Archives for May 2018

30May

Betrayal, Backstabbing and other Workplace Worries

Betrayal, Backstabbing and other Workplace Worries

I have always been one who dislikes covert operations.  If you dislike me, please tell me straight up.  Don’t run around behind my back (backstabbing) telling everyone else that you do not like me.

That goes for your evaluations and judgments about me.  Don’t tell everyone else the truth about what you think about my decisions, but then turn around and smile and nod to me.  Go ahead and let me know what you think.  That is the only way to an honest and open relationship.  I am truly interested in an honest and open relationship.

In fact, backstabbing and betrayal; it’s sort of a “button” for me.  So, I have been self righteous about this for decades.  I pride myself in being open and honest with people, including my staff.

And then, then, the horrible happened, I had to work for a woman who was not, in any way, interested in fairness or equity.  Her most important function was to shore up her own ego, and she often performed this task by putting others down – but only subordinates – she never denigrated her supervisors (of course!).

Guess what?  I became a backstabber and ultimately a betrayer.  A backstabber talks about you behind your back, a betrayer is disloyal, which is much more serious.  I have always been loyal to my supervisors/companies/vice presidents, or anyone else in a position of power in my chain of command.  After all, I won’t work for anyone or any company that I cannot believe in and feel confident about.  It is easy to be loyal if you always work in a way that is in alignment with your belief system.

Somehow, this woman got ahead of me in power and she wanted to remind me of it every. Single. Day.  She was condescending and malicious.  She was also a backstabber and a betrayer.  She was hateful about everyone and told me so.  She was hateful about me, but did not tell me so.  Of course, I knew.  So, I talked about her.  I had to, I had to get rid of the poison that ate at me every time I had to tolerate her lying and manipulating.  I needed venting space and I took it, but only with like minded individuals.

Eventually, I had to leave.  The job was making me sick.  I knew it was time to go, so the first chance I got, I ran and ran and ran.  I did eventually become a betrayer.  I emailed her supervisor’s supervisor with a report on my experience.  I didn’t like doing this.  I had to.  It was my way of getting rid of the woman’s hatefulness.  No amount of washing myself could rid me of her mean-spiritedness, so I documented it.

So this is the story of how I became what I detest in others.  It’s also the reason why I left that employment, because I cannot be that: angry and mean, inferior and vindictive.  I need to be who I am and who I aspire to be: loving, generous, honest and open.

The difference between myself and her is that I had to do what I had to do in defense of myself.  She may also be working in self defense, but her defense is who she is.  For me, that behavior is an aberration.  I hope that is enough.  I hope that the fact that I will use those tools, but not BE those tools is enough.  To my very soul, I never want to lose who I think I am.

29May

Anita Goes First, May 17th, 2018

I knew that Anita was not doing well, but I had no idea how close she was to dying.  I asked my son Travis to check in on her.  He said he was passing her apartment and would call me.  We had done this before, he stopped in to her apartment and I would facetime with Anita.  The last time Anita looked okay, but she asked Travis who I was? Ugh.

Anyway, this time Anita wasn’t home and was in the hospital.  Travis went up to her room, but passed her by, but then heard “Nephew, get in here!”.  He was shocked to see her.  Within minutes he was on the phone to me, telling me that I must come down to see her.  He was desperate, made arrangements for an Uber driver to pick me up and made arrangements to bring me home.  So I did it, I went down to the hospital.

Anita looked awful.  End stage liver disease is a brutal killer that shuts down the body’s natural cleaning defenses.  From a healthy large woman with stunning blonde hair, she had shrunk to a hundred pounds and her hair had darkened to auburn.  The skin of her body had turned a rusty red color, blotchy and uneven and everywhere I touched felt rough, except her face.  I came to her bedside to show her love, to hold her and to rub her skin and legs and arms.  She was still lucid and recognized me.  Travis called while I was with her, and as we were hanging up, I said “I love you.”  Behind me I heard from Anita “I wish I had that.”  I turned around and looked at Anita and it was one of those moments that burn into your memory like a brand burns into cow hide.  I asked her “what?” and her face crumpled.  Then, we are thankfully distracted.  Anita is in vast amounts of pain, it is consuming her.  Later, her temperature gets warm, but the nurses do not worry.  Soon, she is sedated and asleep, and so I travel home.

