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Author Topic: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?  (Read 1094 times)

Tjm86

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Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« on: 24 November, 2020, 08:26:54 PM »
I'm trying to work out what is going on at work at present.  I have a diagnosis for BPD which I disclosed when I started.  Last year one of my line managers pushed me over the edge and then claimed that I had thrown something at her.  As a result I spent most of lockdown waiting to find out what was going to happen.

Since I've come back we've got a new head.  A more senior manager who I used to trust and rely on, had built a good relationship with, has been a bit of go-between / sounding board.  All of a sudden though our meetings have become much more formal and she spends most of the time making sure she is minuting everything.

I know that I tend to struggle interpreting motives, especially when I'm in a dark place.  That said, the nature of the questions that she now asks and this focus on documenting everything is setting off alarm bells.  I want to believe that this is just me being unreasonable but I can't help questioning what is going on.

This sounds really stupid but is it possible for an employer to provide too much support as a way of breaking someone?

Funt Solo

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #1 on: 24 November, 2020, 09:06:10 PM »
Difficult to provide a sensible answer without knowing more. Very difficult to guess motivations. More likely that an employer would be trying to cover themselves legally than trying to "break" someone, I would have thought. Although, that goes back to motivations.
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JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #2 on: 24 November, 2020, 11:58:46 PM »
More likely that an employer would be trying to cover themselves legally than trying to "break" someone, I would have thought.

Obviously I can't say for sure, but that does seem to be the most obvious answer from where I'm sitting.  It could well be that she doesn't really understand your BPD, and is worried about being seen to contribute to it, thus the documenting and checking - when an issue like that is known to a person with responsibility in the workplace, I'd imagine they feel they have to be doubly responsible when dealing with it, if that makes sense. 

Furthermore, you say she's the new head but you've known her a while, so I'm guessing she may have been promoted?  I've seen people promoted to manager in the past, and they had to change their approach to employees who were previously their peers.  As a result they did indeed become more formal in their approach to us, and probably more than a bit awkward about it at first themselves.  Like I say, I have no real way of knowing for sure what's going on, but it could well be about her and her new position, not about you.

Lastly, I've been delving deep into the world of CBT over the last two years, and one thing that had a lot of relevance to me was the concept of emotional reasoning, which is making distorted judgements about the exterior world based on how you're feeling yourself.  For me, anxiety was the big one, and it was a revelation to me to consider that just because I FEEL as if something terrible is going to happen doesn't mean it IS going to happen. Paranoia was another one for me - despite the old cliche, the reverse is far more likely, i.e. 'just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean they ARE after me.'.  Even if it really, really feels like it.  Now I think of it, and judging by my own not-100%-perfect mental health, I think that this could well be what's going on for you.

Just speculation of course.  Hope it all works out for you one way or the other.
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Tjm86

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #3 on: 25 November, 2020, 05:45:49 AM »
Thanks for this.  I know that my thinking gets distorted when I feel like I'm under attack.  That's why I asked the question.

I've recently had to go through disciplinary because of my 'sense of humour'.  I've always viewed outrageously extreme threats of physical violence as obviously a joke not meant to be taken seriously.  It seems that this is no longer the case and is viewed as potentially discriminatory.  Fair enough.  I accept.

That said it does mean that right now I am being hyper vigilant and possibly not correctly interpreting.

It may well be that the new head (different person to the one I'm meeting with) is making sure everything is thoroughly documented after last year's blow out.  I think the point about not understanding BPD is also valid.  Quite often there is difficulty to wrap heads around my self-perception.

Helpful.  Thank you.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #4 on: 25 November, 2020, 09:34:50 AM »
You're welcome - hope everything works out.

I've spent much of my life either working for my family or working on my own, and now I work for somebody else (part time, anyway) I've had to learn that what I have a laugh about with my friends may be a bit much for the workplace.  You live and learn.

Quote
It may well be that the new head (different person to the one I'm meeting with) is making sure everything is thoroughly documented after last year's blow out.

And that sounds way more likely than anyone having it in for you.
« Last Edit: 25 November, 2020, 09:36:51 AM by JayzusB.Christ »
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Colin YNWA

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #5 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:10:50 AM »
All I can say without any real specifics is as a manager you should document everything and share it with the individual in any contenticus circumstance, even when you are being actively supportive. Its cover everyones backs, but more significently helps to ensure clarity of understanding. In meetings both parties can hear what they want to hear based on the narrative they have in their minds. By writing it, typically just in a shared e-mail you are essentially saying:

Heres what I heard and understood is this fair and accurate? If not can you clarify. Heres want we both agreed to do, is that also your understanding.

