Home > Uncategorized > When the Workplace Becomes a Stage for Your Abandonment Issues: What to Do When You’re Triggered

When the Workplace Becomes a Stage for Your Abandonment Issues: What to Do When You’re Triggered

When the Workplace Becomes a Stage for Your Abandonment Issues: What to Do When You’re Triggered


Blog: Susan Anderson © July 14, 2012



When the Workplace Triggers your Issues…    


You begin to feel nobody values your ideas.  Or somehow you become a scapegoat.  Or your coworkers gravitate toward your rival.  Or you’re overlooked for promotion.  Or your staff actively ignores your directives.  Or….


Any number of triggers can rekindle the old abandonment would, generating feelings you suffered in your family dynamics or in your peer groups at school.  It’s as if your primal abandonment sores start bleeding through, imprinting themselves onto your current experience.  The setting is different and the players have changed, but the emotional stain remains the same.  The workplace has somehow become a stage on which your old unresolved conflicts are reenacting themselves.  


Something, someone is making you feel small again… or invisible…  or misunderstood… or victimized… or slighted….   There you are in the same old emotional soup, only this time not as helpless.  


Now, with enough personal awareness, you flip it.  No matter how justified your grievances are, you can arise to your higher adult self and buck up.  Knock the chip off your shoulder, dump the sour grapes, and spit out the bitter pill.   To end the self sabotage you must take complete responsibility for the situation you are in by becoming the person you need to be to resolve it.  Rather than stay mired in the problem, advance to the level of the solution.  


Taking responsibility helps you heal the abandonment wound that is bleeding through.  You heal it not by wallowing in the feelings, but by picking yourself up by the bootstraps and becoming proactive on your own behalf.  Nobody was there to do that for you when you were young, but now you’re an adult, capable of taking yourself in hand and becoming your own best friend and nurturer.  


Responsibility’s starting point is personal awareness.  So, when a workplace conflict has that old familiar ring to it, recognize that it is because it is replicating a past emotional experience, and that this “bleeding through” means that YOU, however unwittingly, have played a part in the conflict (through subtle forms of self-sabotage), even if your grievances are justified.  You’re not a needy child now.  You’re not a kid in high school craving approval.  You are an adult who can turn this around.  You can avail yourself of powerful tools – mental exercises – that help you flip it.  


Maybe you do have a tyrannical boss whose personal biases cause her to undervalue you.  Maybe your colleague truly does have Borderline Personality Disorder and unjustly blames everything he feels on you.  These are the externals we can’t control.  There are people out there who have disastrous personality disorders… or are incompetent but manage to smell like a rose… or who are unstable basket cases… or have authority conflicts or jealousy conflicts and put you in no win positions.  Remember, each person has his or her own issues from the past bleeding through, staining their perceptions and reactions both to you and the workplace.  


You can’t change them or will them to react differently to you.  You can only deal with yourself.  Yes, you have a right to feel miserable when you have been maligned, but remind yourself that remaining mired in the resentment only embeds you further in the victim role.    


So flip it.  Stop sabotaging yourself in the workplace.  Burst in the door filled with renewed energy, confidence, generosity, and goal-directedness.  Become who you need to be to blast through the contaminated environment and victimy miasma you’ve co-created and change the dynamic.  Seize new ground.  

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Barbara
    July 16, 2012 at 1:56 am

    This very thing happened to me 10 yrs ago. It knocked me down for a year. I am just now figuring out what happened. I havent been able to work for anyone since then, which makes choices shrink quite a bit. Now that I recognize the mechanisms within myself that caused it, I can reconstruct myself to a better place

    • August 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm

      My best to you Barbara! Please imagine me cheering for you on the sidelines 🙂

  2. Marie Wilson
    July 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Thank you soo much for that wonderful advice it hit the eaxct spot I guess you knew somebody out here needed it to hit.

    • August 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      Thank you for the comment! Nothing I like to hear more.

  3. Eleni
    September 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for that blog Susan! You know first hand how much I see myself in this scenario.

    I was unable to flip it in the end…. But it was a drawn out challenging experience to not let this overwhelm me and compromise my future — and this is where Adult and Little relationship helped me. Thank you xo

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: