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Hell is other people. Friday January 13, 2017

We have to take responsibility for our own feelings, right? It is up to us to decide how to react in the face of hurtful behaviour, aggression, disloyalty. People can't harm us unless we allow them to.

I get that, I really do. It makes sense. There's just one problem. I can't make it work for me.

Two years ago, my partner and I slowly discovered that a person we considered a dear friend had used us, and others, to abuse his position as a paid employee, in a charity branch we worked at as volunteers and trustees for 12 years. The discovery that he was certainly the person responsible for a sizeable sum of money that had gone from the safe was the last straw for us. This bombshell coincided with me having a serious accident, needing months of support from my partner while I recovered. The only thing that kept me going was the certainty that the man would be sacked and shamed.

Of course, life is never that simple. After a failed spiteful campaign of trying to discredit us, and the few others who were prepared to speak out, he played the stress card, on full pay in the free house that went with the job, off sick for twelve months, while merrily filling his Facebook page with photos of parties and holidays. We resigned, sickened by the lack of guts of others who caved in, unable to contemplate working with any of them or him again.

He now lives and works far away, still for the same charity, on a higher salary and even more opportunities to exploit. We still volunteer, with another organisation. But the sense of grief, the desire to see him pay preoccupies my thoughts, and drains my energy.

I have practised the cognitive exercises I learned, been to a workshop on Buddhist meditation, read books and watched Ted talks. I have tried to forgive him in my mind, but I don't mean it. I am deeply ashamed of the way I am allowing this unworthy person to damage my quality of life. He ticks all the boxes for Narcissistic Disorder (forgive the amateur psychology). My partner is still angry, but has managed to put it in a compartment and move on.

Can any of you relate to my experience? Did you find closure hard to achieve? I thought I was tougher than this.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Anne Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 5:43am

Hi Valerie

What an honest and difficult experience to share - I felt humbled that you didn't sugar coat your experience or say it's now "happy ever after", when it's not.

Have I ever felt like this, yes. Do I now? No. And it's not been easy and I've not forgotten about what happened - I just got to the point of accepting my anger, frustration & feelinga of injustice ONLY hurt me... it kept me in a sad and lonely place.

I'm not sure there was an epiphany or significant turning point. What has helped is sharing my angs (& not being judged, fixed or patronised), time, forgiving myself for my attachment to the situation,acceptance (I can't make things different in every life situation), focusing on my part (what I got out of righteousness and anger) & letting it go...

Hoping you can allow yourself time and compassion too..

Be gentle with yourself eh x

Lizzie Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 12:08pm

The only way I can deal with this sort of situation is to say" kindness is free and forgiveness is good for the soul." Lizzie

Anne Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 10:54pm

Wise words Lizzie...something to continue to sspire to...

Molly Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 5:53am

I like the subject heading Valerie. I cannot say I can relate to any personal experience of this myself but I do get very angry with people whilst trying to understand their behaviour at times. If it is something we would not do, then it is difficult to get to grips with, although I remind myself that I am forever hoping that people will understand me ! I have had some experience with narcissistic disorder (that word is so hard to spell!) but could also be amateur psychology on my part. However, this is a mental condition in itself so that could be one way of looking at it. I agree certain people seem to get away with more than others and closure can be difficult to achieve. This man has clearly hurt you, but it was not personal to you and he is not in your life anymore, he cannot hurt you anymore and really who cares what he is doing now. I would say concentrate on your life, allow him to get on with his, and if he hasn't learnt his lesson, he will mess up again and where justice is due, it will happen. He is not worth your anger.

the girl whose feet dont touch Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 6:08am

Hi Valerie
I woke after another sleep stressed night. Feeling alone, I couldnt believe when I read your blog. I AM NOT ALONE. I am in middle of a very paralell story. Somebody who works for me I have been so good to over the years, but who it has emerged is a bully - also potentially narcisstic disorder. Meanwhile, I am accused of various things, my bosses are complaining I should have gone against HR and want me to do things which are not legal - and every day I have to face this person who is making terrible false accusations. When I ask HR how they are allowed to say such things they say "they are just saying how they are feeling". My stress is the bully is continuing to cleverly under the radar, continue, I am not backing down in my convictions. I am not religious but pray to have the strength to do the right thing.

