Regrets, Anger and a Little Bit Letting Myself off the Hook

Yesterday I ran some errands and needed to drive through the area that B and I lived in for 13 years before moving to where we live now.

Driving through there, I was inundated with memories, particularly the ones about my old petsitting/dogwalking boss.

-About how her husband actually asked me (after a few years of employment with them) to schedule phone calls with him, whereby I would talk dirty to him. (I know that one is hard to get past, but try to keep reading. There’s more.) Don’t worry. I said NO!

-About how she was calling me her right hand ‘man’ to clients before telling me that was her plan, in the first week of my employment with her.

-Telling me how ‘we’re not that busy over the Christmas holiday’ then emailing the schedule where I can clearly see ‘my-barely-any-room-to-eat schedule’ for the two weeks over Christmas. I felt completely manipulated when I got that email.

-Springing a last minute overnight on me for that same period of time, when I stopped over to give her my time sheet. THEN, giving the wrong starting date so that I am humiliated by walking into the clients’ house while they are still home, hanging around watching TV, etc. And then never compensating me for that mistake.

-Treating me like a child at times. I don’t remember exact examples of this. I just remember this one time when we were talking on the cell as I was walking a dog and she said something to me and I replied saying, “Stop treating me like a child.”  That was the only time I’d said that. And I know from that and myself well enough, that she already had a history of treating me that way a number of times before I’d had enough and barked back at her.

-Getting angry and agitated when I confronted her about not paying me for a visit to a dog that didn’t get walked.

This one is a bit tough to explain. Upon hiring me, she specifically told me time as well as well as followed through, that when a pet is scheduled for a visit and we show up for that visit and if the owner is home and does not want the dog walked or cat tended to, the sitter gets paid. (It shows up in the pay check. The company’s policy for clients is that the visit needs to be cancelled by 9am or they are charged for said visit.

The one particular day, she changed the rules, just for that day. I was training a new employee. We stopped at a regular client’s house who was on my schedule. The human was home. I introduced the new employee to the human and the dog client. The new employee played with the dog for a bit and talked to the human. I also asked human client if she wanted us to walk her dog, she said, “No, it’s too hot.” I said, Okay and we left.

When I got paid, I noticed that visit wasn’t on my pay check so I asked boss about it through email. She wrote back, ‘well you didn’t walk the dog, why would you get paid for that?’ Throughout this reply email, she also wrote, three or four times,  “just curious,”  “just curious,” “just curious.” It scared me, I backed off.   I kick myself for that one. I should’ve been “JUST CURIOUS” about when the fucking rules changed.

-Not respecting my boundaries. (When I’d say no I can’t do that visit because I’d have plans, she’d get upset and tell me how fast of a visit it would be and that I could still make it to my plans.)

-When I’d explain that I can’t do ‘so many visits’ because it was exhausting me and when I did too much I’d actually get depressed*, she’d tell me I was limiting myself.
(I know now, that I was getting depressed and exhausted from the dog walks and all the driving because of adrenal dysfunction. I had no idea then.)
-Also to be fair, I would get these bouts of excitement and want more work. I even told her I wanted to build up to full time, in the beginning of my employment. I think part of that was feeling important by her telling people I was her right hand man too. Despite also being afraid of that title so soon at the same time. But then I would have difficulty with that, and get a little scared of a too-busy schedule, both for physical reasons and mental/emotional reasons and pull away, telling her that I actually just wanted to have so many visits on my regular schedule and wanted to be done at a certain time most days.
-I also want to note that it was a given that I would have a heavier schedule during certain times of the year. I didn’t love it, but it was a bit easier when I knew what was coming. My problem was mainly with her telling me ‘it wasn’t that busy” and that she gave everyone else off on Christmas day except me. But she did that every year.  Then seeing my inundated schedule.  THAT’S MANIPULATION and LYING.

-Getting angry with me when I called out because I got really sick. It was the only time in 3 fucking years. I had a sore throat, nasty cough, etc and I missed the entire week.
-Granted it’s difficult to be sick when you’re a pet sitter. I was her employee though (not the owner of the company) and when I was hired, she told me that if her employees are sick, she rearranges things and takes care of it.  By the time I called out sick on her though, she’d had enough time to see my codependence and lack of boundaries. I stuck to my shit though. I was really sick and missed a week.  Of course she couldn’t resist to ask me when talking to me through that week, “What did your mom say?”  Many people would ask me that when I’d get sick because my mother’s a nurse.  And yesterday when I remembered this I got pissed off.

