A Poor Management Decision or What?

When this happened, I felt great shame and humiliation.

I took a step way outside the box when I applied for another position at work. Gladys had decided to leave the company. She did the job of two people so there were two positions open. I didn’t have the qualifications to review contracts, but I did have the ability to make sure all the documentation was in place and set up projects and new customers. I got the job and they employed a part-time lawyer to review the contracts.

My boss told me that this job was my baby. As time progressed, my job evolved into more than just setting up projects and customers and I became a glorified coordinator. All contracts were sent to me. If they were outside of our written contract format, I sent them out for review to the lawyer. Otherwise I sent them for signature from both the client and from the signer in our company; found out who was going to run the project; made sure that the credit check had been done on new customers; ensured that we had all the legal documents in place including the purchase orders and continued to follow up on these things until we had them all in hand.

I closed projects out in a timely manner; followed the ‘exception to the rule’ protocol; identified situations where work had started without the proper paperwork; helped set up a way to track the amount used on a blanket purchase order as well as identify situations where work started without a purchase order or where the purchase order had been exceeded. I started to develop a way where we could track our bid estimate on a project against the actual results so that the engineers could see how accurate their bids were and make the required adjustments in future bids.

I made all this visible to management and operations via a Sharepoint list. Management liked it. I worked closely with Sales, Operations, and the Finance Department. I received bonuses and a lot of praise for my work.

Then a year and a half later, my boss called me up. “I wanted to tell you, before someone else told you, Gladys is coming back. They are firing the lawyer and she will be reviewing the contracts. The CFO didn’t want her to come as she had left the company twice, but our boss wanted her to come back because the lawyer isn’t able to look at the operational impact of the contract and so she has to do it and the turn around time is too slow”.

My heart instantly lurched into my stomach. Gladys and I are very different. I am very detailed orientated; Gladys liked to cut corners to get things done on time and hated to have to do anything extra. She also didn’t make the sales people accountable and would move ahead without the proper paperwork in place. I knew this because I had often found myself in a position where a work order had to be invoiced without any pricing in place. Gladys also hated SharePoint.

When I took on the job, I was given instructions to create different processes and to gatepost certain things. This I did. In developing the new processes, I found out from all the departments what their needs were. To do this, I set up meetings to discuss their requirements and develop processes that would worked for everyone and with which my managers approved of. Everyone seemed really happy or so I thought.

My boss said that he would have no trouble saying something to Gladys if she didn’t follow the processes and would keep her in check even though she was going to work directly with his boss and not him. I was really nervous about the situation but thought that if my boss would keep Gladys in line, then it would be manageable.

Gladys was going to start just after Christmas. I tried to forget about the changes that were going to happen over the Christmas period. I was on vacation over Christmas and tried to keep busy so that I didn’t have time to think.

All too soon, I had to return to work and face this new dynamic.

It did not start off well.

Gladys didn’t want to know about the new processes. She started doing the work that I did and I had no paper trail to know what was going on. By the end of the week, I was told that she was going to be my boss. Her boss said that we would make a good team.

It had taken me a long time to get the confidence of my colleagues. Gladys had been well liked. I didn’t do things the same way as Gladys did. I was firm in keeping the processes as I had been requested to do. The processes kept people accountable.

Gladys started to run me down in emails to colleagues saying that I didn’t know what I was doing. She wouldn’t follow the processes. She told me that Sharepoint sucked.

She and I were duplicating the work and it was annoying the departments. I lost my authority as everyone paid more attention to what she said than following the processes.

She called me up and asked me to talk to her about the friction that I was feeling. As I started to explain the processes, she talked over me and yelled at me to shut up. ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’ She yelled.

I realized that this was not going to work. She was now in charge of my baby. I was being put back into a position of being ‘just a processor’; to take orders. I rang her boss up and said that this was not going to work. She said that she was aware that there was a problem going on and had an idea about another position for me. She just had to get permission from the CFO and HR before offering it to me.

She received permission and I was offered a job as the Sales Tax Accountant. She asked me to attack the job with my usual enthusiasm. I can’t say that I was very motivated. I was humiliated by the whole situation. I was embarrassed. I was grieving a job that I had enjoyed so much and had put so much effort into. I wondered what I had done wrong. I knew of no other way to handle the situation. I had felt powerless.

