I graduated with my Bachelors of Psychology in December 2011 and in June, 2012, I got what I thought was my dream job, although, has nothing to do with my degree. In fact, I don't need the degree for the job.
The job offers good pay, good insurance, and has very little contact with the public - which I thought was a good thing, considering I have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. As these conditions are exacerbated when dealing with large amounts of people or stress, this was a good thing, or so I thought.
I work in a small department - only nine people - coding insurance claims for a local medical company. All of us are women.
There were many red flags, which, in hindsight, I realize I shouldn't have ignored.
During my interview, my soon-to-be boss told me that the girl who I was replacing was leaving thanks to a horrible rumor about her husband that another girl (who'd been fired) started. I couldn't understand why she was leaving as the girl responsible had been fired, but I chose not worry about it.
I was a little surprised that The Boss was sharing this during the interview, but she said she wanted me to be aware of the environment I'd be entering. She wanted me to know that no one else started rumors; that she considered it an awful thing to do. I agreed with her; if you have a problem with someone, you should talk to the other and work it out, rather than talking behind their back, allowing rumors and half-truths to be spread.
She also said during the interview was that the two women had gone to HR and The Boss's boss to complain about her, which she was deeply offended by. She explained that if you have a problem with her, you should come to her first to discuss it. Another flag, but I figured that she was right; it was professional courtesy to take it to her first.
It wasn't long before The Boss asked me how I was enjoying my work. I assured her it was wonderful and during our conversation she began complaining about several of my coworkers.
I was shocked.
She'd been clear during the interview that she didn't like talking about others behind their back. Plus, she's The Boss - The Boss isn't supposed to complain about employees to other employees; it causes huge problems. Backstabbing from the top leads people to believe they're better than everyone else, and it makes the more paranoid among us wonder what she's saying about us behind our backs.
After that, I started avoiding conversations with her. I wanted to avoid hearing her complain about other employees so I wouldn't see them differently. Plus, I didn't want to give her ammunition to complain about me.
Soon, I got comfortable enough with one of my coworkers that I started talking about my problem: sometimes I wished we didn't have so much overtime, because it made my new husband upset that I didn't have as much time for him.
Shortly after that conversation, we learned that our department might be outsourced. I told the same coworker that I'd be updating my resume in case we didn't have jobs much longer.
Then, The Boss stopped talking to me entirely. The other girl who did my job began ignoring me when I said anything, gave me sideways looks, and started keeping her headphones on. Several times a day, she'd go into the back and whispering with The Boss.
To cope, I started listening to music - I figured it was okay as my coworker did it.
At the beginning on January, The Boss asked me aside for a talk.
She proceeded to tell me that everyone in the office hated me - no one wanted to work with me, because all I did was listen to music. They thought I was a snob. I'd made my primary coworker cry as she thought I wouldn't work any more overtime; she felt she was doing more work than me (not true). That I'd said to her The Boss was "ruining my marriage," and "I hated my job so much I was revamping my resume."
Everything I'd said to my primary coworker was repeated, and twisted to The Boss to make me sound awful. I was sobbing.
The Boss continued - she realized that I was introverted, and while I'm good at my job, and she felt I was highly intelligent, if she'd known, I was introverted, she wouldn't have hired me, as the position required an extrovert. Which is silly, because half the people in the office are quiet introverts.
Finally, she named the people who hadn't said anything about me; that she was guessing how they felt. I learned that the only person who has a problem with me is my primary coworker whose lies The Boss believes, as they're friends.
After that, I tried to change. I quit listening to music. I made an effort to talk more, even though my work suffered. I worked more overtime, and began working on some of my primary coworkers work to help her.
It hasn't been enough.
For a week, The Boss and coder coworker seemed to like me more, and now things at work are just like they were before I was taken aside by The Boss. What's worse, I absolutely hate my job. I have horrible stress headaches that radiate into my teeth. I can't sleep because I'm so sick with worry about the next work day. I get physically sick to my stomach at work. I can't eat. I'm having daily panic attacks. I cry all of the time.
I can't take it anymore.
My husband might have a job that may allow me to quit, but that might take awhile. We're likely moving in the next couple months, either for his possible job or to be near family.
In the meantime, I have bills to pay. I can't just quit my job. He makes enough now that we'd still make our bills, but the credit cards we stupidly got in college would go unpaid. I would feel awful. And, frankly, I don't want to try to find another job to have to quit in a month or two.
I just don't know what to do.
I just know I can't continue working there.
The pain of bullying outlasts the abuse itself.
This is her story:
...I'm coming to a standstill...
Last year, I had a meltdown from what happened last January - bullying really rips one's soul out.
I'm writing my story is because I'm letting go of the hurt and the pain. Most importantly, I'm forgiving myself because I didn't choose to be bullied - but it happened anyway.
