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So you want to keep your lover or your employee close. Bound to you, even. You have a few options. You could be the best lover they've ever had, kind, charming, thoughtful, competent, witty, and a tiger in bed. You could be the best workplace they've ever had, with challenging work, rewards for talent, initiative, and professional development, an excellent work/life balance, and good pay. But both of those options demand a lot from you. Besides, your lover (or employee) will stay only as long as she wants to under those systems, and you want to keep her even when she doesn't want to stay. How do you pin her to your side, irrevocably, permanently, and perfectly legally?

You create a sick system.Collapse )


( 315 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 15th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
Sep. 28th, 2011 12:24 am (UTC)
Wish I could "thank" all of these comments. Reading this was such a relief--so then, I'm NOT crazy!
Jan. 15th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
I just realized this is what the Army has done to me. Actual conversations I've had over the past three years...

"Yeah, being stationed in Korea sucks, but don't worry, once you get stationed at a real unit in the U.S. everything will be so much better."

"Yeah, headquarters units suck. Just wait until you're back in a line unit. They have their shit together, unlike here."

"Man, I'm so glad to be heading back to Korea. I'm sick of all of the BS I have to deal with in this unit."
Megan Jean Bouchard
Jan. 16th, 2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
I must say you have captured the "sick system" very well. I have been in numerous ones, my one job was so "sick" it nearly killed me, I ended up in the hospital.
Ana Szoc
Mar. 6th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
Issendai, I was impressed by this material, I read it many times and finally I translated it into Polish. I'd like to publish the translation as a note in my fb profile, maybe on Google+ as well, with a link to the original of course. So I kindly ask for your permission. I can send you the translation before sharing it. Please let me know what you think.

Ana Szoc

PS. I also observed that most of us were part of a sick system not only as the controlled, but also the controlling party, especially in personal relationships; sometimes even the same relationship may look like a sick system for both people involved... so it's not actually about clever "spiders" and innocent "flies" that get caught in their web, there are no winners in this game.

Edited at 2012-03-06 06:58 pm (UTC)
Jul. 5th, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
Re: translation
Please, feel free to publish your Polish translation! Thank you for asking. I'm sorry to take so long to get back to you--LJ fell to the bottom of my list for a while.

I agree with you now that anyone can play either part in a sick system. At the time that I wrote the article, I was thinking of a few situations I'd seen where a single person was generating and maintaining the sick system--not consciously, and they were as miserable as the other person, but it was clear that if they were yanked out of the system, it would either heal or disintegrate. I thought sick systems were rare. Since then, all the people who have commented on the article around the web have made me realize that what you say is correct. Sick systems are very common, and that's partly because under the right circumstances, healthy people can create them, too.

...And in some ways that's more frightening than my original idea. If the problem is people with a serious mental disorder, you can learn to avoid them. If the problem is people... how in hell do you solve that?
Apr. 28th, 2012 06:04 am (UTC)
I've been passing this page around to friends and family for about two years now, I think. Most recently though, I've "translated" it into sick systems regarding kids and abusive parents, particularly because it applies to my own situation. You've put into words clearly what I'd been trying to articulate for so long. Thanks again. ^_^
Jun. 9th, 2012 08:03 am (UTC)
Found this via a link on an alt-lifestyles forum.
Your post has described a number of my past relationships and a lot of my jobs in advertising/design and I blamed myself for getting into the situations because I was the common denominator.
I've bookedmarked this page and will be reading your post regularly as I look for another job. I'm also using it as a reminder not to let my current relationship devolve into co-dependancy as my past relationships have.
Your words are still ringing true years later and I appreciate you putting them out there.
Jun. 13th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
Found the link accidentally.

Oh my god. This is my current workplace. And it's driven me to illness in just this way. I've stressed myself into a mental breakdown (my once-ideal short-term photographic memory? SHOT) and developed a condition from the extreme anxiety.

Luckily, starting a new job (part-timing with this one...ugh, bills) in two weeks. And once the new job and I get along...buh-bye Toxic Place.
Resonanteye Marth
Jun. 23rd, 2012 06:22 am (UTC)
isn't this...
isn't this basically the entirety of western work culture?

I mean, our entire system is based on humans being chattel to a sick system, right now (and for as long as I can remember)
Sep. 13th, 2012 05:40 am (UTC)
It's firmly in my past now, but this definitely describes past relationships of mine. A+.
Sep. 13th, 2012 11:36 am (UTC)
I... somehow need to save this and post it everywhere.
Sep. 13th, 2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
this reminds me of my ex-husband. ugh.
Sep. 13th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
Posted this to my journal. I've always been intuitively aware of these deranged games, but you've articulated them well.
Sep. 14th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
This was my childhood. My father was the one setting up the system, my mom running the mazes he created. I inherited his bipolar disorder and fear setting up my own sick systems, and I actively try to avoid it.

This is my worst nightmare.
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( 315 comments — Leave a comment )

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