to still let this man be affecting me nearly ten years later?

(37 Posts)
pinkbluegreenyellow Fri 07-Mar-14 20:58:27

I have recently returned to work after a few years as a sahm.

I previously had a career in sales which I hated. I started out getting on really well with the very alpha male boss, and he seemed to really like me. He had a huge ego, and on a work night out a few months into the job I ended up accidentally showing him up - without going into the details I made him look stupid, completely unintentionally. The following Monday I went into work and everything had changed. He was completely horrible to me from that point on. I would say he actually hated me. He would have conversations with everyone round the table and completely exclude me and refuse to make eye contact with me. I caught him completely slating me on a couple of occasions to other staff members. The dislike on his face was scary. Because of this I started to really mess up my work. I made a couple of moderately serious technical errors on the system we used because I was so anxious and afraid for my job - at the time I was a single mum and was terrified of getting the sack. This gained me the reputation of being an inept fool with anything technical which spread across the small team I worked in and people who were 'in' with him bought into this - jokes would be made ie Are you following all this pinkbluegreen, better explain it again to pinkbluegreen etc. I'm actually reasonably techno savvy but it became a self fulfilling prophecy and I started to make a lot of mistakes. My belief in myself was at an all time low by the time I left the company for another job. He genuinely hated me. One Christmas he drew me in the office secret santa and refused to get me anything - he gave the money to someone else and asked them to buy me something. I got engaged during my time in the job and he refused to congratulate me.On my last day he had to leave early and left without even saying goodbye to me.

This experience has just coloured my belief in myself to do any job effectively. I now have a part time job in a completely different sector but still feel as if this man and his junior manager who was a clone of him are sitting on my shoulder telling me that I'm useless. I've been put in charge of an area of work that is technical - the company's social media - and it's something that I've found myself to be pretty good at, I've had good results so far and have put together a sound social media strategy. Yet I cannot get away from the image of this man's sneering face and imagine him just laughing at the thought of an idiot like me being put in charge of anything technical. I worked for him for almost two years and I wonder if my self confidence will ever recover.

He has now left the organisation that we both worked for and has risen to the top of another huge organisation where he must earn 6 figures plus. He has taken on a few of our former colleagues which I saw recently on linkedin and it served another reminder that he liked everyone but me. I felt like such a useless pariah at that job and I wonder if I'll ever get past it.

Sorry this is long, I've never really put this down in writing before.

TwittyMcTwitterson Fri 07-Mar-14 21:07:20

Sounds like a truly horrific time for you and I myself, would still be bothered about it so no you arenot being unreasonable.

You are also not useless. You will be amazing at this job because you don't have a dick like him there. Think of his stupid face and how upset he will be that you are doing well and it is all because you want to show him how good you are.

On another note, he's clearly a child smile

pinkbluegreenyellow Fri 07-Mar-14 21:29:03

Thanks Eveesmummy.

AveryJessup Fri 07-Mar-14 21:30:22

Success is the best form of revenge. You're well rid of this idiot so just try to put it behind you and focus on how well you are doing in your new job.

I have a similar issue, having faced some nasty treatment (similar to you: unintentionally annoyed psychobitch in my office and she set things up to get me fired, more or less) in my previous job before leaving when I had DS. Am looking to go back to work soon and having panicky feelings thinking about how much I hated my last job. Not sure what the answer is except to keep focusing on the positive and trying to work hard at your new job, which you are doing.

Work is so awful sometimes. The amount of bullying and nastiness that goes on amazes me. So many people seem to not have moved on from schoolyard nonsense.

TwittyMcTwitterson Fri 07-Mar-14 21:33:09

Have you already started the new job? I was more confident in myself after mat leave (which I know isn't the same but it's kind of a comparison) as I found something I could definitely do well. It's work that knocked that out of me.

Don't worry about this man. Just prove him wrong and enjoy yourself smile

plutarch14 Fri 07-Mar-14 21:34:19

That sounds really awful. I don't think you're unreasonable to still be affected by it. But he was clearly a massive twat. The fact that he now earns ££ and is senior does not mean he is less of a massive twat. There was some study about how many senior people are actually psychopaths so I am not surprised he has done well. He actually abused you by acting as he did and you are probably emotionally traumatised by it in some way.

Have you had/thought of counselling?

Just remember, how he acted probably had zero relation to what you are actually like. He was being a dick for the hell of it. He sounds massively insecure.