Forgiveness, actually, I dont have a problem to forgive them (they are weak), but I dont forget and I am angry. I know that at some point I wont have to see them anymore, I am trying to do the right things and try to focus my energy on that.

But I empathise with you, and thank you for sharing. There is somebody else out there, who knows what it feels like.

Jane Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 6:13am

Hi there. I'm thinking about karma. Last year I tried to resign from my job which I love due to endless, but subtle, bullying from my previous manager for 7 years. My director refused to let me resign and finally listened to me properly. Up until then I had constantly been told it was a personality clash, in spite of other people putting in complaints about her! But in two weeks she is leaving. Karma. But it took a very, very long time. I'm really sorry to hear that this is happening to you also. I hope it will turn around for you, something may happen unexpectedly. Sending you a big hug xx

Jane Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 6:08am

Dear Valerie, thank you so much for this honest post. For me the timing is perfect as I just had to answer an e mail to family about my brother's funeral and I'm really struggling to hold my anger in. My anger is mostly directed at my other brother and is a long, long story. I'm realising more and more that I'm going to have to confront this and arrange to meet with him and talk, once this funeral is over. My hurt and anger has harmed me far, far to long. Nearly all my life. Counselling had helped me a lot and I can now see my behaviour patterns more clearly, and I have grown a lot over the past two years as a result. So yes Valerie I understand the difficulty you have in letting go of what happened. However if you can find a way I think it could be one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. But easier said than done. I am now thinking of two songs 'Let It Be' and Let It Go.' Sending you lots of love xx

the room above the garage Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 6:26am

Hello Valerie, I can relate to your feelings. I separated from my partner 6 years ago and it's still fairly raw in parts (even though it was largely my choice). Closure hasn't happened and I thought that was because I still have to have much contact with him due to being connected in many ways. I was angry for a long time. Whilst I don't feel closure, I no longer feel angry (apart from once or twice a year in specific circumstances but I know it will pass quickly so I can weather it). What helped me was being able to get out some of my feelings. I wrote an email to him, calmly, and put in words some of what I needed to say. He did reply and that helped too. Would it help to write to this man? The process of writing out specifically why you are angry with him can be cathartic. The other processes you have tried are all about you changing your response to him but perhaps you need to allow that anger to unfurl first!! CBT was not wholly useful for me, I needed to drill down into understanding WHY i had my feelings before trying to accept them. I feel you've not had a chance to be angry, merely cover it up. A boxing class where you punch it out? (I loved this!!!!), or painting him in a passionate disgust (a remedy for an angry child is to allow wild scribbling with crayons or pens/pencils, ripping or scrunching the paper at the end) or some counselling where your feelings are properly heard, not just educated in what to do with them. It may only take two or three sessions. Stop feeling ashamed! You have every right to feel as you do. Who has heard you? I feel you need to pour out everything, in different ways, before you can move on. Love ratg xx.

Heather Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 7:10am

Hi Valerie,
I empathise. I was driven from the job I loved by a corrupt, bullying, lying and narcissistic boss. I tried to raise my concerns through the proper channels but was advised to take hush money and get out. I took the money and hoped that what I had set in motion would make others question but it didn't work. The good people have left or stayed silent after they saw what happened to me, the corrupt move up the ranks. He has squeaked out of a couple of scandals.
I have moved on. My skills and knowledge have been recognised elsewhere, wonderful doors have opened but still I know that what happened was NOT FAIR and this consumes me in the small hours of the morning. I have contemplated writing anonymous letters but I don't. I just live in hope that all of his deceptions and corruptions will come crashing down on him.
I left with my dignity in tact, I still have my dignity. He has none. This is my revenge.
I have to tell myself that this is enough but he ruined years of my life and the career i thought I had. Others say to me, 'but see how much better things are for you now', but that does NOT excuse what happened, the pain, the injustice. Yes it is still so tough!

