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Monday, January 12, 2015

Oh no she didn't! She did...

Ok, so I've gone an entire week without my meds, and yeah, the withdrawal has been getting worse: insomnia, upset stomach, mood swings. Oh the joys! So today I had a minor crisis at work. I said something innocently to a higher up and realized that what I said is going to make it back to my evil boss. What did I say? Are you's awful. I was asked about my supervisor. When I responded that I had been moved out of that department, the person was surprised. She asked what department I was in now, I couldn't tell her, because I don't know. She was even more surprised. When did this happen? October. Even more surprise. Here's what's going to happen. This person is going to go to my Assistant Superintendent and express her surprise that I've been moved without her telling anyone. My Asst. Sup is going to come to me wanting to know why I said that. It's not that I said it, I was asked...but HER boss. What am I supposed to do? Refuse to answer? It won't matter, I'll get yelled at. I know it all seems minor and stupid, but this is how things go down at work. We get yelled at for answering questions. This drama coupled with my lack of crazy pills in my system turned me into a panic. I finally decided to take matters in my own hand and I called my doctor's office and demanded an appointment for TODAY.

They conveniently found an open slot for me in about 20 minutes, so I took off for his office. We spent some time talking about how things are going. I explained my situation and my withdrawal symptoms (to running out of anti-depressants...not cocaine!). He agreed, I was definitely going through withdrawal. He asked about work and how things are going, so I told him my story from last week when my boss came in and spent 30 minutes telling me about how much I disappoint her. How angry she is that I didn't work on a project she gave me to do. Then when I showed her the project with the notes she gave me in her own handwriting, she was mad that I started working on it without permission. (Go figure that one out!) Then I told him how she finished the whole thing off by asking for a hug. What did the doctor do? He chuckled. Then he explained something to me...he said I'm exhibiting the symptoms of battered spouse syndrome. No, I'm not being physically beaten up by this lady, but mentally...definitely so. He said that as I was explaining things, he said he knew I was going to finish the story with her doing something nice, because that's what those kind of people do.

Here's what my friend Wikipedia says: "The syndrome develops in response to a three-stage cycle found in domestic violence situations. First, tension builds in the relationship. Second, the abusive partner releases tension via violence while blaming the victim for having caused the violence. Third, the violent partner makes gestures of contrition. However, the partner does not find solutions to avoid another phase of tension building and release so the cycle repeats. The repetition of the violence despite the abuser's attempts to "make nice" results in the abused partner feeling at fault for not preventing a repeat cycle of violence. However, since the victim is not at fault and the violence is internally driven by the abuser's need to control, this self-blame results in feelings of helplessness rather than empowerment. The feeling of being both responsible for and helpless to stop the violence leads in turn to depression and passivity. This learned depression and passivity makes it difficult for the abused partner to marshal the resources and support system needed to leave."

This is exactly what happened to me. She builds these things up in her mind and got mad. Came in and yelled at me. Told me I was incompetent, I don't do what she tells me to do, accused me of doing stuff without permission, I ignore chain of command, I do whatever I want, I don't communicate, I don't collaborate, I don't work well with others, I don't work as a member of the team, I never go beyond the bare minimum, etc. None of this is true, of course. If I look at myself critically, I know she's wrong. I am THE PERSON people come to for help. I am THE PERSON people come to for ideas. I am THE PERSON who volunteers to do something new. I completed her project the DAY AFTER the she assigned it. She gave me back her feedback TWO MONTHS later and forgot that this had even happened. I could say more about my abilities, but let's just leave it with she's crazy. But anyhow, she comes in and screams at me. During the screaming, she tells me that she just wishes I would stop doing these things that make her scream. It's my fault she's mad and has lost her temper. And how does she end this tirade? She wants to hug, because she still loves me and thinks the world of me. I'm an excellent administrator. One of the best employees she has. I just have to stop making her mad.

Anyhow, I drop off my prescription and went back to finish out the rest of my day at work. On my way home, I swung by the pharmacy to pick up my refill, and as I'm leaving a friend calls to check in with me. (He works there too, so he knows what's going on.) We have a long conversation about how things are going. After the conversation, I decide I'm too lazy to cook, so I swing into a nearby restaurant for dinner. The waitress takes me to my table and I sit down...I'm starving. I've had an upset stomach all day because evil boss was in the building. I'm really really hungry. Oh wait...who's that two tables away?'s her.