PortofinoRevisited Fri 07-Mar-14 21:40:44

I have suffered some awful behaviour from others. The best advice I can give it to not take work stuff personally ever. You turn up bright and breezy and do your best. Transactional Analysis is worth a google. You can't change other people but you CAN change the way you react to it. There will always be utter cunts that give you no option but to move jobs, but you CAN deal with a lot of the lower level shite and turn it around. You can.

It is hard. You need to take deep breaths and face it. I suffered dreadfully from low self esteem. Even now I feel like I am an imposter. But I recognise it for what it is. Don't LET the bastard grind you down. You are worth much more - honest!

PortofinoRevisited Fri 07-Mar-14 21:49:35

Without writing a whole tome I find there are some great stock phrases that can be used - Like the MN "Did you mean to be so rude?" Maybe not appropriate in the work place, but I have used "I am sorry you feel that way, what can WE do to sort this out' very useful. You never grovel. If you HAVE made a mistake - you own up to it and present what you are doing to correct it. Something like - " I am very sorry - I must have misunderstood but I am doing x,y,z. Remember - not personal - task orientated.

BranchingOut Fri 07-Mar-14 21:52:58

Have you tried an elastic band on your wrist? Every time you think of him, ping it and replace the thought with a positive one.

pinkbluegreenyellow Sat 08-Mar-14 06:51:06

Thanks everyone.
I guess what is hard for me is to not feel the way he treated me very personally.
In an abusive relationship you can tell yourself that it's absolutely not you. It's him. He would treat any woman the way he is treating you. It's his problem, not yours.
But with this...there were many other women in our organisation who did the same job as we. He treated them with absolute charm and courtesy. Included them in jokes. Spoke highly of them to others. Promoted them. There were times I would just wish I would come into work and he'd behave like that towards me. Which is pathetic. But he was very charismatic, and very good at making other people feel good when he wanted to. So in this case, it was just me.
I've had a good talk with my DH about this. As he pointed out, if anyone should be 'sneering' - not that it's something I like to do - it's me. At the fact that he is a bully who has a history of bullying in the workplace and making people ill (he did, with me ), yet is still being allowed to manage people.
Thanks for listening everyone.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 08-Mar-14 07:16:14

He's a twat. Thank goodness you got out and be assured you will not be the only who has suffered this kind of treatment at his hands.

Er what exactly did you do to show him up? I would love to know wink. I hope that you can get to a place where you can laugh and be really happy that you did whatever you did because he sounds like he totally deserved it.

OP but you know he did this to you because he was made to feel vulnerable. He was exposed by you, even if you didn't do it with any malicious intent, and so instead of trying to work round it, brush himself down and rebuild the tiny crack that appeared in his perfect image, he just gave up on you and excluded you. It's what totally pathetic people do. It's nothing personal to do with you, I'm 99% sure of that. I'm sure you know that on the surface but it's sometimes hard to really adopt it in your mindset. It's all about HIM, not you. You sound lovely by the way, smart too, I'm sorry you had to go through all this.
It can really be hard to see someone who should by rights be seen for what they are doing really well. I know the feeling. There are probably loads of people like you along the way who hate him though. The silent majority perhaps!

Don't be afraid to be angry. You SHOULD be angry at this bastard. I'm a bit angry on your behalf! How dare he treat you like this, who does he think he is? Maybe find ways of processing it in a healthy way instead of letting it eat you up, I've no idea how you'd do that, but maybe you're in a position to get some sessions with a therapist?

Have you read The Psychopath Next Door by Martha Stout?
I think it's worth a read. Bit jazzed up in parts for effect but anything that helps you understand the psychology of bastards has to help right?

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 08-Mar-14 07:40:01

You learn more from bad people, especially bad managers, than you do from good ones. So think of it as a learning curve and how you can make sure you never do the same.

Also, people who rise to the top often come crashing down another day. Remove yourself from any linked in contacts that know him and give yourself a break.

I've had bosses like that; some truly nasty pieces of work who didn't like the fact I was a female in a man's world. They are still in those jobs [one is actually dead] but it taught me how not to do things, how to approach things and I now have my own business whereas they do not.

You knew you were good before he turned on you; it was only his approach that unnerved you and he basically bullied you out. It was him that couldn't cope with you in a management capacity and with any luck; he still has nightmares about you showing him up even though you didn't mean to.

