I lifted this quote and the following one from SWOT's newest thread about Bart's anxiety about custody arrangements for Junior, which turned to my emerging understanding about how to handle mistreatment. COM is commenting upon my progress I guess you would say, in learning to feel my power, rather than a victim of other people's mistreatment of me. Which, I guess, began in my family. Thus, the FOO Forum. I have always had a problem at work with being abused/mistreated and how to stand up for myself. I have always stayed in jobs way too long and suffered too much. I tolerate mistreatment so well that I sometimes fear it is what feels normal to me, in the workplace. I have gone so far as to wonder if I sought to work in a prison 20 years ago because the atmosphere is charged with abuse, degradation and violence--abusive authority is rampant--and there is nowhere to turn. Can you think of an environment that would be more impatient with and unappreciative of the very things that make me me? When I am called into question for the traits that they find so unwelcome, (and which I gleefully assert)--I amp it up. Bad Copa. So, COM in the other thread brought up the coping mechanism I forgot to mention. Telling supervisors when they do something wrong. (I am quivering with fear as I write this.) I did do this to great effect about a month ago. About that issue, they backed down. They actually became docile. By something I said. I am hardly able to grasp it. But a week ago a supervisor turned on me viciously and unexpectedly because he feared I would not comply with him--to deny continued treatment to a patient--based upon his own prejudices against him. He interrogated me aggressively in front of another supervisor, who just looked down at her desk. I held my own but I did not tell him he transgressed a boundary into workplace bullying (or something less accusatory), and to not do it again. Instead I made the plan in my head to work 5 weeks more and to give notice on the spot should he do anything similar. The thing is, this intention may not be realistic. I may be forcing myself to walk a gangplank like I have my whole life. I went home sick Friday and again today. M asked me if I am afraid of something there. I said no. And then yes. I mentioned the supervisor that interrogated me disrespectfully, very, very aggressively, trying to cow me into treating unethically a patient. The truth is, while I would not be cowed, I was afraid. I am wondering if the truth of my situation is manifesting itself somatically, because I will not pay attention to myself and to my needs. I think M is wanting me to take a stand and to leave. Except he too is ambivalent. Let me take a moment to describe how I work. I am an independent contractor. I control how I do the work. I pay for my own malpractice. I can only be dismissed, for whatever reason, but I cannot be told how to do my profession. I am not an employee. They cannot even set my hours (but they do.) I am writing this to let you know that what that young man did is very mistaken. And he is 36 years younger than I am. I cannot begin to conceive of treating an elder in this way. Any elder. I want to work another 5 weeks. But at the same time I do not want to stay. I am so used to in my life forcing myself to stay in impossibly abusive situations. Am I reverting back to type? M says, we don't need the money to eat. At the same time he is afraid, I think, that if I stop work, I will backslide. He believes it has been so good for me to be back working. I do not fully trust myself to know. In fact, I do not trust myself at all. It is like I am numbed to my own perceptions and feelings in this arena. Or more to the point: I feel and I think but I am conditioned to disregard these responses. I really, really like the patients, the men. In groups I am finding a competency and comfort even greater than any time before.. A confidence and a power. Flexibility and fluidity. I just go in and am present. And it works. But I am not working, really, if I am sick. I am not sure what to do. It is like I do not know how to figure this kind of thing out, because I fear I abandon myself. I always thought being strong was endurance. For the first time in my life I am questioning this.