.

Ron is on vacation. I’ve again contacted a trauma therapist who has not gotten back to me. Our last session was not much good without being terrible. I just kind of listed my complaints about things without getting into much depth. I think depth for me involves parts, and it’s hard to launch into them just like that. Ron doesn’t discourage it, but he doesn’t encourage it either. I think he doesn’t want to encourage the dissociation of parts. But – they already do exist no matter what he does. So in the end, I stay mostly adult. The adult is not terribly emotional, and the session feels shallow as a result.

I think Ron is a good therapist, but has not much understanding of trauma and dissociation. If only he had that, he’d be great. On the other hand, someone with the knowledge, but who isn’t good as a therapist, is basically more useless.

I have been finding I’ve been trusting him in my mind. It makes a big difference to have someone to trust as being on your side in your mind, and it seems like my choice, whether I trust him or not. I can think one way, and distrust him, or another, and trust that he likes me and cares. It feels better to trust.

I’m still going to therapy every other week. This week was a no session week. I’m trying to remember a week back to our last session. What did we discuss?

I remember Ron did bring up this time that I’m cancelling a lot and wondered why. I just said I wanted some time where I wasn’t triggered, and that sometimes, therapy seems to trigger all kinds of emotions but doesn’t really resolve anything, so that I’m not sure how helpful it is.

Ron didn’t say much. I got the impression he doesn’t agree that we should have fewer sessions, but he didn’t say so.

I didn’t say this, but I also think I can commit to approaching difficult topics every second week, but not every week. I’m willing to sacrifice some days to therapy recovery if it’s not every single week.

I’ve been thinking about how alone I’ve been in my life, and how that’s especially evident now. I suspect one reason I can’t seem to recover from therapy is I have no one in my regular life to help me ‘regulate’. It sometimes is very helpful to have people around, not even to discuss issues with, but just people doing ordinary living. It helps me calm down.

I’ve noticed this at work. I now have the option of working with some other writers at a big table, instead of in my cubicle. I actually prefer the big table. I thought I would hate it and feel horribly exposed, but having little interactions with other writers makes my day feel so much better. Just being able to speak sometimes, or listen to someone else go on about something.

I spent one day in my cubicle at work, and was pretty much suicidal by the end of the day. No one spoke to me. It’s a bit of a bad atmosphere there at the moment as the contract is ending, although we haven’t been told that in any kind of an upfront way. As well, there’s renewed pressure to produce lots of work very quickly. And the PM is no longer friendly to me, maybe because I’m not that fast. I like to think about what I’m doing, and produce quality, and all he cares about is quantity, because that makes his project look good.

When I moved to the table the next day, I had a much much better day. Other people are in ordinary moods, and they are catching. If I want to grumble about something, I can, in a low voice. My mood was so much improved.

So generally I’ve concluded, although I do need some time to myself, in general I do better with people around.

Somehow I’ve ended up pretty much alone. My one friend and I seem to have had a bit of a falling out, unless I’m imagining it, so she hasn’t called in a few weeks. I know I could call her. I have my ex I suppose. He’s very misanthropic and unsociable however.

I feel that I am fairly well liked at work. Chance threw myself and my star co-worker, whom I disliked, together, and it turns out we do OK together. He’s pretty outgoing, and it’s helping me to practice being more outgoing also.

Having people around at work is cushioning some of the blows of work – the contract is not being extended as promised, the PM is asking for impossible quantities of work, and other things. I just think in the same way, if I had people in my life outside of work who were more reliably present, it would help me come out of the bad places therapy puts me into.

I’m not sure Ron can really conceive of my difficulties in sociability. His view is that we need to be authentic with people and have real relationships. But I think we first need to have any kind of relationships. If I have no ability to attract anyone, I need to work on that. I don’t mean attract as in sexually attract, but attract in terms of someone wants me around. And I will not be attractive to people if I’m completely depressed and unable to be social.

I just came back from a birthday tea for my sister at my parents’ house. I can see how my social anxiety developed by watching them. My mother basically doesn’t speak. My father has very set topics that he wants to talk about – his garden, his work when he worked. So everyone dances about him speaking in horrible detail about his garden, as if we were all fascinated by this, to appease him.

Some other guests came, and so the conversation veered to different topics. At that point both my parents stopped speaking at all.

I think the dynamic is that speaking puts you at risk. In my family it’s not safe to have your own life, your own experience and opinions. So no one risks speaking about anything. I do, and I get rejected quite a bit. For example, this afternoon my brother wasn’t veering far afield, but started to talk about how he wanted to plant a miniature rose for his front walk. I suggested a tea rose. Well. My father is obsessed with old fashioned once flowering varieties. My suggestion was completely unacceptable to my sister and my father. Because intelligent people only love the old style roses. It doesn’t seem to be OK to have your own opinion on what you like.

Anyway, I can see where I developed a fear of saying anything that dogged me for my first forty years. I experienced this as not being able to think of what to say, but it’s more that all topics were potentially humiliating, so I kept quiet. Even when keeping quiet was peculiar in the situation.

