|April 10, 2001
Throughout the site, I make repeated references
that what abusers and victims both need to learn are the same
though the order they are presented in will vary according to the
The writer of the letter below has
come a long way in his recovery. Yes, he is having the same assertion
difficulties that any victim can identify with.
Advanced abuser recovery is about taking care of
the Self while struggling with the MeMeMe entitlement thinking he is
fighting/his tendency to give it all away (resentfully, of course).
A breakdown of some of the
"ingredients" needed to cultivate productive Self-caring
assertive behavior are:
Impulse control skills.
|Ability to tolerate pain - without doing
anything reactive about it such as scoffing at it, blowing up over it,
or otherwise acting out in response to feeling hurt / angry. |
|Ability to sit with the situation long enough
to identify exactly what bothers you. Your anger is your signal
about what's wrong.|
|Ability to control impulsive behavior for
extended periods of time.|
|Ability to take responsibility for one's own
perceived "errors" - without wasting energy bashing the Self
and ending up in the unproductive Pity Pot (for long anyway).|
|Even better: Ability to take responsibility and factually
assessing what actions that went right or wrong. No value judgment at
|Recognition of how other people see you.|
|Clear view of yourSelf.|
Assertive skills Acquisition.
|Monday morning quarterbacking of what I coulda,
woulda, shoulda said. (This is productive use of energy: problem solving
rather than non-productive self bashing.)|
Relative freedom from irrational thinking.
|The ability to identify and correct the
distorted underlying MeMeMe and other irrational thinking that gets in the way and has
led to frustration, resentment and subsequent unproductive behaviors in the past. |
Hi DOC and Trubble:
I guess things are changing on the web site. Are the Yahoo groups new?
Yep. Anyway, I am turning a NEW page in my Victim/Abuser recovery. But I am
stuck and feel desperately un-empowered. on feeling
stuck and un-empowered. You know, you're doing well with those impulse
I have been working for a particular company since Sept. At the same
my boss promised me the moon about a salary and a mgmt. position. Since I
really wanted to learn this business and perhaps start one on my own
someday (something I've since started part time) I told him I would work
for whatever he would pay me, just to learn. Sounds
good so far.
He scooped me up so fast
You feel used. Part of
the MeMe... Also underlying thinking you buy into, which is really
irrational since nobody can use you unless you let them! and has only started to think about it, as I have
started to assert myself more and more as I gain in skill levels and
competence at the jobs I do. He tells me he has grandiose plans for me
with the company, telling me if I just hang on, we will go far together.
at the same time he tells me that he can't yet hire me full time because,
they can't afford it, but they hired a new office person.
My boss will say that others in the company have nameless personality problems with
me and that I
don't have the technical skill level of my co-workers. But then he tells
me how he counts on me, that I am a 'people' person that he values, that
he is glad that I am the one handling a certain job, etc. OK,
so you took on a job as almost an internship, working for little payback
in exchange for job skills. But, you're quick to feel
used!. Your job is to
care for yourSelf while not losing sight of your goals. You're not only
getting a paycheck, you're getting training! Yet, the underlying thinking,
"he's using me" is making you so angry, you can't achieve
the emotional objectivity you need to solve the problem.
At present, I am a part time employee, (although he insists, and my
accountant tells me otherwise, that I am an Independent Contractor) that
gets a verbally agreed upon salary per week of work. Once we agree on
price and schedule, he insinuates subtle changes that take advantage of
me. When I point them out he starts to berate me, de-value me or even blow
up full scale until I appease him. I feel like the abused spouse who wants
things to work out, wants to make him happy, seeks his approval, afraid to
leave him (cause then where would the $ come from?) and am completely
flustered and blown away when he pulls his stuff on me. Especially when he
does so in front of others.
My former wife pointed out that this is my karma, but I have to realize
that doesn't mean I have to take it, but change it. Yes.
I cannot yet integrate
the defense and assertiveness mechanisms I need to. I am trying to start
my own business, he knows this, and is amping up his tactics which sap my
energy, clarity, etc. STOP!
HE'S not doing this. YOU are doing this! I wake up with a nameless sense of dread, foreboding
and anxiety. Your ex is right. This is the lesson
you need, and you can change it. You are letting your fears
get to you. Better look at your underlying thinking. If you lost this job,
you would find another. Don't get so attached to a job - or anything else! Better to stay in the mix too long than
jump the gun getting out. Yes.
The more I think about it, his patterns are those of a manipulative
abuser. Sure looks that way... I am sure these
situations are prevalent in business, and all types of organizations,
especially religious. Addressing them could go a long way towards opening
the door for discussion of, treatment of and acceptance of domestic abuse
and its' pernicious reality. Sure, but that won't
address your individual concerns - and that's where you need to go!
