Sunday, January 7, 2024

After Quiet Reflection ...

 *Edited - content added.

I decided to just do some quiet reflection for the last few days, unplug from everything, self-examine ... and to be honest, had a good cry yesterday? 

At first, I may have teared up a couple of times over just general disappointment and loss, over this situation, but I didn't want to give the douchebag new/former boss the satisfaction of making me cry.  

Then, after an uncharacteristic response from a male friend who actually writes code for AI, I just shut down for a few days to self-examine.

A couple of days later, when less emotionally close to both the job situation and the unexpected response from this person, I found that I felt exactly the same about the job situation - and there is nothing I would've done differently.  

Believe me, I've gone over it and over it 1,000 times, and the only thing I would've changed was maybe to stay two more weeks and endure whatever came at me from him just to get the pay, because I made 3x what I'm making now at my old job.

But after I reread the chat - in fact, I read it out loud to a couple of other people to make sure I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing- I realized it would be two weeks of likely more of that, and not so great for my PTSD.

Then I reread the texts between Mark, myself, and this friend who writes AI code for a living.

Quite honestly, I was surprised - because though I said a lot in text, I don't see where I was harsh or intense - and believe me, I can be intense and harsh if I wanna be - especially going through menopause!

But it usually takes a lot more than that, something coming as a direct missile at me - but actually, I was surprised when I reread it because - I don't see that.  Maybe because there's no tone on how I actually meant something?

I asked pointed questions because I was confused, as this appeared a change in attitude.

But in fact, it seemed the other way around to me, and Mark just smiled and said:  

"See, I told you?  I'm not sure what's going on with him, I felt like we were actually talking to AI lol.  Maybe it's because he writes AI and feels he has to defend its use - but even when someone literally stole your voice under false pretense, put it on a product, and sold it to a client, though you're in an admin position?" 
"Everyone else thinks what your boss did was absolutely horrible - except him - and it's odd and very unlike him." 
"Like 12 other people, both women and men, said what your boss did was horrible - but you fixated on what one person said, because you love and respect him so much."
"If someone plays the card he did, you tend to just apologize right away and assume the person is right, you're wrong, it's conditioned in you with your history of abuse." 
"You did write probably too many texts all at once -  but it was also pretty clear you were confused as to what he saying, because it DID seem out of character for him, I noticed it myself before you said anything."
"HE was the one being harsh and actually cold and dismissive.  It seemed he just didn't like that you were pointing out, the change in his attitude, which I noticed myself."  


"Believe me, I have seen you be harsh - and most of the time, it's after a bunch of shit has come your way, so it's usually warranted lol - but this wasn't it." 
"Most of the time, I wish you'd be even more harsh with people, but then I'm from Detroit and I already told you how I would handle it, lol. Like I would have told your boss to eff off and die before I left, then gotten a few buddies to drag him out of his house and kick the living shit outta him.  It's funny, someone at work suggested the same lol. But you're right, he's not worth it, and that wouldn't actually solve anything." 


"I think certain types of people play this card when they just don't want to hear what you're saying - because they're afraid you're right or they take something you said too personally, though it wasn't meant personally - because they know it works to get you to back down/silence you because of your abuse history." 
 "That's why I came at him a bit about it, it was unfair and almost mean, especially on the heels of what just happened to you, and given your abuse history, which he has sensed and asked about before."   
"It's actually a shitty card to play to any woman, but especially one with your history.  It's worse than asking if you're on the rag or going through menopause, and more akin to gaslighting, because they'd rather make you a sudden problem than have take a look at themselves and what they're saying or doing." 
"I never would've expected that from him, ever.  He's always had a very high opinion of you and values your opinion, or he wouldn't ask it as much as he has, so I don't know what's gotten into him.  I think it's work in AI himself, he doesn't want to feel guilty about its misuse"

I reminded Mark that there were no victims here - my boss, yes, but this person, no - and that we both felt misunderstood/hurt, even though he didn't say exactly that, he said it in guy way., and I didn't mean to hurt him probably any more than he meant to hurt me.

