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#446894 - 09/11/13 10:02 AM Work and Recovery
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
When I see someone say they're sorry about posting I always try to let them know that's why we're here to post/share/support/etc. and to NOT feel bad. Now that I feel the need to get this off my chest I feel like I have to apologize for it first...

So, I crashed last summer under the weight of self isolation to avoid all of my CSA and childhood issues. It was scary and I even knew what was going on. So many others don't even realize that it's issues from their abuse. Even still it hurt so bad that I really did want to die as opposed to talk about it. Can't do suicide - just hurts too many other people.

So I did counseling and made a couple of new friends all of which really helped me out of my darkest moments. All the while still going to work each day and trying to be a husband and father. Work definitely suffered. I had always thrown myself into work. It really did seem to take priority over family a lot of time. In hindsight I think it's because I used it to avoid life which could be painful. I even thought about trying to take a leave of absence so I could focus on recovery because for a while there I COULDN'T focus on work.

I'm feeling better now and have been able to get more back into work (I say that as I'm typing this while at "work"), but I don't think I will ever be the same workaholic that I was. I know that I don't want to be that person again. Anyway, my boss has definitely noticed the changes and probably thinks I'm less dedicated to my job now. She's even gotten pretty mad with me and the staff that report to me, but doesn't know how to show that very well. We are meeting about all this tomorrow. If all the sudden I start posting something every hour and respond to everyone else's posts multiple times you can probably guess how that meeting went... eek

I know most people aren't good with criticism but there must be a way that my boss does it that's like how my stepfather used to tell me I couldn't do anything right because sometimes my physical reaction to her is so intense - hard to breath and only hear my heart beating in my ears. Can't even think rationally for a while. I think it's because they both don't say they are upset or didn't like something - they just imply you didn't do a good job. IDK. Sometimes I do react well, and others...not so well.

I hope I can keep things under control in tomorrow's meeting. In the messages that we exchanged leading up to needing to meet tomorrow I did come out and tell her she comes across to me and my staff as being the ONLY person that can do a job the right way. She said she appreciated the feedback, but we'll see.

Thanks for listening. I better get back to work.
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#446898 - 09/11/13 11:22 AM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 229
Loc: California
Hey Rich,

I'm glad you shared this post. I have struggled off and on with work in many of the same ways. I tune out on my job at times and yes even respond to posts and PMs at work. I try my best not to do that, but I have to admit that along with you I have really stopped being such an over-achiever and just doing my job like everyone else.

First, I think issues with bosses, particularly bosses that are too demanding or do not listen can be very triggering for survivors. I used to get so angry at seemingly innocuous requessts from my bosses. I would fire off indignant emails and such. I had to put a post it on my computer screen saying "relax, breathe, do not hit send" that would force me to take a break and calm down before I replied. That really worked. But, maybe the issue is less with your boss, and more that you have needs right now that are not compatible with your old way of being a workaholic anymore?

Jobs and the bosses in them are like vacuum cleaners. They will suck up whatever resources you are willing to give them in an almost mindless way. They do that especially to people that give 150%, and then they just expect that from that moment on. It doesn't really matter to the job or to your boss why you gave that 150%. They don't see you as a CSA survivor tuning everything else out and throwing yourself into your job to avoid people. They just see the end product. So, when you suddenly go down to 100%, they see a difference and still want the 150%, even if at 100% you are now performing well still and just like your co-workers.

I think you should think about what you are able to commit to at work. I think we survivors get to a point where we have to take care of ourselves at the expense of giving that 150%. We have to be good to ourselves, give less than 150% and put that 50% of focus where it belongs, maybe take off some time, maybe work a lighter schedule for a while. Those things do not make you less of a person, they make you a human that is under extraordinary hardship and stress. They make you a person that wants to heal and take care of yourself. If you think you need to take some time, you probably do. Just honoring what you think you need will go a long way to making you feel better about yourself in the long run.

Maybe you can have a candid conversation with your boss about what your needs are around work. You don't have to disclose, but you could tell her you are dealing with some personal issues that have demanded more of your time and energy than you thought. Maybe you can make some arrangements around that. If you are not comfortable with that, I would talk with your T about how to approach this and get straight in your head what you think would be good for you at this point.

You have had an extremely difficult life with the CSA, as a child, and as an adult. You have dealt with so much in the past year. You have done a lot of hard work. It has just been on YOU, not some job. That is the best accomplishment you could ever make, in my opinion.

