scared terrified to let go. There I have admitted it. Deep down I am worried that the reason I am hanging on so God damn hard to my relationship in reality has very little to do with the guy but more to do with me being terrified of what it going to happen to me, how I am going to survive if I am wrong and he is not the one.
I can explain.
I overshare. That’s not a secret. But the reason for my blatant oversharing is. I have always been an open book but in recent years the reason for my oversharing has changed. I overshare because I no longer trust my ability to read a situation and I am looking for someone, anyone to tell me what I should think, what I should feel.
I have previously admitted that I was bullied in my last job. But I have not admitted to anyone, even myself, how bad that bullying was and how much it has damaged me. I worry if I admit to being damaged still he has won.
The guy messed with my head. He would be that little voice of doubt telling me I wasn’t good enough, clever enough, liked enough. I single handled ran a department for almost a year but he would tell me I wasn’t working hard enough. I gave my best, it wasn’t good enough. I gave more, it wasn’t good enough. The mind games this guy played…. He had a score chart which him and another colleague would laugh about where he would see how many times he could criticise me before I would show signs of being upset. I would have a lovely conversation with a colleague, and as soon as they moved out of ear shot he would be there telling me they didn’t like me, they didn’t think I was pulling my weight, that I didn’t fit in.
At first I shrugged it off but he carried on. Day in, Day out for over 3 years. That little drip of doubt started to affect me. My colleagues ‘told him’ I wasn’t pulling my weight, so I started cutting out breaks and staying late. At first I cut out joining people for tea break, which did nothing to ease the feeling of being left out. According to him this didn’t convince them, and made them hate me more, so I stopped taking a lunch break. I’m not going to go into details but it got to the point I was recording my daily activities onto a sheet to prove that I was pulling my weight. I accounted for every minute of my day, what I did, who I spoke to, what I was talking to them about, when I went to the loo, how long it took….
I got to the point I dreaded going into work. I was surviving on a couple of hours sleep a night, if I was lucky. I cried constantly, but never in front of him. His mind games made me doubt my ability to read people and understand a situation. After 3 years it started to affect my personal life too. I doubted if my friends meant what they said. Did they really want to see me? Did they really mean what they were telling me?
It got so bad I considered driving into the middle barrier of a motorway to try and get away from it all.
Finally it all came to a head. One of my colleagues who I confided in told this guy I had approached my union. I was terrified of how he would react and I refused to go into the office. Another manager was called to give me permission to be out of the office, and he said “he knew I had been singled out and treated unfairly but he had no idea it had reached this level. He had been meaning to raise his concerns but had never gotten round to it!”
Even after 3 years he hadn’t completely broke me. When I told the union what had happened they said it was bullying (at this point I was convinced I was just shit at my job) and asked if I wanted to start formal proceeding. I did. However in the true style of a big organisation the bullying was hushed up. The investigation resulted in some major changes, people were moved, offices changed, other people came forwards to say they too had experienced this behaviour. But the official line was it was a misunderstanding that had gotten out of hand.
That result was like a kick in the stomach. It was like they said “yes we know you think this guy has made your life hell for 3 years, destroyed your confidence in yourself, made you doubt your ability to understand a situation but you’re wrong it was all a big misunderstanding”. Basically it felt like they were saying he’s right. You can’t understand a situation.
It made me worry I was just over sensitive. That I had blown a mole hill into a mountain. Luckily I had some brilliant people in my corner assuring me that it was bullying, that I’m not crazy but sometimes when I’m alone I can hear that small voice of doubt. “you made it all up, you really were shit, your career is over because you aren’t good enough.”
Enter the ex.
People say you know when you have met the one. I thought I knew. He feels like the other half of me, and from day one we just made sense together. Yes there were problems, yes we argued but at the end of the day I was confident in our relationship and for the first time in ages trusted my gut feeling of “this is meant to be.” Only now it’s not. Now yet again I am wrong, my understanding of a situation is wrong.
This terrifies me. At work I still worry on a daily basis about what people think. I still get panicky and worried about normal situations waiting for the blame to start. Waiting for the bullying to come back.
I am hanging on to the ex because I am terrified that if I am wrong about him, about us I will never trust myself to understand a situation again.
Yes, I worry about the normal stuff too. Trusting someone again, the fact I was so easy to leave, taking that leap with someone new. And I know I will miss him like crazy. But I worry the scars this will open runs so much deeper.