Once upon a time…
“You aren’t going anywhere! You work for me! I own you!”
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Jane fought to keep her chin up and her eyes open as the voice clawed to an octave higher. The stapler waving around her head looked like a magpie waiting to divebomb an unsuspecting victim.
This wasn’t the first time Lydia had threatened to hit Jane with the small mechanical device.
Lydia ranted and raved for at least another 20-minutes, not even seeming to take a breath between words. Behind thick glass framed with red plastic, her eyes became more bloodshot with each syllable.
Jane dissociated until the rant became muffled. Her life wasn’t supposed to end up like this – whittled down to nothing more than a bitter woman’s punching bag. Jane was a hard worker, but the harder she worked the more Lydia complained. It was like she was searching for mistakes. Nothing was ever good enough for Lydia.
Jane tried complaining to HR several times, but she was always met with the same old story: Cut her some slack. She’s going through a tough time right now. Let her do what she wants. She produces results. Just be patient.
Lydia called the staff her “team” but was forever threatening to get a new team. So many good employees had left due to her tyrannical reign as a crazy malicious narcissist. Over the years, Jane had done her best to talk to Lydia to explain she wasn’t happy and that she wanted to try something new and refreshing. But the conversation somehow always ended up with Lydia yelling at Jane and threatening to have her black-listed from every company in the city if she ever dared to leave. So, Jane would be emotionally blackmailed into staying for years, sacrificing her own happiness and wellbeing in the process. Jane constantly walked on eggshells and always kept her head down in case she looked at Lydia the wrong way and set her off. Little by little what was left of Jane’s self-worth deteriorated.
“I can’t do this anymore!” Lydia’s voice cried out and she slammed the stapler down on a desk like a hammer. “I can’t deal with your abuse anymore!”
‘MY abuse?’ Something in Jane’s mind snapped, like the final break before a giant redwood crashes to the ground. What followed next felt like a dream. All of Jane’s fear drained out through the point of the toe in her shoes. 7-years of hazing and intimidation detonated and in a voice deeper and louder than Jane had ever spoken before in her life, she repeated, “I said I quit!”
Lydia lurched forward to physically grab Jane and stop her but Jane intercepted, wrapping her fingers around Lydia’s fat wrist. The stapler clattered against a chair, springing open and sending shards of unused staples everywhere. Lydia’s mouth gaped open sucking in air like a fish.
In one swift movement, Jane forced the hand to her side. Lydia’s other hand sprang up and contorted into claws, like a cat swiping at an enemy. Somehow, Jane was quicker. She caught the wrist and forced Lydia’s nails into her own flesh, raking it across her face. Lydia stumbled backward into a glass office door which clanged but didn’t break.
“I quit.” Jane wobbled toward her desk, her body teaming with adrenalin. All of her things, the few items she managed to bring in at the beginning, were already packed into a small bag. Two more seconds and her purse, phone, and handbag were scooped up.
“You can’t…” Lydia whimpered.
Jane turned away from the front door toward the ever deflating bully. “Watch me,” she declared. And with that she walked out the door, never to return again.
“When you think this pain is all you deserve, you are right. You are the only one that can decide how long you will walk in hell.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Moral of the Story:
When you don’t know your own value, you believe that acceptance is conditional so you have to act and be a certain way in order to receive love and respect. If you think you aren’t deserving of consistent love and respect, you’ll likely be anxious about telling people what you really want and need. When you don’t know your worth, you may think it is safer to stay quiet, rather than risk annoying someone or putting them off. You may even let people disrespect you because you suspect they might be right to view you as disposable or to characterise you in a negative light.
If you constantly fall into patterns of people taking advantage of you or you were raised to not recognise your competencies or skills, you might struggle with feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. This means you are vulnerable to experiencing toxic relationships and self-defeating behaviours which can include negative self-talk, avoidance of intimacy, comparing yourself to others or sabotaging relationships because you feel undeserving of them. Self-doubt can bubble up over time, often becoming reinforced by toxic situations. Yet, because of low self-worth or feelings of shame, you might stay stuck in an unhealthy situation.
Building or rebuilding self-worth is a process and requires dedication, commitment and a desire to recognise that you are in fact a worthwhile person. You deserve to be treated compassionately and respectfully. Know that your value doesn’t just revolve around what you can do for other people or showing up for them the way you think they want you to show up. Self-worth is intimately connected with self-valuing behaviours. This means holding healthy boundaries with others, expecting reciprocity in relationships, and knowing what you need to put yourself first. self-worth is so vital, what it looks like in practice and how to cultivate it. However, you might not realise just how much untapped potential is still hidden inside you. You can become anything you want and have anything you desire – but to get there, you need to embrace your true worth as a person.
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”
– Anna Taylor
Affirmation: I am worthy of happiness, joy and success
I am a creative genius. I am worthy and capable of a newfound level of success. I am becoming stronger and happier every single day. I deeply and completely love myself. I forgive myself for past mistakes knowing I that because of them I have embodied deep learnings. I am a unique and special person and I am worthy of love and respect from others. I believe that big things are destined for me and I trust the synchronicity in everyday messages. I am a leader. I have the charisma and talent to excel in everything I do. People love being around me. I live my life on my own terms. My life is filled with happiness and adventures. Miracles follow me at every turn. I am a super magnet for wealth and prosperity. I love and accept myself exactly as I am right now. I love the person I am becoming. I am amazing and deserve the very best that life has to offer.
“Once you embrace your value, talents and strengths, it neutralises when others think less of you.”
― Rob Liano