But for the record, my husband has never, played that card. A lot of men do, to women in general, even some women have with me - but it's usually when they're hiding something.  

But my husband never has, not once.  

Because the truth is, Ladies and Gents -  if someone truly cares about you and was worried that something is off with you lately, emotionally or mentally - and you didn't like attack them or something - even if disagreeing about something, they would say this in a caring, loving  way, i.e, "I'm worried about you,  your reaction to this"

They would NOT say it as a weapon - and if it is used as a weapon, and you didn't literally attack them or something, it usually means they're afraid you're right and don't want to take a look.  

In other words, trying to get you to distrust your own perception is a lazy - and often guilty - person's way of shutting down an disagreement - particularly with women - rather than stay on the actual point. 

He says he sees that line that he could cross to win an argument with me, but realizes it's actually a cop-out rather than address the issue at hand that at the time, he just doesn't feel like looking at at from my perspective.  So if he feels that way, he just says "I don't feel like getting into this now."

He's also never pulled the "are you hormonal, right now?" card, because he learned a long time ago that that is always a bad idea with any woman.


Because FYI, men - being hormonal doesn't make you just make shit up, unless that woman has other mental issues or disorders already.

Though it does affect your mood - more negative, anxious, irritable - it mostly just chemically fuels reactions to things that you would have had anyway to be stronger reactions.

He might say "What's going on with you today?" - which I say to him, too, when there's a change in mood - and then we talk about it. 

If it's hormone fueled, I tell him what's bothering me and that it just feels more intense than usual because of hormonal issues, and that the intensity will pass, but the issue would still bother me anyway.

Regardless,  I DID text this friend a lot, which I tend to do when anxious or upset -  and I DO need to work on more, I can see where that annoys - but it wasn't rageful or overly emotional - as I said, I hadn't shed a tear yet. 

It just seemed like he didn't understand at all where I was coming from about what happened.  But, ya know, men can take stands, without their jobs being threatened - especially if they are in power.  

In fact, he famously took a stand over ethics and AI himself at work once, so what has happened since - he just rolled over?

And keep in mind, I took my stand very gently and it was over my literal voice - just asking how this happened (my literal voice stolen to sell on a product, as a new, low-level employee, under false pretense and without permission or compensation).

My job was threatened after gently questioning how this happened and saying I didn't appreciate it - so I had three options:  

1) Go along with my boss doing it, acting like it's okay, which is sending him a message that he can continue to do this without consequence and worse, for a paycheck - a paycheck which, though was 3x what I was making at my old job, still wasn't that great in this day and age.


 And if you don't say anything after the first time, HR's first question to you later would be "Why didn't you do something the first time?

2)  Tell HR right away and risk his retaliation, then being fired for using too many paper clips or something while the investigation goes on.  

Nobody knows you yet, so they can say whatever they like about it, and especially if female and the boss is a male, it usually ends in bullying, that you're a Karen, a whore, or crazy, or all of the above, and I don't want to put myself through that.

I have seen this time and time again, with many others, and once myself.  

I have never seen this route work out for anyone, ever, who isn't already rich, famous, or powerful - because HR is there to protect the company from lawsuits, not the employees from each other.   

So you are damned if you do, damned if you don't tell HR - if you wait, you stayed because it really must not have been that bad, or you must like it, in sexual harassment cases - but if you tell right away, you're a reactionary Karen - total Catch-22. 


3)  Stay and threaten him with HR to get a voice-acting contract, or act like I went along with it and then eff him over at the first opportunity as corporate strategy (but considering I'm not fake, duplicitous and vindictive, that's a big fat no.)


4) Quietly quit without telling anyone why but HR with a letter left,  in case it happens to someone else later. 


Go back to my old job of 4 years, where pay is based on production, has become scarce, and even on a good year, I don't make a third of what I would've made at this new job - but my boss is truly the best boss I've ever had - seriously, the smartest, kindest, and most ethical boss I've ever had - and that is invaluable to me.

