Day 162: A Question of Confrontation
I don't know why, but last night I was really amped up and couldn't sleep. I didn't have any specific worries on my mind. I wasn't upset about anything. I wasn't experiencing any pain to speak of. Although, I do have a lot on my shoulders at work. The next three weeks are going to be nearly impossible. Maybe, actually, in-fact impossible. I was given a project for which we are not prepared, have no experience, and a deadline of June 12th to build a collaborative program involving five distinct entities. I tried to say no. I pointed out the incredible obstacles. But, the President of my organization couldn't hear me, didn't believe me, or believes I can work miracles. So, I am throwing myself headlong into a project I have no business pursuing.
On the up side, I know if I put in my demonstrably level-best effort, he won't be upset if the project doesn't succeed. If he can see I did everything I could, I worked hundreds of extra hours and went down every rabbit hole, he'll shrug his shoulders and say, "maybe next year."
As for me, I'll put this little escapade in my back pocket and trot it out the next time he does this to me. "Remember when you gave me that project in May/June of 2014? At that time I told you we couldn't pull it off with the time available. Would you give me the benefit of the doubt this time so as not to give me a nervous breakdown?"
<WORK RANT> - feel free to skip over this:
He tried to hand me other responsibilities today, after I told him yesterday I was setting aside all other projects until this one is complete. It took a fair amount of tap dancing to get him to back off and let other people be responsible . . . other people whose job it was in the first place.
You see, my organization is just coming out of a terrible, painful time I fondly refer to as, The Terrible Awful (a reference to The Help - if you've read the book or seen the movie you'll understand the severity of the previous time period at my work place). I came on board at the tail end of The Terrible Awful. And, now, we're suffering from The Aftertaste of the Terrible Awful. What I mean by that is the President became accustomed to people lying about tasks they were supposed to do. These lies nearly led to the organization going bankrupt or being put on probation by its accreditors.
Now that the terrible people are gone who caused The Terrible Awful, many things are being repaired. Our financial house is back in order (or very close to being so). But, our accreditation is still at risk. There were things claimed or promised that did not happen and could not happen. Now, it falls to me to fix it and keep us out of probation. I work very hard to keep the tone light and to encourage everyone to pull in the same direction. I don't want people to freak out and start running around with their hair on fire. (But, I have to admit the stress of this is partly why my anger monster comes out when it does - partly.)
And, since I came on board I have had the experience of being a bit of a bar tender for the survivors of The Terrible Awful. I have sat with nearly every full-time member of the organization and heard their stories. It has been, in some ways, very much like hearing the stories here. My colleagues were abused. They were demoralized, belittled, harassed, and battered with hostility. I have spent countless hours stomping with anger over the unbelievable things done to them by the Terrible Awfulers. I have seen more than a few people cry as they shared their experiences. It has been an indescribable honor to be trusted with these stories, many of which people hadn't told anyone before.
So, after such pain and repeated experiences with untrustworthy behavior, it is taking time to restore responsibilities across the organization, for people to feel safe to do their jobs. Or, actually, for there to simply BE people to do their jobs. A lot of people left in the previous year. My office is new. And, we have an amazing talented and industrious staff. They have been churning out work at a breakneck pace in order to repair the damage. They have pulled off more than one miracle in the last nine months.
There has been a chorus of praise from the executive team and the board of trustees. However, when the President wants something, it's always my office he turns to. He trusts us. He relies on us. He forgets that it's only two of us. We can't keep covering for the other four people who used to work for the organization, whose jobs we have absorbed until new people can be hired. We have new people starting in just six weeks. But, he hasn't been able to let us hold off on work they can do when they arrive. Or, at least, he has trouble accepting the suggestion that we wait for them to get here.
That's what happened today. It took quite a while to convince him not to push my office to take on these tasks right now in the midst of an impossible project he assigned. But, in the end he seemed to accept the boundary.
Whew! Now to just pull off the miracle he wants over the next three weeks.
</WORK RANT> (for those of you who write html code )
The real thing I should be talking about is a conversation I had with my T this morning about what is of value in my relationship with my parents. My response to the question was a lengthy silence.
"I can't think of anything."
I described the relationship as being about a millimeter deep.
I have been thinking about this all day. AF and I went for a walk this afternoon and talked about it too. What it boils down to is me not wanting to go through yet another confrontation with my parents. The previous ones didn't accomplish anything. The DA didn't press charges when the police twice investigated. The hospitals didn't admit me or my sister when our sanity or addiction status (respectively) was in question. There was no change or improvement to my life from the family confrontations (have posted about this multiple times: confronting incest 1, confronting incest 2, confronting incest 3). These confrontations have been painful and demoralizing, though they did help me at least recognize the wrongs my parents committed.
I have been uncomfortable for months now about my relationship with them. It's polite. It's pleasant. But, as I thought about it today and talked with AF, I acknowledged the relationship does nothing for me, except enable me to prevent another painful, fruitless confrontation. I don't feel the need for any more confrontation with them.
What haunts me about this is whether or not I feel I've given them their accountability.
OK . . . no . . . I know the answer to that. I have not given them their accountability.
But, that's not about confronting THEM; that's about confronting ME. That's about letting Little Intrepid have her anger, release her tears, and soothing her fears.
I'm nodding right now. I get why this gave me anxiety today (and abdominal pain). It's the same issue: feeling and expressing emotions.
It's not that I need to confront my parents, I need to confront my pain.