I have several clients who have come to me in the past couple of years with what one called “The Bully Boss Syndrome.” Each one tells their story through wads of Kleenex. Each one describes a career life full of dedication and hard work until one day they find themselves at the mercy of a manager, supervisor, or foreman who does not understand that applying pressure and the use of fear tactics will not bring out the best in their employee. Some of these clients have even come to see me after they filed for FMLA or short-term disability and on anti-anxiety meds. prescribed by their family doctor. It brings me great satisfaction to watch these clients gain an understanding of how their own thinking is what ultimately troubles them; that no-one, can take away a person’s well-being, only their thinking can. And with this shift in perspective, often comes a shift in the way the boss relates to my client.
Sam entered my office looking anxious and angry. He admitted that he felt paranoid at work; a job he had held with no problems for almost 30 years. He felt like he had to always be on guard, because his foreman seemed to look for any reason to reprimand him, as though he was trying to find a reason to fire him. Sam only had a few years before retirement and wanted to ensure he could leave with a full pension. On the fifth session Sam looked like a totally different person, relaxed and happy.
He told me that his boss had needed help with a project and the first thought that occurred to him was along the lines of:
“Over my dead body, why would I help someone who has caused me so much heartache.”
Then his next thought was, well why not; he is mistaken about me and doesn’t recognize my abilities, but I like helping people and I’d rather take the high-road.”
Sam said that he knew to go with the second thought because it felt so much better to him than the first, as though it came from a deeper wisdom and not his conditioned thinking. It turned out very well for Sam; his boss even expressed his appreciation for his help and treats him well now. Sam realized that anything can happen in the future but there was no sense thinking about that now! He now had an understanding about human nature that would carry him through whatever could occur in the future.