Hi, I'm a textbook co-dependent, nice to meetcha!
January 1, 2008 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Help me grow a spine, stop being a drama queen, and get control of my life again.

I am in therapy, just to get that out of the way first. Unfortunately, I haven't had an appointment due to the holidays in almost a month and won't for a while, and I am hoping just to get some head-on-straight advice from all of you smarties here.

I went through a painful break up in June, 2007, ending a 10 year relationship. I got into that safe but ultimately suffocating relationship because my abandonment issues were too much for me to take on my own. I finally found the strength to end it last year, and have been staring into the void of all of this psychic pain that I never dealt with - neglectful, abusive parents, crippling loneliness and the lack of a family system, blah blah blah.

I am successful in my career; I work in a largely male dominated industry. I started a new job almost a year ago now, and there are virtually no women at the company. I have made new female friends, but I have very little in the way of a support system nearby. This is particularly difficult to me because I am a walking daddy issue with feet - I am very vulnerable to men because of my abandonment issues with my father.

After a work related function, I got severely sexually harassed by one of my subordinates. I had too much to drink and was unable to drive home, he had too much to drink as well, and he put the moves on me in a very disrespectful way, trying over and over again to kiss me despite my repeated "nos". At first I was embarrassed for him, after a while I got scared, and wound up hiding in the bathroom and calling a guy that I've been dating for 3 months to get "rescued".

The guy I've been dating had been great, but we are not exclusive, for myriad reasons, both of us being in a place where we're filling a void for eachother but are unable or unwilling to take it too much farther than we've taken it, but I was having a meltdown and he was who I decided to call.

He of course was furious and wanted me to get my subordinate fired. I felt uncomfortable with that, mostly because I was drunk at work and feel that I should have been more in control of the situation, and also because I have big emotional issues right now stemming from my current situation and the abuse in my past (including an abusive relationship), it's difficult for me to tell whether or not I overreacted to the situation or not. I don't want to get anybody fired because I am a little bit crazy and dramatic right now.

Last night, the guy I've been seeing and I had a terrible, drunken shouting match. All of this is pretty abnormal for me, at least it had been for the last 10 years, when I got myself some sanity. The big dramatic breakdown between me and new dude reminded me very much of the dysfunctional drama that I experienced when I was out on my own and a mess, before I hid in an unsatisfying relationship for a decade.

During this big dramatic fight, he gave me an ultimatum - to get my subordinate fired or he was going to never speak to me again. I know, I know, way to make an already fucked up situation even worse.

Ok, well, now that you have the (embarrassing, hence the anonymous-ness) backstory, here are some things I would love to get advice on:

1.) I know that I need to break up with 3 months dude. The fact that we had an argument like that, that he said the things he said, and that he would exploit something that is already very difficult for me, is a giant red flag -- nevermind the fact that we're not even exclusive and even if he wasn't a leetle bit crazy, I don't know that I'd want to be. Still, my feelings for him are pretty strong, and I know that I have to end this - I just genuinely don't know how. I don't know where I'm going to find the strength to not cave if and when he calls to apologize, which I am almost certain he will do.

2.) I really, really do not want to get my coworker fired. However, I am so stressed out about returning to work and having to deal with him. Now, not only is he the guy that harassed me, disrespected me and scared me enough to literally send me into an emotional tailspin (even though I understand my own part in it), the situation has manifested itself to have destroyed one of the few relationships that I was very much enjoying. I know that this relationship was headed for the rocks anyway, and that I can't blame this guy for it, but I will always see it, I do not know how to get past this and work with this man again. I know that it's on me to do so.

3.) I am in therapy and I call my friends and talk about this kind of stuff from time to time, but it is so, incredibly, terribly embarrassing. I have always been the rock for my friends and family; I can't stand being this dramatic and over the top. I don't even want to tell anybody about this because it's so humiliating. That being said, I know that's how I got myself into the terribly abusive relationship I was in in my youth (before I entered into my 10 year, significant relationship, which was a lot of things that weren't great, but was never, ever abusive) -- by isolating myself. I can't stop feeling like I am doomed to be a loony drama queen, despite all of my logical understanding of the situation, my behavior is driven from an emotional place. I feel like telling myself to stop freaking out is like trying to tell myself to stop feeling hungry or tired.

