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October 22, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Anxiety and Depression

Question:

I really hate my job. I don't think anyone understands the kind of mental abuse my managers put me through. They have consistently lied and lied to me, over and over again. They've taken my ideas and handed them to this one new guy, who is a complete idiot. I mean they just hand him my ideas like they belong on a silver platter. And this new guy, oh geez where do I start? I mean, for starters, my managers are both women, and I'm a woman. Let me just be clear here: I'm very intelligent, kind, open-hearted, passionate, attractive (sorry I do not mean to come off as arrogant), etc. I just feel that there are a lot of great things I have going for myself and these women are eating away at me. This new guy that works here kisses their behind every minute of the day.

I really just try my best not to crack sometimes. I really think they want me to. I've had some co-workers verify with me, here at my company, that everything I'm feeling is legit - that they also believe my managers are finding ways to constantly put me down. I wonder if it's because they're not secure with themselves. I mean I really feel like Cinderella while they are the two evil stepsisters. I can't even get out of here because the economy is just horrible; I'm trying to work with as many recruiters as possible. I'm seriously trying to hold myself together so that I don't break down. It's like, even when I interview, I have to walk in there like my life is perfect and I love my current job - do you have any idea how hard that is? This place is really messing with my head, I just don't know. I mean, how much can one person tolerate before they end up in a damn nuthouse? I'm really educated - some of the people that work here are not even at the level of half my intelligence. What is this world coming to? It's just complete and utter insanity. I don't know where to go from here. I feel depressed and sometimes…I feel like a zombie. I'm a really bubbly and loving person, so for me to be feeling this is…wow, it takes a lot.

I also had to deal with the one man that I loved last year, who completely gave up on me. I mean this guy did a 180 on me. Completely transformed into a whole other person. If there was one thing I can award him for, it would be for "artist of the year". He said he was going to marry me. I was just completely head over heels for him. Sometimes I still think about him - I just really want my heart back. I feel like a damn icebox. Every time I date a guy, all I see is him, it's just so unfair. And then to top it off I have to deal with the evil managers? And then, a heartbreak. And all I did to deserve this was be an amazing girlfriend and work my tail off to have a good career - and for what? To end up miserable? I mean I cry so much sometimes, I wonder how these tears keep falling. I think I've cried every day for the last year. And you want to know a secret? If you met me, you would think I was one of the happiest people that you've ever met. Most people here at work think I'm always happy. I always have a smile on my face, I'm always trying to put light into other people's days. But only if they knew, that every night before I fall asleep, all I do is cry.

Mystery, 26-year-old woman

Answer:

Life can sometimes feel intolerable, can't it? You do your best and everything seems to conspire against you. And it almost seems a rule that misfortune attracts misfortune. Your story is an example: you've suffered in the two unrelated situations of work and romance. I have no doubt that your description is accurate. As you wrote, you have confirmation from colleagues about the managers. So, what to do about it?

You are already taking what practical steps you can to change your job. However, you are suffering while still there. Let's take it that the outside situation is out of your control. You have no power over it beyond what you are already doing.

You may know the Serenity Prayer: "Lord, give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference." So, what can be changed? Where do you have power? Not the outside situation, but your inner reaction.

You have legitimate reasons for feeling resentful, abused, betrayed. However, these feelings are not serving you well. You are unhappy because you are reacting like this. How can you not? Here is the secret: thoughts, emotions, and reactions are not commands but invitations. You have reacted to your situation in the way most people do: automatically. Another way is possible. I can explain it best by looking at people with terminal cancer, some of whom achieve a "spontaneous remission" - the cancer goes away although medical science can't tell why. There are no guarantees. You can do all the right things, and the cancer may still kill you. However, all the people who have a spontaneous remission share the belief in both sides of a paradox.

One side is "I will do everything possible to beat this". The other side is acceptance - "Yes, I have cancer, and it may well kill me. I am scared, and there is terrible physical pain, and it's horrible, and AT THE SAME TIME I accept it all, and it's all right."

If you only have acceptance, you turn your face to the wall and die. If you only have determination to fight, you handicap your immune system with stress, and the cancer gets away. You need both. The same paradox applies to all other problems. You have determination in plenty. Things are not working because you need the other half: acceptance.

Think of it this way: At the moment, the energy you send out to the universe is resentment, anger, "not fair, why me." However realistic this reaction is, you suffer further misfortune because the universe reflects in kind. Suppose you could switch to acceptance. "Yes, the treatment I get at work is terribly unfair, and I am doing my best to improve it, and at the same time, it's all right and life is good." Then life would be good despite all the crap the world might throw at you. Sounds impossible? Others have done it. There are rare people who are geniuses at survival. Read two books to inspire you: "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl and "The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif" by Najaf Mazari. Both are survivors of incredibly horrible life situations and came through with humor, equanimity, acceptance. If they could do it, you can learn from them.

I have learned from such geniuses. So, when I remember to think like this, there is nothing that can make me angry, scared, desperate, or resentful. I can have a good life regardless of what happens around me. Of course, I don't always remember. When I am caught up in the situation, I suffer like anyone else. But if I could learn to do it sometimes, so can you.

Have a good life,

Bob

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

For more information visit the site or contact information page on QueenDom.

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