2020 marks the 20th year that I've been making most of my living as a writer. Although, during that time, I had a couple of other gigs here and there, all of them allowed me to work from home, with no micromanaging and very limited drama. Amen. Praise the Lord! Yet as I was sitting here and reflecting on what life was like when I did have full-time gigs, I have to admit that, in some cases, the title of this article is what motivated me to get the hell out of those offices. Emotional abuse? It is the absolute worst. Problem is, I'm not sure if a lot of us even stop to consider that it's something that could possibly be happening at our place of employment; especially between us and our manager, supervisor or boss.
Before showing you some of the telltale signs of it, I'll already say that if a part of you is "triggered" at the mere thought of being abused in this fashion, that is probably your first clue that something unhealthy is going on. Then I'll follow that up by saying, if even three of the signs check out, you really should consider an exit strategy.
If you have no clue how to go about doing that, I've got a little present for you. It comes in the form of a YouTube video entitled "I Saved $20,000 And Quit My Full-Time Job To Be 'Funemployed'". The video is totally worth your time to watch but the gist is this—a woman who goes by Evelyn From The Internets shared her definition of funemployed. It's "being unemployed on purpose". In her sixteen-minutes-and-some-change totally entertaining share, Evelyn talks about wanting to leave her full-time gig and how she saved enough money (I believe it was in a year) so that she didn't have to go from one stress-filled job to another. Or, as it relates to this article, one emotionally abusive corporate situation into another.
With articles out in cyberspace like "Why Are Workers Quitting Their Jobs in Record Numbers?" and "85% of People Hate Their Jobs, Gallup Poll Says", I'd venture to say that more than a few are victims of emotional abuse in the workplace. They and you deserve better. So sis, if you see these red flags, perhaps 2020 is the year for you to become funemployed (with the operative word, finally, being "fun"). And just what are the signs of an emotionally abusive boss?
I mean, really. Is there anything more insulting than being hired for a position, only to have someone breathing down your neck to make sure that you do your job? Why did they hire you if all they were going to do was send you an incessant amount of emails, make you do daily reports (that is really nothing more than mere busywork) and find a way to complain about each and every little thing that you try and complete?
Just like there is such a thing as helicopter parenting, there is also such a thing as having a helicopter boss. They are the kinds of people who have an office full of adults, but you would think that they are in a daycare full of children. You didn't sign up to be patronized, condescended or constantly followed-up on. So yes, if your boss is a micro-manager, this is just one indication that you are being emotionally abused at work.
They Are Big Time Gas Lighters
I can take a lot of things, boy. But if there's one thing that irks me to absolutely no end, it's a gas lighter. They are the kind of people who are master manipulators. They pull it off by withholding information or distorting facts in such a way that when you bring a matter to their attention, they are so cryptic that you end up feeling like you're confused or you are totally losing your mind.
How do you know if your boss is a grade-A gas lighter? Do they deny doing or saying something that you know for a fact that they did or said? Did the two of you come to a mutual agreement about something, only for them to suddenly renege? Are they hypocrites in the sense that they expect more from you than they do of themselves? Do they tell little "white lies" or cut corners often enough that you start to feel drained and unable to do your best work? Whenever you address any of this, do they claim to understand, only for you to end up with more work or for other staff members to give you the cold shoulder (probably because your boss has been slick-talking about you)?
Gaslighting sucks because sometimes it can be hard to put your finger on it. But if you just read all of that and you had to fight the urge to jump up out of your seat in agreement, 1) you are the victim of a gas lighter and 2) it is definitely a form of emotional abuse.
They Constantly Shift Blame
It's one thing to go above what's expected of you because you feel inspired to do it. It's another to have to refer to your job description, at least twice a week, because it seems like you're doing so much more than what you were initially hired to do.
Doing your best is one thing. Doing three other people's jobs while only getting paid for yours is something entirely different. If your desk is full of other people's responsibilities, if you can't remember the last time you got home at a decent hour or it seems like you're stressed out and overwhelmed at the mere thought of walking into the office every day, not only is this a clue that your boss is probably taking advantage of you, you are most definitely being emotionally abused (especially if you bring all of this up to them and they blow you off).
They Take Credit That They Don’t Deserve
We all know that when we work for a company, there are going to be times when we don't get the credit that we deserve. That's actually why a lot of people become entrepreneurs—they don't want all of their skills and ingenuity to go into building someone else's dreams; they would much rather build up their own. But it's one thing to not get your just due every once in a while. It's another matter entirely when your intellectual property, blood, sweat and tears are things that your boss puts their name on rather than yours on a regular basis. Not only is it shady as hell, but it's a low-key form of stealing.
Please don't think that just because you work for a business that not getting credit for the work that you do should automatically come with the territory. No matter how many companies might like their employees to think so, it's foul and yep, you guessed it—it's also pretty darn abusive.
They Are Passive Aggressive
This is another trait that drives me up the wall. Do you get backhanded compliments like, "You did so much better on this than I thought you would"? Is your boss's humor really hard to read? When you try and receive feedback from them, is it so unclear that you're exhausted after meeting with them or reading their emails? Does it feel like you never receive clear instructions? Do they spend—and by that, I mean waste—a lot of time exerting their authority by enforcing petty and pointless rules? Are they really warm to you on one day and cold as ice the next?
If so, none of this is normal behavior; it doesn't matter how used to it you've become. And if there's a part of you that wonders why someone would go through the drama of being passive aggressive, typically it's because it's the kind of behavior that is easier rationalize (at least in their own minds) over being frank or direct (which could lead to confrontation). Yes, it's exhausting, but since it's hard to pinpoint what a passive aggressive person is doing, they can keep triggering you without directly being seen—or reported—as being a bad guy or girl.
Passive aggressive can push someone into becoming aggressive. That is why it made this particular list.
They’ve Got a Selective Memory
They told you that you could take Friday off. Then when Thursday rolls around, they give you a ton of work that's due by Monday. During a staff meeting, assignments are clearly delegated. Oh, but a week later, you get an email about doing something that was never previously discussed. You schedule a meeting with your supervisor because you are interested in a position that was recently posted in-housed. They agree to keep you in mind but then hire someone who has never worked for the company before. And, to all of these things, your boss comes at you on some, "Oh…did we discuss that? I don't recall."
While there are times when that might be the case, just like it is your responsibility to remember to come to work on time and remember to do your job, it is your boss's responsibility to remember to keep their word. A selective memory is a not-so-low-key sign of a lack of respect. Who can remain in a healthy and productive relationship with anyone who doesn't respect them?
They Threaten Your Position. Regularly.
Another example of an emotionally abusive boss is they try and intimidate you. An example of this is them constantly making you feel like if you don't comply with all of the examples of emotional abuse that I just shared—or if you decide to tell the higher ups about these things—they will cause you to lose your job—or they will make you so miserable that you will up and quit.
If this is what you feel is going on, again, watch the video about how to be funemployed. Then put an exit strategy together that consists of—saving money; looking for another position; keeping record of how you are being mistreated; identifying how they trigger you (so that you can work on deactivating them); setting boundaries (do your job well but also be OK with saying no to doing tons more for nothing in return) and getting totally off of the clock once you leave the office.
Emotional abuse, of any kind, is something you shouldn't have to experience. Never assume that, just because it's happening at your place of employment and that you are getting a check in return, your boss is justified. They are not. Abuse is abuse. Simple as that.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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