I know that I got out of this place before, but I did it by taking myself out of the game. I threw up walls everywhere, I stopped living for myself, and I gave up on my dreams in order to feel safe and loved. Now that I'm trying to strike out on my own, I feel crazy and dramatic and out of control. If you have been through this, how did you do it, while maintaining your sense of self? I keep telling myself, it's not too late for me, I can keep my job, I can keep my sense of self, I can do what I want to do, and I can do it on my own -- but obviously I'm not doing the best job of it right now. Obviously the drinking has to go. That's really the first and only step I've got on my list right now.

Words of comfort and advice would be very much appreciated. Or even words of "Stop being a drama queen you lunatic."
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (33 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

0. Stop drinking. Two bad things happened with your drinking being a contributing factor.

1. Finding the strength to break up with someone for your own good is something that comes from within. I can't much advise you on this.

2. Have your co-worker disciplined, otherwise you're giving your tacit acceptance of sexual harassment in the workplace. I know you're not eager to throw light on the dark secret of your drinking problem, but that's not the issue here and you're confusing the two.

3. Stop drinking.
posted by majick at 4:08 PM on January 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

I don't think you're a drama queen... but I can't help but notice every time you mention some drama alcohol seems to be involved.
posted by matty at 4:10 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

First off, cut out drinking for a while. You'll be able to take care of yourself better sober, and the two incidents you mentioned were related to your drunkenness, so maybe that will help avoid situations in the future. As for your co-worker if you're really serious about not going through the proper channels at work, the least you can do is to tell him in (semi?)private, using your best warrior-princess impersonation that what he did was so not cool, and you'll immediately get him canned if he so much as looks at you again.
posted by fermezporte at 4:11 PM on January 1, 2008

Or even words of "Stop being a drama queen you lunatic."

Seek abuse and ye shall find it. Whatever you end up doing here, don't forget to take care of yourself, self-love and all. It's easy to beat yourself up over these kinds of things (especially if you have that kind of personality, which I do as well), so from one perfectionist self abuser to another...take care of yourself. The last thing you need to do right now is kick yourself when your down. Because only you can pick yourself back up.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 4:12 PM on January 1, 2008

Stop drinking.
posted by fire&wings at 4:15 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Why are you carrying all the baggage of your past around? Every time you post a question, you give us your entire life history, as though it's relevant. And it's not. That's the past. It's over. Put it behind you, aren't you tired carrying all that junk around? You were able to leave that relationship, and your life has gone on. And isn't it better now? And if not, why not? Is it possible you enjoy "drama"? Signs seem to point in that direction. You, my friend, need to decide to decide. You need to set guidelines for yourself and say, ok, this is what I want, this is what I have to do to get it, and I will do those things at this set time. If you need to leave the new boyfriend, then leave him. Leave him physically, and then leave him behind mentally so you can move on to something else.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:22 PM on January 1, 2008 [15 favorites]

You don't have to go to A.A. and you don't have to wear off alcohol forever, but you definitely ought to consider giving the alcohol a rest. Alcohol is very attractive because it dilutes crap emotions. But it's not worth it when it causes more problems. Caffeine is also a much used drug which does not help healthy brain function. You won't hear this from a lot of doctors because the vast majority of them are complete caffeine freaks. I don't know if your therapist comes with prozac scrips and all the rest of that, but if you are going to go that far, first out with the alcohol, out with the caffeine, out with the nicotine. Meditate and go to quilting circles and give it some time and your brain is very likely to start functioning extremely well.

