Control

It’s been a weird couple of weeks at my employment job, and I am literally counting the days until I can tender my resignation and get away from the crazy-making that is the two owners and their shenanigans. December 1 cannot get here quickly enough.

My reasoning? Health insurance. To keep things relatively simple for now, I want to officially enter the Kaiser system on December 1 and then switch over to an individual plan for M and I. This way I can absolutely ensure we have coverage before tackling the next step in that paperwork battle.

The tipping point came last week when I happened to be in the office. The firm’s insurance broker is among the local owner’s oldest and closest friends, and I will forthrightly say that I despise him on so many levels. He is a misogynistic asshole who makes me yearn for a burka under a hazmat suit every time I hear he is stopping by the office, and even then I usually make sure my door is closed or I leave for some other errands. When I have to take to him on the telephone I hang up feeling the need for a disinfecting shower. From the first time I met him, when he stood there talking and openly staring directly at my project admin’s extraordinarily generous breasts, using all sorts of double entendre and sexual remarks that are completely inappropriate in the work place, I have found him disgusting and deplorable. And completely out of reach due to his status as part of the local owner’s good ole boy network.

For 10+ years I have gone to my boss with my concerns and been told that he doesn’t mean anything by it and is completely harmless. Uh huh. Until one of the ladies files a sexual harassment complaint. But up until now I have really needed and mostly enjoyed my job, so I’ve sucked it up for the one or two office visits per year. Usually I deal with his assistant or one of his associates on our insurance needs, so it has been a lesser issue.

Except Friday I was in the office and he happened to stop by unannounced. His greeting and comment that “someone looks like they have been working out” accompanied by a leering grin made me want to throw up. He got the gritted teeth smile (he knows I can’t stand him) and I escaped to my office and closed the door, completely seething with anger. His words triggered every bad and distrustful impulse I have about men since early childhood, and with a few words managed to taint my hard work and exercise with J. Saturday I completely fell apart mentally when trying to get through my sets at the gym, and I came home in angry, frustrated, helpless-feeling tears because of that ass. What is so much worse – I recognize that I was allowing him to do this to me, and it infuriated me even more that I can be reduced to that scared child by some idiot that I have zero respect for and feel only contempt.

It was with this frame of mind looming that I met with the potential client and his eccentric mannerisms and dogged, endless texting. I am sure that triggering event did not help me handle the situation in the most graceful manner.

I am a grown up. I am smart and I am competent. Yet I can be hobbled by an idiot who is allowed to get away with treating me and other women as if we are commodities put into his pathway for his virtual slobbering judgment. It is so incredibly aggravating.

But the older I get, the more I recognize that there is little I can do about scars from the past when they start to itch and interrupt my life right now. Telling myself it’s silly (or worse) to feel this way this long after the fact is pointless. Unfortunately being a sexual abuse survivor is not something shed easily, if at all. Mitigated and carefully controlled is the best I have been able to master. Under those circumstances I feel the trigger factor should be something within my realm of avoidance or coping with, yet triggers in and of themselves are based in surprise. Once again I must come to terms with my own limitations without completely shutting down.

Truth is I don’t like hate thinking about it. Most days I am able to go forth and live my life and be happy without fear or anxiety based from those very vivid memories of events and emotions. I no longer run away from or seek to bury or pretend I do not feel what I feel, but time has a way of muting the impact. Either that or the counseling and therapy I have done through the years has taught me how to cope and move forward. Whatever.

My point here is to remind myself that I have moved away from it and learned to mostly live with it. It seems odd to me that I am the one who defends my family against anger of why they failed to protect me. While they were wrong not to, bashing them, thinking about their failings and shortcomings, having to explain or defend their flaws as people only extends time spent thinking about things long past that hurt me still to contemplate or talk about. Yet here I am, writing about it. The difference is that this is me on my terms,  processing one of the little ripples in my personal pond. I was aggravated and triggered. It had direct impact on my life right now and upset me disproportionately (in my judgment). I took the steps to make those floods of feelings cease or be replaced with something healthier and better for me in the here and now.

I question my own self-control sometimes, but I also recognize that my need to be perfect to avoid unpleasant or uncomfortable emotions. Poor M when I wander into that headspace; I find myself seeking reassurance that I am okay and not some horrible person who does not deserve better. He then starts questioning what brought it on, and I don’t walk to talk about it great detail right then. After so many years he has finally learned to step back from the push to KNOW all the minutia of what is going on with me and let me spit it out on my own timeline.

While I do not feel like an especially controlling person of those around me, I do feel like an uncontrolled person who needs to be rigidly controlled on the inside. My rigidity within myself does not seem to extend so far to those I love, but I also had zero expectations of success from my parents and gave up really early trying to impress them with my accomplishments and good person-hood. As a mother I had and have high hopes for my children, yet I have always accepted the realm of possibility of crushing disappointment with their free agency as adults. So far, so good – I am close to both my kids and both like them as people as well as love them to the moon and stars and back. Hopefully that trend continues for the balance of our lives.

The point of this rambling post? I am okay, I am good enough just as I am right now. I deserve my successes and can learn and correct from my failings. And for today at least, that is the happy place for me.

9 thoughts on “Control

  1. You deserve every success and have earned every one. I am so sorry for what you have gone through in the past and that you can’t just punch that slime. You have proven you are much more than “good enough” .
    Susan

    • Thanks for your kind and encouraging comment, Susan. I think he has gotten by and away with such despicable behavior for so long he’s completely unaware of doing it now. Soon never to be my problem to deal with again, though.

  2. What a jerk! Your boss should have addressed his behavior long ago and not allowed it in his office. There will always be triggers that take you back. It sucks that you have tobdto dealeal with this always. Too bad you can’t deal with it in therapy and be done.

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if we could leave all our pain, trauma, and anger in the therapy office as well as recover our innocence and out dignity? What a magical place that would be! But since I have not yet found the golden ticket, I’m forced to drop it here from time to time and be strengthened by kind and supportive comments. Thanks, ND. My boss is a bit of a naive idiot, and someday it seems likely it will come back and bite hard. But I doubt I will be there to observe it or have to be part of cleaning up the mess.

  3. I feel for you and can understand your fury. I can relate because of my own childhood issues and I am in my late 50’s. Sometimes it seems like those bad things just happened yesterday, they are so near the surface.
    Would it help YOU if you just said something to this jerk? Just put into words what you think of his actions? After all, you aren’t going to be working there much longer anyway. Maybe it would make you feel better to speak your mind.

    • Hi K – welcome and thanks for taking a moment to read and comment. I actually have said something to him a year or two into my tenure here, so he knows precisely how I feel about his behavior and mannerisms and that his ass would be firmly on the curb if I had the ability to fire him. But reality is I don’t, and my boss does limit his visits to our office to once or twice a year. Most of the time I interact by phone or email with his assistant or another associate, so it’s been manageable. Sometimes things happen well beyond my sphere of control, though. Unfortunately. 🙂

    • *I* do not absolve him of anything, but I have had a desire to retain my very lucrative job for the last 10+ years so I’ve made other arrangements when he comes to visit. The firm’s owner tolerates is, so I remove myself from the situation.

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