I decided to be engrossed in my phone so I didn't look up until she and her minions had finished eating and were leaving. It gave me the excuse to not have seen her. But of course she stopped by on her way out. She said I was looking sad. (I wanted to say: "Yeah, because I was hungry...but once I saw you my stomach was tied back up into knots.") I made up some excuse about bad news from the family. She said she was sorry to hear that, but hopefully I'll feel a little better because she told the waitress that she'd cover my tab.

See guys, she's not such an evil boss. I've been wrong. Deep down, she's really nice. She saw I was looking sad and paid for my meal. What a sweetheart. We're gonna be BFFs, she's gonna braid my hair! We'll get manis/pedis together! Kumbaya my Lord....Kumbaya.... 

Oh wait...battered spouse syndrome!!! Here's the thing, while evil boss is a batterer, mentally, not physically, I am not a battered spouse. Why? Because I know she's wrong. I am not accepting her description of me. I reject what she has to say. A battered spouse takes full responsibility over the abuse, and finds it difficult or impossible to blame the abuser. I blame my boss for the situation. I have done nothing wrong. She is full on crazy. I could go on (yes, it IS possible) to explain more or what she has done and said to me and others in the past six months, but it's unnecessary. She's crazy. Here are a few areas of concern though: A battered spouse fears for her safety. I don't fear my physical safety. This woman is not going to hit me. I don't fear any physical abuse from her at all. But she will continue to scream and holler and place blame anywhere but at her own feet. She will pit people against each other. She will lie. She will distort the truth. She will keep us all on our toes wondering what's she's up to, worrying about who's reporting things to her, and worrying if we will have an office tomorrow. Worrying that she'll take away our secretaries (mine is gone already). Worrying if she'll take away our responsibilities. (I have a friend at work who has ZERO responsibilities. She's not allowed to even answer e-mails. Any e-mail she gets that requires an answer, she has to forward to someone else. She can't visit schools. She can't work with teachers. She's sitting in her office all day working on her PhD classes. This is evil boss' leadership style. That's who she is. She isn't going to change, and she isn't going away. I do fear my ability to deal with her. I fear for my mental health. I'm not not in a place mentally to deal with her crap.

When I encounter people like her, my instinct is to just do my work and avoid any contact. She's made it difficult for me to avoid her. I'm two doors away from her in the office. She has apparently decided to keep me on her shortlist for a promotion I applied for that I no longer want. I applied in October, didn't get a second interview. She has re-flown the position twice now and still hasn't hired anyone. And when she came in to yell at me before New Years, she listed for me all of the reasons why she didn't promote me. (Again, most were fake.) But nevertheless, she said I wasn't getting that job. ($13,000 raise btw) Funny thing, last week everyone else that I know who applied for the job got letters saying they were no longer being considered. I didn't get one. I checked with our HR department to see if it was a mistake. They said no, my name was not crossed off. Here's the deal, If she offers it to me, I have to take it, or I'll never get another promotion.  I will kill myself politically, and let's face it, I have 18 more years until I can retire. I can't sit at this entry level administrative position forever. That's how things work here. If I get that job, she'll make me go nuts. I'm sure of it. 

I also feel the need to point out, I'm not her only target. Pretty much everyone is a target, except for her minions. I'm not feeling singled out in the least bit. She's an equal opportunity abuser. I have seen her make multiple people cry. Do I believe she is all-powerful? Yes and no. She can make or break my career. If I try to take another position, I have to tell her before I apply. She has told us that if we don't, she'll make sure we don't get the job. She's done it before. Again, that's how things work here. If you're an administrator and you apply for another job, you better tell your supervisor ahead of time, or you're not going to get that job. So, if I apply elsewhere, I have to tell her. Many times when you do that, it makes her mad, so she sabotages the person when she's called for a reference. Also, she's our superintendent's fag hag, so, it's not like I can go over her head to complain. There are people above her who are afraid of her. She's just one of those people who do what they want, act the way they want, and constantly get promoted. The only light at the end of this tunnel that I can see for now is that she normally only stays in a job for 2-3 years. That means I only have 1.5-2.5 more to go!!!

