Attachment Disorder – Co-worker Story
I forgot to add this to my last post, but really, I think it can stand on its own as an entry.
Two weeks ago when I was told my job was being eliminated I went back to my office and had a little cry. My coworker, Lynn has worked with me since she started with the organization, in fact, I trained her on how to read the budget sheets from finance back when we both worked for another department. She was the one who told me about this position and gave me a good recommendation…she even got to sit in on the interview. She’s been closer to me than most…I think she’s a real sweetheart and although she gets all wrapped up in the little things in life, she’s a decent friend…or so I thought.
Now, to understand my relationship with her is tricky. I have an awkward time properly bonding with people in my personal social life let alone work. Lynn and I worked so closely together I thought it would have been a little easier, in truth. Lynn is a talker, which suits me fine as I prefer to be the listener in most relationships. The stuff in my brain does not always come out in a … sane way? Lol…I don’t mean that…I just prefer to do the listening to save myself the embarrassment of speaking far too candidly to someone who isn’t interested. (Example: I was too open with my director about my illness. Boundary crossing is not a good idea in that situation but, sadly, I thought he actually cared about me on some level). So Lynn the talker suits me just fine. She comes into my office many times a day and will regale me with stories of her vacation plans, her closet reorganization, her ‘accent painting’ adventures. She’ll talk about her cat for hours if I don’t change the topic and will detail her weekend down to how many times she used the bathroom. (lol..not really, but it’s close!) When she was house hunting and finally settled on a newly built home, she told me e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g as it happened. What counter she was going with, the sheen on her stainless steel fridge, the cost and cost comparison of all the different washer/dryers she looked at. I saw paint samples and fabric swatches, photo after photo of blank white walls so I could see what she was talking about…it was, a LOT of time spent, listening to her talk away. When her cat got sick she leaned on me the entire time and I was soothing and available to her. Shared my experiences with sick animals and tried hard to support her when she decided he needed to be put to sleep. She texted me throughout the procedure and cried on my shoulder many days after he was gone. I didn’t mind one bit…like I said, she’s a sweetheart and I knew she needed a friend, so, there I was.
I called her, and only her, when I found out about my layoff. She came to me and sat in my chair and listened while I sobbed and choked out the story of what had just happened. Lynn was concerned, brought me kleenex and mumbled her shock to the carpet while I sobbed away. Then, she suddenly looked up and the first audible thing she said was:
“Omg! I wonder how this is going to affect me?!” her face filled with worry.
Now, I get it…I cover her whenever she’s off on one of her four vacations a year (they have no kids, obviously). I am there to back her up at meetings or will run them for her when she needs. I split some tasks with her completely, like policies. I do the entry work and consultation and she does the final approvals. It’s a big piece that will be falling directly back on to her shoulders. I know that’s daunting…I know it’s not fair but holy crap girl, would you at least keep your own worries quiet for a fucking moment?! I’ll trade you! You lose your job and I’ll take on the work. It annoyed me and I more or less asked her to leave then.
That sat with me in an ugly way for a few days but I knew it wasn’t meant to be cruel or dismissive so I just let it go. Then she started talking to me about how “terrible” the last two weeks have been for her. I honestly thought I had missed some personal weekend story where she tells every detail of her grocery shopping trip. She made reference to it several times: (“I couldn’t go to the baby shower on the weekend because I was feeling so down. These weeks have been really difficult you know…”) I was in the shower this morning when it suddenly clicked in my head…she was talking about the work she was having to take on in my layoff!!! She’s having a “terrible” fucking month because she has to do more work while I’m losing my fucking job! She’s not even asked how I am. Not once.
So much for an 8 year friendship eh?
Now, all that said, I do realize that this is how we have set things up. She talks out her problems in life, I listen and give advice where I can. She doesn’t want to hear about the pain I’m in (she says she can’t handle medical stuff without fainting and feeling queasy.) So…fine. No talk of how I feel emotionally or physically. I guess I made things that way on my own and shouldn’t have expected her to think of anyone but herself.
It was so reminiscent of that last note exchanged with M. I told him that I just really needed a friend. I had just found out about the MRI in 2008 that no one gave me the results for and finally understood what was going on. I simply asked for friendship and support…which I almost never do…and he replied with some snotty ass comment about how knowing me was no longer a positive experience in his life.
I expected that dismissive cruelty from M but not from Lynn. Is everyone the same but me? Am I the only one who thinks about other’s first? I really do…so much of the time. I suppose I’m connecting with the ‘wrong’ people but how the heck do you know if they are going to be the wrong sort when you first meet them? I mean, I knew Lynn was a taker long ago but I didn’t expect that she would actually voice her self-concern directly after I told her what had happened, while still sobbing into the kleenex she brought me.
I’m hurt but I feel like I brought it on myself. I knew what kind of person she was, I just assumed she cared. It’s not like she’s come back, days later and asked how I’m doing or anything..she’s been avoiding me since last week. Ah well. What did I expect would happen? It doesn’t really matter anyway. 😦