I hope things go well in your meeting, Rich. I am really glad you shared this, because I have struggled with work from time to time because of my CSA. Let us know how it goes.
_________________________
Todd

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein

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#446906 - 09/11/13 02:20 PM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2024
Loc: durham, north england
I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago.

For the past five years, I've been writing a doctoral thesis, a work on the nature of disability.

As an undergraduate, and even during my masters I'd always been absolutely certain of how I could work, how I could write. I'd just zone into the arguements and let my creativity take over, ---- indeed I got a reputation for finishing essays in super fast time, because I'd spend all my time doing extensive reading around the subject, then a few days before the hand in time, just write at super fast speed! I even once wrote a very highly marked essay onn carl marx over a single night after spending the previous day reading a copy of Capital with nothing to keep me going (because colidge had stopped serving food and we were far out of town), but a large packet of jelly babies and a pint of red bull! (well at least being red! bull it was the right colour).

Then however, when I started my phd, when I could no longer deny the consequences of my abuse something changed. It just wasn't easy anymore. All that old creative adrenalin I'd used just wasn't there! I'd sit down each morning at my computer, perhaps write two or three words, or sit down and try to read but I might as well have been reading in mongolian for all the sense it made, since that old ability, that force, that energy just wasn't there anymore!

I got E-mails from my tutor which became increasingly desperate, how was I getting on, where was the draught of the chapter I'd promised him, what had happened! Bare in mind my tutor is one of the most decent individuals you could imagine, someone I profoundly admire, someone who had always shown faith in me.

I dragged myself into writing something, a pale parody of those old adrenalin filled spurts, working at a rate of a couple of words an hour, something which was barely coherent.

And that just made the situation worse, resulting in my tutor sending a deeply unpleasant (though entirely accurate), letter about me and my abilities, how I was letting him down personally, how he was considdering asking me to withdraw, aka kicking me off the academic course for the sake of the reputation of himself and the department because it was clear to him that whatever ability I'd shown was long gone.

This all came to a head in 2008, shortly after my crash. This was one of the few occasions I've actually ever asked for direct help from my parents with recovery matters. I asked my mum to speak to my tutor.

I don't know exactly how that conversation went, though according to my mum my tutor was pretty adamant on how dire I was, but she was able to tell him that I had experienced sa at secondary school and was now feeling the effects.

The result of this was the decision to go part time. It would mean taking five years instead of three on my thesis, but fundamentally it removed the pressure, meant I had time to sit back, take stock, and work on recovery, since there was just no way I could have the creative energy necessary to write a doctoral thesis andd! deal with the apothy, the depression, the nightmares, the genophobia and everything else.

Things weren't of course all jolly after that, it took me close to two years! to write the first chapter, a year to write the third and only six months for the fourth (though redraughting, going back to all the stuff I'd written in dark incoherence was not fun), how it is now done! However had I not! cut back, I'm pretty sure it'd never had got done at all.


Another point I notice, is that demands, any demands when dealing with apothy can feel like threats.

I got to dread those E-mails from my tutor, since I just didn't want to let him down, didn't want to face the knolidge that I'd failed, and even a few weeks ago, when i'd finished! the bloody thing, and I recieve an E-mail with my tutor's name I couldn't help starting a little, a reflex reaction wondering how I'd failed (even though he was only E-mailing me to arrange a time to go out for lunch).

And all this! was from working at home, under my own power, with my own choice on a subject (the deffinition of disability), that was not only of crucial importance to me, but something I felt certain should! be written about.

I dread to think of recovery under the pressures of actually going to an office full of people and having to work at something simply! for the work's own sake, or simply to earn money, not to mention having kids as well.

Recovery is a full time job, which is really part of the problem, since you can only work full time for so many hours in the day, or at least such is my experience.

Luke.

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#446909 - 09/11/13 02:45 PM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 734
Loc: NJ
Breathe and try and go gentle on yourself.

Her tone and lexicon obviously are a trigger but be careful not to let it get you to the point of saying something that could get you terminated.

Worst case you walk away which could be called insubordination rather than say or doing something that could make matters worse.

again breathe, it's the must important thing. You never did anything wrong and It was never your fault.

H
_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#446923 - 09/11/13 07:39 PM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
Thanks Todd, Luke, and Castle for sharing and your support.

I have told my boss already. When I had 40 plus doctor appointments, one each week for a year, I figured it might be obvious so I told her why I was getting counseling. She almost cried right there on the spot which made me cry… She was very sympathetic to my situation and has been a good boss for the most part.

I'm not toooo worried for my job at this point, but there are lots of budget issues with pressure to cut spending/costs. I've been there a long time and the raises add up over time.