FUN FACT: Did you know that there are quite a murder cases out there of women suffering from battered spouse syndrome who have used that as a defense and were found not guilty? Just sayin....

No, you don't need to scour the news for a shooting. I'm being facetious! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Emotions are Illogical

On Monday I got up as normal, did my morning routine, and when I went to take my morning pills (allergies and my anti-depressant), I realized that I did not have any more of my anti-depressants. (I call them my crazy pills.) Normally my prescriptions are automatically refilled via my online pharmacy, but I didn't have any more. I made a mental note to check on my refills when I got to work. Well, apparently my prescription had expired. I had an appointment with my doctor a month ago, but I came home that day, took and nap, and forgot to go.

Anyhow, I called up the pharmacy and asked them to request a refill. It's news. I've been off my meds for five days. I've never done that before. I noticed when I was getting ready this morning that my head felt weird. It was hard to describe, but it's like I have these intermittent buzzes that feel like little shocks, but they're not painful. It's weird. I consulted the Internet and discovered that I'm going through antidepressant withdrawal. HAHA These buzzes are call brain zaps. Let me tell you, they're weird. It's almost like that feeling you get when something scares or shocks you. It's not constant, but it's frequent enough that it's annoying. Anyhow, I noticed that I was VERY irritable at work. So irritable, in fact, that I just got up and left for several hours. I had some paperwork that I was waiting for people to come by my office to sign. Instead of waiting for them, I decided to get out of the office and I drove all over the area so I could get their signatures. (I drove about 60 miles today.)

Here's the weirdest part...I came home tonight, made dinner, and turned on my TV to watch some shows I had DVRd from earlier this week. The first show I tried watching was Parenthood. In the last episode, one of the main characters (the father of the whole family) had a heart attack. This episode picks up with him arriving at the hospital, his wife is a wreck, you see the rest of the family getting the news via phone. And I'm laying on the couch sobbing. SOBBING! The ugly whole body was shaking. The man didn't die. He's doing fine. But I was crying. I finally had to turn it off. I decided to watch something neutral, so I watched House Hunters International. This family found their dream house...tears. I'm there on the couch in tears over some family buying a nice house? What the hell is wrong with me? This is seriously not normal behavior. Hey, how about American Idol? That's be good! Nope! Girl comes on, sings her heart out, gets a ticket to Hollywood. Tears...

Finally I gave up and started to clean my house. Got the vacuum out, mopped the floors, I even vacuumed my ceiling fans, which I realize I haven't done since I moved in a year ago. Everything looks good! And I'm not crying! (Although I did get choked up in writing the brief summary about Parenthood.)

Here's the kicker...I'm supposed to go see Selma with some friends tomorrow. Obviously I can't do that because I am NOT going to sob in a public theater. This is completely ridiculous. I am not a crier. Yes, I'll get choked up every now and then when I watch some super sad movie, but I know if I go see that movie tomorrow, I'm going to be sobbing.

I don't know how long it's going to take for my doctor to reply to my refill request. I think I'm going to call tomorrow to see if they can do an emergency refill. I can't do more days of this. I only have so much house to clean!! I have to find something to do to occupy my brain so that I don't get stuck on something that triggers my emotions. Oh to be Mr. Spock...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Retail Therapy

There are some people I know who turn to retail therapy when they're feeling down or if they just need a pick-me-up. What do I do? I do Delta Air Lines therapy! I bought tickets for Peru (to see Machu Picchu) in April and then for Hawaii in May for my cousin's high school graduation luau. "Oh my word, how much did you spend?", you might ask. How about a total of $85.64 for business class? Pretty good, huh? It's all thanks to my status at Gold Medallion with Delta. So, it did cost me miles, but money-wise, I'm doing great. The even better part is when I go to Hawaii, I won't have to pay for a hotel either...I'm staying with family. :)

In February I'm going up (over Valentines Day weekend) to Seattle to stalk watch one of my new favorite singers perform, and then in March my brother, sister-in-law, and I are taking my sister's three kids to Orlando. 

After the crappy day I had on Monday with my boss, it makes me feel a little better knowing that I'm going to be doing some traveling which will keep me out of the office.