Bullies and Bastards: How to Get Fired and End Up Alone

I was up at 3AM last night after tossing and turning for nearly an hour. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I sleep? What is it that has my stomach wrenching and my heart hammering?”

I read once that if you put off thinking about something that bothered you during the day, you’d be up thinking about it in the middle of the night.

I started to go over the events of the day. It was Sunday and like most of my days, it was quiet. The government won’t allow me to visit with friends at a restaurant and I have been fired for not being coerced into taking a vaccine so didn’t have to get ready for the coming workweek. (You can read about my feelings on being fired, here: Vaccination: the 24/7 Helmet You Can Never Remove.)

I did go for a walk with my son and his dog through the fields near his home. I thought about our conversation.

My Son and I

My son and I are very close. We spent every day, all day, of his life together until he was a teenager. It was mostly just the two of us for six years and then three of us when his little sister was born. My husband worked long days and sometimes was away from home for weeks at a time.

Consequently, the two of us have a kind of shortcut to understanding each other. We can (and do) talk about everything. Conversation between us is easy and we fall into a comfortable companionship whenever we are together. On our walk, I brought up something he said to me almost eight years ago that has been haunting me. I remember it clearly, even though I was fighting hysteria at the time. It was like I immediately recognized the truth of his words.

Tuesday Morning

My husband, the father of my two children, left us for good on a Tuesday in 2014 when I was working out of town. As I got back to my hotel room that night, I got a panicked and tearful call from our daughter, nearly 18, telling me what had happened. I immediately changed my plans and came home.

The kids were in shock. My son, nearly six years older than his sister, had a sober bearing that I had never seen in him before. I guess he was feeling that he was suddenly the “man” of the house.

The three of us met upstairs on the landing and after talking awhile we sunk down to the floor with our backs up against the wall, holding our knees. I wasn’t totally surprised my husband had left – he had told me the day before that he wanted a divorce – but I thought we would talk about it. We hadn’t told the kids yet. I thought that we could sit down and discuss how to do that and what it meant for the kids, our families, and for everything we had built together over 32 years. I am still waiting, on some level, to have this conversation.

Instead, he’d had a plan in place and waited until I was gone to pack up and leave so that there would be no confrontation, no pleading, no emotional scene. Except that our daughter had been home and had to deal with his leaving all alone.

Backs Against the Wall

And so the three of us sat with our backs to the wall, looking down the stairs at the closed door.

We talked – I tried to listen as much as my racing mind would let me. I remember asking them both, “Do you want me to try to get him back? Do you think I should try?” Both of them said, “No.” This was a relief to me for several reasons, not the least of which was that I was pretty sure his mind was made up and there was nothing I could say or do that would ever bring him back. I was also pretty sure I didn’t want him back.

But then my son piped up and said, “I can see it now. Dad will be remarried and living his life just as he always has and you’ll end up all alone.”

Eight years later, that is exactly how it is.

What Have I Got to Lose

It sure hasn’t been for lack of trying. I have dated, given second and third chances, and tried to stick it out in relationships when I felt it was hopeless.

I have forced myself to overlook some terrible behaviour just to stay with some of these men – twice for years. Several men were liars – one with an opioid addiction, one who pretended to work somewhere he didn’t, and one an alcoholic in denial – maybe more than one. Many of the men I dated had conditions that were a complete surprise to me. One guy said he had an inability to “feel” his feelings – it was a condition called “dysthymia”, another said he was “passive-aggressive”, yet another, who still looked after his alcoholic ex-wife, told me he was an “enabler”. Another didn’t admit it but he was aggressive and still another, an accountant, was a hypersensitive hypochondriac who attacked me with a level of vitriol that frightened me after I jokingly compared him to a Woody Allen character.

I have been single for five months now after the end of a three year relationship. (You can read more on that here, Why an Unsupportive Vaxxed Partner is Toxic.)

I think I’m Angry

I’m mad at myself for letting these guys treat me so badly. Why didn’t I stick up for myself? Over and over I put up with unkind treatment from the men I was dating or in a relationship with. For 32 years I didn’t tell the truth – I couldn’t. I find it almost impossible to tell someone if their behaviour hurts me, let alone merely bugs me. I’ll stew on something and reason that I need to be more understanding or more accommodating. In my marriage, this led me to feel resentful, I see now.  I don’t ever want to feel that way towards anyone. I want to be honest and straightforward.

You know what? Forget it.

In the eight years since my marriage ended, I have practiced speaking up for myself but the results have been disappointing. I work so hard to use “I” messages and be respectful and it takes every ounce of courage I have to gently point out what has upset me. The difficult conversation seems to go well and the behaviour stops for a bit…but then it comes back. Each time I am forced to speak up, again and again, with all the accompanying angst and loss of sleep.

“What am I doing wrong?” I would think to myself. Then they would take me to McDonald’s for Valentine’s Day.

Finally I just end it. Abruptly and badly. Once or twice by text. Fuck it.

Recently, I made the decision to remain single for the rest of my life. I am 56 years old. I guess that’s why my son’s comments from eight years ago have been on my mind.

Bury Yourself in Work?

I chose to stay home with my kids for fifteen years. Going back into the workforce I had to accept jobs that were stepping stones to better ones for many years. I held positions considered entry level or menial. Even so, I always tried to go above and beyond what was expected and to bring a helpful and cheerful attitude to my work. Sometimes I was rewarded with a promotion. I knew the work I was doing could not be considered a “career” but I did my best to keep my head held high and a smile on my face.

I have been bullied, sexually harassed, groped, stalked, threatened with physical violence – both times by women, and drawn into terrible conflicts I didn’t want any part of – and still considered myself lucky to have a job. Never once did I snitch on someone, sign a letter of complaint or accusation, or go to HR, although I did threaten the stalker and tell him I would go to HR if he didn’t back off. I have been forced to remain a temp worker just to be kept on, watched helplessly as unionized workers with more seniority got promoted, been laid off after filling in over a very busy summer after being promised I’d have work for a year or more, been downsized, and now fired for not capitulating to a newly imposed policy. Sounds a bit like bullying, doesn’t it?

The chances of finding another good paying job at my age and vaccination status are nearly nil. But what choice do I have? It looks like I need to put up with either bad behaviour or bullying in order to be “safe”.

I say: NO

Yup. I’m Angry

Being fired a couple months ago has really capped off a stellar year for me. Single AND a loser without a job! Great. Just great. At my age.

For shame! Look what a mess I have made of my life! Me, who used to be such a happy, friendly person who liked everybody!

I know that remaining single is a vulnerability as I get older.  But I still say: No, I won’t date you lazy, unhelpful, drunk asses.

No, I won’t work for you arrogant, misogynistic, patronizing assholes.

My attitude is no longer fit for an office. I would be a lot like Mimi from the Drew Carey show. If I start wearing blue eyeshadow, the scene will be complete.

And NO! I will not be forced into vaccination in order to take part in your materialistic, selfish society or to conform to your idea of what is medically right for me.

If you’re reading this, I apologize for my bad attitude, foul language, and thank you for listening to my whining. I really have a lot to be grateful for. The sun has come out and I’m going to go for a walk.

I am alone, I have been fired, and have no one to answer to. Well, no one but myself. And maybe that’s the hardest part of all.


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