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Abuse on the Job, Part One

I share this humiliating story to make two points:

1) Any family member of someone who has substance use disorder is dealing with so much that you can't see. Underlying everything they think, do, say or feel is fear, anger, frustration, worry and heartbreak. Most likely you won't know who they are so treat everyone with kindness, you never know what someone has going on in their life. (the same goes for anyone grieving a loss).

2) Don't do what I did. Don't allow yourself to be treated this way no matter how much money you're making its not worth your self-respect and peace of mind.

I came across the following document when going through my online files. WOW, did this bring back memories, terrible ones. As I read it my main thought was "why did you stay as long as you did?" If this were to happen to me today, I would not have put up with it at all.

At the time (2011?) I was a mother who lived in constant fear of losing her son. I wasn't sleeping well, I was a wreck. I was too weak to stand up for myself so when I couldn't take this job anymore, I just got up from my desk and left.

Normally if you quit your job you are not eligible for unemployment, but there's an exception if you're being mistreated on the job. So I filed for unemployment.

To determine if I was telling the truth I had to sit in a room with a judge and 6 of my former co-workers who all lied (my supervisor, XXX, didn't show up). They said horrible things about me and humiliated me in front of the judge. I sat there knowing they were lying, helpless to change the judge's mind. Of course he's going to listen to the six, not the one. My character was trashed. I felt so defeated and angry.

I know my boss paid them to do this because that's how he conducted business: pay people enough and they will do anything for you.

The judge ruled against me and the others gave me threatening looks. When it was time for me to leave I looked out the second floor window and saw them all hanging out in the parking lot near my car! I was scared to go out there. The Bailiff of the court saw it too and told me if they weren't gone in ten minutes he would walk me to my car, which is what happened. I remember driving away in fear of them chasing me down but I got home safely and never saw any of them again.

My boss and his two children who worked for him were bullies and my boss was a Class A Narcissist. This is what I turned in to plea my case, all 100% true (I highlighted the worst stuff)

Why I left without giving notice

The persistent abuse I experienced at work created an unsafe environment that hindered my ability to approach my manager, XXX, about resigning from my position. This toxic atmosphere severely compromised my health and well-being, causing me to dread each workday. I would arrive in the morning with a heavy feeling of anxiety, anticipating the potential challenges and criticisms I might encounter. My days were filled with the constant fear of being verbally reprimanded and criticized, which significantly impacted my overall well-being.

Examples of abuse

·    Belittling (calling me stupid, treating me as if I was incapable of doing the most simple task)

·    Yelling (telling me to shut up, telling me to hang up the phone on people, saying shut up and listen)

·    Intimidating (threatening to fire me if I did not get a flu shot)

·    Shaming and humiliating (yelling at me angrily in front of others, making me do something embarrassing in front of others - birthday cake, new hire, my word pronunciation, etc.)

·    Condescending  (saying his way was the only way to do things and if it was not done his way it was not done correctly)

·    Judging (asking me to change my personality because I did not fit in, I needed to be more playful and less moody, less nice)

·    Controlling and inappropriate environment (food games, table at lunch, no questions asked)

Detailed examples 

1.  Asked me to hang up in the middle of business phone calls on several occasions and if I did not immediately hang up on the person without even saying “excuse me I need to go…” he would yell at me in front of whoever was there about how I needed to do what he said when he said it. 

2.  He asked me to show him a list I was creating for my own use to gather information; he didn’t like it and said “What are you, stupid?  This is not brain surgery, this list makes no sense to me, do it this way.” 

3.  Several hundred dollars were offered to us to eat weird concoctions of food he mixed together with our leftovers from lunch (we had to eat together every day in our assigned seats) or to let him snap us with rubber bands. I felt very uncomfortable, but I knew that if I didn't participate or at least act like it was “normal” I would be shunned or fired, as another employee who didn't "fit in" did. He once gave a co-worker $1,000 cash if she would eat a food that she hated while the rest of the office sat around laughing at her I didn't laugh, I was in shock at what was happening.

4.  When I was being trained on how to give a new hire orientation he sat and watched and mimicked the person training me and kept telling me to “pay attention!”.  Then he watched me give the orientation and interrupted me constantly pointing out things I was not telling the new employee even though I had not got to that item yet.  The new employee was almost in tears by the time we were done.

Why I did not go to XXX directly

I believed there would be nothing positive to be gained if I went to XXX to express how his behavior made me feel.  Based on conversations I had with co-workers and my direct supervisor I feared that approaching him would make things even worse for me or that I would lose my job.  I liked my job, I needed my job, I preferred to keep my job.

“Ann”/”Sue” my supervisors (one was not enough?)

I tried on several occasions to discuss with Ann how I was feeling about XXX’s treatment and her answer was always the same, “we do things XXX’s way”.  If I tried to get her to elaborate on that answer she would say something like “its better just to do things his way, this is his company”.  Sue is XXX’s daughter so I never voiced my concerns to her.


Several of my co-workers felt abused as well but to them the perks outweighed the negative treatment. He used money and expensive gifts to control them.

Some of the perks included

-          Having lunch bought for us almost daily (I was the one who took the orders and drove somewhere to pick it up each day and sometimes he would ask me to take “The Retard” along (a guy with Down’s Syndrome who hung out at the office and did small jobs).

-          He paid for things like weddings, wedding receptions and down payments on a new house, etc. for his favorite employees.

-          He had a weight loss contest and gave everyone who lost 30 lbs. $10,000 (we all met the goal)


I left without warning because XXX made it impossible to come to him with my concerns and approaching my direct supervisor had proven to be ineffective as well.

3 commentaires

This is terrible. I am so sorry.


What a horrible boss and co-workers!


Holy crap this is awful. Blows my mind that this type of thing happens, but I believe you and I know it does! Glad you are outa there!

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