My boss has Borderline Personality Disorder – Part 2

Every month the amount of people coming to the blog to find out how to deal with their BPD boss grows. For every one of you coming here to try to find out how to deal with someone that has BPD I want to hug you! Part of that may be my overly sensitive emotions and tendency towards inappropriate relationships, but more so it’s because I can see you’re going through a difficult time with someone you’re stuck with all day. That is an extremely difficult thing to deal with.

Something I mention in my first post about this topic is that you can’t change the person. That if it gets too bad then maybe look for a new job. Which is entirely unfair. I can hear the “that’s ridiculous!” and “That’s unfair!” and “Why should I be the one to change?!” screams coming through as I read my own words. And to these I respond, “yes” and “it is” and “you shouldn’t”. So why then do I leave that advice there?

The fact is we can’t control other people. We can only control ourselves. I’m not saying that the tough manager shouldn’t be held responsible. Everyone should be held responsible for their actions. But you can’t control your boss any more than I can control you. So then the question may come up of why their manager isn’t doing something about it. Maybe you can’t control them, but certainly their boss can hold them responsible, right? To which I argue, who says they’re not?

I recently fired someone, and ya know what? It took over a year. In a large corporation an HR department needs strong documentation of what the issue is, how it effects the team, how it effects the business, and proof that the employee has been made aware and given all necessary tools to change. If that can be proven and the changes have not been made, then the person can be let go. I was stuck in a situation where the employee did not work in the same office as me and I had to rely on others to provide feedback. If they didn’t then I had nothing to go off of. I needed proof that the employee was not improving despite the additional discussions, warnings, and trainings she had received. There were people who wondered why I wasn’t doing anything, but refused to provide feedback at the same time. I was doing site visits, asking for feedback, documenting everything possible. I was assigning training classes, following up, and more. I was stuck with a system that needed people to speak to me and people that refused to speak.

The manager of your BPD manager might be doing things that you aren’t aware of. Maybe they’re tying to document and people aren’t speaking up. Maybe they don’t know. Maybe they’re in process providing new trainings and looking to see if it helps. We don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors. We can’t assume.

So along with taking ownership of your actions, make sure to document things and speak to your bosses boss when needed. Do so tactfully and in detail. Don’t speak on mental illness, that will make things far messier. Instead speak on specific examples of things that took place. It may take time to see improvement, but that doesn’t mean that the person isn’t being held responsible for their actions.

Here’s some examples of how to provide feedback:

Instead of “She just doesn’t understand boundaries” say “I stated last week that I am uncomfortable with her hugging, and yet she has continued to hug me.” Notice how the first statement is vague and could mean she walked past you too close for all we know. That will barely get a reaction from the big boss. The second statement, however, is an ethics violation and potentially sexual harassment. The person you report that to has to immediately follow up with some form of action.

Instead of “She has a bad temper” say “She began yelling at me in front of the team yesterday. I felt embarrassed and struggled to focus on my work the rest of the day.” The first statement could be her temper or your thin skin, no way for an outside party to know. The second statement is clearly her reacting poorly to a situation in a way that negatively impacted your work and employee moral. The first statement makes a manger want to say “work it out” while the second is likely to prompt a verbal warning if it’s the first documented offense or written warning if it’s been documented before.

Sometimes this still won’t make things change. I don’t know why, I’m not there. And it may still come to a point where you have to leave because the environment isn’t getting better. I get that. I’ve been there. I had a boss that had extremely high turnover and had a way of making her boss believe that it was because she had developed them for great things, when everyone who worked for her knew it’s because we’re all trying to get away from her. I attempted to provide feedback, my manager knew I might so never had anything in email. It was my word against hers and hers always won. I tried to switch teams and was told that I needed to learn how to work with others, and would not be allowed to work for anyone else. Meanwhile this boss was treating me and many others horribly. I left the company. They lost my skills and experience because of her. I was not the first, nor will I be the last. Last I heard from a previous coworker, her relationship with her boss doesn’t seem to be quite the same. She’s not on such a high pedestal, she’s not getting to run her team however she wants anymore, and her work is being more closely monitored. Enough people provided enough similar, and constructive, feedback that it’s finally being looked into. But not until after I had to get out.

Also keep in mind the potential for your boss to change. I recently called an employee “sweetie”. A habit of mine outside the office that accidentally slipped at the office. He reported it to my boss who mentioned it to me. Not only am I being more careful what I say to him, I am more careful what I say in general. I need to change to ensure my team feels comfortable at work. Whether the change is before or after an employee leaves, it is possible.

I’m wishing you all the best in your career! Please remember that things can get better and less stressful even if it requires tough choices to be made.

