Unacceptable Behaviour

Dear Reader,

I have been dealing with something for the last week that I can only describe as unacceptable, it’s taken me a while to really comprehend the situation and its effect on me. But I have realised that what I have experienced is truly unacceptable.

Some of you may know that my workplace has very few staff and a wide variety of ages. I get on with most people. A few years ago they saw me as the baby, now I’m not so sure how they see me. Anyway, I know I am a target, and I’m not sure why.

In the past few weeks, I have had an employee complain about the amount of time I spend in the stock room. It has been agreed prior (with the HR department) that should I feel as though I am having a panic attack I can tell management and then go downstairs briefly to refocus. I know I could just explain the situation to her. But why should I? I mean, if she wants to be a moron, why should I waste my time explaining?

Now, I would love to say that my recent problem is with this employee, but sadly not. My recent problem is with another employee.

I will call her “Penny” to cover her identity.

I have worked for this company for 7 years, she has worked there for 6. On her first shift, my manager said to me “go introduce yourself to Penny” So I did. “Hi Penny, I’m Elephant.” her response “ok…….” and she walked away. This sounds like the response of a teenager, but Penny is currently 61 years old. So in theory, at 25 she is old enough to be my grandmother. And should know better.

Well, she has always been odd. A few months ago whilst she was at work, some ink managed to find its way onto her pink coat. Now, I completely understand her anger. I wouldn’t be happy if my coat got ink on it. However, I would know that it was an accident and whilst I am annoyed about the coat I wouldn’t be annoyed at anyone in particular. But her first response was that someone had maliciously attacked her coat with ink. And her first guess as to who that may be? Well, that would be the Elephant and the other youngest member of staff who we will call. “Barbie” So. Even though I wasn’t even working that day she instantly had a vendetta against myself and Barbie and ignored us for weeks. And then she got over it. But then one day when the only employees in happened to be me, her, barbie and the assistant manager. She kicked off again. This time it was because I was in the stock room looking for something for a customer, Barbie was downstairs working on the delivery, and the assistant manager was on her lunch break. She was alone on the shop floor for maybe 5 minutes maximum. The next day she complained to my manager. and ignored the 3 of us for weeks.

Well, I got over it. and so did she I guess. because she started acting normally.

I know she’s stressed at the moment, her parents were both ill. her mother died two weeks ago. And she had some time off. But when she came off. A shitstorm happened.

So she made a complaint about me, Barbie and the Supervisor (we will call her Butt-Head.) Butt-Head is the one who complains about the amount of time I spend in the stock room.

So her complaint was, that the day before her mother died she received a personal phone call at work (these are generally not allowed. I remember this, I remember her taking the call and it obviously being an important call. I also remember genuinely not caring about it.

A few hours later, me and Barbie were talking and over walks Penny and aggressively shouts “The Manager has told me I can have personal phone calls because my mums so ILL!” and walked off. Both mine and Barbies response was. “Ok.” Because we didn’t understand where the aggression had come from.

Well, the next day her mother died, then she was off work then she made the complaint. Well, I was told about this complaint. How she was angry because me, barbie and Butt-Head had supposedly been bitching about her phone call. Well, that was it. I flew off the handle. I was so angry. The conversation she has complained about didn’t happen and that’s what annoyed me the most.

So I spent the next few days going from The Incredible Hulk levels of rage, to full on hour long panic attacks where I could feel my heart trying to burst through my chest. It all culminated on Friday night. I slept for 2.5 hours. I went to bed at 12AM. I got up at 10AM the next day. I spent the whole night feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest, feeling so unsafe being in my own room, in my own bed that I was shaking and hiding under my quilt. I just didn’t feel ok and I couldn’t fix myself.

When I got to work the next day I had nothing left to give. She was there, and I felt like I couldn’t win against her. I mean, I could say I didn’t do it until I was blue in the face, but why would a 60-year-old woman make a story like that up? I got to work, went downstairs. and sat on the stock room floor. I didn’t speak. the assistant manager asked if I was ok. I told her I didn’t sleep well and about my huge panic attack. then I just sat with my head down. I couldn’t do anything. I just couldn’t move. She kept asking me questions and all I could respond with was “no”

Do you want to go home?

No

Do you want to come upstairs?

No

Do you want me to get the manager to come down to talk to you?

No.

And then I cried on the floor until I started work. I looked terrible when I resurfaced from the basement stockroom. The manager took Penny downstairs. Then he called me down. I started having a panic attack on the way down the stairs. In the confined space, she admitted that both Barbie and I hadn’t said anything. She said her problem was we didn’t defend her. I told her I didn’t remember the conversation she was talking about. I said “Do you honestly think that I would be that much of a monster to deny you that phone call? I have just lost my grandmother. I understand how scared you must have been.” So, she half arsedly apologised, agreed to let it go and left. And I cried and panicked more. Then she carried on ignoring me for the rest of the day. And is still ignoring me 3 days later.

