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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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Jun. 14th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Too true
I was referred to this page and it is so true. Well done.
Jun. 14th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
here via a few friends...
It's all gone, like someone stopped pounding me in the head with a hammer. I didn't even know the hammer was there. Why did I let someone pound me in a hammer all that time? What in hell was I thinking? Why did I think any of that made sense?

*nod* That is pretty much what it was like when my head cleared a couple of days after I left my psycho-ex boyfriend 20 years ago. My parents were afraid I'd go back to him, but once I was out from under his thrall, I looked back at the previous 9 months and knew that I would never, ever see him again.

Great post.
Jun. 14th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
Absolutely brilliant. Saw this in a bunch of different friends' LJs, and I've now linked to it from my own.
Jun. 14th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Jun. 14th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for writing this.
Jun. 14th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

My life up until seven months ago was that sick system, with my entire family wrapped up in it and my father at the head.

I challenged the system by falling in love. I challenged his authority by becoming a real person. By going to therapy (which I'm not even sure he knew about-- my mother probably kept it from him). I challenged the system--which made ME the crazy one. I had always been the weird child, always the one in la-la land, never could do anything right. I heard all of that from both of my sisters and my father.

And then I fell in love. After years of relationships that were mirror images of my father, I was finally done with it. And I met him. We were together for over two and a half years, engaged, when I finally was strong enough to leave. And when we tried, they stopped us. We took legal action, and now I am dead. I destroyed the family. I ripped them apart. It's my fault.

And I don't care anymore. It's not my fault, I just pointed out the crazy and (literally) ran for my life.

And now I'm married to the man I fell in love with, and even though I'm frustratingly looking for a job and occasionally being harrassed by people who told me I was dead... I'm happy.

My girlfriend of three and a half years linked me to this, because she saw the crazy and stuck with me and supported me even when she moved to Colorado for work, and is still with me to this day. I have support--and now I have this article. Another reminder that I did the right thing. That I got out. And no matter what they say or what the man who used to be my father threatens... I'm free. And they will never take that away from me again.

Again, you have my heartfelt thanks for writing this so beautifully. I'll show it to my husband when he gets home from work.

Jun. 14th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
This is my residency. From beginning to its end 9 months later, when I checked into the psych ward (of another hospital, thank the gods) with suicidal depression.

And yes, it's a systematic sickness, because the ones who can't stand it get out, either by quitting academia or, as in my case, quitting medicine entirely, and the ones who can... train the next generation of doctors. Oops.

(And it's confounded because some of the issues really are life and death. But not as many of them as the attendings and senior residents will behave like they are.)

A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor has several pertinent examples.
Jun. 14th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
Reading this has been incredibly useful, and happened to come at a good time - so thank you!

One particular part which I'd never considered was your paragraph about how, after leaving the abusive system, the poor schlep on the receiving end will go nuts for a while on their own, artificially trying to keep craziness at the old familiar levels; that explains two incredibly intense years of my life which I'd never quite figured out before.

One thing, though; in the comments you mention that this is 75% your observations, but 25% things you've read. Would you have any book recommendations about that 25%?
Jun. 14th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this. I've propagated it a bit, as have some of my friends. I need to re-read it in a bit, though...
Jun. 14th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
Wow. This is a brilliant post.

You just described my current employment - which has occasioned two nervous breakdowns: one of a co-worker, and the other, my own.

It's somewhat comforting to know that I'm not the only one currently in what I categorize as an utterly insane situation, yet one I'm having extreme difficulty extricating myself (I have the additional misfortune of residing in suburban Detroit - which includes three of the five areas in the US that are described as being hardest hit by unemployment) to a relatively healthy work environment.

Thank you.
Jun. 16th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Ouch, yes. Isn't Detroit thinking of closing down sections of the city to reduce the budget? That environment is like a petri dish for sick systems. I'm sorry you're stuck there, and wish you creativity and luck enough to get out.
Jun. 14th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Here via newroticgirl.

This is a brilliant piece of writing, and should be shown to everyone, everywhere.

I haven't read all the comments, but one thing I've seen in my working life is that something that makes it better, and worse, is having a good boss in a sick company. You will work harder for this person, because you know that they're trying to do their best for you, but nonetheless, nothing you do will change the overall situation.
Jun. 14th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
(here via various people)
Oh, this is very much true. I stayed at a job that went horrific, because I wanted to help my boss do a good job.
(no subject) - issendai - Jun. 16th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 14th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
Linked this through to a few folks - not sure if anyone else has mentioned, but its 100 times worse when the victim is a young kid and has no ability to even conceptualise that this isn't normal. All of their early development teaches them only the insane methods of interaction.
Jun. 16th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
Ohhh yes. Even if they break out, they're still wired to accept, expect, even be attracted by, levels of abuse and insanity that make normal people back away. I know people who can't see red flags, and people who don't feel at home with someone until they trip a red flag. I know a woman who had the free choice of her ideal life with a man she loved who treated her well, or life with a man who had abused her for several years and outright stated that he didn't intend to stop--she chose her abuser. Why? Because he needed her, and the other man didn't.

I've been edging toward the conclusion that if you want your kids to be utterly devoted to your care when you're old, you should abuse the hell out of them. Not just when they're kids--always. Even when they're caring for you in your old age. Especially when they're caring for you in your old age. Keep that sick system going! The abusive parents I know have about a 50% success rate at keeping some of their children stuck to their side obsessively, perpetually, whether they like it or not, which is a better success rate than many types of good parents get.
(no subject) - dexwebster - Jun. 25th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - natf - Oct. 8th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 15th, 2010 11:20 am (UTC)
Amazing. This SO is my last job, the one that damn near killed me over a period of nine years. The reason I'm never going back to an office job if I can help it.
Jun. 15th, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)
(added to memories, tweeted and emailed on)
Reminiscent f so many past jobs and relationships. SO MANY. Thank you for writing.
Jun. 15th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
This is so accurate that it's literally scary. The abusive relationship for me ended almost 20 years ago now, and yet reading this made my stomach clench and turn somersaults as if it were only yesterday. Thank you for writing this, it needs to be heard!
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( 315 comments — Leave a comment )

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