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #6 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:17:31 AM »

I always openly record official meetings for security, training, and reference purposes. These recordings remain strictly confidential unless a crime is committed or suggested. If the officials have nothing to hide, they've nothing to fear.

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TordelBack

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #7 on: 25 November, 2020, 10:39:26 AM »
I doubt the legality of the strategy unless the participants are informed in advance, but after far too many bad experiences the missus and I do exactly as the Shark does in all our meetings with employers, banks etc. And not always openly.

We also let it be seen that we are making (brief) notes, and if we later feel there was something fishy or open to interpretation, we augment these with transcripts of the recording which we can then regurgitate in sickening detail as evidence of our superb shorthand and/or recall. Like Colin says, sometimes we'll fire off a "this is what I understood was said/agreed in our recent meeting" e-mail,  but more often than not just having that level of detail documented and available is enough.

No-one who's up to no good likes their words repeated back to them, and very few of them will have put the same type of effort in.
« Last Edit: 25 November, 2020, 10:42:52 AM by TordelBack »

The Legendary Shark

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #8 on: 25 November, 2020, 01:06:55 PM »

It's a personal choice, but I would never record an "official" meeting in secret simply because I wouldn't like that done to me. Also, if things do go to court then being above board at all times (in legal theory, at least) contributes to demonstrating my actions were open and honourable.

Of course, if the official refuses to continue I first try to persuade them with all the usual arguments (you're a public servant, there's nothing illegal to be discussed, it's perfectly legal, I promise confidentiality (with caveats), is it in the interests of the public purse/your shareholder's bottom line to waste time and money rescheduling?, and so on,) - in short, I do my best to hold the meeting.

If they still refuse, then fine. I ask for a written explanation as to why they are cancelling the meeting, smile, and bid them good day.

(I'd have no qualms making secret recordings of criminal activity, however - but that's a whole other can of worms...)

I haven't done this for a while now because I've dropped out of it all a bit, but it was fun. The thing to remember, though, is that they cheat. When their logical fallacies fail you get directed upstairs, where logic means nothing and force rules. Although it was enjoyable and empowering, it was also very stressful. To be frank, I'm far, far happier out of it - though it was a long, hard road from there to here. I have far less stuff and nonsense in my life now but more... I dunno', just more life, I guess.

Anyhoo, point is - they cheat. When they do, keep an eye on it - because unless you want to travel a tough and lonely road, you've got to know when to quit - or not.

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TordelBack

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #9 on: 25 November, 2020, 01:19:39 PM »
It's a personal choice, but I would never record an "official" meeting in secret simply because I wouldn't like that done to me.

Agreed, but sometimes producing a recorder can move a meeting, or a whole process,  onto another unwelcome level at a time when it may not be warranted, and if you're at that point you should probably have a third party in the room anyway. 

Mechanical assistance with one's recall of a stressful situation provides peace of mind, and you can focus on what's currently being said rather than trying to scribble it all down or commit it to memory: it's not like a recording itself could be used if not openly declared at the time (except as you say in criminal situations), but owning a totally confident written record of what was and wasn't said gives huge peace of mind. Your interlocutor can contradict your account, but you know you have it right, and they know they haven't.  Where there's an imbalance of power,  that allows you to put your best foot forward.

But like I say, highly dubious legality, and even morality.  But there's little of either in being bullied.

And Sharky: no rush! 
« Last Edit: 25 November, 2020, 01:21:59 PM by TordelBack »

Tjm86

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #10 on: 25 November, 2020, 05:56:10 PM »
Thanks for the observations guys.

I'm going to go down the optimistic "I'm being paranoid" route for now whilst monitoring my reactions.

This is the big problem with the BPD and the bit that drives me nuts.  Knowing that it is happening helps on one level but the added stress doesn't!

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« Reply #11 on: 26 November, 2020, 10:37:52 AM »
Thanks for the observations guys.

I'm going to go down the optimistic "I'm being paranoid" route for now whilst monitoring my reactions.



Sounds like the wisest course of action.  Wish I'd thought of it myself in my younger days.
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”