Susannah Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 9:21am

Hi Heather and Valerie I had something similar. A boss, who was always lazy and ignorant, took to lying to and about me. The situation made me very ill. I was off sick for a long while - till sick pay ran out, and I was on SSP. HR, after supporting the manager for some time, made a half arsed effort to sort it out. A wonderful friend who works in HR (not that company) advised me what letters to write and when to write them. When I left my boss even tried to stop my leaving presentation. When she failed, she hid in an office upstairs till I had left. Once I was free of the situation I had a chance to think about what I wanted to do, and, after a few months I chose my current career. People asked me what happened to the nasty piece of work boss. And I could honestly say "I don't know and don't care - not my problem, as my situation is resolved". I did hear that a few months later she left under some kind of shadow, but I don't care. Everyone who knew both of us believed my version of events. What was, and is, far more important to me, is that people know that I am honest and my integrity is in tact (on this issue at least!) In some (weird) way I am thankful for the whole horrible episode, as after some tricky assessment, mentally I'm in a much better place now, and my life balance is much improved. Valerie, please remember that you did the right thing by whistle blowing. Others have their own consciences to wrestle with. It was hurtful, but it really isn't your problem now. Being vindictive and chasing after him is hurting you more than him. So please let it go and focus on doing the right thing where you are now.

Susannah Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 9:22am

Sorry for the lack of line feeds!

LP Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 7:20am

Hi Valerie,
I totally get how you're feeling and when I saw your title it really resonated with me.
Like you, My head knows that remaing angry only hurts me more, but letting go does not come easily.
I can accept that something wrong is going on and that I cant change it, but I refuse to accept emotionally.
The best I am managing is to create as much distance from it as possible. If I think about it I'll get angry, so I shut down any thinking about it or at least dwelling on it.
This revolting man has no place in your head.
I think that the depth of my anger comes from elsewhere, so that helps me to at least put it to one side so that I can get on with my life. I'm also aware that when I'm hormonal, I have more strong negative emotions which have been hard to control. At least being aware of it helps me to protect myself.
I do believe that the universe has a way of balancing things out so I kind of let the universe take care of the what goes around bit!
We are human. I'm not perfect or fully enlightened and that's ok. I agree with ratg that we are entiled to feel angry, I have just managed to distance myself from it and put it to one side o that I can get on. That doesnt make it ok and I'm determined to stand my ground on that. Let it go hasnt worked much for me either!
At least he is physically out of your life that's one blessing. Take care of yourself Valerie. Much love to you and all LPxx

Anghared Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 8:42am

I have just finished reading a book about the Dali Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tuttu spending a week together, talking about their lives and all the people who have touched it, the most powerful words for me are these, hold on to them my lovey bloggers.

You forgive, but you never ever forget.

I have this little one liner always there in my upper thoughts, it does help, and I empathise with all the powerful pieces of writing this morning.

Catherine Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 9:10am

Good morning Valerie, I read your blog on the train, and as someone who works in the voluntary sector, firstly felt outraged and frustrated and had to sit on my hands and gaze out the window and take a deep breath ... (luckily I wasn't filling in my Moodscope score after reading the blog) ... this is just the sort of behaviour and activity from a single individual that dents public trust in the charity sector as a whole when so many organisations and volunteers such as yourself work so hard to do excellent work to fill a real need and gap in public services and society. GOod Governance springs to mind ... role of the charity chair, the Charity Commission .... But park all those specifics ... I felt your pain and frustration ... and in such situations a wise person once said to me 'let the process take the strain' ... you can't take all this on yourself ... that is why processes, procedures, structures, investigation processes etc all exist ... so they can take the strain and you look after yourself and try to distance yourself from the individual.
I then opened my next email and stumbled across this article and thought I would share with fellow Moodscopers ... you are definitely not alone and this is clearly a recurrent theme at the beginning of the year!
I hope you have pleasant views and can take deep breaths and enjoy them wherever you are. My very best.

