(Trigger warning: violence, abuse)
I said, "Karma is real, so you should be kind to others."
"If karma is real, why are there so many asshole CEOs?" was the question posed to me.
I'm sitting in an airport now, waiting to fly off to a court case on domestic violence, and the question seems strangely relevant to my life right now.
If karma is real and kindness is so beneficial, why is there so much cruelty?
If karma is real and kindness is so beneficial, why did he successfully keep me with him for over six years?
I think the key lies in what you value in life.
The interesting thing I've learned about abuse is that trauma is similar regardless of the kind of trauma. A lot of PTSD books cover trauma from war victims and domestic violence survivors on the same page. And having experienced emotional and psychological trauma at work, I can say that PTSD inflicted from toxic workplaces has a scary amount in common with the PTSD I got from domestic violence. Abuse is abuse.
I essentially became an empty shell. I didn't really recognize it at the time-- I blamed it on myself, mostly. He would talk to me, he would express his feelings and thoughts and dreams, and I would nod and agree and not say much. I thought I just didn't have much interesting to contribute, but then again I had to think that-- if he detected that I was rebeling or angry or thinking bad thoughts against him, my life could be in danger. The reality was I was terrified. I was terrified to say anything wrong.
I was in toxic workplaces at the same time, and carried the same mentality there. I was repeating, over and over again, everywhere in my life, the same mindset that kept me abused.
Nat Dudley has a great article on this in relation to recovering from a toxic job. People have to show flaws, and be open to change, and that is hard to do in an unhealthy workplace. The last point made hits hardest: A workplace is healthy when you see everyone questioning authority.
And then these tweets from Gary hit close to home too: "It's like they hire 23-year-olds and brainwash them" -- a friend after a few days of experience watching $TECH_MEGACORP employees interact. "There's definitely the feeling that 'the great leader could be watching' at any time."
And this great article about sick systems I keep coming back to. It puts domestic violence and abuse side by side with toxic workplaces.
I didn't participate in conversations anymore. I was struggling with sleep. I felt afraid wherever I went. I developed PTSD, I flinched at slight movements. I dreaded walking past him.
You can get a lot out of a person in that state.
You can get a lot out of them.
But he didn't get me. He got a human, robotically trying to do the necessary tasks to stay safe.
But they don't get people in their most creative, alive states.
Because to have someone in their most happy, creative, alive state-- you can't have your ideal person. They'll show flaws, they won't be "the best." And on top of that, you have to be willing to let them go, and they have to feel safe walking away.