I chose #4 - and I don't think my friend understood why I quit or was upset, or why I was considering a lawyer now - not to sue, but a letter regarding the destruction of my voice file to ensure it wouldn't be used again for profit without my consent.

I'm not sure why he reacted the way he did, which seemed very uncharacteristic.  Or why he couldn't understand why someone threatening your job if you don't go along with something being essentially stolen from you without your consent, or why this loss of income would be upsetting.  Or why you would quit over it.  Or why I would I would need to walk him through why this would be so bothersome.  But okay. 

I haven't said a word since I apologized for upsetting him and sounding harsh, because I didn't mean to.  And looking back, I don't really see it that way, but then I know my tone and he doesn't in text.  

And that's what really got me - that I'd made even one person whom I love and respect uncomfortable with my opinions over it. 

All I know is, I didn't deserve to be swindled like this by my boss.  I was a good employee, already completing projects ahead of schedule, was kind to everyone - all of these things Sleaze-Ball boss had said himself and told other people, right up until this happened.

And I enjoyed my job immensely until this happened, which happened so fast right after Christmas, it made my head spin, Id did not expect this - and everyone was out for the holidays, I wasn't sure what to do.  

I was trying to be a team player by lending my voice to a department-meeting test experiment, not to sell to the client, and I made that very clear, though if anything, I was perhaps too polite about it and should've been firmer - but I was assured that would not happen, and if in the off event a client heard it and locked it, they would set up a voice-actor contract for me, because at present, I was hired as a transcriptionist - basically a secretary.

But I know if I had stayed, it was like telling him it was okay to do to me, to any low-level employee,  and "Please, Sir, can I have some more?" when it isn't okay - not just for my sake, but because it's bigger than me.  It is not okay to "punch down,"  power abuse and exploit your low-level employees.  

I've done that in both previous relationships and jobs and I've learned that if someone takes advantage of you and/or "punches" you once - and is not remorseful - they will do it again and again.  Sometimes, even if they ARE remorseful, they'll do it again, just because they can, you're less powerful and they know there's not much you can do.

The only other option would've been to go to HR and raise a big stink, and I have never once seen that work out for anyone.  It may work out for the rich and famous exploited or harassed, but not for the everyday woman.

So in a way, I'm kinda proud of myself, actually, after my history of abuse  - I didn't stay too long after the first warning sign from someone with an abusive/exploitative personality?

They're all charming and supportive, until you tell them "No." 

With a true abuser or power abuser/exploiter, they'll reveal themselves to the less-powerful target(s) within the first year - they can't hold that false charm out for long.  

Other people may not even see it, because they're less close to the situation, so it may be difficult for them to even believe, because that person isn't their boss or they aren't the target  -  or if a personal relationship, they're not in a  relationship with that person - so all they see is charm.

Then again, I also know that anytime I have ever spoken up for myself, it literally has never once worked out, with sugar on top or not, so I still toss around the idea that I'm the common denominator and therefore must be the problem.

On the other side of that argument, though, if Trump has taught us nothing else, there certainly are a lot of like-minded, toxic people out there, more than even psychological professionals realized - and scapegoating of a minority by a majority is a very real thing.

Thus, the old phrase for treating people with depression/anxiety may apply: "Before you diagnose your client, make sure that they genuinely aren't surrounded by assholes."

Good therapists knows that most of the time (but not always), you're getting the victim in your office, not the perpetrator.  

Unless mandated, perpetrators usually wouldn't show up for therapy or stay in therapy, because, of course, nothing is wrong with them - and if they do, they're so sick that they genuinely don't remember events clearly and think they're the victim.

Either way, true perps never even truly consider that the problem is them, so if a client is truly questioning themselves, it's more likely that they're the victim.

I don't know, still weighing this out, but what I DO know is people  expect me to always be the genuinely kind, nurturing, joyful, compliant, easygoing me all of the time - even though there are times I don't need to be?

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