What you are doing right now with the alcohol is handicapping yourself.
posted by bukvich at 4:26 PM on January 1, 2008

I don't have any advice for you, but I wanted to say that to my ear, you sound really sane and self-aware. You don't sound like a drama queen. I commented hoping that maybe that opinion would help you feel better about confiding in people, which in general I think is a good way to get ongoing perspective about stuff like this.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:28 PM on January 1, 2008

Nthing stop drinking. I've had friends in similar situations... staying away from alcohol and situations where others consume it in large quantities will help you feel more in control, which is a good first step regardless of where you are emotionally.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 4:29 PM on January 1, 2008

Nthing the stop drinking advice. Next, don't be embarrassed or ashamed, life happens and we all make decisions/ do actions that we may regret. I know I have. Also, coming from someone who has had a father who deeply hurt them, you need to forgive. I have had a hard time doing so, because I keep thinking that if one forgives, they are saying that it is okay. That isn't true. You need to forgive and let it go. It's okay to wish things had been different, but you are letting that rule your present, when it should stay in the past. It sucks that it happened, and it isn't alright, but you need to get over that and let it go. Once you do, you will feel much better.

I used to date people who hurt me, because I wanted to fix them. You need to recognize that you may attract people who hurt you, for whatever reason. You need to stop that. Though you may not be purposefully looking for it, you seem to be attracted to drama. You need to rid yourself of all that causes drama.

You also need to report your coworker. I have been there and it is hard, but have some love for and stand up for yourself. If you don't, it may get even more out of hand later.

That is my advice to you, and I hope it helps.
posted by slc228 at 4:34 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also, I wonder if y'all are being super-hard on the OP for drinking. Last night was New Year's Eve, and it's recently been Xmas party season- yes, she had two bad back to back experiences that involved alcohol, but given the time of year, I don't think it should be seen as conclusive proof of an ongoing drinking problem. Gosh, I sound like an enabler. Anonymous, it probably does bear some analysis... does 25% or more of your "drama" occur when drinking? If so, quitting drinking will probably help reduce your drama by 25%, which is a number so good it's practically therapy!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:35 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I may have missed this, but where does it say Anonymous has a drinking problem? Anonymous mentioned two incidents, both that happened when drunk. It doesn't say Anonymous drinks regularly to excess, just that in these two cases she was drunk and the incidents happened. Of course she should drink less when she does drink, but that doesn't mean she's a drunkard.

Anonymous, what the fuck? Why are you acting like you're some drama queen, like your poor, little coworker was forced, just forced to sexually assault you? What the fuck is up with that? Reporting sexual harassment--repeated, aggressive sexual harassment--is not being dramatic. It's putting an asshole in the fire, which is where he should be. That is not being a drama queen. It's not. It's on you to make it OK to work with this guy? It's on you to make the situation comfortable and "fix" it? You didn't do anything wrong! YOU. DID. NOTHING. WRONG. Quit blaming yourself! Report his ass. You don't want to get him fired? Fine, tell that to your boss. But don't feel guilty for reporting him. You being drunk does not make it your fault he was an asshole.

Second, I don't see evidence you're being a drama queen here. Maybe you are, I don't know. If you feel like you are, well, you should find outlets. Therapy is good. Journaling is good. If you're worried you call friends too often, why not before you call them you write down the problem and possible solutions? Then call them and bounce ideas off. If you feel you just whine to them, turning the conversation constructive would be a big improvement.

Discuss the argument with your boyfriend. I will admit, I have made threats like that to friends of mine before, where they were deciding to do something that was so obviously hurtful to themselves that I got fed up and threatened ending the friendship if they didn't do what was healthy for themselves. It is difficult when someone you care about not only refuses to take care of himself or herself, but actively pursues decisions that make things worse for their lives. I feel terrible about it and don't carry through, but it's not born of malice, but of my own frustration with my inability to convince them to help themselves out. He shouldn't have done it, but don't throw him in the trash just for that. Talk it out again and give him another chance.
posted by Anonymous at 4:42 PM on January 1, 2008

You've set out two specific problems in this post, and one general one. The specifics: You were harassed by a guy at work, and your boyfriend of three months got into a screaming fight with you and made an ultimatum. Your general problem: You have abandonment issues.

The first two seem, at best, tangentially connected to the third one, except that your abandonment issues might be influencing the way you think about your specific problems.