So now, I can speak, thank goodness. Just I haven’t peopled my life with people who want to hear me and speak back. Wanting people in my life doesn’t have much of anything to do with ‘authenticity’ though, as recommended in therapy. I don’t really want to pour my heart out at this point. I just want some people around who like me.

 

 

My work situation has calmed down somewhat, for which I am grateful. I was having hours of intense anxiety around being fired, and that’s mostly stopped now, though I relapsed for about an hour or two Friday. Friday is the traditional ‘firing day’. Well – could be I’m too harsh, I don’t know. The contracting company is looking for a specific product, and if the people they hire don’t already know how to produce that, they don’t have time to teach them.

I didn’t meet my quotas, but I assume what I did produce was fine. The project manager then reduced my quotas, but at the same time, my projects became much less complex, so in the end, I didn’t have enough to keep me busy. Yet, I’m still there. Earning the big bucks. I wish.

I’m working on sleeping without pills. It’s hard. I can fall asleep, but I can’t stay asleep, and then I can’t fall asleep again. But sometimes, I can. So that’s confusing.

I feel off balance trying to write again. My energy was going into surviving and coping with the practical side of life. I’ve never been good at the practical side. I don’t have much of a ‘game face’, where I present well to the world but am crumbling inside. That’s not really me. I think I look like I’m struggling often, and I struggle to do well. It’s not really lack of talent, more, so much internal turmoil to deal with, there’s not enough energy left over to deal with life.

Therapy is a bit of an after thought at the moment. I’ve been going in right after work, so I’m firmly in work mode. Which is a little too tightly wound to really dig into emotions much.

I have been pondering whether my therapy is helping much at this point. I’ve been going for years after all. There is no real plan, no goals as far as I can see. In a way, that’s fine. I’m not looking for someone to set concrete goals for me. In another way, I really do not know what I’m trying to do, mostly.

I feel too tired to really challenge the therapist or try and find out what I’m trying to do. Though I do ask, often towards the end of a session. Last time, I had discussed a troubling visit to my parents’. Ron said he thinks I need to try and speak some truth to my parents, or at least try to ask them what they mean by the various things they do. I’d gone over to pick up my son, who was not ready, so I had coffee with them and some neighbours who were visiting. I’d felt that my father had disliked me, but couldn’t really articulate what he had done.

I tell Ron that my father is a narcissist. The whole family has always revolved around him and his needs. Conversation is about his pet interests, or else he won’t take part. Everything is kind of tilted towards his approval. Then I acknowledge that Ron doesn’t believe in labels. Ron says he does informally, if you’re angry with someone, you can call them a narcissist, or self-absorbed, or whatever.

I hate this aspect of Ron. That he won’t call anything by name. Plus he doesn’t seem to get how my family is. You can try and say things, but nothing helps. Maybe I’m scared to try. But they’re unbelievably knit together. I just think it would be very hurtful to try and speak up. If you believe in narcissism, it helps you understand patterns of how people operate and the webs they weave. I just feel like I’m wading through pudding trying to describe it to Ron.

At the same time, I feel connection to Ron so am reluctant to leave. But what if someone out there could actually help me? Someone who could help me with dissociation and parts? How to find that person?

Last session also, I tried to feel into a trigger that happened, as I’d had to go to the dentist for a cleaning. Form me this is a trigger. It’s like a piece of blackness dislodges itself and floats around my system, making my life black and heavy.

I did feel some of it in session. The next day, I had such a severe headache I couldn’t make it into work. But then, that black feeling dissipated quite a bit, and it may be that trying to feel some of it in session helped.

My life lately has been all about work, surviving work, recovering from work. It’s a pressured situation and it’s really hard on me. Ron was on vacation last week, so there’s no therapy update.

I’m not sure what to say. My problem is how to calm down this PTSD body so I can have a life. In one of our sessions, Ron was saying I need to try and do whatever I can to have a life. Make decisions that support me having a life that I want.

I don’t know how to do that because I’m just. too. tired.

Another person was let go from my project at work. So I’m one of four survivors out of seven hired a month ago. Now they’ve actually ramped up the project and hired ten more writers, two of whom were also let go after four days.

I’m not quite making my targets, but hanging on nonetheless. My work is of decent quality, so I guess they’ve decided to keep me for now. But I’m constantly dreading being let go, and it tires me out. It would be OK if I was. It’s just a contract, and I wouldn’t be alone in being fired.

I am always looking for some way to come back into my body after work, so I can feel things besides fear, and so I can sleep. This kind of situation is not that that good for me. Though there are good parts – I do like a challenge. There are no severe people problems at work. The work is challenging enough that I am fairly engaged. I don’t have the problem of too much downtime and low expectations.

It’s just very cut-throat. It’s how I’d heard business was, but never experienced personally.

I went to my 12 step group, and after a few weeks of feeling more connected, once again felt alone and misunderstood. I don’t connect well to people in this anxious state. I shared about it, but maybe came across badly.  Some people I knew pretended they didn’t see me after the meeting and it hurt my feelings.

Anyway. I’m glad to be working and don’t feel I can quit at the moment. If I could just calm the f down.