I was now in a corner. I was being trained to do sales tax by a bully who was very controlling, wouldn’t answer my questions, wanted me to do things by rote rather than by understanding, put me down all the time, criticized me, talked down to me and demoralized me. I was now on a team that was reactive rather than proactive and didn’t want new ideas or any contribution to improve processes. I was also in a situation where I was micro managed.

I totally understood why the company needed Gladys’ expertise. However, bringing Gladys back totally ruined my career. I was surprised that they created a new position for me. The whole situation left me very confused for over a year.

I am finally over my grief. I keep my head down. Do my job. Don’t interact much with anyone. My writing now provides the creative outlet that I had in my previous jobs.

However, I still wonder, as I did throughout the grieving process, whether the whole idea to bring Gladys back again and the way it was handled, was a poor decision by management or what?

What are your thoughts?

(First Published in Roaming Brit on 23rd May, 2018)

The Bread and all its Terror

This is a little more painful to write about. Fast forward one more year. I am now a third year senior at Fareham Park Comprehensive School which now has some newer buildings. The dance and drama studio is built. The music rooms are ready to go. The gym is built. We have an all weather pitch, a track, tennis courts and many more facilities for physical education. We have a building for art, woodwork, metal work, sewing and home economics. A far cry from the one building and a couple of modular classrooms that we had two years earlier.

Now that we have a home economics room, we have cooking on the schedule. This is definitely not fun for me.

The time that stands out most is the day that we made bread. I have little recall of anything else so I assume this is the one time that we cooked and the rest was book work, but I could be very wrong there.

A prelude to the bread story are the images of crowded hallways and stairwells where all the students of the school were changing classrooms, using the toilets, getting stuff out of their lockers. The stairs in particular were a source of consternation. Those girls would wait for me at the top of the stairs, As soon as I started on my way down, they would home in behind me and start to push me down, all the time laughing their heads off. It was hard to keep upright and not slip. I hated it. I had no idea what to do to help myself and to get out of the situation. It may only seem like a little thing, but I felt helpless. There were no teachers around.

These girls were in my tutor group and they were also in my cooking class. Cooking became a big nightmare. There the girls would use wooden spoons to hit me when the teacher wasn’t around. They would laugh in a mocking way. Any type of reaction exasperated the issue. I felt stymied. Powerless.

So it was in this atmosphere that we had to make bread.

There are just a few things that I remember about this bread-making activity. I remember the mixing bowl. I remember the yeast. This wasn’t dry yeast. This was fresh yeast. I remember that it looked dark and grey and pretty gross. We had to add it to our flour and use our hands to mix the dough mixture together. Then we had to knead it until the yeast was all absorbed.

As I write this with an adult’s perspective, something feels off about that yeast. So I read around and now understand that fresh yeast should look firm and moist, cream-colored and cool to the touch. If it is crumbly, dryish and dark in places it is stale. Apparently to use it, it must be added to liquid and mixed into the dough straight away. Here is what I also found on the internet concerning fresh yeast and the processes to activate it:

https://m.wikihow.com/Activate-Fresh-Yeast

In this article it demonstrated that yeast needs to be broken up into smaller parts. I was told to put my yeast and water straight into the bowl. I don’t remember it frothing up. The teacher was hurrying us along. I was taking longer than the others – not a natural cook, I’m afraid. I was kneading away. The yeast was not becoming absorbed into the dough.

I think the teacher was pretty frustrated with me. She didn’t listen to my explanation that the yeast was not amalgamating with the dough but she did come and help knead the dough and got it in the pan.

At last the lesson was over. What a relief. My bread looked really pretty. Despite the events of the day and the ongoing bullying, I was pretty chuffed with my success at cooking this bread.

At home, I was so excited as we were going to eat my bread as an accompaniment to our dinner that evening. I eagerly watched as my mum cut into the loaf.

“Eww! Yuck!” My Mum exclaimed as she cut the loaf in half.

My heart sank. “What’s wrong?” I mumbled.

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“Look!” She said. She turned around from the kitchen cabinet where she was cutting, holding the two halves of the bread in her hands. I looked. Inside each half of the loaf there sat a dark gray piece of yeast. My mum started to laugh. I let her know how I had trouble mixing that yeast into the dough and how the teacher had helped me. I then laughed with my mum although my insides were empty.

When I could, I left the room and went upstairs to my bedroom where I closed the door and cried.