Sally Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 9:56am

Hi Valerie. What a dreadful and frustrating experience for you, and working for a charity too! It is so very unfair. When faced with a similar situation seven years ago, I went for some counselling, just to get the distress and rage out and make sense of it all. It helped. And Karma did happen... these people eventually do get their comeuppance ! It's true also that the only person you can change is yourself and time spent on such people is wasted. Time and being kind to yourself are great healers. Go well. Thank you for writing something so pertinent to many people.

Milliecat Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 10:11am

Hi Valerie
Thank you for sharing - and like many others in here.. I too have experienced these feelings. I've tried everything too! I think you and your partner have been so so strong... Handling all of these things. I'm like you - I really do hope that Justice prevails but it seems to in very subtle ways and not the ways I want it too! It sounds like your are processing this in many ways and at some point a certain kind of quiet will happen. At Some Point being the focus. My anger goes in phases and I'm not expecting it to leave forever. I do get breaks.. But it comes back if triggered and I have to process it through. I wish you all the best and hope you reach your At Some Point soon xx

Anonymous Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 10:29am

Dear Valerie - As a student, I acted in the play by Jean-Paul Satre "Huis Clos" which ends with those words. AS so many other Moodscopers have already said- what a potent title to your blog. And what a terrible experience for you to have gone through - and how sad that it seems to resonate with so many others.
It's a while since I went through something similar but not half so bad at work - which is why I now volunteer. The workplace seems a toxic place.
However, I am now going through a tough time with my mother, brother and sister - none of us, it seems, capable of breaking the deadlock that my mother instigated. I feel I am trying to resolve things but no one else shows any appetite to change the status quo. It's giving me sleepless nights - so how timely that Jon Cousins, over on Moodnudges is giving us a tip on how to "close the door" on anxious thoughts in the wee hours.

The Gardener Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 10:33am

Hello Valerie, and all others suffering what is real harassment, and threat to jobs. I've seen plenty of these 'scenarios' but only as a 'temp' so I could do the getting out. 'Blackmail' was rife, in that poor work - or even minor cheating, was ignored because the bad employee knew, for instance, that the boss was sleeping with the secretary, and would have no compunction in 'whistle blowing'. Most people I have seen acting like those quoted above have stayed put through sheer management inefficiency. In major organisations - councils, universities, huge companies the superior in question can make complaints about the employees, but it's the personnel department who have to do the actual dismissing - their communications break down, lots of personnel departments are loathed by the people who think THEY do the work, and procedure is not correctly followed. In our Mairie here (happens in France as well) an employee arrived from another region - she had a bad reputation - but the facts were not passed on. She carried on in her usual way in her new employment, got sacked, and then proceeded to vilify the employers on social media. I CANNOT believe, in the 60 years I have been an employer and an employee, that workplace harassment and bullying seems to have got worse. Looking at an earlier post, we got deeply involved in India by accident. Having just sponsored a child, there was a major scandal - people had been paying for years for children who did not exist - the charity pocketed the money. So we went to see for ourselves if the nuns were getting rich and fat at our expense, and we never looked back. The Parisian based charity who runs the sponsoring takes the least possible percentage for administration charges - nor are their 'field workers' living in five star hotels.

Leah Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 10:38am

I was touched by your frankness and emotional honesty You have struck a nerve with many moons operas.
Thanks again for your blog.

Oli Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 11:26am

Some people are poisonous Valerie.
I always know that if I hold on to thinking about them then the poison is in me -- and I really don't want that toxic stuff eating away inside me.
They're not worth thinking about because thinking only harms me; not them.

I don't forgive them -- or I certainly don't waste any energy trying to do that (if forgiveness happens then fair enough, bonus karma points for me). But it's not my fault that I met them and not my fault that I was taken in by them.

I'm just grateful when the person is out of my life. And get rid of all the poison.