Who fucking cares what my mom says! I’m the one who’s sick. I’m the one in my own body. What’s important is what I say and how I feel.  But luckily my mother was always aware that, most of the time when I got sick that it was a virus and not an infection (although that has happened too) and no anti-biotic will take away a virus, so going to the doctor is pointless for that.

(Of course if there’s something more serious, anti-biotics are necessary. I got sick one year, working at a deli and on this virus premise did not go to a doctor. Still sick after a couple weeks, my boss and owner of the deli, finally said, you should go see a doctor. She even suggested one nearby.  I went during work hours. I got anti-biotics and got better. That’s fucked up because I still lived with my mother at the time and she didn’t catch this.

But I digress. Back to the pet sitter boss:

-The last time I asked for the vacation I had coming to me, she gave me a hard time. It was March, a few months after that Christmas schedule-from-hell and she gave me a hard time about it.

She said, “What do you need a vacation for?”

I kid you not!

I said, “Well, I have vacation time coming to me right?”

She said, “Yes.”

I said, “I figured it would be a good time to take it since Easter is next.” (Another somewhat busy time for pet sitters.)

I’m thinking about this yesterday and getting pissed off at her for the ridiculous questions and hard time about a vacation I had the time for.  And then pissed at myself for ‘explaining’ so much to her.

WTF! All she needed to know is that I wanted vacation time and the dates I was taking. The rest was none of her fucking business.

I got my vacation time. I had wanted to take that time and collect it before telling her about her pervy ass husband.  I’d been back and forth on that for so long.To tell or not to tell. (A bit manipulative I suppose. But this was survival.)

Carrying it around, to me at that time, felt like a heavy weight. I needed to tell her. But I already knew it wouldn’t go over well. I already knew she wouldn’t believe me. And I already knew I’d lose the job. So I wanted that vacation time.

The last night of my vacation, I spoke to her on the phone and told her all about how her husband wanted to schedule phone calls with me to talk dirty to him. I told her things that I would not know unless she or her husband had told me. And we both knew she would never tell me such personal shit.  I mean he got downright personal.

Her response? <GASP> “Not MY Bill.  (That was that perv’s name.)

And that was that. My job was, poof, gone.

So fast forward years later. I run into the old boss in a Wawa, although I’d passed her one other time in the doorway of that same store months before. This time, though, I was at the coffee station.  She got herself some coffee and then walked over to stand near me as I was stirring the cream into my coffee.

She says, “Hi Tiger, how are you?” All cheerful and maple syrupy sweet.
Like we’re old friends. Like nothing ever went down between us.

I froze. I was nervous. But I also didn’t forget. I also didn’t want to pretend that all was okay with us and I didn’t. I kept a straight face and just said, “Meh, okay.” And then walked to the cash register to pay and left.

At that time, I was part of a super small FB group that had been started by a woman whose blog introduced me to narcissistic abuse. We had also exchanged emails and got to know each other pretty well, even though we are on opposite ends of the country.

After running into the old boss, I posted about it on the group. From other members, I got some really validating comments. The woman running it however, suggested that I should’ve been more open. That it was an opportunity to find out more about what was going on with her presently. If she’d found out the truth, if her husband was still alive, etc.

So after reading that, I kicked myself. And ever since, when I’ve thought about it, I’ve kicked myself for not behaving differently.

But yesterday, as I thought about all of this shit, (and that it wasn’t just that one incident of her not believing me, and that she was going to sweep the sexual harassment in her company under the rug) I realized, I didn’t owe her a fucking thing. I didn’t necessarily make a mistake. I was protecting myself. The ball was in her court ffs.

I was being somewhat true to myself by not acting all lovey dovey-fake, like it was fine, just so I could manipulate information out of her. If I was being really real though, I could’ve said, “Wtf? You are seriously going to walk over here with a grin on your face and talk to me like we’re long lost friends after basically calling me a liar about your pervert husband??? I think you owe me an apology or we have nothing to say to each other.”

But I didn’t say that, so no, I wasn’t being completely authentic.

You could say that I wasn’t open enough for her to initiate any sort of apology or any further conversation.

But I’m calling bullshit on that. She could’ve humbled herself. I know if the tables were turned, if I got that kind of reaction, I’d know why.  And I know that the onus was on me to initiate some kind of conversation about what happened.

I’d stood there long enough for her to say something. She could’ve said something along the lines of, “Hey, I understand your reaction to me. I would like to talk, if you have time.”

And she knew where I lived so there’s that as well. If she really wanted a real authentic conversation and not to just throw around superficial pleasantries, she could have found a way to do so.  Authentic: that was the only kind of conversation I wanted to have. And since she wasn’t forthcoming, there was nothing to say.