My daughter is a master bread maker. She makes the most gorgeous and succulent bread. Her favourite receipe is found at https://weareeating.blogspot.com/2008/01/whole-wheat-bread.html?m=0

Here is the receipe that my friend gave me a few years back. I usually use this one when I make bread now:

Bread

Ingredients:

10 cups whole white wheat flour;
2/3 cup honey;
6 cups of water;
2 tbsp yeast (dried!);
2 tbsp salt:
3/4 cup oil;
2-3 tsp gluten;
2 tsp lecithin.

Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup ground flax seed substituted for 1 cup whole wheat flour.

Method:

I usually use a bread maker these days. I adapt the quantities of the ingredients accordingly (I do like to add the ground flax also) and follow the instructions of my bread maker.

(First published in Roaming Brit on 15th May, 2018)

The Harrowing Death of Maria Colwell

It was early January 1973. I was eleven years old. The 6 o’clock news had begun on the television. I was probably reading, sewing, crocheting or colouring or something when the dark images appeared on the screen that burned into my soul. The next day they were all over the front page of the newspapers that my parents subscribed to. Maria Colwell, a little girl who had been badly beaten by her step-father, had died. She was a couple of months older than my little sister. Her sunken face was showed the bruises and the black eyes. The country was outraged by her death and the events that preceded it. I was horrified and angry. My body seared with pain for this little innocent girl. My soul was harrowed up by these images. (Here is a link to one of the images in the paper: https://goo.gl/images/NkEfca).

Whilst thinking about Maria today, I decided to do a little research as there is only so much a child of eleven takes in especially when processing such horrific images and events. I found out that Maria lived in Brighton, East Sussex, England. She was born on the 26th March, 1965. Her father died shortly after her birth so Maria was placed with her aunt and uncle. Her other four older siblings went to live with their grandmother. Maria was very happy at her aunt and uncle’s house. She was well looked after.

There was no mention of why the mother didn’t continue to look after her children which made me wonder what was happening with the mother. I found out that whilst Maria was with her aunt and uncle, her mother, Pauline, had three more children with a William Kepple.

On the 22nd October, 1971, Maria was ordered by the courts to go and live with her mother and her step-father, William Kepple. There is no mention of her other siblings going to live there which made me wonder ‘Why Maria?’ William and Pauline favored the three children that they had together over Maria. Maria would be made to watch the other three children eating an ice-cream when William would refuse to buy her one.

Maria’s niece wrote on the internet on March 22nd, 2012, that Pauline would slap Maria and lock her in a bedroom and remove the door handle. The neighbors and teachers started to communicate to various agencies such as the NSPCC and the police that something was badly wrong in Maria’s home. They saw Maria walking around looking like a skeleton. Maria had to rummage through bins to get enough to eat. Yet, despite being seen by an NSPCC Inspector, a social worker, a doctor, an Education Welfare Officer and a Housing Officer, Maria continued to live with her mother and step-father.

William Kepple arrived home at 11:30 p.m. on the night of the 6th January, 1973. Maria was still up and watching television. Apparently, her mother had kept her up as she feared her drunk and violent husband. (Really! Okay, this is making me mad!)

Maria refused to acknowledge her step-father when he arrived home so he violently physically assaulted her. When he went to bed, he left Maria with severe injuries both internal and external. The next morning he wheeled her in a pram to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. On arrival, Maria had severe internal injuries including brain damage, fractured ribs and black eyes. Shortly after arrival, she died. She had been kicked to death. Upon her death, the coroner reported that she had an empty stomach when she died.

Maria is buried in Portslad Cemetery near Brighton and Hove in East Sussex.

William Kepple was charged with murder and sentenced to eight years in prison. On appeal, his charge was reduced to manslaughter and his sentence halved.

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Maria’s death precipitated changes in legislation and child protection procedures. These changes are still ongoing after forty-five years. On 24th March, 2000, just two days before Maria’s 35th birthday, her brother spoke out when a similar case was tried at Lewes Crown Court. The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show which, if either of the ‘parents’, was responsible for the death of their child. Mr. Colwell said that “the law has to be changed. The two people should take the consequences, not just one. If they were both there, then both of them did it.”

At fourteen, I wrote the following poem as my mind continued to linger on Maria’s death:

The Evening

“Can you see me, daddy?”
I hear my baby cry.
An eager expression on her face,
A twinkle in her eye.

Yet not so long ago,
She might have passed away.
We prayed to God that He might forgive,
And give her one more day.

I thought about that evening,
When the baby cried all night,
When my husband came home rather late,
Depressed and moody, extremely tight.

