A few weeks ago, I found an old email from 2012. This was written at a time when I was working for an emotionally abusive boss and in a very unhealthy workplace. I wrote about this experience in my blog post Working with an Emotionally Abusive Boss.
Working for an abusive boss or in an unhealthy workplace can certainly take a toll on your health. I have made the decision twice now to leave jobs where my bosses were abusive. This is one area where I could be thankful to my abusive ex-husband. First, today, I am able to recognize verbal abuse in people. Second, I have too much self respect to remain in unhealthy workplaces for long. Third, I am able to recognize the place where I currently work is pretty healthy and has work-life balance.
I am grateful that today I do not work for a company that puts this level of stress on employees. In fact, they encourage us to let them know when we feel overworked and stress. They understand that we can feel overstressed at time, but do not want it to become a normal feeling. I have worked them for over two years and they still believe this and really promote work-life balance. In fact, there are many days I am so grateful that my work is going well. This past year was pretty tough on my emotions and I am not so sure I could have handled both at the same time. I will say my current boss was pretty supportive during this past year.
On occasion, I am still struggling with my grief and pain. My daughter and I sort of have a relationship, but I only see her for a few hours 2-3 times a month. Plus, my ex-husband made sure to let me know that my daughter tells him everything I tell her. So now I feel like I should be guarded and filter what I say. On the other hand, I shouldn’t care what he thinks since I only speak the truth. It is still a sick threeway an my daughter is not old enough to get what is happening. Getting over abuse takes longer than I thought it would and especially since this is psychological warfare.
Okay, so this email was written in 2012 and it would be another five months before I would finally quit this job. I have changed the names of the parties. Ironic, I named this boss ‘Joe’ and that is the exact same name I used in my blog post from May of 2012. You can really hear my pain and struggling over the decision to quite. Plus, I think the pain was more intense because of all the experiences with my abusive ex-husband. Honestly, I just wish I could turn it all off and not feel anything at times.
January 10, 2012
Good morning John,
I hope you receive this message. This is a little long, and I am not sure if there is a real resolution here. I don’t know where else to turn and I know my speaking to you could mean my job anyway. I am also sorry to burden you with this, but I am not sure who else I can go to. I also can’t ask you to solve my problems because no one can do that but me. He rearranged my days so I no longer come to your location on Tuesdays.
You contacted me on Friday and asked how things were going and I told you they were not resolved but I think we were figuring out a solution. I was not really being truthful with you.
It is 4:30am in the morning and I cannot sleep, this has become normal for me. I feel like I am on a constant state of stress, I expect to experience this some of the time. Anxiety, unable to relax, yet exhausted, chest hurting and kind of sadness I can’t describe. The kind of stress I feel I am under is the survival mode kind you are supposed to feel temporarily and then it should stop. This is becoming the kind of stress I felt when I was married to my abusive alcoholic which I remember making me sick in every way. I left that relationship and I felt amazingly better.
Joe’s new assistant confided in me the other day, near tears, saying she is working so hard and like she cannot do her job right. The common feeling here is we all feel over-worked, like we can’t ever do enough and what we do is never good enough.
Do you think it could possibly be that Joe’s expectations are so high which is why we feel constantly pushed to do more? Is it possible that the expectations he feels are so high which is why we feel our best is never good enough?
As scared as I am to make a move, I know I cannot keep doing this or feeling this way and not expect to get really sick. Last summer when I received a raise, I was just working for corporate and now I am doing three times the amount of work. Even if I received a raise equal to my work it would not be worth the health consequence.
For my health and the sake of my family and I know this is not good for me. I am concerned if we have hit a place of no return.
I have always had the highest amount of respect for you. I think I might be hitting a place where I need to work for myself again and contract my work out. I know my personal value and I know I must take care of my health first. I am not sure what else to do but I know God will provide.
I just wanted you to be aware.
- 3 Warning Signs that Your Boss is Abusive
- How to Deal With A Verbally Abusive Boss Who Crosses The Line (many of these suggestions may not be possible, they weren’t for me in either situation)
- A Psychological Profile of an Abusive Boss