I planned to keep it professional, even though I'm not good at that. I'm one of six employee's at a very small company. We all work from home and primarily communicate by online chat and video calls. I've known the owner for something like 15 years, though only worked for him for about a year. They are all Good People. I carefully crafted a message to the owner, being obtuse and what I imagine a mature corporate professional adult would say (though I really don't know), something like: I'm going through a very difficult time and in the process of something that's sort of like grieving and am not going to be effective at work for at least a week. I need more self care, like walking in the woods with my daughter or baking unnecessary pies. I've tried to hold it together but really can't hold it together by the early afternoon. I'm happy if you want to cut my pay in half. I don't want to go on vacation, I like working and don't want to give that up, but also understand if you want me to take time off an come back when this is over.
And he was so super nice and said take all the time I need. And to write to my manager boss, who I've only known since starting to work here. Which I did, much the same message, and he wanted to video chat. I was of course worried since I know he's a nice person, as much as one can see through remote work, but I'm really no good at filters. What comes out of my mouth at any moment tends to be exactly what I am thinking. I don't mind this outside of work, but I'm always conscious it could be a huge problem with work. I've tried to grow up and learn filters or bending words, but it's really not natural to me. In group settings I usually decide to "not talk" if I think it isn't appropriate, but 1-on-1 there's no space to be silent.
I started the video call sort of repeating the same thing I sent by text, carefully crafted to be 'professional'. But he said he's also a person, a human, and related that once he had someone report to him who also went through difficult periods, and they still stay in touch and are friends. This person's daughter had a complicated medical condition, which my daughter also does -- especially with Corona -- and I've related the barest details of that with our groups casual style of communication. He said he's here for me and grateful for me to share with him and etc. Anyways after a little bit and confirming he actually wanted to hear what it is I said something like "Ok, I don't know the polite way to say this but I was raped for half my childhood, and my sibling who was also abused, and I've told to not talk to me about it, last week talked to me about it. And every time I learn more about this horrible story, that I don't even want to know more about because it's hard enough to be happy with what I already know, it throws me into a new period of profound sadness and grieving." And then we talked for maybe five minutes longer, where he complemented my work output in the last year and me as a person and said take all the time or vacation I need, whatever three weeks is fine, and I said something like "I don't want to give up with normal life and will do half days, I am really not comfortable pretending I am working full time when I am stopping at noon" and he said that's fine. I also said that my friends are amazing, that I am not one to hide or say everything is fine when it's not, so I get plenty of support from them.
I guess I just want to share that maybe(?), even though it is probably a super bad idea, it maybe has worked out to be honest and transparent. I don't know if this will only be a week or two, that's what I hope. It's been that and much worse in the past. But my new idea is to self care. Also I need to text my sibling about boundaries. I so completely don't want this BS now or probably ever.
I feel like this is maybe success. I don't know yet. But my wife is so supportive (she has hugged me tight through so many of my fits of crying or barely coherent conversation), and my daughter is too -- though she doesn't know what I am sad about or the depths of it. Our neighbors gave us a little sailing dinghy they didn't want (I don't know why they gave it to us), and tomorrow afternoon our plan (when I am, like, without reservation off work) is to sail to a deserted island nearby and go swimming. I'm really looking forward to that and time with her. We sailed for an afternoon this weekend, she drove and I just looked at the water, and though I worried about breaking down and crying in front of her, I didn't, and it was so fun to just see this teenage person become, like, a person, or who they are.
Maybe this will turn out bad. I don't know. But now, somehow, I own it. It's me. Mistake or not, it's mine. We can't afford, yet, for me to be fired. But whatever. It will work out. And, after a whole childhood of pretending everything is fine, when it's very definitely not, I'm kind of relieved to not do that. And if they fire me, whatever, that's on their karma. They pushed for information, and I gave it, but I am completely not ashamed. I've learned from group therapy, and you all here, that I am normal. I am having a completely normal, human, reaction to what happened, and dealing with it the absolute best way that I can. If that's not enough for any person, then f them.
Though holy crap is it hard to share with a new person. I dissociated, which is a thing I do, and still am doing that. It's so frigging hard to be casual or "ideal" or "perfect" (though I disagree with how our society defines those words), especially in this weird situation of boss/employee. These conversations were both a step forward and backwards. I am so stressed out. But whatever. I have like thirty years of experience handling stress, and this is nothing compared to actively being assaulted or confronting my daughter dying at any moment.
Also, you all are so great. In these difficult periods, I don't know where I'd be without you all.