I fell when he pushed me,
And badly hit my head.
I don’t remember what happened next.
My babe was found in bed.

Her face was badly bruised,
Her eye swelled up in pain,
My husband’s task was finished,
And on the floor was lain.

I cried at the ghastly sight,
And trembled for her life.
Oh how I wished upon my soul,
I was not this killer’s wife.

My baby recovered many years before,
The past, I have not told.
And as ‘daddy’ plays with my innocent child.
I shiver, but not with cold.

Maria wasn’t the only child to experience this I learned in the next few years. I was exposed to more as I attended the public gallery of the Magistrate’s Court in Fareham in my first year of studying ‘A’ Level Law at Fareham Park Technical College. As a formality to take the case up to the High Court, photographs were passed around of the severe injuries a child had sustained by their parents. They were horrific. My heart wept and still weeps for these two children and for all children who suffer any type of abuse.

Gossip or Pride?

100_0653-7During a trip back to Minnesota last year for training on my new job, my trainer whispered conspiratorially that she thought that our manager gave her work that she thought that her manager should do. “I’m not the one who has to write the reports”, she said. Earlier in the day, she had spoken to me not so quietly that the previous payroll person was just awful at the job. “I always had to correct him”, she exclaimed. “He just couldn’t do the job. I had to keep telling him the same thing over and over again!” She also told me that the new payroll person, wasn’t picking up the job as quickly as her past experience indicated that she could.

I didn’t respond to any of her comments. I should have come back with something a lot stronger than silence. My mind wasn’t so quiet. I knew the previous payroll person. He had left the company because of the way my trainer had treated him for the past eighteen months. She had been demoralizing him and criticizing him constantly. In a state of anguish, he had finally resigned. He had told me that he really liked the company and the other people that he worked with, but he just couldn’t take any more from my trainer who had made his life unbearable and caused him so much stress and degradation. I was quite astounded that she would also say something about her manager. She and the manager were pretty cozy.

image-18I learned a long time ago when I lived in Climping (outside of Littlehampton in West Sussex) never to believe what another person tells me about someone else. I was serving in a church leadership position and needed to find someone to oversee the homemaking meeting for the ladies at church. I felt inspired to suggest a particular lady’s name. I will call her Lynn although this is not her real name. Lynn accepted the call to serve as the Homemaking Leader and I worked closely with her. When she was called, I was approached several times about Lynn with people telling me to be careful as Lynn was a terrible gossip and very unreliable. This information did affect my relationship with her at the beginning. However, I learned very quickly that Lynn was not like that. She was such a sweet lady and would do anything for anyone. She also never talked badly about anyone in my presence. After this specific learning experience, I vowed that I would make my own mind up about people and not listen to what others say.

On that trip to Minnesota, I had been working twelve hour days without breaks. On the day before I flew back home, I took a lunch break for an hour with one of my friends from work who had been brought into town at the same time. It was nice chatting with her and catching up on each other’s news. When I got back to my desk, I grabbed some papers that I wanted to scan in so I had access to them when I got back to Utah. Whilst I was at the photocopier, I heard my trainer say to my manager in a surreptitious manner, “She’s back!” That just confirmed to me that the trainer was also talking behind my back about me in a derogatory way just as she had our manager and the two payroll people.

This behaviour is a good example of duplicity – when a person will talk about somebody when they aren’t present in a critical and demeaning way – but wouldn’t dream of saying the same things to the person if they were there. It can be guaranteed that a person who exhibits this type of behaviour with you will be saying things about your weaknesses or other untruths to someone else when you are not there. This is the opposite of integrity. Having integrity means to be loyal to those who are not present. In these types of situations, one should defend those who are absent. When you defend those that are absent, you build trust with others. My husband is a very good example of this. My husband and his first wife are divorced but my husband never says a bad word about her. He never runs her down. I know that my husband will never talk badly about me to someone else even if we have had a disagreement.

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In an earlier post, I talked about the acronym of ‘HARD’. To review, this stands for:

Honest
Appropriate
Respectful
Direct

I spoke about how it was hard for me to be ‘Honest’ and ‘Direct’. I particularly find confrontation and speaking about my feelings to be difficult. This amounts to dishonesty as one is not being honest due to omission. It also leads to being just like my trainer. I won’t tell the person that I’m upset with them but I will vent to my husband or a close friend. I do not see much difference in that than with the behaviour of my trainer.

