Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Post Workplace Bullying: "Moving On"
After yesterday's posting about moving on, I think I need to clarify a few things, because frankly I HATE that phrase ... passionately. It ... and the twin phrase "letting go" ... raise my hackles and defences.
Early on, in between my two encounters with workplace bullying, when I was still very much stuck, hurting badly, not understanding what had happened to me and, more importantly, why, I would try to tell my story to others. My story wouldn't let go of me. I needed to talk, to verbalize about what had happened to me ... the unfairness, the injustice, etc. I was trying desperately to make sense of something that didn't make sense. That couldn't make sense.
I've learned since that what I was attempting to do is part of the recovery process. According to my therapists, there are three components to the process of recovery from PTSD/Trauma: telling the story, support, and justice.
At that point, for eighteen long months, I never got beyond the telling the story part. Mostly because no one wanted to listen ... and listen ... and listen. Ad nauseum. In fact, most people only wanted to listen for about five minutes and then it was like 'time's up', you need to move on, let go, whatever. Good bye. I'm done. I'm outta here.
Then they would leave, and we'd never talk again.
They totally didn't get it.
At that point, moving on or letting go were not options. I wasn't there yet.
Some nine years after the first incident ended and three plus years after the second, I am just now getting to the place where internally I'm ready to "let go". I still really have no clear idea of what they looks like or how to do it. I just know that it's time to begin seriously looking into and attempting to apply the process.
Letting go is not forgiveness as I've been working on that concept since both incidents happened - with varying success.
Letting go appears to be something else entirely.
It's easier to apply if we have a clear concept of what something is and how to get there from here, but I confess I don't.
I can tell you the first time that this concept has come to me in recent weeks and that has been with the ongoing postie situation i.e. stoppage of home mail delivery. We now have a community mailbox - which is better than nothing. It means a forced lifestyle change though as I can no longer bend outside my front door and reach over to the mailbox to retrieve its contents. I now how to fully equip myself and dress myself to get my mail: socks, shoes, coat, hat, mitts, scarf and key. Don't ever forget the key.
In one way, it has positive aspects as it forces me to go outside my house and take a short walk to the corner every day. I get fresh air - whether I want it or not. In other ways, it has negative aspects as I keep remembering why I am forced to do this. Because in my mind, the postie is another person like one of the major bullies in my last experience who simply doesn't want to do her job. Who is incompetent. Etc.
Eventually, it came to me that I have to let go of my anger, my resentment, even my feelings about this woman I've never met - and have no desire to either.
In order to move on, I have to let go of all these negative feelings. I have to force myself to realize that although I have taken this personally, it is not personal. She doesn't know me - or the other residents. It has nothing to do with me. It is all about her.
This has not been easy as I do tend to personalize things. Another thing I have to learn not to do. Another part of the healing process.
No, it's not fair that one woman has all the power. And no, it's still not easy as this person makes daily encursions into my neighbourhood five days a week to do her job.
But it's necessary.
I think this processing is what helped me to deal as quickly and as positively as I did with the bully on the bus situation. To let go, move on, get on the bus again and have positive experiences.
The most important thing I want to convey on the twin topics of "letting go" and "moving on" is that it is necessary for the survivor to initiate the process. Telling me too early that I "have" to do this - without giving me support and instructions - doesn't work. A lot of the process of recovery has to do with power and control - which I expect is a topic for another posting sometime in the future.
I need to figure things out for myself - in my own time and in my own way. My recovery works best when I am allowed to take control over it. Those who have been faithfully supporting me have realized this. That the best way they can help me is to support and encourage me - and give me the grace to figure things out for myself.
Those well-meaning folk who demanded I let go and move on too early, didn't realize that. And, for that reason, they moved on and left me. Subsequently, they're are not here to see the victories come. They're not here to listen to the good stories. To laugh with me. They have no idea what they're missing out on.
Today, I stop here.