So puff your chest out, and be that person you were before he swiped your feet out from under you.

sherbetpips Sat 08-Mar-14 07:49:31

FunkyBoldRibena my evil boss is dead too! dropped dead at the gym! Current boss is sociopathic but if I stay out of his way I can get along fine. He has moods like quicksilver, one minute you are the bees knees the next minute you are crap at your job and why are you here anyway? It took me a few years to get over nutter boss number one and how I was treated but I have let it go now. Takes a while to get your confidence back, a friend of mine left her job six months ago and only now feels confident enough to look for a new position. I was flabbergasted when she told me as she is a confident professional. When you find yourself thinking about it knock it out of your mind, allowing yourself to dwell is like picking at a scab, it hurst and leaves you with scars.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 08-Mar-14 08:00:28

Agreed; it's their issue not yours...you just have to deal with the fall out in your own head.

My other evil boss is married to a harridan. So he would be evil at work because that's the only place he had control.

hamptoncourt Sat 08-Mar-14 08:13:17

OP Like PPs I think you might benefit from counselling.

Reading between the lines it sounds like you have boundary issues. You don't seem able to separate yourself from Former Evil Boss (FEB) behaviour and treatment of you.

I know it is hard but you have to keep reminding yourself that you cannot control other peoples behaviour and you are certainly not responsible for it. People like FEB do this kind of thing over and over, It is their Modus operandi, divide and rule. It is actually very effective as it makes the other workers fearful that if they do not tow the line, they could be next for the exclusion and bullying that they witness being dished out to you.

What he did is his behaviour. He owns it. All you are responsible for is your reaction to it. The fact you are still reacting to it so much later makes me suspect there are other issues at play. I also had really bad boundary issues because of my deeply dysfunctional childhood ( narc mother) and counselling has really helped me to move forward and improved my self esteem and confidence.

Sounds like you have a supportive DH. Best of luck.

tell us what you did to make him look stupid grin he sounds like an eejit!

pinkbluegreenyellow Sat 08-Mar-14 09:14:50

thank you everyone, it's really helping!
OK basically I was organising the staff quiz to raise funds for charity. I was telling him about it in the pub and he said, oh try some of the questions on me, I'm great at general knowledge and quizzes. Um, turned out he wasn't. I tried out some questions on him. Who founded the Labour party. Who wrote Wuthering Heights. Who was the US secretary of state. That kind of thing. His face got darker and darker as he said 'Don't know' to each answer. I should have read the signs and stopped as it was getting really uncomfortable. Instead I laughed and kept saying, Ok, you'll know this one. Eventually he snapped "Just what exactly are you trying to do here??" and stormed off. Sounds like a ridiculous reason to hate someone but I promise from that day on he hated my guts.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 08-Mar-14 09:17:39

grin That's utterly brilliant! Please stop feeling bad about this. The man was and is a true twat. How up your own arse do you have to be to react like that and keep it going forever? I bet there's people who have to deal with him who would adore you if they knew this.

TwittyMcTwitterson Sat 08-Mar-14 09:19:24

It does sound ridiculous but that's exactly what he is wink

It's not your fault he's stupid

RandomMess Sat 08-Mar-14 09:28:29

HOnestly it is all him and not you, what a completely nasty bully! It may be worth getting some therapy to help you deal with why you are still letting it make you feel vulernable and inept now???? I think it's very common for such ongoing campaigns to affect people deeply for a long time. You deserve to be free of the ignorant twat.

GoEasyPudding Sat 08-Mar-14 11:25:28

Anyone else just looked up who founded the labour party? tee hee!

I am so sorry this happened to you.

I bet you your bottom dollar that this boss was hated by everyone else there as well. They would have seen him being nasty toward you and were very frightened as well.

Yes he may have been charming and lovely to the other women but they would have been taking it with a pinch of salt. They would have been smiling back at him whilst thinking "thank goodness it's not me he hates today, and why can't I stand up for pinkblue?- because this guy is a nutter and I need to earn a living"

Having a horrible boss is a right of passage. Do some reading around the subject and work through your feelings until you understand he was wrong and you were a bystander for his cooperate power play games.

pictish Sat 08-Mar-14 11:30:38

Can I just grin a little bit?
Look - the guy's obviously an egotistical idiot who pathetically couldn't cope with not knowing the sodding answers to a quiz. Jeeeez what a bellend!

Please be assured that it certainly wan't you, but him....it was aaalll him.

