Thursday, January 8, 2015
Life Post Workplace Abuse: Today
There's a common saying which says: today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Which is true.
Yet, we are influenced - and sometimes tormented - by our yesterdays. What was. What might have been. The whys that continually torment the mind. Especially for a target/victim of bullying. Why? Why me? What was in it for them? What did they get out of it? And other questions like these.
These are the things that I, as a survivor of workplace bullying, bring into my present, into my todays. It's not that I want to. It's not even that I willingly bring them in. They're just there. Alive. Well. Present. Even when I don't want them to be. Especially now, three plus years - almost four - past the event. Especially now after so much in the way of recovery, I'm grappling with the why. Why are they still there? What can I do about them? How can I put these thoughts to rest and move on?
I believe that our thought lives are the hardest part of our recovery. Changing the phrases that go through our minds. Almost continually.
Phrases such as "I was fired." Which in reality I was not ... exactly. I was forced ... or coerced (take your pick) ... to resign. I had chosen not to go back. I knew that this was the end of the road for me as for as that workplace was concerned. My health was now in serious jeopardy. I could not go on. I owed it to my myself and those closest to me i.e. my family, my therapist, my friends, to separate myself permanently from these people.
So what's the issue you might say? The issue is that these people took away that piece of control over my own life, my own destiny, from me. By force if you will. Decisions that were mine, not theirs, to make. I was accused of a lot of things. None of them substantiated. Allegations. And then I was presented with a formal, legal agreement guaranteeing me some monetary compensation in return for a resignation ... an exit package not to be confused with a settlement. I thought I was quitting. In reality, I was agreeing to being terminated. I didn't realize this for a very long time.
So what does all this past garbage have to do with today? With the fresh start that is continually afforded us each day we wake up in the morning?
It has to do with confronting the lies. With rephrasing the phrases that continually go through my mind. It has to do with finding a way to make peace with the past. It has to do with finding a way to let go and move past all the hurt.
When a person dies, we often have a memorial service or burial. This gives us a degree of closure. A place to go back to to revisit the person. A grave to place flowers on, if you will.
In the case of workplace abuse, especially workplace abuse that ends as mine did with further injury added to insult, it is a bit like a death. There are losses. There is no burial. No moment of closure. And more importantly, society in general doesn't recognize this as a significant loss.
That's where I think creativity comes in. Somehow, I need to find a place of closure for myself. How? I'm not sure yet. But I truly believe that given the circumstances, given the significance of the losses that (a) finding a place of closure is not only necessary but probably my next step on the journey of recovery and (b) that it's going to take a heck of a lot of creativity and imagination to find one.
That's part of the challenge of today.
Part of the challenge for this coming year ... to find a way to make closure. To put the past at rest.
That is where I am today.
See you next time.