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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


It'd be an interesting dynamic, if it were happening to someone else

My boss blew us at me again this week. There are two aspects of it that intellectually I find interesting.

1. Bystander effect.
This was the first time anyone in the office said anything to me afterwards. Usually, people act like nothing happened even though it's a small office and I know they all know. This time someone (who is new to our office, and thus this is likely their first time witnessing my boss' anger directed at me) asked me if I was okay. I burst into tears and had to leave. no one else said anything. I had to ask our receptionist to do something for me, and she would not even look at me or speak to me. The two times I know my boss has yelled at someone other than me, I have said something to them afterwards - because I know what it's like to experience the anger in isolation.

I think people don't say anything for a variety of reasons:
a. they don't want to seem disloyal to our boss
b. they are so glad it's me and not them
c. maybe they feel a little guilty?
d. they are secretly glad it is me, period
e. they don't know what to say

But it creates a really difficult situation being yelled at and feeling humiliated and feeling like everyone must think I deserve it, that I did something horribly wrong, and that my boss hates me (which my boss does not - at all).

2. Fear in locating the blame.
On my way to work the next day, I realized that all of my negative reactions to the incident were directed inwards. It felt too threatening to locate any of the blame on my boss. It was as though even considering that my boss was in the wrong would have some horrific aftermath. And in some ways it would because I might then feel as though I needed to act on that, or say something - and that could potentially be disastrous.

It's kind of all intellectually interesting because an article I wrote in my last semester of grad school was rejected. It was about the process through which women come to be in abusive relationships - the process that abusers seem to use to gain control and maintain control and silence in abused women. As I live through this with my boss, I see so many of my assertions in the article coming true. I'm going through a process that is not at all unlike what I described in that paper - and realizing this causes multiple reactions in me. Partly I'm pissed off the article was rejected as it is clear to me now that I was actually really on the right track with it.

relatedly, my mom is mad because that same day she emailed me asking for advice for a co-worker whose son is going through a divorce and the child is having a rough time. I didn't respond, and she left me a nasty voicemail yesterday. In my defense, please see above - and also, it has been months (literally) since I have responded to a non-work email (I'm so sorry, Lucy of pigpuppet fame). I've been isolating at work and at home really pretty seriously.



At 10:21 PM, Blogger Lucy said...

Don't worry about emailing! I wish I had something constructive to add, but I just wish you could find another job, or your boss would stop lashing out at you.
Did you have any ideas for solutions in your paper that could help now?


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