But I’m doing better now and the reason for that is that there is now proof that I did nothing wrong, she admitted it. And that was liberating. People may see me as a stupid kid, they may see me as immature for some of the jokes I make and things I wear. But I am also big enough to admit when I do something wrong. And her behaviour towards me was unacceptable. Especially considering she knows I did nothing wrong.

As Always,

The Elephant in the Room

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15 thoughts on “Unacceptable Behaviour

  1. Good for you!!!!! Penny is toxic and hopefully she will get fired at some point. I worked with several people like that but I was the one who had to go…. union shop, weak management, etc. I wish I had been as smart as you when I was young. Instead, I always bottled it up and accepted responsibility for things that were not my fault. You do not accept this kind of behavior and that is as it should be!!!!

    Like

  2. I am a manager as well and I deal with these employee relations quite often. It is not good to keep things bottled up and I always encourage my employees to come talk with me. I also take time to listen to what the complaints are. In my opinion the manager was suspecting something but did not take time to inquire. Yesterday at CBT we learned about something profound and I would like to share this with you. It goes like this: Situation –> Interpretation –>Response
    What does this mean? It means: there is a situation, I interpret it in a certain way and that leads to a response. Like when someone cuts me off on the road, I used to get enraged because I thought they did it on purpose. Until I started thinking about the interpretation of the whole thing. What I found out is that my dad used to react like that and that both my brothers still react like that. Now I go back to the interpretation part: I could think the person is doing it on purpose, or that the person is mean, or is endangering me. But the person could also make a mistake and if they stick up their hand I feel all of a sudden better, or if I think they did this on purpose and I see a police car flashing by etc. Another example is when someone cancels lunch at the last minute. I used to feel upset when that happened, now I go like: hey you want to reschedule? If the second time the person cancels I know enough, I tried and I was vulnerable. So here in your situation is a person that might not like you, or you feel this way about her. She lost her mother, maybe her mother was already sick for some months and she was slipping away. I am not saying it is right what she did to you because you deserve as much of her love as other people. Since she might have been pre-occupied it sometimes helps to take a different stance on things. It hit me last night in class when the teacher was talking about the following: If there is this sweet, just born baby, all cuddly and all smelling like baby. Would I stand there and tell this baby it is stupid, that it does not deserve any love and that I hope the baby gets hurt…. No I would not, I would think of myself as a monster – just take a moment to imagine such a sweet little pea and I imagined how I would love it and how I would hold it and say silly words to it…..
    Then the teacher asked: Were we, as students in the class, not a baby once? What happened, why do we not love ourselves or get love in a way we want. Why is it that my parents called me stupid and I swore I would never be that way and be better (pushing myself to the limit and sometimes beyond where I get depressed). The teacher was just asking us this and all of a sudden it became very quiet in the class, I started crying, others started too – within moments we were all thinking back to when we were young and/or were blessed with a baby. This has stuck with me and I wanted to share it with you, because you too deserve love, from your co-workers and from yourself. That story of the baby changed me last night, I don’t know how to explain it differently. That brought me back to realization, to feeling all these feelings of happiness and hurt in one split second. We all deserve love, we deserve to take it and to give it, to ourselves and to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is making you stronger, helping take away the doubt that you often feel. I have a HORRIBLE time w/ anger, it really does give me panic attacks, aside from the ones that just happen. Hopefully she will get so uncomfortable she will quit lol… but meanwhile you are standing up for yourself and tho uncomfortable you are doing great!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I had many run-ins like this when I was working in my late 20’s to mid 30’s. And I had the panic attacks as well. By the sounds of it you are learning more about yourself and others as you go through these and you are getting stronger as Kbailey said. Respect and trust yourself. You know you have done nothing wrong and the truth always comes out some way. Big hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. HI Elephant in the room!
    I can totally relate to your story. Sometimes, we make us crazy about certain things people do and we just can’t rap our mind around it. I really don’t understand the behaviour Penny has. But you just have to remember that you are a much better and clever person than she is and that now your boss knows how Penny behaves. I wish you all power I can give you and I am so happy and excited, I found your incredible and interesting blog! You seriously help me very much ❤
    Much Love and a big hug,
    Claudia
    from bozemanandbozen.wordpress.com

    Like

  6. “People may see me as a stupid kid, they may see me as immature for some of the jokes I make and things I wear. But I am also big enough to admit when I do something wrong.” <– moi aussi
    I'm similar. but I try to let jackholes be jackholes and ruin their own lives.

    sorry you had to endure all that. hope things get better. ❤ *you* deserve better.

