“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”
― Nora Roberts
Folks, I did it. I finally took the plunge and applied for a new job. Correction, I applied for several new jobs.
It’s sort of amusing when you stop and think that it took me almost six, yes SIX years to realize my relationship with my ex was abusive. Now here I am almost six (must be my lucky number…) years into my relationship with my current employer fully acknowledging that this relationship is also abusive. In reality, I have know for a long time that my work environment is toxic. However, I approached it with the same blind optimism I applied to my failed marriage. I thought if I sucked it up and stuck with it that it would get better. I thought I could help fix it. I didn’t want to give up and admit defeat.
Again, my thinking was backwards.
It’s not me, it’s them. I can’t fix it because it’s not my problem to fix.
The sad part is that it took my health deteriorating (again) for me to realize that this relationship is indeed as unhealthy and abusive as my previous marriage. I have spent more days not feeling well than not in the past six months (since being “promoted”). I STILL have a cough and sinus infection that I just can’t shake- a full month after getting sick for the Timberman and after a full course of antibiotics. Actually, I am pretty sure what I had was pneumonia, which is probably why it’s taking so long to recover. Regardless, this is a COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE way to live.
I am tired of feeling sick and rundown 100% of the time. My eye twitches even on days I’m not at work. I have nightmares about having to go to work. I have no reserves left. There is nothing left to give. I told my supervisor I was looking for other work.
WHY DOES SHE STAY?
There has been so much conversation in the media recently about “Why does she stay?” thanks to the Ray Rice incident. Those of us who have experienced abuse know there a host a good and valid reasons not the least of which is SAFETY ***women who leave their abusers are 70 TIMES more likely to be murdered in those first two weeks than any other time in the relationship!!!*** However, if we all stopped and took a look into our own lives, we would realize we all put up with some type of abusive situation at some point or another. While it may not be as extreme as domestic violence in many cases, a lot of the reasons for continuing to endure other toxic situations and relationships are the same. I can tell you from personal experience that although my safety may not be in jeopardy at my current job, I feel as physically and psychologically drained as I did in my first marriage. So why did I stay so long?
As I said previously, the reasons are similar. I held out hope it would get better. I attributed my stress to other sources in my life. I tried to convince myself I was lucky to have a job [spouse who loved me and would do anything for me]. After all, there are so many people struggling just to find work, I thought I should be grateful to have the financial security afforded by my current employment. On a similar note, I worried that I would suffer financially if I changed jobs. As awful as my current situation has been, struggling to pay the bills and not being able to afford to eat did not seem like a better prospect. Loss of financial security is TERRIFYING even with a strong support system and second income. Imagine how individuals who are completely isolated and buried in debt by their abusers feel about this situation… Then add to that fear of retribution…
Beyond all the “practical” reasons, though, the thing that has kept from moving on the longest was LOSS OF HOPE. I truly didn’t think I could do better (in either instance). I believed that even if I got out of the situation I was in that I would just end up in another one just as bad or even worse. It seemed so much easier to face the enemy I already knew. To put effort into getting out only to end up going through the same mess again was something I was convinced would break me. It took everything in me just to get through each day, each hour, each minute. I honestly couldn’t think far enough ahead to get my head on straight. Abusive relationships (spouse, work, or otherwise) are so draining that there is no energy left to dream or hope or plan. There is no imagining a better way of living let alone surmising a strategy to get there. When you are completely surrounded by and enveloped in negative, toxic energy day in and day out, it is so easy to believe that every other job (or spouse) will be the same. That is why is each time I had to get to a point where it was completely unbearable.
In the case with my job, I finally realized that my fear of every other job being as awful was the same terrible logic I had applied to dating. Not every employer treats their staff poorly, just as not every relationship out there is dysfunctional. There are people out there who get up and actually look forward to going to work. Good jobs exist. The key to finding one is knowing your worth.
I am finally at a point where I know my worth both personally and professionally. I would not be true to myself if I continued to work in my current position. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be respected, treated well, and appreciated. I am not willing to settle anymore. That is why I am seeking other employment. I will not feel guilty for putting myself and my health first.
This job is my last tie to my “old” life; and, to be honest, I will be happy to let it go. I am ready to put my the last piece of my past behind me where it belongs. While I obviously wish I had acknowledged how unhealthy the situation was sooner, I am happy that I am finally applying my new outlook and philosophy on all areas of my life. I can’t beat myself up for being an optimist and hoping things would improve. It’s at the core of my being and has gotten me this far in life. In the future, however, I will have to pay extra mind to situations and people that are wearing on me. After all, I should be able to still see the world through my rosy colored specs and still look out for myself. One would think the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Sometimes you need to just take the leap and have faith that the universe will take care of things. I am taking that leap.
Change is a good thing and I am 100% ready to embrace it.