Let someone else be the crusader. You've got to spend your energy taking
care of the Self.
I am reprinting one of your paragraphs and will
intersperse what I see as viable Self-caring options you may want to
explore learning how to do:
|"At present, I am a part time
employee, (although he insists, and my accountant tells me
otherwise, that I am an Independent Contractor) that gets a verbally
agreed upon salary per week of work. Once we agree on price and
schedule, he insinuates subtle changes that take advantage of me. You
don't have to agree to these. When I point them out Good!
he starts to berate me, de-value me or even blow up full
scale until I appease him. Appeasing him won't
work for you. You'll just get resentful. Instead, reply calmly and
objectively to each point, one by one.
Counteracting the assumption of
| Keep in mind you're getting lots
of good stuff out of this job too.|
| Keep in mind that he
cannot make you agree to anything you don't want to agree
| Be grateful for what you have
rather than resentful for what you don't. The latter is MeMe think
and does nothing more than make you angry.|
Stuff to say and do
Calmly though firmly find a way to tell him
in private that you find his communication style unprofessional at
times. Ask him to get
a handle because there are project details that need to be discussed. If he
starts berating you in front of others, say "Excuse me" and
leave, but not in a huff.
For example, "Ed, we negotiated that I complete
this project. Dropping off the work to the client will be extra. If
he starts getting hot under the collar, tell him you'll finish this
discussion another time. It probably won't get brought up and he
will expect you to drop off the work. Don't. "I'm sorry Ed. I
thought I was clear on that point. But, for XXX, I'm happy to
deliver it right now!"
Or, "It was not my
understanding that my fee included door to door delivery to the
client. But, delivery won't be a problem. We just need to negotiate a
fee." As he gets angry, "Please calm down." If he
doesn't, "Let's finish this discussion later." and calmly
What if nothing I does works?
It may not. Recognize that all your
calm, assertive requests may go unheard. If your boss is unable or
unwilling to control himself, accept that which you cannot change and
instead focus on not letting his anger manipulate you into doing what
you don't want to do. Ask yourself why his mis-behavior bothers you so
much? What are you telling yourself that gets you so terribly
You underlying assumptions
to his anger (with rational thinking
|I can't stand it that he's angry
with me! (You can stand it, though you may not like it.)|
|It's not fair! I don't deserve
this beating up. (You don't, but you can't make him stop it. And
that's fine. You'll just leave until he chills.)|
|This always happens to me. Why,
why, why? (Because you haven't yet learned to stop it.)|
Healthier assumptions to his
|It's OK for him to be angry.|
|His anger has nothing to
do with me, and everything to do with him. No need to personalize
|There is little I can do about
his anger except control myself: set limits, not participate, and
not push his buttons with my behavior.|
|The calmer and more rational I
am, the closer I come to negotiating each problem.|
|Just because he's angry doesn't
mean that I have to be angry. I don't have to bounce off his mood!|
Can you see how much simpler it is
to deal with all this once you've stopped making yourself so emotional
with your underlying - and irrational - assumptions?
I feel like the abused spouse
who wants things to work out, wants to make him happy, seeks his
approval, afraid to leave him (cause then where would the $ come
from?) and am completely flustered and blown away when he pulls his
stuff on me. Especially when he does so in front of others."
Yes, you are like the abused spouse.
Similarly, you sometimes forget that while you are earning money and learning
a business, you are also valuable to him! He needs you! Your
intimidation over losing your job freezes you, but, if you
don't begin to calmly set limits and not engage emotionally with his
silliness, your frustration and anger will only increase. Then you
will do something dumb. Easier
said than done though. You need some skills.
Take a look at :
Fu! How to Deflect, , Disarm, and Defuse any Verbal Conflict and/or
Can't Say That To Me! Oddly enough, another
source to look at is for victims and it targets the irrational
thinking part, The
Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller
Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life
though. "Get" this stuff before you act. Expect to
pull your hair out figuring out what to say to him when you Monday
morning quarterback a situation. But, be just a little more patient.
Don't act before you know what you want to say to him and have
practiced what you're going to say. Empowerment is around the
corner! Hang in there, Dr. Irene
Hope all is well, but I'm going through hell. At least I have the site
Yeah! You have *Me*!
Don't you go putting up with your boss' junk! Forget what FakeMommy tells
you. Listen to me: First you coat yourself with flea powder. Then you collect a
jar of prime, No. 1 Hungry fleas... Hehehehehe! Love, Trubble