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I work as an administrative assistant for an engineering company. I have been an administrative assistant for the past 33 years. I hated school and therefore, after graduating high school, I had no desire to go to college. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. So, because of my lack of advanced formal education, I have remained an administrative assistant.
With most of the companies I have worked for, i.e., a bank for 20 years, the people I worked for were respectful and generally just normal bosses who didn't have mean streaks or come from countries where women were only one step above dogs. I didn't mind my job because I'm very good at it. I'm an excellent typist and in my later years now, very proficient in computer skills.
In 1999 I married a successful man, had my third child and left the bank to stay home with my kids. A couple of years later, my husband decided that I should get a part-time job, so I went to Home Depot and worked for three years in the Paint Dept., becoming an expert in paint mixology.
Home Depot was the start of my run-in with the male mentality that women are inferior. There was plenty of sexual harassment going around and women were generally paid less and made fun of more.
After three years, I left and to my misfortune, I got a job with a disaster cleanup company as an administrative assistant (again) that was only 1/2 mile from my house. I was the only women employee. My boss, an old-school Italian, involved with the Mafia (I found out later), was also a wife beater. He was very demeaning and critical and generally just a bully. His mean words were not just for me, but for everyone who worked for him, including the illegal immigrants he hired to do the clean-ups.
I had managed to last almost one year there when one day the boss was having a fight with the supervisor of the work crew. He started screaming that he wanted to know who put some books on a table. It was me. So, I stood up and went over and confronted him to tell him it was me. He was so mad from yelling at the supervisor, that he reached for the desk phone and ripped it out of the wall. He then threw it at me and it just missed my head. I left and never went back.
My boss and a couple of the other engineers I work for, have been mean, nasty and condescending since day one. There have been more times than I care to remember that I have gone outside to blow off so much steam and cry, feeling sorry for myself and ultimate hatred for them.
I hate them. Working there has ruined my life. I used to be quiet, sweet and funny and a good friend to anyone who wanted a friend. I have a couple of friends, but honestly I don't care if I have any friends. I'm sick to death of all people, except my family - immediate and extended.
I wish I could tell you some examples of things they've said, but I have a way of forgetting the exact words after they've been said; the bad feelings always remain. But, it's the ordering around and the laughing at me that makes me the angriest. They think because I didn't go to college and because I'm not an engineer that I'm not intelligent. I have an I.Q. of 121. That's not stupid.
Since I can't get a new job right now, I need to be able to effectively deal with them and say some things to them that will, perhaps, put them in their places for once and for all. I need to be able to forget all the crap as soon as I walk out the door at the end of the day so that when I come home I can be the happy and funny person my family used to know and love.
Can you help? Thank you.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Debbie, and thanks for telling your story here. I certainly hear what you're saying, and understand how upset you are. I will try to help.
If you don't like my suggestions, just ignore this, and I hope you find what you're looking for.
The people who have been disrespectful and abusive to you are totally responsible for their behavior. And you are totally responsible for your reactions, including your emotions and any actions you take in response to their mistreatment of you.
The prejudice you refer to is real, I'm sure. I encourage you to shift your focus away from that, for your own well being. It will only add to your hatred and anger to focus on that. I know that's easier said than done, but I will offer some tools that will help you.
Unfortunately, you have allowed your anger to escalate to a toxic level. Hatred hurts the hater. Hatred is poison to your system, and you are smarter than that. To allow these people to hurt you, then to hurt yourself with your reactions is just too much damage to you. This is extremely unhealthy for you, mentally and physically. If you want to be healthy, and come out of this with as little damage as possible, I suggest you follow these recommendations:
1) Do the three journaling processes described on this page. It is very important that you do all three, according to the instructions, to receive benefit.
2) If you have unaddressed or unresolved emotional trauma from your childhood, use these imagery processes for emotional healing, which will give you a chance to "go back" to your past experiences in your mind and bring healing and resolution.
3) Use this two part imagery process for positive mental rehearsal, to plan how you want to react in the workplace.
The bottom line here, Debbie, is that either you manage your anger or your anger will manage you--and that will never work out well. Make up your mind that you are going to use this situation as an opportunity to become a better person.
Healthy anger means channeling that energy into positive, constructive action on your own behalf. Don't give these people the power to diminish you into less than the valuable person you are. That funny, happy person you used to be is who you really are. The anger that has consumed you is not your authentic self.
Focus on and believe in the goodness of your own heart.
My very best to you,
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