The recent event of being dismissed from my volunteer position petting cats at the Humane Society due to a cat bite, which appears to be their unpardonable sin, has caused me to revisit once again the question that has been haunting me off and on since my first workplace abuse situation: Who. Am. I.?
When a person has been bullied in the workplace, this becomes the first hurdle to overcome on the journey of recovery. Because workplace bullying (and all bullying) attacks the target/victim at the very core of Who. They. Are. Things become twisted. What was good formerly, is no longer good. The former positive becomes a negative. Who they are is no longer good enough. What they do is no longer good enough. Even being amazing at their job (workplace abuse situation #1) is no longer good enough. The rules not only have changed but continue to change according to the whim of the bully and those who listen to him/her (workplace abuse situation #1). Things become confusing rapidly for the target.
The onslaught is unrelenting.
And the target is left wondering if there is anything good about them at all. Do they have any value?
After the bullying ends, the target who is determined to recover first has to rediscover Who. She. Is. Her strengths. Her values. Her passions. Her interests.
This is not a one-time thing as life goes on with various incidents occurring. Some good. Some bad. Some neutral.
A little aside, time out here. When I first started this blog years ago, I did a three part series entitled Who Am I? After workplace abuse situation #2, I wrote a poem looking at that very question. It was a three part poem which explored what people saw, what the former co-workers thought and who I really am in God.
The current situation is different in the fact that I do not exactly feel that I was bullied. However, there were enough similarities in the blame statements and shut downs that it has caused me to wonder why, once again, I am not good enough. Calming cats down, enticing them to come out for interaction, soothing them, petting them on a regular basis is not good enough. Having other staff members see my interaction with these cats and calling me "the cat whisperer" is not good enough. Being bitten is the issue. Because it's not in the best interest of the cat.
Another aside. Being a left-brained person who deals heavily with logic, this makes no logical sense to me. As a volunteer I've had to sign a waiver that I will not hold the shelter liable if I get bitten. There are also signs on each adoption room door, that these cats may bite or scratch and that the volunteer, and even the public, goes in and handles the residents at their own risk.
So, after six plus years of recovery post workplace abuse situation #2, what have I learned in the past six plus years about who I am? What are my passions, interests, strengths and talents. How can I use them in this situation?
I am passionate about people. Not so much about animals. Petting the cats was really a means to an end. I needed that cat therapy in order to heal emotionally. I loved with I did and got satisfaction out of holding and petting the cats and hearing them purr, or coaxing them out of their hiding places to let me pet them, or calming them down when frightened. But they're not my passion.
I'm a very creative person. I love to make things. I love to feel the wool passing between my fingers as I knit or crochet an item. I love to see things taking shape beneath my needles or hook.
I'm a very analytic person. I often take a step or two or even three back to analyze the situation and try to make sense of it.
I'm a very intelligent person - even with the cognitive disabilities. The mind is still there even though I'm not always able to find the right words, etc.
I'm compassionate, sensitive to others and a Christian who believes in the power of prayer.
Putting some of these things together: I'm a compassionate, intelligent, praying person who uses her creative abilities to bless others.
So what do all these things have to do with my former volunteer position at the Humane Society.
It's time to move on.
It's time to look for the "metal" roof, the new beginning.
It's time to scrap the old. Consign it to the garbage can.
It's a new year. A new beginning. A re-invented me.