Here are my suggestions:

1. If you feel that your boyfriend's behavior and ultimatum was beyond-the-pale unacceptable, break up with him.

2. Speak to management or HR about the sexual harassment. Let them know that you are not looking to get the guy fired, but you feel this is an issue that must be addressed. And, honestly, if he kept pursuing a physical relationship after you had said no, it actually must be addressed. You may feel badly about this, and you may feel guilty, especially if they decide his employment must be terminated. Here's one of the unpleasant and messy facts of life: Doing the right thing very rarely feels good. It's almost never fun. But it is one of the crossroads you come to as an adult, and you either do the right buy hard thing, and grow and mature as a result, or you take the path of least resistance, and problems fester, and you don't grow. This has been my experience every time.

As to your larger issues, well, therapy and a support group. It might not be a bad idea not to be in any relationships for a while. It doesn't hurt to know that you can make it alone, and to have a sense of yourself as a complete and worthwhile person even outside of a romantic relationship. I've always been of the opinion that if we can't be happy with ourselves when we are alone, there is no way we can be happy within a relationship.

I'll leave it up to you whether you think drinking is an issue or not. Can you drink without getting drunk? Does drinking compound problems? Or is the alcohol incidental to the problems you describe. I think people are quick to treat alcohol as though it were necessarily a poison, but if its presence in your life is merely social and not actively destructive, demanding that you quit it is just putting an additional issue -- and a very large one -- on a plate that is already full.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Keep going to therapy while standing up for yourself and breaking up with Mr. Ultimatum and reporting Mr. Sexually Aggressive. Not to be all self-helpy, but you can begin the life you want for yourself at any time.
posted by rhizome at 4:50 PM on January 1, 2008

What strikes me about your long post is all the self referencing psycho babble. Regardless of your past, once you are an adult, you are as fucked up as you want to be. I am sorry if that sounds harsh, but really, you can decide who you want to be, how you want to react, what you will and will not accept in your life, and you can do all of that without relying on whatever label you have attached to your childhood or "issues".

Also-- your boyfriend is an ass, dump him and you decide what to do about the coworker. My bet is he doesn't remember half of it and you were both wearing beer goggles so perhaps you could have a conversation with your coworker before you go off reporting him. I am not minimizing what happened, but your filter of the event is also soaked in booze, so if you want to minimize drama try talking to the guy first.
posted by 45moore45 at 4:52 PM on January 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

It sounds like you are in the midst of making some big changes in your life. Part of changing means taking a good, honest look in the mirror and facing, as you've noted, some baggage from your past that you've successfully suppressed for years. In that sense, feeling out of control, vulnerable, and a little "crazy" right now are all totally normal human emotions for a person in your situation. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Try to be conscious of how you label yourself - a "textbook co-dependent" is not who you are. Co-dependency is something your battling, something that you can grow beyond and leave behind you as you learn and practice how to have healthier relationships. This probably seems obvious, but think of the implications of these two ways of thinking about yourself. You are not a problem, you are a person who is battling problems and growing healthier by doing so.

2. You seem scared of losing your "sense of self." I'm not entirely sure how you mean this, but your sense of self is going to change as you go through these changes on the way to becoming a healthier and happier person - not necessarily a bad thing. Try not to think about "losing your sense of self" but instead think about the new, stronger sense of self that will emerge as you grow through this rough patch in your life.

3. Try journaling - just let it flow out onto the page. Like taking the cork off of a bottle, it might help you release some of the psychic pain and anxiety that's builds up as you go through this time in your life. It doesn't have to be good writing, it's about the cathartic process of putting your feelings into words.

4. "Fake it till you make it." When you're feeling crazy and out of control, pretend that you're not. I've used this approach, and I think it just helps to reinforce the fact that you are not your problems, but a person capable of feeling strong, happy, balanced, etc. It won't fix the problems, but it might help you take a break from dwelling on them and give you a way to feel strong, temporarily, when you need to.

