Obviously I have experience with an abusive spouse who certainly had control through our finances. It was very difficult to leave that relationship because he was the breadwinner and I was a stay at home mom. However when I finally was so sick of being abused I finally was ready to take the leap into an unknown financial situation.
The fear of the Unknown Future will keep a person from moving forward in life. Until the Pain of the Presence becomes greater than the Fear of the Unknown. Then you will gladly accept the Unknown.
I have been in this place twice now, once with a spouse and twice now with bosses. My awareness of an abusive domestic relationship has given me the ability to see an abusive situation in the workforce.
My first boss was extremely volatile and would be as nice as could be and then blow up the next minute. Everyone in the office was on edge wondering which personality (Jekyll or Hyde) would arrive at work each day. My responsibility was to manage the office with my abusive boss. For a while his explosive abuse was not directly aimed at me but he would do it to co-workers in front of me. This was difficult because I need this job at the time and although I did not agree with it I was not sure how to deal with it.
One Friday when I was leaving work, I was saying goodbye and my boss had his head down with his hands on the back of his head. Out of courtesy I asked him if he was okay. Then he looked up up at me and said, “No I am not okay!…” and went on to tell me what a terrible job I was doing and how no one could do their job right. I honestly can’t remember the exact details except he was all over the place in his comments about me and my co-workers. I left work that day crying and feeling terrible because there was no way I deserved that type of outburst. However, because of my verbally abusive experience with my ex-husband I had learned a lot and realized my bosses outburst was not really about me.
After I thought about it over the weekend and did some serious praying. I decided I had lived with abuse too long and I was not willing to accept that at my job. After work on Monday I approached him in his office and closed the door and calmly told him I wanted to discuss the conversation we had on Friday. I told him I felt the comments were out of line and not productive. The conversation did go well as he twisted my words, blocked and diverted and I naturally became rather defensive. The next day I received a write for performance review.
My boss asked me this question, “Are you sure you are willing to give all this up over a 20 minute conversation?” I replied, “Yes because it was that bad and I do not deserve to be treated that way.”
When the Regional Director came to town to talk to me I told him I felt that my bosses behavior was extremely irrational and unacceptable. He pretty much told me that my boss was making the company great money and nothing would happen.
After that I was on a 30 day review which really just a torture session where they could try to make work so miserable for me that I would hopefully just quit my job. I did everything they asked of me, it was never good enough and after enduring the 30 day punishment they fired me. I received unemployment and then started my next job a few months later.
This was about three years ago when I began working in another environment that was still abusive but not as bad as my ex-husband or my ex-boss. I often questioned if I was dealing abuse again and I guess I tolerated that because my boss was a nicer abuser (can’t believe I am saying that). The other thing that helped me through the years was that I had a great husband and my home life was really pretty good.