I learned another trigger. This trigger did not feel good. Yesterday, My boss snapped on me yesterday for leaving the desk to put a newspaper in the break room and although I was gone maybe one minute she had good reason to be upset, but how she talked to me scared me. I smiled in a you are crazy way. A big gorgeous one by the way, with two letters slipping out very quickly “ok” trying to drop the conversation we were having. I remained paranoid while I sat at the desk afraid to use the bathroom. Afraid to make photocopies. I was afraid to turn my back to the door, but what made matters worse was when my boss walked around the office all day to ensure that I stayed exactly where she wanted me to.
I was agitated, but okay. I had figured tomorrow will be a new day. However, the thing that did me in..was the anxiety attack I had the next day. Today.
My boss was micromanaging and not really listening to me. So much so that when she spoke to me I couldn’t even look her in the eye. When she did something I asked her not to do and she did it anyway, when she stopped me from doing something that I found was deemed my way. She basically told me to do it her way. I felt ignored, undermined, and micromanaged and I didn’t know how to confront her. So, when she handed me work and told me to get it done before the end of the day and walked away. I had a flashback and some shallow breathing.
My flashback revolved around my Aunt. Whom I spent a lot of time with growing up. She used to do exactly what my boss did. She would have me do something such as make the bed or clean something. Half way through it she would jump in and tell me I’m doing it wrong and yell at me about being incompetent. Sometimes until I cried and then spank me for crying. She’d used to wake me up in the middle of the night or interrupt me while I was watching cartoons to yell at me about making her hand towels uneven and berate me to the point that I cried and make me hang up the hand towels over and over and over to show me that I get it right. Her drinks in the fridge had to face a certain direction.
She was a very neat person. All the people who abused me were incredibly neat. To this day I can’t stand to have a sparkling clean apartment because the fear of identifying with my abusers scares me.
Anyway, when I got out of my flashback mode and eventually calmed myself I realized why I am so afraid to speak up against bullying and micromanaging with certain women. And the reason why is because it stirs up a lot of memories of feeling incapable, safe, and loved. Abuse had an adverse effect on me where it didn’t make want to fight back it made me hide and hope that it went away on it’s own.
I know to fight when I’m physically threatened, I know when to stop talking to people when a relationship is unhealthy, but standing up to someone like a supervisor who decides if I’m hired or fired, someone who tries their best to provoke me because I am a black woman makes it so harder because of the power dynamic. I’ve been reprimanded by former supervisors for standing up for myself while the bully never even received as much as a “stop”. I’ve been demoted for bringing to light racist remarks I’ve been called, or inequality, and heavier workloads my supervisor yoked on me. I have everything to lose and no back ups, no life savings, sometimes no options. I feel discouraged to fight for what it right at work, but I hope I gain this fire back.
Anyways I’m glad I’m aware of this so that I can focus on changing it.