I violated the number one unspoken rule at work this week. Don’t do anything to bruise the boss’s ego.
I broke it.
It was totally unintentional, however when I was summoned to his office, opened the door and he immediately stood up to confront me…I knew exactly what I had done.
If you are a psychology major, this encounter would have been quite a treat to observe. For me, it was an all to familiar scene. There are many similarities between my mother and my boss…and I am quite often reminded. This one was unfortunately, a pretty brutal and emotional reminder.
As he stood there in front of me, I kept reminding myself that this was not about me, this was about him. However, it wasn’t long before I felt like I was 9 years old being reprimanded by my mother. He was furious with me. Shit. I took my verbal beating, apologized for my mistake, tried to defend myself (to a degree) and tried to exit quickly to “fix” it. As I left the room, I pulled the door behind me and it slammed. Uh oh…maybe, just maybe. Nope, he immediately opened the door and called me back.
Again, the “slam” was not intentional, and again I knew what it represented. All of the sudden I felt myself shrinking. No longer was I able to hold my demeanor. It would not have taken too much more to have had me broken down into tears. I was humiliated, degraded and intimidated. Everything I was supposed to be in that moment for the sake of his ego…and everything I’ve worked a lot of fucking years to not allow myself to feel.
It took a good 5 mins to compose myself enough to not cry. It took another 15 mins to calm down and see the entire encounter for what it really was. After 30 mins…I was ok. I was able to, for the most part, let it go. The situation in my mind was clear. I knew what I triggered in him, and I knew full well what he triggered in me. For the rest of the day, I was able to conduct myself in a professional manner, as if nothing had happened. He, however, held on to it all day, and I’m pretty damn sure he’s still stewing over it. There will be a meeting about my conduct…and I know, another opportunity.
My counselor rubbed his hands together “I just love an opportunity like this.” Haha…yeah, great. This opportunity wasn’t a complete failure on my part. It did bring to light an ever present tender spot for me. The goal is to be in a situation such as this and NOT allow it to trigger that scared little girl. As much as I was totally aware of what was going on when I entered that room, and as much as I told myself it wasn’t about me…I still allowed myself to be affected. I took it personally. Fuck.
The opportunity will keep showing up until you have learned what you need to learn. Any way we can skip this particular lesson and move on to something a little more pleasant??? No? Damn… So if I want to stop leaving an open door for assholes who want to humiliate me for their own selfish narcissistic needs to enter, then I’m going to have to learn how to stand there in front of them and not react. Not take it personally. Not be engaged. Until I do, this will not be the last time it happens….and he will most certainly not be the last asshole.
This is not about me.
I will not participate.
I will disengage myself.
He does not represent who I am as a women, a professional or a human.
He is nothing to me.
I’ll be able to put this into action soon…I’m ready.
Bring. It. On.