Thankfully, such people aren't common and most people are okay!

Jul Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 11:29am

Valerie. Hell certainly is other people and I have experienced what you describe in relation to someone at work. After many years, I still can't forgive. I can forget for long periods of time but not forgive. I know it's wrong but I envisage in my mind all sorts of horrid things happening to this guy who ruined my life for 9 years. Like sticking pins in a rag doll. It's good you have written about this subject as it touches many of us. Julxx

Salt Water Mum Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 11:29am

Yes, what honesty Valerie, thank you for your blog. And Leah is right, you have struck a chord with we Moons Operas (don't you just love auto correct!!)

My situation is most similar to 'the room above the garage' - six years later I have forgiven. But - as in Anghared's post - I have not forgotten. And I imagine that I never will. The hurt runs too deep.

But I have let my feelings out. I am a big believer in ranting! As long as it is to the right person and at the right time and in the right space. There are a few friends I truly allow myself rant with. And my therapist has heard it all from me. I have said things in front of her that I didn't even know I was thinking! I feel safe with her. I have written some personal thoughts too and read them out with her. Poetry. Prose rants! and even lists of my ggggrrrghhh thinking...

I have felt listened to and that has helped my healing. It has not taken away my anger but it has got my anger in perspective. I can tap into my anger and resentment now. The feelings don't control me. If that makes sense.

But it does take time. I had to learn - and am very much still learning - to go easy on myself.
To stop giving myself a hard time.
To be kind to me.
To know when I need to be heard.
To know when I need chocolate. Or a hug. Or a swim.
And .... what also helped was realising that he was living (rent free!!) in my head. Wrecking my head. I wasn't in his head. He was getting on with his life. I was the one who was stuck. I had to release him from my head so I could get on with my life.
I still work hard at it.
In a recent session with my therapist, she actually asked me to mentally march my exh out the door so that we could focus on the important person in the room - the client, the one paying for the session ... me!!

Bestest wishes and take care


Mary S Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 12:54pm

Hi Valerie,
I have a similar problem, and a few things that Ive observed are:

* I seem to have a stubborn unconscious belief that life is or "should" be fair; that nice people are rewarded, that "karma" will punish bad people. Nope, life is actually pretty random, and it is NOT our fault when something bad happens to us. You did NOTHING to deserve such awful treatment, not to mention a serious accident.

* I too beat myself up for 'letting that person affect me'. It's not untrue to say people cant harm us mentally unless we allow them to, but I find it can sometimes be counterproductive to dwell on that thought if it turns the blame back on me. Do NOT be ashamed of being a sensitive person! You expected decent standards of behaviour and are justifiably shocked (and probably very angry) at how far this person fell short of those standards.

Two years is not very long, and hopefully time and all the hard work that you are doing will heal the wounds. Try to be patient with yourself and cultivate self compassion.

The Gardener Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 1:27pm

Just waiting for Doc to see if any hope new medication change Mr G's worsening behaviour. So re-reading above. Anger is destructive, but difficult to 'root out'. We've had Act after Act, Sexual Discrimination, Racial ditto, Sexual equality - still problems like the above arrive. I bear my grudges while I do the housework - the things I would say to people in the privacy of the house. People who are seriously harmful also have the hides of rhinoceros, or are 'protected' in some way. I feel that letting people get to you is like giving way to terrorism - they, although behaving badly, have gained the 'high ground'. And it's no good hoping people will get their just desserts, because they won't, even if they do, it probably won't change their character.