    Like

  7. I just endured something like that! My neighbors dog was taken because she was not taking care of it. Because I am who I am, i get blamed for everything that goes wrong in this neighborhood. Someone one street over yelled something to me about it the day after the dog was taken and I told my husband about it because it made me upset. I don’t like to be accused of things that I am not responsible for. I was to the point of self harm I was so upset. However, I didn’t. That is a good thing. My husband talked to that person and the person said they “assumed.”
    People really need to step up and ask about things before they assume and treat others the way they do. Honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This kind of treatment in the workplace is harassment. It is hard to prove and when I am the victim of this kind of thing from other women, the management generally sides with them.

    It is hard to defend yourself against ridiculous, made up allegations. Some women are supportive of each other in the workplace but there are always some who would cut your throat in your sleep, just to make your life miserable.

    Sorry you have to deal with this. I get severe anxiety dealing with these kinds of women at my work also.

    You did nothing wrong and she does not need to be making your life more difficult. She probably thinks that her problems are worse and much more important than any you could have . And that her life is so much harder than yours.

    She also thinks she is better than you, which is not true. She also sounds like she has some mental disorder in which she thinks the universe should cater to her all the time and she has to be the center of attention…her kind of attention ,,,whatever that is.

    Women like her never like me, so if I were there, I would be in the pit with you. It is not you that is doing anything to cause it, except for just being a nice person. Some people like to pick on nice people that just want to be left alone to do their work and go home.

    I wonder so often…is it to much just to let me do my work well and then fo home? Why do some women have to play these drama games of tattle tale ?
    Annie

    Liked by 2 people

  9. ok, this sucks but, her behavior has NOTHING to do with you.

    Nothing at all.

    And… sadly… you will probably more like her as your life goes on. I know! I’m sorry!

    There are just people who, for whatever reason, delude themselves into thinking that everyone is an enemy, they create these vast fantasies of self-persecution and whoever is handy is made into the villain. I doubt she is even registering you as a person, much less your age or any speculation on your maturity (sidenote: you sound like you are possibly as mature as people twice your age). That would require getting to know you.

    I had a bad run-in with a co-worker similar to this. The head of our department always had the philosophy of “keep our dirty laundry in-house” meaning don’t ever give any other department a reason to find fault with ours. Even if two people in our department hated one another, we should always have a unified front to everyone else.

    Then another department made a complaint that our department’s “Penny” did not dress professionally enough (you don’t sport camo cut-offs and have it pass a business casual) so of course, her boss had to resolve it with her directly and have “a talk”. Our manager, another co-worker or two, me.. we were all accused of ganging up on her and making the complaint and she spent the next three weeks bitching about how she should complain to HR about being unfairly reprimanded.

    Want to know who made the complaint in the first place?

    HR.

    (none of us looked at her enough to give a crap)

    I know its easy to say “don’t let her get to you” but generally when people who irritate me start engaging me in conversation, I like to pretend they have the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher (“wa waah wa waa”) or that they are a teletubbie. Whatever mind trick works for you. But nothing pisses off that type more than not engaging in their crap. I think the only skill you really master with age is indifference. 🙂

    But she is creating a hostile work environment, and if she has this kind of effect on you, you’re probably not the only one. She had to admit she created the drama, so I’m glad she was called out. It IS ok to speak up for yourself and let them know that and that her behavior is directly affecting you in the sense that it is becoming “difficult to perform my job duties with the enthusiasm optimal for best performance” that she creates “undue stress, as she does not work as a team player but more as a saboteur” (any good $5 words for you?). Be professional, do it when the emotion part is tempered and you can leave it aside for a bit, but that establishes a pattern of behavior. Had my “Penny” not quit, she was getting fast-tracked to getting fired. I didn’t know that until after though.

    I truly hope it gets better for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Everyone has a limited amount of emotional currency. And there will always be Pennys waiting for handouts and looking to pick your pockets. She is SO not worth what it costs to deal with her. (I know, easy to say….) I like the “blink and stare” method myself. When she attempts to engage you, just blink, stare, and watch her work herself into a frenzied fit. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This post (or rather the situation you described) makes me so freaking angry. LIVID. As I was reading it, I wanted to reach through my computer screen and punch Penny in the face (so I can relate to your Hulk feelings!). People make me so mad!!! Anyways, I’m sorry you had to go through all of that but glad she actually admitted she lied. Stupid, dumb-ass people in this world. We have enough to deal with without other people causing us unnecessary distress.

    Liked by 2 people

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