StrongerTogether writes in about receiving an unkind message from her boss on the eve of her holiday break. There is no way she can tell him about the challenges she has been facing in her personal life while trying to stay on track at work. Determined not to let herself be derailed, she reaches out to the Allies community…
It's been 4 months since my son relapsed after 20 months in treatment/recovery. Despite some challenges he now has 90 new sober days. I'll take it. CRAFT – and your support – has been invaluable. Thank you.
Today brought a new problem: right before we broke for the holiday my employer sent me a long email complaining about my performance, and advising me to spend the holidays thinking about 'why' the work has slipped and to come back with a plan to improve.
I don't have to wonder why I've not been 100% on task and you probably don't either: since August my son has ODd 3 times, gone missing here and there, left treatment after his housemate died, and had two drug-fueled psychotic episodes. Read the full comment here.
How unkind to not talk to you in person and to send the email right before the holiday. There is no doubt that when a Loved One is struggling, work performance suffers, absenteeism occurs, and work-related accidents take place because family members are distracted. A Hazelden poll noted these findings in a poll taken over 20 years ago.
Other than this poll, and anecdotal information like what you have shared, we know little about the macro effects of poor job performance by family members due to a Loved One’s addiction. They are undoubtedly huge.
Family members continue to be under-studied, under-supported, and under-thanked.
I am sorry this has happened. It is a wonder you are still employed given what you’ve been going through with your son.
It’s a huge blow to receive this kind of communication. The fear of losing a job does causes an immediate projection of a cascade of further losses: the house, the ability to take care of yourself… I can understand how it can become all-consuming. I have been there.
Your boss doesn’t sound like a compassionate person. So it’s up to you alone to not over-personalize this, to pick yourself up, to respond with a plan. You are not your performance at work. You are so much more than this measurement, than this message. You are doing the best you can with every aspect of your life. Your presence on this site means you are learning and addressing the relentless chaos of addiction in the family. Your boss knows nothing of this larger picture. Who knows what is going on in his world that led him to write to you so thoughtlessly.
The mindfulness that you have cultivated, that you demonstrate even in sharing this recent event on the site, will continue to be your guide as you process this sting. It allows you to name the response that this mean-spirited message elicited in you – good for you in identifying this so clearly. Ultimately that presence of mind will allow you to focus on what can be done – just stick with a simple, clear plan as you’ve been asked – and let go of the rest. With the amount of work you have been doing – on so many levels – you simply can’t give any extra energy to this jab. You deserve every ounce of the rest and replenishment that you can get over this holiday.
There are other people on this site who have had this experience with work. One mom I worked with would turn down promotions because the stress and chaos at home was already too overwhelming. Do others on this site have similar experiences?
It takes courage and commitment to keep your head above water. You are doing this with remarkable dedication. I have appreciated your thoughtful comments and your willingness to apply new ways of interacting with your son. This despite considerable fear about what is going on. When you get punched in the stomach, feel it, and then watch yourself pull out. This is self-care, too. You will move through this.