DAVE Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 4:06pm

Hi Valerie,
How vital and profound is your opening statement, "We have to take responsibility for our own feelings". *Right on the nail. That is the meaning of an orderly life, one that allows that "Inner Peace and Happiness", (that I continually express), a positive outlook, and the MAIN reason to keep depression at bay, allowing us to grow, and increase our strength to reside within us.
How can we achieve that status..I have always believed that if we ALLOW other people to use, abuse and control our moods, emotions, and actions, we are lost to their POWER over us.
How can we protect ourselves from such persons, who bring us down to their level, sucking and sapping us dry, these are those who will climb over others to gain promotion and who will lie and cheat their way through life. But they eventually get 'caught', But Valerie, that is NOT your problem.
Honesty, ALWAYS in thought, word, and deed are the main ingredients of integrity, Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Self-Worth. *RIGHT can never fail, LIES will eventually cause this man's downfall, that I promise. He is doomed to fail, others will identify transparency in him, that maybe his boss, wife, or family.
All we have to do, is STRIVE to become perfect, in an imperfect world, at least to become a better person, more RESPONSIBLE for OUR OWN ACTIONS. This way we will fear NO ONE, not even God.
Valerie, live in the 'NOW' or the Sub-Conscious effect of this man dishonesty..Even though away from your life now, will DESTROY your relationship with your partner and family.....Hold your head up high....change YOUR ways, that is our responsibility !
God bless.
Love Dave X.

Benjamin Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 4:10pm

Justice is an appetite like any other, but perhaps more profound. You would not be ashamed about hunger or thirst. Unfortunately, there are also empty calories and drinking saltwater in the area of justice; unfulfilling and ultimately addictive as a result of being deceptive. Also, justice is not as easily sorted out as thirst; if a cup of justice spills to the ground, another does not trivially replace it to fill the need. Some deeper thought is required to push this further to a prescription, but the worst thing is to dull the sensation by persistent malnutrition.

kickntheblackdog Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 6:34pm

Hi Valerie, With sincere intent to encourage; the wasted life and living from renting space in our hearts and minds for resentments is not only as described but also debilitating. More serious is it will kill us! Acceptance and forgiveness are essential and we are wired to not forget. If you can open you heart and mind to the possibility that there is One who has overcome these and all the other enemies to Life and with humility seek His/Her strength, you will undoubtedly overcome this suffering and feel His/Her Joy and Peace. It is how He/She is wired. You have heard it said, Love heals, Love never fails! Grace and Peace Valerie.

LP Fri, Jan 13th 2017 @ 7:20pm

Hi Valerie,
I've been thinking about your blog today and had similar ideas to some others.
The problem belongs with the person who did wrong. It's their problem not yours. You can be happy that you dont have their life. They deserve to keep their bad energy, not you.
If you are reminded of them you could decide whether you want to keep "them" (thinking about them) in your head and heart or dump them in the "bin".
The thoughts and anger do come back, but as others have said dont be hard on yourself about it, just notice it and choose what to do next.
These things can bring us down, but we deserve better. We deserve not to suffer, but to enjoy positive energy. Wishing you distance, peace and joy. LPxx

Orangeblossom Sat, Jan 14th 2017 @ 8:53am

Thanks Veronica & Mary S. I could fully identify with each of your feelings about Past experiences. It has been the Anne of my life to be unable to let go easily of some past experiences. I have written a poem called Our Pasts which expresses these very feelings. I have frequently been accused of being over-sensitive. Now I try to use it as a strength, directing it away from myself.

Eva Sun, Jan 15th 2017 @ 8:44am

Hi Valerie, apologies for the late comment, I get your pain, been there, not in the same scenario but with the same difficulty in forgetting and forgiving. I have 2 suggestions.

1. when you find you have gone through a period of time without thinking about this man and he next pops up in your thoughts congratulate yourself on the time that you didn't think of him, maybe do it out loud so your brain really picks up on a job well done, I have heard that this is a good way to enforce positive thinking... I think partially because when you do then think of him, instead of going straight to the angry emotion you might be able to start just noting that you thought of him, dismissing him and his bad behaviour and then concentrating on yourself and how well you have done to get through to the next period of time.

2. I wonder if the human givens rewind therapy would help you, it takes you very quickly (in one session) through a traumatic experience (you don't voice it, you just think it through) and the way the counsellor does this it takes the emotion out of the experience. I used this for various traumatic violent events that I was involved in and it helped me to move on a lot.

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