Hope these little thoughts help a bit. Change can be painful, but it also comes with incredible potential for being happier and feeling more in control of your life. Good luck.
posted by man on the run at 4:56 PM on January 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

Maybe you just need a little vacation from yourself. Give yourself a month to get yourself together. Take some time away from your rescuer boyfriend. Don't drink. Eat healthy. Go to some yoga classes. Cook delicious dinners. Make lunch dates with your good friends and bring new topics to talk about. Take stock of your work life and make sure you're doing the best job you could be doing. Picture yourself as a very successful person who has their life together and act like it. Just for a month. Report your co-worker and/or have a talk with him and/or move on from that. If you won't report it then you need to let it go and have an action plan. In the future, don't let this type of situation get out of hand. If ever makes overtures like that again, you need to point out plainly and clearly that he is over the line and you were nice not to report him the last time but three strikes and he's out.

So, maybe just try and get in the frame of mind that for one month you are on vacation from your drama queen self. That you are the kind of person you want to be. At the end of that month, you can decide where you were successful, what kind of changes you want to keep and where you want to go from here. These are all just ruts and patterns that you're in -- you can change them.
posted by amanda at 4:57 PM on January 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Mention drinking in an anonymous post and it is suddenly as if Carrie Nation herself has appeared here. It is understandable, as the two incidents highlighted involve drinking. The question is, does drama seem to follow the drinking or not? In my experience drama is borne out of discontent with one's current situation that is manifesting itself as drama. It is also self-perpetuating and very, very easy to kill. Admit it, a drama filled life is sort of fun, right? Instead of filling your life with interpersonal drama, focus on becoming an empowered yuppie. Write a report on the guy who can't take "no," and then ignore it. Keep to your story and don't let others try to sway you. Then start focusing on other things: becoming a better cook, redesign your house/apartment, find ways to improve your wardrobe. If you get into any one of these, they can be time consuming in themselves. Splurge and get a few intellectual magazines, so you always have periodicals in your downtime.

You must realize that people fill their time with a whole lot of things: video games, music, relationship drama, etc. Pick short term things, say going out to eat once a month at highly-regarded restaurants you've never been to. Go to art galleries. It is awkward at first, but soon you will find yourself looking back and realizing that all the time and energy you spent on the drama was sort of childish. I find that always having a well-defined project going helps keep me from vegetating on such things. Admit it, you're nerding out on drama. You're spending all your time on it, just as someone would spend all their time on World of Warcraft or the variety of things people nerd out on. The key is balance.
posted by geoff. at 5:11 PM on January 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

1. "I like you a lot, but when I really needed support, I feel as though you turned on me and helped make me feel like shit, rather than being there for me. Seriously, we got into a drunken shouting match over a situation where I was harassed and scared and you're supposed to be on my side, but you weren't and I can't take that or risk it happening again. Goodbye."

2. I really, really do not want to get my coworker fired. However, I am so stressed out about returning to work and having to deal with him.

Pick one. Either you can work with him or you can't. But at the moment you're talking about two different things, so choose. People work with all sorts of people they've had bad experiences with, so suck it up and do it. Talk to him, lay out some boundaries and go to work.

3. I have always been the rock for my friends and family Even rocks break. EVERYTHING breaks. Stop worrying about being embarrassed, everybody does shit they're embarrassed about. Come down from the mountain and mingle with us regular folks and be embarrassed so you get over it and look back and laugh. It only has power over you if you're scared of it.

I say be dramatic and crazy. Let it all out. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can get tired of it and move past it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:19 PM on January 1, 2008 [3 favorites]

Since you say that drinking is part of the problem, and you also say that you lack a support network, you should consider killing two birds with one stone and attending AA meetings - even if you don't consider yourself addicted to alcohol, it's a contributing factor in a lot of the bad shit going down in your life and it never hurts to have some extra support in dealing with that kind of thing.

