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When Insults Go Too Far

by Pam

I had been working for a law firm for a little over six months, six of the longest months of my life. It all started when a good friend of mine moved back into the area and asked me to help him get his law office started. I had been an administrative assistant for fourteen years so he felt that I could be valuable. I accepted and the emotional roller coaster began.

You see, there was another lawyer in the firm, my friend's wife. She was fresh out of law school and, unbeknownst to me, apparently suffering from a massive narcissistic disorder. Every day I kept my mouth shut when all I wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs.

It is true the longer you repress your anger there will be inevitably be a breaking point that will not end well for anyone. Mine came when I had finally heard the phrase, "I am the lawyer and what are you, a secretary… you are nothing" just one too many times. I am not proud to say that what emitted from my mouth next would not have been acceptable in church.

When she said that she could not believe that she had wasted good money on paying my salary, I did a very stupid and irrational thing. My last paycheck was lying on the desk beside me (I had not had time to deposit it as I had been working from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm for the past few days). I picked it up, tore it to shreds, and thumped it into her face. I then stormed out, never to set foot in that office again.

There are two awful things that happened that day. Through my own fault, I lost a very well deserved pay day, but most importantly, my friendship with my old buddy has never been the same to this day.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Thanks for this great story, Pam. You point out how we can sometimes be self-destructive in our anger, even though we are in the right, as you were in your job. All the more reason to develop healthy anger, so that it doesn't cause us problems and make a bad situation worse. Thanks again for your contribution, I'm sure it will help other site visitors!

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Feb 03, 2009
RE: When Insults Go Too Far
by: Anonymous

I understand completely. No one can work with a situation like that, and believe me, you're not the only one this has happened to.

The only thing that makes ME feel badly, is that you did the work, basically for free, because you tore up your pay check.

Well, I guess that was positive, in a way. You can't let people bring you to a point where you hurt them, AND yourself, and that action made your realize that fact.

That's what happens when you "see red" and your control lever has snapped. The best thing I can say to advise you, is never to let a bad situation go for too long.

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