R2G Sat 08-Mar-14 16:05:06

You should go for some counselling definitely. It really helped me with work. If there is any opportunity in work to get a mentor this can also really help. One other thing that helped me is on ce I found a great manager- he bought out the worst in you, which actually makes him a terrible manager and therefore not good at this aspect of his job- managing people and engaging people. Likewise he set a tone for others to not work as a team/ derogatory comments. This makes him a bad leader/ culture setter. Get some counselling. I had a clash with my former manager, she wasn't that Great at managing me or understanding my skill set but she has not been personal about it and we now work great together as a team. This is business not personal - he is not good at what he does. No wonder you felt like that. Get some counselling/ support for your self esteem you deserve it and it will help x

moralimbecile Sat 08-Mar-14 16:08:16

My ex evil boss also dropped dead at the gym! He bullied me, and the sad thing is that I went to work for him to escape being bullied in previous job. sad

AveryJessup Sat 08-Mar-14 16:16:29

Ha ha, that's priceless! 'I'm great at general knowledge and quizzes, me'.

10 wrong answers later...

'Just drop it! Why are you trying to make me look stupid? Waaah'

It's like the pub quiz scene out of The Office.

I find humor is a great way to cope at work too actually. The psychobitch who tried to get me fired was my friend's boss and she went through hell with her so we used to exchange e-mails all the time laughing at her expense and go for lunch together to get some comic relief.

The issue with me was that I had had an MC and been off sick but didn't tell anyone why except my friend. This psycho boss she had was desperate to find out if I'd had an MC but friend wouldn't reveal anything so she started making digs and comments. I called her aside for 'a word', saying medical stuff is private and doesn't concern anyone. She did NOT appreciate that and went off backstabbing me then to anyone who would listen.

Kind of a ridiculous person in retrospect. It can help if you can look on the funny side of things, I find, even if it's not funny at the time.

R2G Sat 08-Mar-14 16:29:30

Ps read Anne kreamer it's always personal. About recognising and managing emotion in the workplace and gender issue

SometimesLonely Sat 08-Mar-14 16:30:25

pinkbluegreenyellow His storming off because he couldn't answer the questions was just like my Ex! Embarrassment at failure. We'd play Scrabble, I'd be winning and you can guess what happened. The board was thrown so we could not finish the game .......

parkin2010 Sat 08-Mar-14 16:35:55

My heart went out to you reading your first post. Rest assured, you sound a nice person, anyone with half a brain will see him for what he is even if they are scared to admit it publicly. A climate of fear is always a horrible one. x

CrockedPot Sat 08-Mar-14 16:47:03

He sounds like an absolute prick. He hated you because his ego couldn't handle the fact that his general knowledge wasn't good, and he knew it. He was a bully, who took his petty revenge on you for his own failings. I would be willing to be he had been an unpopular child and been shown up before. Your quiz must have thrown up all manner of dark memories to behave like that.
Please, please try and put this nob head behind you...he really isn't worth the emotional energy you are spending on him. You are now free of him and his toxic environment, don't let him continue to have an impact.

WilsonFrickett Sat 08-Mar-14 16:55:55

I think CBT would really help you put this behind you. It basically means you take each negative thought, 'prove' it to be wrong and then replace it with a positive one. It can be incredibly positive and you will see results really quickly - in a matter of weeks. It totally transformed my DH. You don't have to carry this loser around with you - you can put him down at the side of the road and walk away, and I really think CBT would help you with that.

I think you do need to do something to address it though - you can't let it keep having such an impact on your self esteem.

FabBakerGirl Sat 08-Mar-14 17:06:03

Having read the reasons for his tantrums you really MUST stop giving this prick anymore head space.

Pollyputthekettle Sat 08-Mar-14 18:39:23

Yanbu. I understand,I had a boss that was similar but no where near as bad. Like you I found myself making stupid mistakes as she made me nervous. I have since moved on and as much as its been difficult it is definitely the right decision. Have you thought of a goodbye ceremony to the previous boss and the surrounding circumstances? Maybe writing a letter to him that you never send but allows the feelings out and 'closure'

Good luck.

Piechomper Sat 08-Mar-14 19:40:50

After ten years? Why are you choosing to give him so much power???

Yes yes to cbt/counselling.

pinkbluegreenyellow Sun 09-Mar-14 08:34:04

Thank you all for helping me laugh about this. I really feel so much better after reading all your suggestions and advice and support, and talking it through with my DH.

plutarch14 Mon 10-Mar-14 23:35:10

He didn't know who wrote Wuthering Heights?! That is basic.

OP, please please please find the address for his current place of work and send him this

Please.

Please.

Please.

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