Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coming Back to Life after Workplace Abuse

Most of the last several years I've preferred to remain like this - a shadow figure.  Seen but not really seen.

I feel a bit like Snow White, waking up from a very long sleep.  Actually, it's been more like coming slowly out of a coma - by minute increments.  A piece here.  Another piece there.  Connecting the dots.  Learning to live again.  To come awake - fully awake - to both the injustice and the beauty of life post-bullying.

Unlike Snow White there is no Prince Charming.  No kiss.  No dwarfs.  There is no happily ever after.  With workplace abuse, there rarely is.

There is, however, the vain, jealous queen aka co-worker peering into her looking glass inquiring who in the workplace is ... the brightest, the most competent, the most well-liked or well-established ... or whatever.  There is also a group of disenchanted townspeople or villagers aka bystanders willing to look up to, admire and follow the queen wherever she goes and believe without question whatever she says.  After all, she's the queen.  Who would think for themselves when someone else can think for them?  Isn't it easier all around that way?

For me, the awakening is about reclaiming myself from midst of the debris of my self-esteem which cloaks me like the wrappings around a mummy.  Or like an early morning fog.

Forced into silence by fear, my greatest awakening is realizing that I not only have a story to tell but a right to tell my story.  It's my story.  Uniquely mine.  Yes, it involves others who behaved in negative ways - ways that caused a lot of internal psychological and emotional damage and trauma - but that is simply a prop to propel the story of recovery on.  To make sense of the journey of recovery.

If the injury had been caused by a physical accident such as a car crash, there wouldn't be any issue in that regard.  It would be a no-brainer.  I would certainly be recognized as having a right to tell the story, to show the cast - or the bandages - or the bruises - or the stitches.  If the accident was traumatic or newsworthy enough, it would have been featured on the local news in which case there wouldn't be any questions of slander, libel or defamation of character.  But workplace abuse is different.  Because it's non-visible.  Because it operates best in a culture of silence.  Because too many people are willing to let it.

For me, the most consistent piece of the recovery process has been an attempt to move forward by focussing on my dreams to become a writer.  Lifelong dreams sidetracked years ago by the realities of life.

To start, I've taken two on-line courses:  Social Media 101 and Blogging 101.

Social Media was a fearful adventure for me.  I had to write a bio.  I had to get onto and learn how to use various forms of social media:  LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, etc.

I'd been on LinkedIn for several years, but was consumed by fear.  After all, if I could see others' profiles on LinkedIn, so could those who had caused all this damage.  What would they do if they saw my profile on LinkedIn and accessed this blog?  How would they perceive it?

I lived in fear.  I still do to a degree.

I was starting to slowly come out of the paralysis of fear when I signed up for Blogging 101 which has made me realize that the focus of my blog is on my years-long, on-going journey of recovery from complex PTSD.  Not primarily on what happened but what has been happening since then and because of it.  However, the two - the bullying and the recovery - are irrevocably intertwined since I couldn't be recovering from one without the other.

I value - and invite - your comments.  What would you like to see covered in this blog?  Would you be willing to tell me your story and have it featured on this blog?

I invite you, the reader, to join me on this journey.

Part of reclaiming my life - I can't ride a normal bike because of the affects of the psychological trauma so I had a bike shop adapt this one for my needs.  Thank you King Street Cycle, Waterloo, Ontario

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