I saw my therapist the other night. She helped a lot with my rolling around at the bottom of the pit (as did David’s and Kate’s comments on my last post – thank you!) It’s so nice when your therapist does precisely what you need her to do precisely when you need her to do it.

But, of course, she also got me thinking… she wouldn’t be doing her job if she didn’t, would she? 😉

We talked quite a lot about work and my tumultuous ride on the roller coaster this week. She said a couple of things that surprised me, but stuck with me. She said,

“You know: whenever you are upset about work, I know that the next sentence is going to start with X [my boss’ name].”

She’s right. It does. She also said,

“I wonder if he’s got a crush on you. Or you have a crush on each other. Your relationship with him is like an abusive relationship – ‘He loves me. He loves me not.’ – You get so many mixed messages from him.”

She’s also right there, about the mixed messages and the confusion of the ‘loves me-hates me’ thing. And then she said (and this made me laugh),

“Get him in here. I’ll sort him out.”


Anyway, I could bore you with the ins and outs of our conversation, or I could just get to the point. In the world’s biggest confession (ok, not really, but it feels like it to me) …

Yes, I have also wondered if he has a crush on me. I know I used to have one on him. (Ugh, that’s so squirmy to admit!) I’ve known him for five or six years, though he wasn’t my boss until last year. When I first met him he was friendly, and pretty much the first man I’ve ever met who was a sensitive soul. And funny, very very funny. At that time he was also kind (though he’s since shown himself to be a boorish a$$ sometimes). In truth, for a few years there was a lot of UST between us. It was awkward and weird, but fun at the same time.

My crush on him, and my engagement in the flirtatiousness of our relationship, ended a few years ago when he said something incredibly insensitive about some work I’d done. Incredibly insensitive. I was completely and utterly shattered. It took a long time for me to get over that and, in truth, I’m not sure I ever did.

But perhaps it’s not over? I mean, he still rings me on weekends for a chat. He always – ALWAYS – rings me late at night when his wife’s away. He’s rung me a few times when he’s been driving up country so I could “keep him company” (on a three hour road trip, via phone). He rings me from the fish and chip shop to “keep him company”. He texts me often – or used to – that’s lessened since my life started falling apart.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m certainly squirmy about admitting it. As for the content, well… I always knew there was never anything in it (he’s married), but I thought it was fun. I also thought it was harmless, but perhaps not?

I unfortunately spent more time with X tonight at a colleague’s birthday party (that in itself is another story, but one I’ll save for later). He was pretty rude to me early on, and even looked at me with such disdain – at least until he had a few hundred beers under his belt, then he was super friendly again. Viewed through my therapist’s comments, and my confession here, tonight’s the first time I could see how my relationship with him is triggering, and is like an abusive relationship (even if that’s not his intention, which I’m sure it’s not). He gives me mixed messages all the time. He’s rude to me in many of the same ways that abusers have been rude to me in the past. He can be very nice, but he can also be a pig.

My therapist said I need to be in a supportive work environment, to have a manager who will be a rock for me, and regenerate some of my lost confidence. That certainly isn’t X. I see that now.

I haven’t been game to tell my therapist my confession. For one thing, it didn’t seem relevant. I’m also embarrassed because we’ve talked about him for so long that it seems odd to bring it up now. It’s cringe worthy. It’s squirmy and icky and yucky and, well, oogy. I’m not sure whether I should keep silent, or let her in on the secret (but suspect the answer is the latter).


10 thoughts on “Confession

  1. Let her in on the secret! The more she knows and understands the more she can help you know and discover yourself — and then make choices and decisions that are really good for you.

    It’s such a crazy mess sorting things through, isn’t? And then there’s the day when we realize, “Ahhhh, well, THAT’S done!”

    Carry on. 🙂

  2. Thanks for writing this- even though it was difficult. I think this is a painful issue for a lot of abuse survivors: recognizing the pattern of abusive relationships in the relationships of the present. Difficult to see sometimes and difficult to admit to often because of what it is really about (past abuse).
    And I always find that when I have something I really do not want to talk to my therapist about… that usually means I really need to talk to him about it. And it almost always helps when I do. 🙂 My best to you. Jenny

  3. You say that your feelings about it all make you feel sort of yucky, I imagine he feels something similar. There’s a huge blurring of the boundaries between you, so although it will be really difficult, it sound like it would be good to talk to your therapist about the relationship – they already gave you the opening 🙂 Hopefully they might be able to help you build up some coping strategies where X is concerned, so even if his reactions don’t change, your reactions to him will.