It all began last January when rumors about me started going around - I was a witch and bewitched others. What hurt the most was that these rumors were started by people I've been friends with since grade 8.
Eventually, everyone at school would no longer talk to me or sit next to me in the class. At first, I sensed something was going on because I saw how people were acting funny around me. I only learned of the rumors when some girl called me and told me what my friends were saying about me.
I remember that day as vividly as if it were yesterday. After that call, I didn't know what to do or how to react. Later that evening, I told my mom. I cried myself to sleep that night, thoughts running through my mind.
I thought I'd have to spend my last year with these people, but no. My family decided to take me out of that school and enrolled me in a new one.
Today, I sit and wonder what would've happened if I'd stayed there. I'd bet that I would've failed my metric and I would've become miserable.
Through this journey, I've learned that, ultimately, each of us creates the life we want to live.
Through my decisions and actions, I ended up with mine, but it's time for me to be happy again and leave the past in the past!
My Sophomore year of high school has not been going the way I wanted.
This year, I've lost all my best friends, had rumors circulating about me while my ex-boyfriend made a fool out of me.
First of all, I admit that I've made to many mistakes - I don't know what to do anymore. My mistakes continue to haunt me - I just want to get rid of them for good.
Let's see, where to start... One of my best friends, we'll call her Abby lost her virginity (basically a one night stand) at the end of Freshman year to this kid that she liked. I don't think he, one of my ex-boyfriend's best friends, gave a damn about her.
During that summer, one stupid night I hooked up with the kid "Abby" lost her virginity to. I never had the courage to tell her because I knew she'd have been mad. I wish I hadn't, but kept it from her for so long.
I did tell another friend what had happened - she's always been two-faced, but I thought she'd changed. Guess not. She told Abby that we'd hooked up and Abby was beyond mad at me. It was awful, and Abby still hasn't forgiven me - she thinks we'd had sex - but we DIDN'T! It makes me wonder why people believe rumors without understanding that most aren't true.
Later, during Sophomore year, I started having problems with my ex-boyfriend Ryan, who I hadn't talked to since we'd broken up in August. Ryan and I hung out one night and started talking about everything - we each wanted different things. We ended up having sex that night.
I feel like I sound like such a whore, but I'm in love with him - I'd do anything to get him. My mom found out what had happened and told him to never talk to me again, as she knew that he made me more and more depressed. She hated how sad I was when he wasn't around.
During the school year, I was finally done with Ryan's shit. He drives by my house all the time with his sexy car pumping his music. Being stupid, I went on Twitter and tweeted "get over yourself #realtiycheck."
Eventually, he found out that my tweet was about him and he kept tweeting at me, calling a sloot, slut, whore and everything else you could think of. I blocked him. I didn't wanna see his shit anymore and I didn't want him to see mine.
Am I wrong for blocking him on Twitter?
He made it such a big deal about me blocking him - when he found out, he tweeted, "oh nooo, she blocked me #coughcough#sloot"
Real mature. He'd have to have gone on my Twitter profile to see that I'd blocked him - maybe he was creeping on me and noticed that I'd blocked him. I don't know. I felt like that was a little too far.
I know Twitter can cause a lot of shit, but one night, the hashtag trending was #letsmakeitawkward, so everyone tweeted about awkward relationships or breakups. That night, my best friend texted me, asking, "can I tweet: #letsmakeitawkward Taylor and Ryan." I told her, sure, go for it - that'd be hilarious!
Well, Ryan apparently didn't think that was funny. Half an hour later, he tweeted "#letsmakeitawkward Taylor and the whole high school"
That hurt me so much that it's not even funny. Ryan doesn't know who I've hooked up with or know what's going on in my life. I cried until three AM on a school night - my mom made me go to school the next day.
It felt awful and so, so low.
While I'd been less depressed, I became depressed again. That was the last fight I'd had with Ryan, except the time I drunk-texted him, flipping my shit. He didn't say anything but "fuck you," which he blamed on a girl texting me from his phone.
Last weekend was the worst weekend yet, and I feel so stupid.
Saturday night I was at my friend Jill's house with Hannah and Krista. Now, my parents don't like Jill or Krista because they think they are bad kids and do things that I use to do (even though I still do them).
That night, Jill was taking some shots, but I was didn't do any. Later, her friend Austin - who's also a Sophomore - came to pick us up. We all got in and started driving around. Austin, being stupid, was pulled over for going 70 in a 30 MPH road. When the police officer asked for his license and he said he didn't have one.
I freaked out.
I'd had no idea he didn't have his license. That night, Austin got arrested for steeling his MOM'S BOYFRIEND'S CAR! So fucking stupid - driving without a license WITH alcohol in the car. Everyone had to blow into a breathalyzer - I was the only one who didn't blow over 0.0000 because I hadn't had anything to drink.
