She’s not my mother

I’ve been struggling at work. And not with the physical aspects — though I do get overwhelmed at times with the amount of stuff I have to get done in a short amount of time. I’m used to all of that, though. I’m used to working while I’m sick. What I’m not used to, however, is working with someone who is just like my mother.

She’s not like my mother in every way, of course. I’m not sure anyone can get to that level. But her personality traits, definitely narcissistic, surely sociopathic, are so similar to my mother’s that I feel like they are one in the same.

It’s only been nine months that she’s been here, but it’s been nine months of hell. Employees have left because of her. Morale is at the lowest I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been at the lowest I’ve been since I ran away.

She ruined my birthday, bashing me for being “out of dress code” because I was wearing Crocs, which I had been wearing the whole time I was working. I wear a size 13 and have a growth on the top and side of my foot that makes wearing shoes painfully impossible. Everyone understood that. But she wouldn’t have it. She, the person who wears dirty, worn-out, used-to-be-white sneakers to work every day, which isn’t part of dress code. It was my first, but not only, experience of her hypocrisy.

I could never talk about myself. She always found a way to turn it into something about her. It didn’t matter the subject; she’d find a way to switch it around. Just like my mother, it’s always about her. One time I mentioned how I bought something to donate to the homeless shelter I used to stay at, and she went on about how she bought hundreds of items to donate to different shelters. Upstaging me on an act of kindness. Acts of kindness don’t matter if you continue to be a shitty person.

She makes jokes about me that are really just bullying in disguise. The ones that hurt the most are about my body. She’s mentioned several times that I’m flat-chested, have “nothing up there”, and made jokes about it. I went to try on my new uniform shirt one day and she just on about how flat I looked. I was mortified, especially because she did it in front of other people.

My mother used to do the same thing, and followed it with “that’s why no one will ever love you.” It just brings everything right back. Am I ugly? Does everyone see me like this? What’s wrong with me? It doesn’t even matter that people close to me are telling me that it’s not true. It’s what I’ve been brought up to believe, and she’s bribing it right back up to the surface.

She lies. All of the time. About little things. Big things. Everything. I’ve caught her so many times. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t trust her with anything. But the problem is that other people aren’t able to see through her consistent lying. They fall for it, each and every time.

I got a mediocre annual review because she felt the need to get involved in it, even though she isn’t my manager and wasn’t even at our location for the majority of the time the review covered. I could’ve gotten a raise. I could’ve gotten praise. Instead I got negative feedback, in the exact phrases I’ve heard her speak. I worked my ass off, working 60+ hour weeks while we had no staff, working every holiday, getting everyone through a tough transition by studying and learning everything that I could on my own time, only to be put down by someone who didn’t even work with me long enough to judge me. She’s been with the company 30 years. I’ve been there not even two years and know more than her. She knows that. She doesn’t want anyone to be better than her, because that takes the spotlight off of her. Because everything is always about her.

She tried to have me fired. Not for anything legitimate, of course. Because I hurt her feelings. She decided to take me to the back one day and unleash a load of negative criticism on me. I mean a LOAD. Bringing up stuff from months prior, lying about what other people said about me, saying things I didn’t actually do. I worked nearly a week straight because my coworker was in the hospital, and still knocked out both of our workloads. She went off because she found dust on a shelf that I had already cleaned, and she watched me clean. She told me I didn’t do it. I fought back that I did. She said you need to knock yourself down a few pegs. You think you’re perfect and you’re not.

Trust me, I never think I’m perfect. I have the self-esteem of a potato. Years of trauma will do that to you. It’s the exact opposite. She is the ones that thinks she is perfect, and anyone who goes against her will feel her wrath. And that’s exactly what happened to me. Because right after that “meeting”, I went on my Facebook and said what had happened, and someone called her out on it. Her response was not to admit that she was wrong, but to have me fired for speaking poorly of her. Her plan didn’t work, but she sure as hell tried.

After the incident I spoke about in my last post, I voiced that I was uncomfortable working nights, especially because I walk to and from work and don’t feel safe being at the store with only one employee. The response was to schedule me even more nights. When I approached her about it, she told me that wasn’t true, that I was reading the schedule wrong, that I was just confused. I had three other people check the schedule and confirm what I said. I approached her again, same response. The essential it’s not me, it’s you response. I gave up. And I continued to work every night, running to the bathroom every hour to throw up from anxiety.

I asked her countless times to make a copy of the security footage of my incident for the police. My coworker asked as well. We even went so far as to write down the exact date and time, the case number for the police, everything. When I came back to work two days later, the paper with all of the information was gone. She was making a copy of footage for a car accident, so I asked her what was going on with my incident. Oh, he told me it wasn’t important and there was nothing to be done. She threw away the paper with all of the information on it. Like it was trash.

