What is strength? Enduring or Leaving a job.


Well-Known Member
Maybe this situation is another way to learn about boundaries and letting go. Maybe something really good will come from this, for you.
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.
Telling an employer that something they are doing is not right is for sure the right thing to do.
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.
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Copa you have nothing to prove to anyone anymore regarding this job. You surpassed the test long ago. You are of an age to take it easier. You can work, but you no longer have to work so hard or tolerate stressful conditions. You can tell them you are done. Then you can find an easier or fun, easy job or volunteer (someone with your skills would greatly help so many) or decide to travel with M. Screw the rat race
You did that.
You are old enough to just do what you enjoy now. Youve already proven your worth.
Please do things on your terms now :) This is how I plan on the rest of my life and hope you join me.



100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Personally it sounds like you are on the fence about what to do. Half of you wants one thing and the other half another.

I would not let that one difficult person run me off. I would finish the five weeks and then walk away forever. If it were a forever job, then yes, I'd probably leave now but there is an END to it.

I am stubborn. I would stay just to piss him off.

I can endure anything if there is and end in sight. Countdown.


Well-Known Member
The truth is, while I would not be cowed, I was afraid.

I have to ask...what exactly were you afraid of? Do you even know?

What is the worst thing that would happen if you stood up for yourself? You might get fired? So what? You plan on quitting if they do it again anyway, right?

I'm not suggesting you yell or be insubordinate...but you stood up for your patient. Nothing bad happened. Why were you afraid?


Well-Known Member
You are old enough to just do what you enjoy now. Youve already proven your worth.
Please do things on your terms now
I am not clear what my terms are. I guess I want a certain amount of money. The other thing I want is to not be a quitter. Then, I want to feel strong and be strong, whatever that would be.
I would not let that one difficult person run me off. I would finish the five weeks and then walk away forever.
Well, this is one component. To not be a quitter.
I have to ask...what exactly were you afraid of? Do you even know?
I think I should have said:

I will not be interrogated by you. That is not what I am here for. I am here to make clinical decisions as my training and experienced authorizes me to do. While I am here, speak to me as a professional, respectfully.

And I would have walked away.
What is the worst thing that would happen if you stood up for yourself?
I do not think I was afraid of the result, of what might happen. I was afraid because he was so out of line. It is like I was afraid because he was out of control.

So my terms that I wrote above seem to be:

A quantity of money: Well that is clear cut.
Not a quitter: Not react. Not be reactive. Not leave to make icky feelings stop.
Feel strong, be strong: This is tougher. I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to respond to people as they affect you in ways that feel negative.

The first thing is to separate this man's behavior out from anything to do with me. What he did had to do with who he is, not anything to do with me. He made it about me, but I do not have to accept it, to take it on.

I could say, when you calm down and can talk respectfully, we can talk about it.

He is responsible for him. I am responsible for me.

So what I did after was act like nothing happened. I put it away on the back burner. I may not have been cordial or warm, but I was appropriately professional. I did not seek to have any conversation with him but I did not avoid them either. I smiled when I passed. I normalized interactions. He looked uncomfortable. I did not.

This is what I mean about be strong, feel strong.

What do you think the appropriate comment and action should have been by me, in response to his verbal aggression?

a. Nothing
b. I experience your tone as aggressive which is not acceptable.
c. walk away in the middle of his tirade without answering.
d. I do not think you understand the role of a contractor. I make my own treatment decisions. Is there something about that you object to? And then if he keeps going, go to a, b or c.
e. I am an independent contractor. I control how I work.
f. Something else.

By the way, I felt way better today, and am much calmed down. It is a hateful place. I will be happy to leave in 4.5 weeks. That is 19 work days.

Thank you everybody.

I will give notice no later than August 30th.
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Well-Known Member
Some article online said to say this. I don't like it, but I can see the advisability of not responding aggressively to him. To give him the benefit of the doubt-that he made a mistake, that he will not make again.

“When you say X, it makes me feel [uncomfortable, like I’m being attacked, like you want for me to take this personally]” and then document that conversation in an email.

So here is another choice.

g. I feel uncomfortable with the way you are talking to me. I understand what you are trying to say. And leave. (and leave it at that.)

h. just say: I understand what you are trying to say but I feel uncomfortable with the way you are saying it. (And leave.)