31st January 2019 at 11:21 am #71638
Okay so this may be a long one – bear with me.
(detail removed by moderator) I was feeling particularly vulnerable after repeated cattiness in anonymous emails to my managers at work. Nothing overly serious, just petty criticism.
I confided in a friend, who is a manager (detail removed by moderator) years my senior. We were pretty close, chatted and laughed together a lot at work drinks, were generally good friends and got along well. I had a crush on him, but obviously never acted on it (he is married with a young child)
At one work event he was venting about his wife and home life and exclaimed that he and I should ‘go somewhere’. I (naively) thought he meant to another bar – until he said ‘No, I mean for a few days’.
Our friendship changed then. I told him that I didn’t want to get involved, didn’t want to be ‘the other woman’, didn’t want to cause any hurt to anyone. I never would have acted on my feelings, I didn’t want an affair.
He told me initially he understood and that that was fine but continuously pushed for us to get involved. He said everything he could, that he was obsessed with me and that he’d never felt this way, that his wife was terrible and he didn’t love her, that he couldn’t function around me, that he thought about me all the time and we could be amazing. It was difficult, indescribably difficult. I didn’t want to be painted as a husband-stealer, I didn’t want people at work to be suspicious and get the wrong idea, but I cared about him so much and tried over and over to keep a friendship.
It was a vicious cycle. I’d say I just wanted to keep it as we were, then he’d tell me some intense feeling (that he was consumed by thinking of me, that he was dead inside until he met me, hinted at a future together), he’d do something bad (tell me these things but then post photos of him and his wife together on social media, criticise my friendships with males in the office whilst he was deliberately being flirtatious with a female coworker, tell me I’d ruined his life and made him act this way and that it was my fault) and then apologise over and over and say it wouldn’t happen again (until it inevitably did)
It hurt so much. It hurt because I valued my friendship, I had feelings for him that I couldn’t act on, that he was ignoring what I wanted, that I was being so pressured. He would only attend work events if I was there (by his own admittance.)
It got worse. He tried to convince me to stay in hotels with him, that we should go away together. He told me he’d booked us a minibreak and told me I was ‘difficult’ when I said no. He’d do things to hurt me and tell me he enjoyed it when I got angry because it showed I cared.
The final straw came when he overheard that I was going on a date. He messaged saying (detail removed by moderator) and that ‘all I saw when I looked at him was a wedding ring’. He made me feel terrible, like I was doing something awful. I felt like I was under scrutiny all the time, constantly watched.
Soon after, he sent a smiling, happy photo of him and his wife (detail removed by moderator) and I just fell apart. How could he say these things to me and go home to her? How could he relentlessly exploit my feelings like this? How could he hurt me over and over?
I blocked him. I went to HR. I didn’t want to, I just didn’t know what else to do – I was so anxious that I was constantly having panic attacks and was getting unwell.
They found him to be acting inappropriately and he was given a disciplinary.
It’s been (detail removed by moderator) months since then and I still see him at work every day. I’m so conflicted. I’m angry at how he treated me, I’m upset, and yet I miss him. What is wrong with me?? How can I miss someone that treated me like that? How can I still want our friendship and his approval?
He’d message me endlessly. I’d see him all day every day at work and then we’d text all the time (nearly always instigated by him). It had been such an intense relationship, and yet we were never together. I told him I didn’t want an affair and yet feel tremendous guilt, both for his wife and for taking it to HR.
I don’t know what to do, how to handle this. It’s like I need to get over him but I was never with him in the first place. I dream about it. I’ve been in therapy for months about it. I feel humiliated, weak, totally pathetic that I’ve let someone make me feel this way.
Am I overreacting? Am I crazy? Please help. x
31st January 2019 at 12:01 pm #71641
You are in no way crazy, but his behaviour has been crazy making. Just be glad you never got into a ‘proper’ relationship with him. You were right in not becoming the other woman. Too often these relationships go nowhere, he’d have been ‘rubbing your face’ in his married relationship the same as he’d been doing, but saying he was only keeping up appearances, she means nothing to him. He didnt just want his cake, he wanted the whole bakery. You did right by going to HR, he’s a predator. He saw you liked him, he saw you struggling to not cross your boundaries but he chose to keep pushing you to do so. Well done for not giving in. Ignore him, don’t give him any emotional contact, he’s a stranger to you now, just someone you work with. These feelings will pass.
You may not feel strong yet, but you are, and you deserve someone who will care about you and respect you.