My stepfather went to AA for a few months during a particularly rough time, and even though he didn't quit drinking entirely, having that totally sober period helped him become much more stable and balanced from that point on.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:59 PM on January 1, 2008

Break up with three month guy by telling him the truth - that you can't be in a relationship with someone that's making an ultimatum like that. Confront your co-worker - tell him how uncomfortable and scared his behaviour made you feel. If he's at all human he'll be incredibly embarassed and apologetic. I disagree that you need to go to HR at this point.
posted by xammerboy at 6:14 PM on January 1, 2008

has anyone mentioned drinking? and stay the hell away from HR. that will only lead to more drama.
posted by brandz at 7:57 PM on January 1, 2008

I have always been the rock for my friends and family

If they can't be the rock for you in return, then they're not your friends and family. (assuming no specific crises in their lives right this second). Use 'em; you've been there for them and they're likely happy to return the favor.
posted by stevis23 at 8:10 PM on January 1, 2008

You really need to report your co-worker. Drunk or not, you didn't deserve to be harrassed. You might be saving someone else from suffering like you have.

I think people here are coming down pretty hard on your 3 month boyfriend for issuing the ultimatum. I know he certainly sounds like an intolerant hardass, but he's obviously known you for at least three months (more than the people offering you advice here), and maybe it's his "tough love" way of goading you into action after listening to frustrating psychobabble ("I'm in psychic pain because of _"), blame shifting ("I was drunk so maybe it was my fault") and dramatic over-analysis. Your post just comes off like you are setting yourself up for perpetual victimhood.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:34 PM on January 1, 2008

You did an incredibly good job of describing your situation, and let me begin by suggesting that, if you are responsive to outside counsel and are willing to share openly as you did here, but in a group setting, try finding an AA women's stag meeting in your area. Or a CoDA meeting. You might find the opportunity to bounce your ideas off a few strangers to be incredibly settling, and empowering. The important thing is to seek help immediately from people in a similar situation who can empathize with you and who are impartial - and therefore capable of having your best interest in mind.

Let me just lay out the simple fact that the symptoms of co-dependency, much like alcoholism, tends to get worse if unattended to, not better. As you already know, it's just a matter of time before you lose the boyfriend, possibly get into a worse fight with him, and soon things at work will become impossible to deal with, because you refused to come to terms with the reality of your situation. Something is telling you there's got to be another way. A change in your perspective perhaps. You intrinsically have the upper hand. And yet you just don't know how to play it. Please do not shy away from this realization. Go to a meeting.

Your subordinate has to be dealt with because his behavior with you will get worse, because by taking no action you are making the action he took against you permissible. And that shit is not good for him, it's not good for you, or the people you work with. Please don't jump ahead to conclusions as to what your actions will mean for this guy. You don't know. He might end up thanking you. Stop wrapping yourself up in guilt. It's all in your head.

Forget about your boyfriend. Big arguments, little arguments, how long do I know him, what's going to happen with us down the road, do I really love him or is this temporary... you don't have any control over that shit. And he doesn't really have control over you either. Ideally, you should have somebody in your life who can help you make mature decisions. But at the end of the day, if you're just going to sit there and do nothing, it's your life, not his. Who fucking cares about you more - him or you?

This isn't about "if I don't report him, my boyfriend will break up with me" or "If I report him, my subordinate will never speak to me again." You need to join the human race and accept that your past abuse makes you a bad decision-maker and you need help. You have a right to survive this situation without loss, goddamnit. You have the right to help. You need to go out there and tell people what happened to you. The first step to finding the courage at the workplace is by talking to other people at a meeting, and letting them share their experiences with you.
posted by phaedon at 9:31 PM on January 1, 2008

Avoid drinking. Avoid drunks. Its not hard to do and excuses like "oh its xmas, oh its new years" are excuses of the weak and undisciplined.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:08 AM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sounds like everyone's got it. I would also recommend that you treat any relationship right now as "practice getting less codependent". Until you begin to address the underlying issues with your therapist and in life, no relationship is going to work out, as you're still in your 'old' frame of mind.

I want to also repeat Man on the Run's excellent advice. Journaling will help, and everyone in history who's been depressed/codependent/a-little-off-kilter has worried that if they sort themselves out, somehow they wont be them anymore. Usually this is your brain working against changing. Sometimes you even come up with the excuse 'well, people expect me to be crazy!'... this is so far beside the point it doesn't even bear paying any attention to.

A book that helped me get my mind around abandonment issues is The Journey From Abandonment To Recovery.

