Things took a challenging turn last week at work when I perceived an intimidation tactic at play. Bunny and Clove are back. I previously mentioned Bunny and Clove when I wrote about people at work who offered unsolicited advice for my communication habits. There's a new twist. They've corralled a partner, Cucumber, via conversation. They told him their version of events. Cucumber then made a decision to remove one of my project duties. After he made that decision, he talked with me. He said that he doesn't think that they would make up stories. I told him that I don't believe their words. He said he would verify details. Cucumber acted on words without first evaluating their veracity.
Clove later emailed me and requested a meeting to discuss my role in the project. He didn't mention his discussion with Cucumber. I decided to respond to Clove and copy three other people on the message, including my boss and Cucumber. I spelled out my version of events and kept it factual. Among other things, I outlined how Clove met with Cucumber and now I am not assigned to a particular project duty. I mentioned that I don't know what his intention is for the meeting he requested, and I requested proof of his assertion that others complained to him about my interactions. The alleged complaints are the intimidation part from Bunny and Clove. I previously disagreed with Bunny in emails. She apparently perceived my direct words about her actions as "abrasive," and then she and Clove met with Cucumber. Suddenly, there's an allegation that other people in the group complained about my interactions. Quelle surprise.
Meaning is assured... may the poetry in our darkness be made whole, normative..." Neil Blumofe, Rabbi (Liner Notes story intertwined with Charles Mingus, June 7, 2015)
The topic has danced around my mind since I clicked send. This issue with ethics in the workplace reminds me of some of my situations from my early life. My older siblings would use me as a scapegoat. I didn't know how to defend myself. As a child under 10 years old, I experienced ulcers. My child body didn't know what to do with all of that stress. Now, my adult body knows of a lot of different coping skills. I practice with them. I've learned how to address conflict instead of withdrawing; jumping to make others happy or comfortable at my emotional expense; or engaging aggressive wordplay. I've been considering what I'm supposed to learn from interacting with people who attempt to deceive and intimidate. I don't want to perpetuate any negative emotion toward or related to them because I don't want to participate in the domination-submission cycle. This means I've been working directly with my feelings of fear -- threatened, anxious, scared, tension in my stomach and chest, hopeless, helpless. My belief is that these feelings of fear keep me from experiencing the point in life.
I've tappity tapped with EFT. That helped me clarify which emotions were causing me to feel stress. I've created art. I felt a surprising amount of emotion release when I drew. My method involved writing a sentence on one or multiple borders. Then I let loose with my colored pencils in the leftover space. I've exercised. The act of sweating helped a lot to clear my mind. I attended a social gathering and enjoyed human companionship, and I talked about my issue with an individual I trust. Every once in a while, I still feel a pang of fear in my stomach or my chest quivers with a bit of anxiety. I catch negative spiral thoughts as best I can; I breathe deeply; and I focus on my purpose in life.
I don't know what will happen with this conflict at work. Bunny and Clove do not work within the same ethical parameters that I do, and I work with them on this project right now. Sometimes I think about them or their actions, and I think a thought that's related to fear ("What if I get fired for saying the truth? What if I'm ruining my career right now?) and/or feel a negative emotion (helpless, hopeless, devalued, scared). My mind wants to consider hypothetical meetings between me and them. It composes retaliatory remarks about their behavior for when they attack mine. I remind myself that this is how fear and intimidation work. It's natural that I feel these feelings and think these thoughts. I perceive that these two people are attempting to tell me how to act and what to say and how to say it. My view is that they are attempting to control my actions. My body responds to their behavior as if it is a threat. My internal system creates hormones that cause my chest to feel what my mind interprets as anxiety or my stomach to feel what my mind interprets as tension. These are visceral responses to a perceived threat. I can choose to focus on imagery that represents balance. I can choose to believe that I am safe, supported, and connected in this existence. This is how I am able to connect with purpose in each moment.
Well hello there.