My boss never told her it wasn’t important. Those statements were never made. She lied, once again. We wrote the information down once again, and left a blank USB drive. It’s gone again. The copy has yet to be made. It’s now been 30+ days since the incident happened, and the security footage won’t be available much longer. I don’t have a case without it. And she treats it like it’s a joke. She calls the man who assaulted me my friend.

We had a potluck at work. Everyone knows I’m allergic to cinnamon. She made meatballs with cinnamon. And the kicker — she left a note on it that it wasn’t for me. I believe in my heart it was a purposeful exclusion. On its own, maybe not. But everything she does is against me. And it brought me right back to when my mother did the same thing. She’d leave notes on food, saying things weren’t for me. They both take plays from the same book.

It’s a constant struggle for me. I want to work, but work has become a constant trigger of things my mother did to me — the psychological warfare I fought so hard to run away from. I’m right back in it again. And it’s making me miserable. I cry every day.

I know she’s not my mother, but my mind keeps thinking that she is.


It’s weird how one small incident can turn things upside down.

My life hasn’t been perfect by any means. I still struggle — physically, financially, and emotionally. But I’ve been handling it reasonably well.

I haven’t been to therapy since I moved out west more than two years ago. I could have started back up when I came back, but I wanted to try living my life without constantly diving back into my past. In many ways, I think therapy was keeping me stuck. I came to the realization that, no matter how much I talk about or try to process it, the trauma I endured from my mother just won’t be resolved in this lifetime. And that’s okay.

For the most part, my day-to-day life has been considerably uneventful. My work became my central focus. It was (and still is) something that I’m good at. It keeps me busy. It lets me focus on things that aren’t at all related to my trauma. And even amidst the coronavirus pandemic, work has continued to be my escape at a time when I otherwise would have been feeling very trapped. It was my safe haven.

Then something happened. Something that people wouldn’t think was a big deal. But it was a big deal to me.

I needed a break. I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. It was the same spot I’ve been smoking in for the last two years. My little spot away from people so I could get a few minutes of peace.

A guy walks over to me. I know him — he comes in to buy things sometimes. I’d see him around the neighborhood where I used to live. But I never knew his name. I never cared enough to even learn it, because it was never anything more than a courteous wave hello relationship. But for some reason, I always got an uncomfortable vibe when he was around.

It was dark. I didn’t even see or hear him approaching until he was already at my side. He tried to put his arm around me. I cringed and turned away. I just tried to keep smoking my cigarette hoping he would get the clue to go away.

But he didn’t go away. As I lowered my hand down to flick the ash off from my cigarette, he leaned in and kissed me. I immediately pulled back, turned my face away, and told him not to do that.

He didn’t react. It’s like my rejection didn’t even phase him. He leaned in and kissed me again. I pulled back, turned my face away and stayed looking at the ground. I told him I had to go back in. But I was cornered. Bushes on my left, the wall at my back, and him hovering over me on my right. I couldn’t get away.

He kept talking. I kept saying I had to go, but I couldn’t move. He said it was his birthday the next day and that I owed him a gift. I knew what he meant by the look on his face. He kissed me a third time and I completely froze.

I froze.

At one point, he moved away enough that I had an escape route. I managed to muster up enough strength to get away. I ran to the bathroom and washed my face with soap and water. I even rinsed my mouth out with soap and water. But I still felt disgusting. I still felt unclean. And I spent the rest of the night alternating between crying uncontrollably and disconnecting from myself to the point of being totally numb.

Then everything started flooding back. Emotions. Memories. Flashbacks. All I could do was ask myself what I did wrong. I would understand if this was the first time this has happened to me. But this isn’t the first time. So it must be because of something I’m doing wrong. Why didn’t I run? Why didn’t I yell? Why didn’t I punch him?

I watch the security footage. I try to find out where I went wrong. They tell me it’s not my fault, but I find it hard to believe them. This isn’t the first time. And it’s been a harsh reminder of what happened to me a couple of years before.

I still have the recording saved on my phone, when a social worker sexually assaulted me. I started listening to it over and over again, trying to figure out what I did wrong. What did I say, what did I do to make him think it was okay? Did I do it again? Why does this keep happening? What’s the connection?

I can’t find any answers. That makes it even harder to deal with. I am left feeling things I can’t even explain. I’m not okay. I’m riddled with anxiety. I can’t even go to work without worrying if he’s going to show up again. Work was my escape. It was my safe place. And now that’s been taken away from me.

I cry. A lot. I get so upset that I throw up. I shouldn’t be taking it this hard. It’s not that serious. It could have been worse. It has been worse.

I just can’t stop thinking that maybe it’s my fault. Maybe it’s me.


I have created a separate blog for PAFPAC:

From now on, any PAFPAC-related posts will be on that blog, in order to separate my professional identity from my personal story.

I will also be focusing more on posting about female-perpetrated abuse there: facts and figures, research, education, etc.

I would also consider sharing blogs and posts from survivors who would like to be featured on PAFPAC’s blog.

(I will be deleting this post in a few days).