Good luck and good on you for recognizing when you're being dramatic and when your issues come into play.
posted by softlord at 5:10 AM on January 2, 2008

My bet is he doesn't remember half of it and you were both wearing beer goggles so perhaps you could have a conversation with your coworker before you go off reporting him. I am not minimizing what happened, but your filter of the event is also soaked in booze, so if you want to minimize drama try talking to the guy first.

Fuck. That.

He doesn't deserve the courtsey of a heads-up. She said no. End of story. Report his ass.
posted by agregoli at 7:33 AM on January 2, 2008

You’re not a drama queen. You got harassed, to the point where you had to lock yourself in a bathroom, and had to call someone else to “rescue” you because you didn’t feel safe. The only one who has to be embarrassed here is the guy who was trying to take advantage of you. I’m not sure what the consequences of your having a little too much to drink will be where you work (if any), but the sexual harassment thing is way more serious, and if the guy gets fired—it’s not your fault. Has he apologized for what he’s done—was it a serious lapse in judgement brought on due to heavy intoxication for which he is truly sorry and repentant about? I don’t know if that would be enough for you to forgive him, but just dismissing this out of hand (like your boyfriend says: the 3 month old dude), is not something that you should do, imo.
posted by hadjiboy at 7:34 AM on January 2, 2008

Also, yeah--take it easy on the booze.
posted by hadjiboy at 7:35 AM on January 2, 2008

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet (except MegoSteve, in an oblique way), but by not reporting the sexual harrassment, you are helping to keep your workplace (and perhaps your career field) male-dominated. Report your subordinate for the next woman who wants to enter your career field.
posted by desjardins at 7:44 AM on January 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

In every hard situation I've gone through, there's come a point when things got so bad that I realized I was in a really bad spot, stopped pushing myself to do better and being mad I wasn't able to, and started taking care of myself like I would anyone else who was barely holding things together.

What struck me about your post was how you sounded convinced that most of your reactions were probably wrong. All this sounds like a (legitimately) set of upsetting events!
Rather than expect your emotional self not to feel upset (it does sound legitimately upsetting!), expect your behavior-deciding self to take actions that protect you from similar problems in the future and carry you to a better life. Get the controlling bf out of your life, report that coworker and/or avoid him completely, find some female friends...

"Stop being a drama queen you lunatic" "Wow, hon, you sound really upset about this. C'mon, let's go to your office, you don't even have to look at him [or "Let's get you home and make you a nice cup of tea" or whatever]."

The more crazy I temporarily feel, the more the internal mother in me takes over, gets me away from upsetting stuff I don't need to deal with; gets me home; asks "what is the minimum that really needs to happen here?" with work and makes sure it gets done; puts me on a nice daily schedule of sleep, nutritious food, and exercise; and generally tries to help me hold my act together until doing the bare minimum comes easily.
posted by salvia at 8:17 PM on January 6, 2008

Oh, two book recs. You might like the book Dance of Intimacy. She talks about the change when someone who is normally a rock for others starts asking for help (and how good it is for the whole relationship!).

And since you mentioned textbook co-dependence, you might like reading this, by the guy who probably wrote that textbook (he wrote the DSM criteria).

I just reread my notes from it. What's interesting is that while you're concerned about being a "drama queen," he specifically talks about how part of co-dependence is the desire to control one's emotions and the belief that it's immature to have feelings like anger, fear, sadness... So maybe, feeling some strong new emotions, and maybe feeling a bit "out of control" because of it, is an integral part of the whole process. Maybe you could surround yourself with people who can listen to your strongest emotions without flinching (a therapist?) and then help you think through what you want to do about them.

More from my notes: He advises people address their relationship to willpower and see where it's helpful realistically. Willpower is good only for controlling one's own behavior. Most elements of relationships, you cannot control - each partner must be independent and autonomous. Most human emotions are outside your control. "The most you can do is to respond honestly to your feelings from one moment to the next, and to choose to respond with healthy and appropriate behaviors" (p. 75).
posted by salvia at 10:10 PM on January 6, 2008

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