December 4, 2016 at 5:14 pm #949
Apologies if this first section is long. I felt it may save me from explaining things in later posts. Here goes:
Act 1: Adoration, mostly
I was looking forward to a fresh start in a new, smaller company, one that I hoped would help me escape from verbal and emotional abuse from management. I was struck with how relaxed and happy employees were to each other, and was one of the key reasons I decided to join my current workplace.
Within the first few months I had convinced my boss of the value I could add to my department, and I soon made a positive impression around the company. My boss was left with just two employees on his team, and began to hire from his alma mater. One of these hires became who I will refer to as EAC (for Emotionally Abusive Co-worker).
This was EAC’s first job in my company’s industry field, having had various other unrelated jobs before and during her time as a student. Our desks were in a large room without partitions, and I occupied the back corner while her desk was on the opposite wall; each of us faced different directions, but I had a view of almost everything between me and the door, including her desk. Within her second week, I had to ask EAC to help me in covering for my project while on vacation. I let her know afterward she did a good job, despite the project’s outcome.
After my return from vacation, EAC and I exchanged chit-chat about her college (I had taken some classes there, years before her time as a student). She brought up why I ate lunch alone in the break room, and after that I made it a habit of not eating alone (often, it was with her, some contractors around our age, and other employees from different departments; we had some fun conversations and enjoyed each other’s company).
About two months after EAC was hired, she asked whether I would go horseback riding with her after work (my company had summer hours on Fridays, and closing time was mid-afternoon). I told her I couldn’t, and said I would take a rain check (it never re-materialized). I would later suggest other things to do after work, even in the city where she lived (she had a much longer commute than I did by commuter train), but her vague replies to me often revolved around her having other plans. One Friday afternoon, as we were both leaving I asked if she had been married before; she sarcastically said she had been married twice before, paused, then said “hilawnking52, go home” as we both headed out of our office area. (A red flag, perhaps?)
In her third month of her employment I brought a baked fruit cobbler to work and invited her to be the first to try it (a habit I would repeat later with other baked goods I brought to work). She enjoyed it and emailed our boss about it to stop by (his office was in a building at the far end of the campus). Word would soon get out about my baking skills, in addition to the good work I was doing. Periodically I would bake something and share with other employees in my building; EAC seemed to like whatever I baked. As her mom was visiting from overseas, she also shared with me and my team jam-filled buns that her mom baked. (Her mom had to stay in EAC’s apartment longer due to illness, eventually improving and going back home; until then EAC had the stressful task of dealing with the hospital here and insurance overseas by phone.)
EAC then invited me to friend her on Facebook (FB), and we exchanged cell phone numbers in case one had to call in sick. (Bad idea, looking back?) When Hurricane Sandy hit late October (our workplace was out of commission for a week), she posted on my wall if I was OK, and in our FB chat she remarked that I was “hilarious”, responding to a witty comment of mine. Later she even FB-messaged me a brownie recipe from the Internet after I mistakenly used a shortbread one and brought it to work, with the comment ”you can turn these into perfection”. Instant hit at work.
Around this time was when our boss asked our entire team to ensure that a particular task was done in the lab strictly according to his instructions before he left for the day. She and her mentor (another older employee) wound up not obeying his directives and doing something else (“there’s no time to change course” was her excuse, when I confronted it with her). I was about to call our boss, and she gave me a vague threat along the lines of “you’ll regret it”, so I didn’t (cowardice on my part). When our boss followed-up with me the next day, I was the one given a verbal warning. I asked her mentor if he would back me up; he didn’t (cowardice on his part) and it was never resolved. (Big red flag, looking back.)
The company holiday dinner was in late December, and I gave EAC a ride there. At the party, neither she nor I talked much; the music was too loud. Near the end of the party, I decided to leave early, but couldn’t find her to give a ride back to her train station. I texted EAC that I would be leaving, but didn’t get a response after 10 minutes (strange, as she was typically very responsive to text messages), so I left. When I wished her a Merry Christmas on FB messenger that weekend, she replied the same and said that I had “left her there without saying anything” (not totally true, because I did text her). I brought it up the following Friday, and she said she didn’t get my texts right away and was disappointed for my leaving her with “strangers” to get a ride back to the train station. (Another red flag?) I offered to make it up to her by giving her a ride to the train station, which she accepted. We wished each other a Happy New Year when I dropped her off, and that was that. Or so I thought…
Act 2 will describe how both the Adoration and Devaluation of this relationship intensified.
December 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm #958
- This topic was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by hilawnking52.
You write well.December 5, 2016 at 12:17 pm #961
Any way to edit my post above with links to future posts about this topic (e.g. Act 2, Act 3, etc.), Reddit-style?December 5, 2016 at 1:51 pm #963
If you hit the LINK button featured in a new screen, you can link it that way. You can also cut and paste the URL.
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