The other side (literally) is Anita’s identical twin Anna Lee.  Anna Lee was with Anita, almost always when I visited.  She cleaned Anita up, fed her and caught me up on all that was happening.  I know that Anna Lee’s grief is overwhelming.  I can see it in the way she stands and the way she moves.  We don’t speak of it.  The two who were born together, will not die together, they must say good-bye in their own time.  I’m not sure how Anna Lee will walk through this.  I am scared for her.  I know what grief does to us (my sisters and I) and it is harsh.

So now is the end of possibility.  We must surrender to the doneness of it. 

Anita was severely damaged in our childhoods.  We all were, some recover and some do not.  The positive thinkers want to say that those who create success after living through the hell of a childhood like that is proof that anyone can do it.  I will disagree, and wholeheartedly so.  A hellish, nightmarish childhood will follow you throughout your life.  No one ever recovers from that, it is just a matter of degree.  In my family all of the degrees are covered, from no recovery, to as much recovery as 35 years of therapy can give you.

The damage wrought by such a childhood is insidious and as already stated, lifelong.  The damage has no boundaries and seeks to cause additional damage.  The damage wreaks havoc on the next generation and from there, can extend beyond life~long.

For Anita, there was no recovery.  Addiction swallowed her whole by the time she was sixteen years old and it was that addiction that killed her.  She walked through life unhappy, hurt and angry.  Worse, she expressed her frustration over and over again to all of those around her and ended up pushing away those who loved her.  She was unhappy, and it ended that way.  

Dear Anita; I hold your loving spirit in my arms and with me always.  Your sisters loved you terribly, you could never change that, ever.

03May

My Sister is Dying

Playing, Sun N Fun

Playing, Sun N Fun

Keeping the sisterhood alive!

1999 Keeping the sisterhood alive!

1994, Before Momma died

1994, Before Momma died

Summer of 1982, Becky and I are both pregnant.

Summer of 1982, Becky and I are both pregnant.

Anita is always on the left, not sure why, but that is the way it is here.  She sits on the left in each photo.

Shannon's birthday, May of 1972, Location Sun N Fun

Shannon’s birthday, May of 1972, Location Sun N Fun

She is left handed, as am I.

I am filled with grief.  I cry on and off for several days now.

Because of the way she lived, I knew that she would go first and no more than second.  We have 7 siblings and in varying degrees, we all chose our deaths at very young ages.  For her it was alcoholism.  When she got hepatitis, I wasn’t surprised, her unwillingness to complete treatment did surprise me.  She was unrelenting in her addiction to alcohol.  For several years she added cocaine into the mix.

In her twenties she had violent relationships with violent men.  I often told my husband that she would cause me great sadness.

After mom died in 1996, I didn’t want to be around my sisters.  I felt betrayed by the insensitivity (of course, we were all that way).  Over the next fifteen years, after I left our hometown, I tried to stay away from them, particularly the twins, of which my dying sister is one.

I often thought that I could distance myself, that by being indifferent I could get away from being hurt by them.

I was oh so wrong.

I’ve never quite figured out love, or how it works.  I don’t understand why I instantly love someone and not so much with others.  I just don’t get it.  As much as I tried not to love this woman (my sister) I did not help myself.  I love her and I grieve for her now.

So I love these people, my sisters, whether I like it or not.  To add an extra layer of fear, she is my “little” sister.  How can that be so?  How can she precede me into the darkness, into the space of no more?

I will give her what I can in her dying days.  I will remind her that she is loved by others, whether she loves herself or not.  I will communicate my love and I will leave no doubt.  Oh my dying sister, you are leaving so soon, could we not have been different in that long ago time when we were all blondes?  I miss you now and I will miss you then.  Our love did not end, and now, I am happy that it did not.  I am glad that I love you and that you hurt me still.