    Take care

  4. Hey Kerro – well done on making the “confession” which was probably a really important step. I think you should tell your T – perhaps she already suspects by her comments thus far????

    As I read your post I was thinking how often I’ve been “attracted” to guys who weren’t available. Thre’s something “safe” about it but also inherently dangerous as you know deep down inside the risk of getting hurt is huge.

    From an outsiders point of view I don’t like the fact that he thinks you’re available whenever HE wants to talk but can drop you at a moment’s notice or be rude if that suits him. You deserve far far better than that and would talking to your T about it perhaps help you to design some coping strategies? It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say “don’t take his calls”….”don’t be so available” but I suspect that you’re getting something from the exchange yourself otherwise you’d have stopped being so available.

    I’d say talk to her about it further. It seems like a really important issue and one that is affecting you and your progress so therefore is important to get out in the open.

    I don’t think ANYTHING you said was squirmy, yukky or any such thing. We all need to feel we’re important to someone – as a single woman I totally get that. I hate to admit it but sometimes the reason I like going to T is that it gives me a chance to be important to a guy for 60 minutes – I try to forget I’m paying him for his time!

    Now THAT’s squirmy lol… 😉

  5. The squirmy stuff is hard. Props to you Kerro, for realizing it and admitting it is a stumbling block for you. Thanks for being so open with your therapy experience – you make it a lot less lonely.

    Do you think you’ll bring it up with your therapist next session?

  6. Wow, Kerro, this is a huge breakthrough! I agree that you should talk with your T about this. If it’s too difficult to say verbally, maybe you could copy and paste this entry into an email or into a document that you could print and take to T. As you and others have said, your T already senses the feelings that are going on under the surface, so this is a perfect time to talk about it with her.

    Huge kudos to you, K!! 🙂 And I’m so glad for you that you are able to see the patterns of behavior and to recognize the differences in his behavior.

  7. Hey Kerro, sounds like some important realizations.

    Sounds also like your boss has inappropriate sexual boundaries with you. Men should not be ‘cheating’ on their wife by calling a female coworker at night for long non-work related chats. The fact that he does it when his wife is away means he knows it’s a betrayal of her.

    One of the things we’re saddled with as survivors is having trouble figuring out where good boundaries are around sexual stuff. Of course you know best what the situation is and what you need to do, but here’s my unsolicited opinion for what it’s worth. Your mileage, will of course, vary. My opinion is that having squeaky-clean crisp boundaries with your married male boss is the best policy. Not answering his calls outside office hours might be a good place to start if he shows up on your call display, and then brushing it off or avoiding if he tries to initiate non-work contact would be where I’d start. You don’t have to explain, just be less available and he’ll probably drift off. This kind of boundary violation would be a bit triggering for me and I think for many survivors, so you might find you think clearer when it’s cleaned up. You don’t have to cooperate with creepy behaviour any more.

  8. Hi Kerro,

    I don’t think it is incongruent that you didn’t share this stuff with your therapist yet. She has deduced a lot from his behavior and the tone of the relationship, abusive, and she is right.

    I suppose you haven’t seen the new version of King Kong. In it the guy tells the ingenue actress, who he treats like crap, that men do that to women they have feelings and attraction to. It also shows how emotionally stunted they are.

    It is so not your job in life or in work to entertain your boss. He obviously has a “thing” for you. I’m not surprised. You are a wonderful and incredible person. He might not be intending anything further than what he has done but that still has been a huge bunch of boundary violations, for a boss, or for anyone. I agree with SDW. It is okay to be not available and if he asks it is okay to let him know you were busy.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  9. Your boss sounds so completely emotionally manipulative and inappropriate. You deserve to not be in an abusive relationship. I’m glad you have shared with your therapist.


  10. Pingback: My fault? « Kerro’s Korner

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