Verbal Abuse In The Workplace.

I have a manager who fits the classic definition of a verbal abuser as defined by patricia evans in Personally Abusive Relationships.

For 7 months I endured his ignoring me, supporting everyone but me and it finally escalated into yelling at me whenever I accomplished something - because I didn't do it HIS way. I confronted him and said I thought he was being hostile and I wanted it to stop.

He angrily said he wasn't hostile. I repeated I wanted it to stop. He said "I'm not empathic!" I said I didn't care if he was empathic or not, I wanted the hostile tones and verbiage to stop. I knew he'd diss me to my coworkers, blame me for things he did (bad decisions he made, etc).

So I complained to HR in desperation. (as well as reporting a non-ethical abuse of company IP) The next week, voila, I was delivered a Performance Improvement Plan. EVERYTHING on the plan was subjective so I wouldn't sign it. HR worked on making it better, but at the end of the day the final version had some objective criteria and mostly subjective stuff.

I'd meet the objective stuff, the true deliverables, but he'd make stuff up to flunk me on the subjective stuff. HR put "team pulse" on some, so he'd walk around to the team until he got an answer he figured he could spin to dis me. For example, one week I was interrupting people too much. One week I was too quiet. One week I wasn't excited enough about someone wanting to see my demo. (though I told them to come by).

The "too quiet:" person was a junior person I had no reason to deal with that week. Then he would make stuff up. I met all my deliverables and he gave one bullshit comment on a different criteria and we left. When I got the hard copy a week later he'd marked 7 other things down with lies (like I didn't get others opinions on something when I did). So I sent it back to him and HR with my comments. I went to talk to HR about the fact that he added "red" items that we never discussed. HR yelled at me and said they didn't have to give me the copy of the review.

. At that point I WAS DONE! So I called my doc the next day to get me out on disability. FINALLY HR asked others about my original complaints and must have gotten an earful cause the day before I announced I was going on sick leave, my boss was suddenly nice to me and said hello in the hall!. The doctor agreed to give me medical leave for PTSD.

Playing the game, I went to a counselor provided courtesy of my company (without HR or my manager knowing why I was now out on medical leave or going to a counselor). She turned me on to Patricia's Evans books.

My disability claim got approved. I calmed down enough to do better in interviews during this hiatus away from the environment and start following some of Patricia Evans advise on getting over it. Her books deal with verbal abuse in relationships, not work, but it was very pertinent and indeed it can cause PTSD symptoms, so no, I wasn't faking it. While trying to get my doctor I was contemplating how to have an accident that wouldn't kill me or hurt anyone else, but would get me out of a totally illogical environment.

After 5 weeks, the poison was out of my system (due to HR not believing me) The description of the abuser in her book indicated he appeared as a nice guy to non-victims. So HR felt sorry for him. In fact, once accused me of trying to get him fired. I calmly answered no, I just didn't want to work for him anymore.

I just informed them I'm not coming back. I'm closing my claim and going back to work..... elsewhere. I try not to be vengeful because my manager has some real personal self confidence issues that make him this way, but the best pieces of this are:
When I said I was leaving on sick leave, my manager suddenly realized it would come out of HIS OVERHEAD, which always looks bad for a manager.
The tone of his voice when he realized that was very gratifying.
The other item is that the company had gone into a hiring freeze, so all my managers consulting friends were going away, he couldn't hire anyone though his workload was increasing and I was OUT OF THERE! Unfortunately, that probably hit my team-mates too and I enjoyed working with them,so it wasn't quite as sweet as it could have been..
recover recover
Sep 25, 2012