I am a great fan of Stephen R. Covey and reading his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ about sixteen years ago really helped me put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. He says in this book that ‘Integrity includes but goes beyond honest. Honesty is telling the truth – in other words, conforming our words to reality. Integrity is conforming reality to our words – in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations’. He further extrapolated “Integrity also means avoiding any communication that is deceptive, full of guile, or beneath the dignity of people. ‘A lie is any communication with intent to deceive,’ according to one definition of the word. Whether we communicate with words or behaviour, if we have integrity, our intent cannot be to deceive.” (Pg 195 and 197).

Instead of remaining silent when my trainer was sharing information about my manager and the payroll personnel, there is an alternative choice. Stephen Covey puts it like this: ‘… Suppose you were to start criticizing our supervisor and I basically told you that I agree with the content of some of the criticism and suggest that the two of us go directly to him and make an effective presentation on how things might be improved. Then what would you know I would do if someone were to criticize you to me behind your back?” This is something for me to seriously consider doing when these circumstances present themselves again. That way I will be ‘honest’ and ‘direct’. This will take great courage but it will help me to be congruent with myself. This is what I need to aim for.

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It is easier to take the course of least resistance: to belittle, to criticize, to betray confidences, to gossip about others behind their back. This is also a form of pride. One form of pride manifests itself when one seeks to build oneself up by pulling another down. Belittling, criticizing and gossiping function to knock the person it is aimed at down; at the same time aggrandizing the perpetrator. Pride is really destructive and possessing it is the means of destroying an individual, a family, and a society. When one is seeking to build oneself up at the expense of another person there is no respect for another person; there is no love. Stepping all over another person to gain respect or success is detrimental and self-sabotaging. How can one trust a person who does this?

The way in which you treat one person says a lot about you. It shows whether you can be trusted or not. What I learned from my parents was to have values and to make choices in my life based on principles. When I interact with any people, I need to do so by maintaining the same set of principles across the board. I wish to be a person who has integrity. There are some cracks in my armour as I have just discussed and my goal is to close up these weaknesses by learning to be honest and direct with those that I associate with. It is a work in progress but the most important thing is to be moving in the right direction.

(First published in Roaming Brit on 24th April, 2018)

Toxic

I have seen the following quote doing its rounds on Facebook the past couple of months.  It seems quite apropos.

“When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you.  The misinformation will feel unfair; but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the TRUTH, just like you did”. – Anonymous

First Published in ‘Roaming Brit‘ on 18th April, 2018

Change Me? No Way!

100_0653So last time I wrote, I raised the question whether it was my own culture that led me to have very high expectations of people and their behaviours. I wondered if the world had changed from when we were brought up or had the culture set us for failure?

Posing this question to my therapist, she said that if the principles and values didn’t work in reality, then yes, the culture is setting you up for failure. (She’s so good, she doesn’t criticize my crazy thinking!). However, she said it is more likely that your high values of loyalty and duty are the first things to signal a manipulator who will then hone in on you and exploit those values. All strengths have their flip side. So a sense of duty and loyalty can be a strength. When a manipulator, a bully, or an abuser sees that in you, they will then manipulate you so that it becomes a weakness. Something for me to get my head around.

When I have read self-help books or talked to people about emotional abuse or bullying, they have all said ‘You have to change’. I have sometimes felt very resentful about that. Why should I have to change? Why should someone else’s behaviour mean that I have to change who I am? Recently I read something in a book called ‘Boundaries’ by Cloud and Townsend that helped the lights go on.

“You cannot change anything else: not the weather, the past, the economy – and especially not other people. You cannot change others. More people suffer from trying to change others than from any other sickness. And it is impossible. What you can do is influence others. But there is a trick. Since you cannot get them to change, you must change yourself …..”

Oh no, here we go again, I thought, I’m being told I have to change myself.

“Since you cannot get them to change, you must change yourself so that their destructive patterns no longer work on you. Change your way of dealing with them; they may be motivated to change if their old ways no longer work.”

So basically, what I learned that I had to do is to change how I respond to them so that their destructive behaviours no longer work on me! This validated my thoughts that the abusers’ behaviours were destructive. What I have to change is my reaction to their behaviours. So this was most useful to me as it actually defined a little more clearly what kind of changes I needed to make.

