So my adopted difficult child at work..............

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Sadly disappointed me today. :(

    He got mad at me, and in a joking, but angry way, pushed a trash can across the stockroom at me. Two other people saw it, and came to me concerned about his aggressiveness towards me. Oddly, it had not really registered on my radar screen. Which is bad. In fact, really bad, because I am usually really, really strict on code of conduct in the workplace. But with this employee, he reminds me too much of my kid - and for whatever reason - I tolerate it. (That bothers me a lot in and of itself, that I just did not even react when he was obviously aggressive towards me.)

    I am not sure what it is about this kid (27 is not exactly a kid, but still) - but I feel extremely close to him and protective of him. He is bi-polar, and comes to me all of the time for advice, and guidance about what he should do about his mental instability. I feel like the things I say to him really help him - and he tells me how much he trusts me and appreciated the time I spend with him.

    Then, in the same breath he will walk out the door and say something completely disrespectful to another employee in front of me - as if he is almost challenging our relationship. Like a kid.

    Truthfully I feel like it has turned into a really dysfunctional relationship, and I am going to have to not be his mentor or "life coach" and only be his boss. However, that saddens me ALOT - and I am not sure why.

    I guess because I really wanted to help him, and I can't? In fact I am doing a miserable job at it? Or maybe because I really care about him as a person and I cannot feel that in order to be an effective boss? Or maybe I am projecting what I have not been able to do for my own kid onto this relationship?

    I don't know - but it feels pretty messed up. I rarely, rarely get sad if I have to discipline an employee - and I am known for being really black and white with the rules. But this kid - he made me cry. Not because he was rude, but because I was unsuccessful in helping him be more successful in the workplace.......and because I can no longer have this mentoring type of relationship with him..........and because the writing is on the wall that I will have to fire him...........and maybe because I am sublimating the relationship I had with my difficult child onto this person since my difficult child is in Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?

    Any thoughts? I know, it sounds weird.
  2. Jena

    Jena New Member


    It doesn't sound "weird" at all. Infact it sounds about right. From what I have seen, your a very good person, with whom, due to your own difficult child has a soft spot for others with whom suffer from mental illness. You understand it so very well. Throw in as you said difficult child being away right now, and than there's this kid. You are very insightful about you.

    It is very possible you are "mentoring" him as you are due to your loss (distance) of your own difficult child. Yet that is ok, and totally normal in a sense. We live our lives in a certain way for so very long I think, which mainly focuses around and on them. There may be a bit of a void now. That's ok also. Helping him is ok also I think, as long as your own personal life does not become too wrapped up in it. You also have adapting to do probably into your new life, with difficult child away right now. Yet your own safety is first and foremost in the work place i think. Even though you feel a deep sense of caring for him, he is 27 and he is an employee. He has to be held accountable for his actions towards you.

    So, maybe what you could do is explain to him that you have no problem continuing to help him either via talks, or suggestions on medications, etc. yet there are workplace rules that he has to adhere to. This is part of growing and learning to handle and cope with this diagnosis in his life. That in turn will "help" him also I think.

    I wouldn't feel badly about this at all, I can see through your words you do somewhat. Your doing it out of the good ness of who you are, it may be heightened somewhat by your difficult child as I said, yet at the end of the day it's still your "want" to help.

    ok i hope i was of some help. Does he have family by the way?
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yea, I think you are right...........he definitely fills that difficult child void I have been SO used to filling. And he is such a carbon copy of my difficult child, that it is eerie sometimes, and I just react as if he was Matt instead of employee X.

    I was never good at setting clear boundaries with Matt, and thus employee X - yet I can set clear boundaries with all other employees. I don't really get it, except that emotionality is taken out of most of my employee interactions. Employee X has completely captured my heart - my heart that so wants to help the mentally ill - and yet he treats me so difficult child-ish you would think I would have no tolerance.

    As you can see this is really bugging me......for whatever reason. Thanks Jen for helping to shed some light on this.
  4. Jena

    Jena New Member

    He may be so much better off for having you in his life. Just be safe at work... And, it's ok for you to be going through a bit of a transition of your own with difficult child not being home now. Wow, I would too very much so.

  5. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Steely, I feel for you, My husband just went through the same thing. He just fired a guy that he had for several years, he had put up with more stuff then he ever would of from anyone else because he did understand the problems this person livied with, in a strange way it also gave us hope that our child would be able to find a niche with understanding employers and be OK.

    But you can't let it effect your bussiness so....he had to go. I don't look at it as my husband failed this kid (also well over 21), rather I feel husband helped this kid learn alot about working and being responsible but now it will be someone elses turn. And I guess I'm OK with that for my kids as well. If employers will give them a few second chances but end up firing them, then they have helped our difficult child's and I will be grateful.