Children are so beautifully blind

Been at storefronts selling popcorn with my cub scout this weekend, and his blindness to the prejudice of the world is so apparent as he sells. He speaks the same to everyone regardless of color, gender, or age. He doesn’t care if you’re autistic or going by in a wheelchair. He doesn’t notice you wearing a uniform that says you’re working there rather than shopping there. He even tried to sell to two homeless men over the course of the weekend.

I didn’t stop him, I didn’t say anything. As he tried to sell a $20 bag of popcorn to a homeless man today, I just watched. I didn’t answer for the man or get in the way. He politely said no, my son said thanks, I smiled at them both. I knew he didn’t have the money to buy scout popcorn, but I also knew he did have the right to speak for himself. My son sold popcorn to anyone willing to buy, he spoke to everyone the same, he knew nothing of the “groupings” of society.

I am so proud of my scout, and I realized today just how much I can learn from him.

🌈 Come share your story 🌈

I am a firm believer in equality. So often I feel that I am not doing enough to support it though. I live in a way to treat people equally, I teach my kids to do the same. But I want to do more. I don't have much to offer in support, but I do have a blog. So I am asking you to share your story through a guest post. Right now I am focusing on the LGBTQ community as they are facing tremendous discrimination right now. The legal equality we have fought for is being taken away.

If you would like to share your story go to the contact section of the site and send me a message asking to write a post. I'll email you back so you can send me your guest post. I'm doing it this way for privacy reasons and also to help me keep organized.

You can speak to discrimination you've faced, support and love you've received, your story of coming out, or maybe you aren't ready to come out and would like to post anonymously what you can't yet say elsewhere.

You will have the choice of posting your name or remaining anonymous. If you have a blog I'd be happy to include the link in the post, or simply send me a message through the contact section with a link to one of your own posts you would like me to reblog.

If you simply want to leave a quick comment here you are welcome to do so. But if you want to share your story or blog I ask that you please send me a private message first because I want you to have your own post. I don't want you lost in a line of comments, I want you to have the space and focus you deserve.

Love you all! Namaste – I bow to the divine in you

Wishing you lots of coffee

I have studied the points of the Women’s March and 100% believe in this cause. What I love beyond all else is the inclusivity of it. The aim is for equality of ALL PEOPLE. And I adore you for that.

I cannot be there with you, and for that I am sorry. But I support this cause every day as I know you all do too. I am a manager in a large corporation, and am very close to finishing a business degree. I fight for my rights as a woman, and as a person with mental illness. I fight for equality of others even if I do not have the privilege of being of the same race, religion, gender, or orientation. I love you all and support equality for all.

Thank you for marching. Thank you for fighting for our rights every day. Thank you for those who cannot be there but continue to support the cause in anyway they can. I wish you all the best, and many cups of warm coffee on your cold march.

Teaching my kids about Martin Luther King Jr

As my kids rejoice at having a 3 day weekend, I asked if they know why. “It’s Martin Luther King’s birthday!” explained my 7 year old. He proceeded to explain that Martin Luther King had a dream that he told people about, and that he lead a march. He understood this was history and that it was somehow important, but you could tell it didn’t quite click. So I thought I’d take this chance to teach my kids about prejudice and about fighting it.

I reminded them that me and daddy have different colors of skin. If we were living during that time, daddy would have had to use different water fountains and restrooms, he would have lived in different neighborhoods with less resources. I explained that we couldn’t have been married, or that if we had, people would hate us, yell at us, hurt us. I reminded my sons of the voting ballet I recently reviewed with them and explained that people with darker skin wouldn’t have been able to vote, or if the did it would count for less.

I could see it starting to sink in what people faced in those times and I pulled up images of the riots. I said “this is how some people tried to fight. There was violence, guns, things got broken, people were hurt, some people died. That is not what made the change” I then pulled up images of the march “this is what Martin Luther King did to fight. This is what made a change and what we celebrate. They are standing there peacefully. This is how we make changes.”

I then pointed out one more thing in the images “look at the white people in the march. They had the rights that black people did not, but they stood with them because they believed in equality. We should always stand for equality even if we are not the ones being treated bad.” 

I explained that there is still prejudice now. That up until last year gay people couldn’t get married, and that they should have the same right to get married that me and daddy do. I explained that a there were times in other places that Christians weren’t allowed to go to church and pray, that Grandma and Grandpa would have had to pray in secret. And that we face that here now with Muslims who are feared so treated badly. 

My son asked me why muslims would be treated bad when they are so nice. So we discussed that in every group some people are not nice, and that causes fear. Fear is causing people to not see how nice most of the muslims are.

It is hard to know that we still have to fight for equality. That Martin Luther King Jr’s fight is not done, his dream is not yet fully realized. But it is beautiful to see that my sons so fully believe that all should be treated equally and that the majority of people are nice. Perhaps it is through us teaching our children that each generation makes progress. My family with stand peacefully for equality, and I can’t wait to see the progress that I am believing for.