I have one or two things that I have been working on in relation to this, but I’m sure I will discover many more on my journey. One of the things that I am trying to change is how I view people in the working environment. I have a deeply ingrained sense of hierarchy and how I should behave to someone who holds a position. I tend to be very deferential to those in authority. My therapist suggested that I look at this differently – not to encourage disrespect or rudeness – but so that I can create a different paradigm to work within. Using the example of my boss or my trainer, she said that they are no different from me – they are not better than me – they just have different responsibilities than I do at work. The other thing is that I have given myself permission to call them (or rather their behaviour) ‘jerks’ in my thought processes when their behaviour towards me is demeaning; when they talk over me when I’m asking a question or explaining a situation that they need to know about due their position; and when they withhold information from me. I think the word ‘jerk’ might be one of the Americanisms that I have picked up. I’m sure my dad would use the word ‘idiot’!

I don’t usually like to think unkindly of people, but using the word ‘jerk’ is helping me obtain a better reality of the situation. (I so hope it doesn’t just pop out of my mouth when I’m speaking to them! That would be an interesting dilemma that I don’t want to have to deal with). It is also helping me not to absorb their destructive behaviours as my fault.

img_0199The other thing that I need to work on is my communication. The rules that I have to practice have the acronym of HARD.

  • Honest
  • Appropriate
  • Respectful
  • Direct

Communication is HARD.

I don’t have a problem with ‘Appropriate’ and ‘Respectful’. I do have a problem with ‘Honest’ and ‘Direct’. ‘Honest’ is hard for me more in the realm of omission. It is hard for me to be confrontational and to say exactly how I feel. Unfortunately this weakness leads me to be passive aggressive – meaning that I won’t tell the person that I’m upset with that I’m upset with them, but I would tell my husband or a close friend. This lets me vent and release my anger but it doesn’t really solve any problems. When my boss talks over me as I’m explaining something, it is hard for me to say ‘I feel that talking over me is rude’. I guess this is why ‘Direct’ is also hard for me. Ha ha – I am thinking that not only is it difficult for me to actually say this to her, I also think that she would still be talking over me when I said it, so I don’t have a window to say it in. Then there is the fear of being rejected or have some other verbal abuse come back from saying it – at which point I would probably hang up on her and lose my job.

Why not forget the job? This is a very good question. I will leave my answer for another day ….

(First published 13th March, 2018 on Spanish Views)

Upbringing?

In reading Luke’s blog on Spanish Views, memories were stirred. One of the things that came back was the culture in which I was raised. E43AEED0-3C3A-4948-8D96-AC45DC31E674Having lived in America now for nineteen years and becoming partially assimilated into the Borg, it was nice to be able to identify with those values in which I had been raised.

A few months ago, I finally started going to see a therapist to try and put my life back together again after the events of last year at work. It was my therapist that identified to me that I was being bullied at work. It is kind of interesting how this bullying follows me around. I, of course, had labeled it differently. There were two major parts to the events that happened. The first part I had thought it was poor management decisions. I thought the decisions were very unfair and poorly thought out. The second set of incidents that were happening I thought were abusive. I thought it was a scheme to get me to leave. Or could it be that people were so blind to the actions of this person. I felt controlled, put down, micro-managed, insulted, set up so that whatever I did was wrong. My husband had never seen me go to pieces like this. We had been married for eleven years and he had never witnessed me behave like this before. I was frustrated. How after all the work I had done to get my life together, could this happen yet again?

My mother was frustrated when she came to visit and saw what a state I was in. ‘Why haven’t you gone to HR?’ She said. Why hadn’t I gone to HR? Well it was simply because HR does not represent the employees in America. HR is there to protect the employer. That is common knowledge in Corporate America. The second reason was, here we are again, how do you prove emotional abuse? At the end of the day, it would all come back on me – that there was something wrong with me.

My husband got extremely exasperated with me as I vented to him frequently about new incidents. He wanted to protect me and was angry that I was getting hurt. He was also frustrated with my responses to the situation. Besides not sticking up for myself, he was irked by my continually expecting a particular response from the said persons. ‘Haven’t you realized that they are not going to change? They are not going to respond in the manner you want no matter how hard you try.’

So exhausted, I went to the therapist to try to figure out how to move forwards. This is my journey.

Reading Luke’s blog and reliving my own culture, I just wonder if the way we were brought up led us to have these very high expectations of people. I have always thought people would be kind, truthful, help the underdog, be fair, execute justice, keep their word, acknowledge hard work and effort, be true, have integrity and so forth. Did the world change? Or were we just set up for failure?

(First published in Spanish Views on March 8th, 2018)