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Thread: apparently we need a support group

  1. #1
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    apparently we need a support group

    For people who leave my former district! No kidding.

    One of my staff at this new job told about leaving the district after over 30 years as a special ed teacher. She was targeted, torn down, and left without wanting to ever be on the property of the district again. Sounds familiar. She saw people get torn down every year, careers ruined, etc. She basically left with some level or breakdown, no self confidence, and few references. We agreed that it comes from the higher levels of the district also, there is a limit to how much you can blame your supervisors when it is district culture. Right now I am very aware that I am new and so am not sharing much with people about my experience. I don't really feel the need to honestly.

    From the people I know who left recently 2 have been told by counselors there is a chance they have some PTSD symptoms from the general culture of gaslighting and being put in situations that are so extreme. I am feeling really good about how much better I feel and that while I am listening I don't feel an urge to have to share my story. It has only been a month, and I am not tracking my sleep all the time, I am eating better, able to cut my caffeine and sugar levels down quite a bit, and more settled with the new program and kids. Can I say it is meditation practice again? That is my reason for everything good, like not having wrinkles or being resilient, etc.

    Thank you all again for continuing to encourage me to leave, supporting the months I was exhausted but still applying for jobs, and reminding me of my worth. I hope to pay it forward in my new job and in general.

  2. #2
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    What I found odd about the situation is they don't fire people easily. I mean they just seem to give warning after warning, correctional action after correctional action, threat after threat forever. I thought they might, and maybe anywhere else but government work they would, and that place may be odd even for government work. I'm not saying you or the other people would deserve the firing or the abuse kept on indefinitely, I'm not saying there is much legitimate basis for either, but there doesn't need to be. But it's just odd, almost more sadistic in a way, keep people on and pick on them and threaten their jobs forever, just to destroy them emotionally day by day, and for no other reason. Some people say it's better to be fired than to be kept on indefinitely in an abusive situation (as far as PTSD etc.), but who knows. It's better of course to get out voluntarily.

    That job was just bad and it was clear to everyone here (or maybe just a bad fit, but if they are doing this to lots of people there ..). Everyone here suspected there HAD to be better out there for you! No absolute guarantee the next job would be better, but I thought odds were very good you would do better than that place.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  3. #3
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    There was a lotnof encouragement for me to document on my staff that were not doing well, and the assumption that they would not improve. In one case when I started to really give her coaching and attention she improved. They didn't know what to do with that and didn't seem able to switch gears from her on track to be fired to improvement. That was a real change in this last year, before that i was given staff that needed to be trained or coached on purpose because they knew i could do it. Another staff was just a wreck, one really honest review from me and he chose to leave.

    I could tell early in the year they were tracking me, but with the inflexibility it was no longer about improving. They really need a lot of clear evidence to fire someone so they just coach out, get you to quit. I didn't get fired because i disclosed a mental illness. I still feel it was better than being fired overall.

  4. #4
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    ZG:

    You have something in common with former employees of the district you used to work for. You listen to their stories, and they may see you as a font of compassion.

    You all have had a variety of painful experiences from the same organization with its culture of authoritarian management, as well degrees of damage to your self-esteem. In a small group you can encourage, coach and help each other.

    You have said you do not feel a need to share much about your experiences with this group. Would it be fair to say you are reticent, because you feel a range of emotions about your past experiences... some of which you find uncomfortable or disturbing, such as anger, an urge to blame, a fear of "flipping out" if you get started with a rant? Do you feel mistrustful of any of the people in the informal support group? <I am not asking to see your answers on this forum … I am just suggesting that you might reflect on such questions.>


    Aside from participating in a regular support group discussion, are there certain members you would like to reach out to for evening telephone conversations? (Checking in, finding out how they are doing, sharing how you are doing, being supportive to one another.)



    Have you considered dedicating a journal to healing from the trauma of your former job? The link below refers to the work of James Pennebaker, on the healing potential of daily expressive writing.

    http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun02/writing.aspx

    Pennebaker observed that "reticent" individuals benefitted from writing in a private journal, a minimum of 20 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week.

    Starter topics might include:
    All the things you would like to have said to your former supervisor, but did not.
    When you experience a flashback of being gaslighted or targeted for verbal abuse, write (in a torrent) about how you feel. Continue expressing your feelings repeatedly, until you feel emptied, calm, comfortable.
    Recall and make journal notes of details of different aspects of your former job:
    What did you enjoy or find most rewarding?
    What do you miss most?
    What do you not miss?
    Why is it good that you don't work there any more?
    List your accomplishments in your former job.
    What will you always feel proud of?


    Pennebaker's journaling subjects were not asked to share anything they wrote in their journals. Rather, they were advised to assume they would eventually destroy their journals when they no longer needed them. They could devote their journaling to any major trauma in their own personal experience.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lhamo's Avatar
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    I'm so, so sorry you had to go through this but at least you are getting plenty of validation that it wasn't just you. That helped me a lot. I mean, I watched my psychoboss drive one of the kindest, most dedicated, most competent women I have ever met to a nervous breakdown. It was horrible. And then he tried to do it to me not even a year later. Thankfully I survived, but not without a lot of collateral damage.

    The book The No Asshole Rule by Henry Sutton was very validating for me during that period. Toxic cultures truly do start at the top, and there is little that can be done by mere employees to change them. It is good that you are out of that district. I hope the new one is good, and stays that way.
    "Seek out habits that help you overcome fear or inertia. Destroy those that do the opposite." Seth Godin

  6. #6
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    Thank you both, I am glad (but not glad) that others have been through this. I went hiking today and didn't really think about the whole situation however sometimes I get some clarity pop up. My thought was how he reacted when I quit. He cried, that was weird enough, but he also said he had learned so much from me. The dude was preparing to fire me basically. But I can't change crazy, I can't fix an organization, and I am healing faster than I expected in some ways (knock on wood)

  7. #7
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    If talking about the situation makes you feel better, then contact some of those people.
    Sometimes just being there listening or telling your story is healing.
    I am so happy you are out of that mess........

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