Workplace Shame & Forced Accountability
November 1, 2014
Shame is a word almost all of us (sociopaths you can sit this one out) can identify with on some level and if we think back to the first we felt shame, we were very young. I was playing outside with kids in the neighborhood, some older, some younger and some my age-six, when my mother yelled, “Melayna it’s time for your nap.” I remember feeling horror, fear and then shame when everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at me and began laughing because no one I knew had to take naps but I had to, every day (amazing now I’d kill for someone to declare “Naptime!” as an adult). It ended up being fine, it gave me time to catch up with my imaginary friends, Angel and Cradle-but that’s a story for another day.
My older sister who is an amazing mother to my two newphews was having trouble with the oldest becoming fully potty trained. She’d read every book, done every trick, talked to doctors and nothing was really working long term. There was nothing medically wrong with him and nine times out of ten he left his mark just fine but it was frustrating to her and almost like a game to him. He was playing with neighborhood girls in my sister’s living room and the little girl his age saw a diaper sticking out of his pants and asked, “Are you still wearing a diaper?” Shame instinct kicked in, he adjusted his pants, lied through his baby teeth and responded with an ere of indigence, “No, diapers are for babies.” And from that moment on he was potty trained, no more accidents-at all-ever.
I’m not advocating shame as tool for potty training at all just demonstrating the power shame has over people. That type of shame and the naptime shame I felt was more a youthful embarrassment; however, in the workplace shame takes on a different form as a tool for abusers to manipulate victims. I’ve chronicled my workplace abuse and subsequent shame at nauseam on the site. Not because I want sympathy or to play “victim” (I’m actually a very private person & the decision to go public was not easy ) but as a tool to try and teach others how to identify, relate and create positive change when dealing with abuse at work.
It’s being able to transition from “victim” to “empowered survivor” that healing and true change take place. Truth and forced accountability to the abusers is start of change. I unfortunately cannot live in my full “truth” yet (I know you’re saying hypocrite right now); but, my truth would land me in federal prison (I look terrible in horizontal stripes, even oranges don’t look good in orange, and I’ve tortured my family and loved ones enough) so unless your truth would land you in federal prison what I’m writing is still applicable. And yes, you’ve read that correctly–my truth would land me in prison. (That’s certainly inconsistent and contradictory language to action) on the part of those who would engaged in such a tactic, wouldn’t you think? (And even writing this blog for the first time in U.S. History blurred those very clear cut lines for many).
As I’m not legally able to transition to “empowered survivor” just yet but by vicariously helping others in whatever small way to achieve that in their own lives has an intrinsic therapeutic value like nothing I’ve ever felt before; and, while I’m silenced I want to help give others a voice. Do not allow those who have no shame to use that against you and re-victimize you. Expose the truth to silence the shame and force accountability where it belongs back on the abuser.
Earlier today I was responding to a poster and it reminded me of a story about forced accountability in the workplace:
I also 100% agree with your friends in the industry (device/pharma) that there’s always a faction of support staff (Nurses/Hospital Staff) that will resent a rep being there or abuse that role. One of my favorite stories is a circulating nurse (usually the ones with the problem not the scrub techs who actually prep the device), didn’t know I was already in the OR and she bitched to the doctor “That stupid Stryker rep didn’t bring the tray like she was supposed to.” I quickly corrected, “The stupid Stryker rep is right her and dropped the tray off 72 hours ago and the stupid hospital misplaced it.” I had paperwork to support that I dropped it off and the hospital lost it (it was eventually found 10 minutes before the case-forcing accountability on the correct party) but many (not all) circulators like to quickly place blame without taking any accountability. The rep is the easiest and closest punching bag in the room for all the OR’s aggressions.
Facts in place regarding workplace abuse quickly expose the true problem: shifting shame off the victim and accountability back to the abuser. #StayStrongAndForceOn