Unfortunately, that means that I have to go to court for being in the car with an unlicensed driver. My mom has told me I can't hang out with my best friend Hannah since she got arrested - which, UNFAIR. Totally not my fault. Taking away my best friend is like taking away the only thing that makes me happy right now.
I'm telling you - my Sophomore year cannot get any worse.
(thanks for listening, The Band. Much love to you all!)
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?
Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It's time to Ask The Band!
Last December, my heart stopped for a moment. The ground fell away from under my feet.
I had a friend on the phone, whom I'd called to ask for an explanation about an email she'd just sent me, in name of herself and three other friends of mine. It had said they wanted to call a meeting about "the events of [a date in November]."
I asked her: "What events?"
With a forced laugh she replied: "You mean you don't know what I'm talking about?"
"You kissed so-and-so!"
Everything stopped. My head spun. I couldn't breathe. What?
Apparently, a guy at a party I attended had told a friend's boyfriend that he had made out with me. Why would he say that? I have no clue. It wasn't true. We'd flirted a little: the alcohol-induced winks and witty retorts had kept us occupied that evening. But make out? Mais non! He is married, has two kids. I'm married, have a kid.
The meeting called for was called off - no more items on the agenda to discuss. I'd replied that the accusation wasn't true, and the friend would let the others know. I didn't hear from them. No apology, nothing.
It hurt. So. Badly.
Then, days before Christmas, an email. One of the friends was trying to find out what went wrong. No one replied, so after a day I did. I lashed out. Told them they were petty, 15-year-olds for acting the way they did.
What a shit-storm that caused. One friend said the friendship was over - when could she bring back some of the stuff she'd borrowed? (Preferably at a time I wasn't home). Another said she thought I was being the childish one.
I began calling on Christmas day. I could not give up these friendships. All four, all 17 years. One-by-one, we found out there'd been misunderstandings. Another meeting was arranged.
A few days after Christmas, with a heavy heart, I drove up to the friend's house where the meeting had been called. I hoped with all my might that it would not be a tribunal - that it would involve my friends standing next to me, supporting me, and hugging me.
Alas, it was a tribunal. One where I had to do the talking, the explaining, the convincing. Everything I had said in that email, the question of whether I was lying about cheating or not ("Why would he lie about this? He has a wife and children!"). Everything was brought in front of me.
The minute it began, I gave up hopes of having a two-way conversation. It was clear that I'd been in the wrong, and things needed to be set right. So I explained, apologized, and cried. I was the only one who cried.
I drove home feeling empty.
It's almost been a year since this happened and I am not over it. I berate myself every time I feel the panic set in after receiving an email from one of the friends: "Quit being such a baby!"
My therapist told me I need to be compassionate about my feelings.
I read a post here on The Band where the author described what happened when she ran into her former bully from high school: blood rushing through her ears, the world falling away. That is me. I can barely function for at least a day after receiving an email from one of them.
I've refused to give in to actively ending the friendship: I know that would do more harm than good.
But today, I realized is has been nearly a year. And I do not feel like I have healed.
I feel so sad about it all, so hurt.
So what do I do? I cannot talk to them about this - the Tribunal of Shame made that clear.
How do I heal from this? How do I stop having flashbacks?
And how do I forgive my friends for not responding the way I would have hoped they would? Aren't your girlfriends supposed to rally around you, to be the non-judgmental sounding board?
Thank you so much for listening. I've felt so alone in keeping these feelings to myself.
<3 for the Band.
My counselor made me realize that my ex-boyfriend was emotionally and sexually abusing me.
He'd always call me names when I'd try to break up with him. He'd force me to suck his penis and have sex with him after I told him no. I wouldn't say anything when we were doing it, though, because I was scared.
I'm disgusted at myself and it's been at least eight months. I can't forgive myself for not trying harder to say no. I worried that he would abuse me physically because he was a big dude and he scared me.
Every time I look at my body I feel disgusted. I wonder, "Why did I let that happen to me?" I was only 14 when I lost my virginity to him. I wish I could take it back so badly.
He cheated on me so many times, and he blamed me for everything he did. He said I was the one cheating on him. He made me feel afraid. Thankfully, I was only with him for six months.
When I eventually broke up with him, he ruined my life. My whole school basically hates me now and thinks I'm a whore because of the things he told them. Everyday when he'd see me in school he'd tell me to go kill myself.
I'm happy he's finally done talking about me.
I have a new boyfriend now and on January 16 we will have been together for seven months. He loves me and treats me how I deserve.
I just wish I could forgive myself for letting this all happen.
I wish I did not feel disgusted about my body.
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