I am worried that I could be triggered and that will be hard. I'm thinking of telling her what triggers me and working out a plan of what to do if that happens with her. I think she gets triggered too so maybe this will be a good conversation for the two of us.

Thanks again guys and I will post an update tomorrow. The good thing is I meet with my T at 4. He's been gone a whole month! I'm glad he's back as lots of stuff has been going on. The meeting with my boss is at 2 eastern time.

Maybe I will write a note on my hand that says breath… I'm not kidding with that either.
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#446931 - 09/11/13 08:48 PM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Rich-

I hope the meeting goes really well. It's strange how the behaviors of superiors can cause us to react by triggering our defenses or learned behaviors. Coming from an educational community, people would be surprised to know that the majority of administrators resort to what they know will trigger their employees in order to remain in control... bullying and intentional negativity, for example, just to keep things off-balance. I hope your superior is not like that and can behave herself, remain dignified, and understand that what she does triggers what you don't want.

I am glad you told her upfront why you were out once a week. I think it actually gives you a standing with her for being honest and upfront with what you are dealing with. I am glad she had empathy with the situation, and I also had the thought that it gives you protection just in case of a cutback. A person removed from a position... who has divulged he is under professional care (mental health) would, I think, fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If necessary, maybe you should not be hesitant to mention that if job security was mentioned or hinted at.

Okay, you don't need that much advice I know, but I am glad you shared. And forget the apology for doing so. You offer all of us so much and we will be thinking of you at the 2 o'clock hour tomorrow. And glad you could see your therapist today... that always helps. Breathe deep, breathe slow and remember how great you really are !
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#446972 - 09/12/13 11:13 AM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
Thanks ThisMan.

She just made mention of the meeting at two. I was doing fine till she brought it up. I can tell she's tense about that meeting. Something came up earlier in the week where she said I could have done more to keep someone else's project from being a disaster. I thought about it for two days and then said "NO, not really" because it wasn't my project AND I went the extra mile to ask them what they needed from us and never got that information. Just now she started to say I could have done something differently about it and then stopped and said we can talk about it this afternoon. It was written all over her face that she thinks she's going to be telling me something I don't want to hear. Now I have 3 hours to freak out about what's coming. GRRR

Breath.

I want to be reasonable about my weaknesses and areas where I need to improve, BUT I'm afraid I will lose sight of reality in the moment and either overreact or take the blame for everything. Why does balance have to be such a hard thing to achieve sometimes.

Breath.

I've known her for probably close to 25 or 30 years and I've worked with her pretty closely for the last 20 years so I know she means well. It's when we really don't see eye to eye on something that the sparks can fly. Knowing that she means well it something else I will write on my hand.


Edited by Rich1967 (09/12/13 11:23 AM)
Edit Reason: added more info
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#446982 - 09/12/13 12:58 PM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
Castle Offline


Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 734
Loc: NJ
I hope the meeting goes well.

Being a survivor, in part, is about putting the blame where it belongs. No wonder you don't want to accept responsibility for something you didn't do.

Breathe.
_________________________

My posts can self destruct at any time..read them while you can.

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#446996 - 09/12/13 03:08 PM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
Rich1967 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/17/13
Posts: 289
Loc: PA
I'm glad that's over with. It felt like I was having a panic attack from about 11 to 2. I will sleep well tonight if I can keep from crashing right after dinner. Thanks again everyone for the support.

She really just wanted to work out how we could better work together moving forward recognizing that both of us have changed our management styles recently. She is very controlling and my message to her about making everyone feel like ONLY she can do it right was well accepted - she knows she does it and is going to work on not giving off those vibes. I'm definitely a different person and I didn't hear any criticism about how I'm working so that was great. We just worked out new ground rules for communicating and working on what needs to get done.

We did go over the project that fell apart and she backed off a little when we talked about it further, but we agreed on some things to do slightly differently if we have to work with the same crew again in the future. I didn't take the blame and I think I came across as wanting to find a solution for the future.

Phew! I don't have to go look for another job.
_________________________
Rich

"Me too" - I don't think I will ever get tired of saying or hearing these two words.

My Story:
http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=441625#Post441625

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#447000 - 09/12/13 04:00 PM Re: Work and Recovery [Re: Rich1967]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3523
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Good to hear this, Rich.

i usually find that what i fear is a LOT worse than what actually happens. but it probly wouldn't have been helpful to have said that before your meeting. and i have to keep reminding myself of it too.

keep breathing - and sleep well!
lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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