31st January 2019 at 12:21 pm #71642
Thank you, IWMB, truly, thank you. I just feel lost at the moment, I’m struggling with any sense of self-worth and I hurt.
To have someone tell you they’re crazy about you, that you’re all they ever wanted and then to consistently criticise you whilst still going home and playing happy families just played total havoc with my mind. He’d say things and deny saying them, said I was too over-sensitive or getting him wrong… it’s like my sense of reality has been warped.
I feel angry at myself that I let it happen and that I couldn’t be more assertive. I feel angry that I felt like I needed validation from him… I’m still angry now, at myself, for still being upset over it.
I have to remind myself that people who truly care about you don’t act like that, don’t treat you like that. It’s exhausting and I’m so tired 🙁
31st January 2019 at 3:14 pm #71650
No experience is wasted if we learn from it. You’ve just had an important life lesson. That evil manipulation comes from the most unlikely sources. You met an abuser. Someone who gets thrills out of abusing others. Google Gaslighting. He’s lucky you didn’t report his behaviour to the police and only to HR. This is how married men begin affairs and keep them going with false promises. Push and pull behaviour which leaves us totally confused. Try looking at some YouTube videos on narcissists. It must be awful having to see him at work but your self confidence and self esteem will return and you will see him for what he really is x
31st January 2019 at 3:24 pm #71651
It might be worth looking up Triangulation involving narcissistic behaviour. They do this to boost their self esteem as many of them have the need to feed from others energy supplies and also to play you off against each other. It sounds ridiculous but I was flabbergasted when I found out about this as I believed I was lacking in some way. They actually seek out people who appear vulnerable! xx best wishes diy
31st January 2019 at 4:48 pm #71664
Thank you both… I’m finding it so, so hard.
I feel like my feelings were completely ignored and dismissed in his pursuit for what he wanted. I feel as though our friendship was never genuine from his side and he’s excellent at being manipulative and saying what people want to hear.
HR has been completely taken in by his victim act, I spoke to her today and she told me AGAIN that (detail removed by moderator) – would someone who cared for me have done this??
She said he was ‘very apologetic’ until I pointed out he’d apologised to her, not me. He’d told her that he was sorry for any hurt he’d caused but I just know he doesn’t actually feel any remorse. She seems so swayed by everything he said, to the point that she interjected with (detail removed by moderator)
But he IS married!! That’s the point! That’s the whole issue!
I just don’t know how to get through this or how to get my self-worth back. I don’t want to leave my job, I love it here, I’m just struggling so much.
31st January 2019 at 8:00 pm #71683
To be honest you’ve dodged the bullet. It’s probably best to ignore him as is the best and only way with a man like this. The problem with your manager is she’s been completely hoovered in by him, by the sounds of it. Coming across other people’s ignorance is the worst. Your obviously very intelligent you see him for what he is. Rise above it because your worth so much more xx 💕 💕 DIY
31st January 2019 at 9:03 pm #71688
Hi there, I totally second what DIY said. He doesn’t deserve any more of your time, you really are so astute as to have seen through him. I wish I’d seen through my husband as quickly as you have this man. The woman at HR has no idea about these men or even people like him. Until she has actual dealings with someone like that she’ll just not get it. You really are so much better than him, rise above it, but what I would advise is keep a journal of his behaviour just in case he tries to turn people against you, make sure you’re never alone with him, these men are so clever, manipulative and very very likeable until crossed. Maybe even contact your local WA, they might be able to give you more insight. I can’t tell you how proud I am to know that your morals and boundaries are so important to you and you didn’t let this man wear you down. Very best wishes, be kind to yourself my friend.
1st February 2019 at 7:45 am #71700
Thank you both so much ❤️
I can’t tell you how much it means to speak to people who understand, who know just how much this kind of behaviour can impact your mental health and sense of self worth and how frustrating it can be seeing others not know what they’re really like.
I know I need to just ignore him and not let it get to me but I don’t know how to do that yet, especially when I have to see him daily, as well as knowing HR are on his side.
I will try my best not to doubt myself and not to let him affect me, it’s just still very raw right now and I keep going over it all in my head.
Thank you for being here xx
1st February 2019 at 8:17 am #71701
I think going to your GP and recording your feelings and asking for counselling would be a good idea. Even if it’s just for your own protection for the future should his behaviour escalate. He will want you to be of the same opinion of him as it makes him look bad if you’re ‘outing’ his behaviour. Think of these men as wearing a mask. Stick to your truth. You know what happened and how it made you feel. Think of a rock in a choppy sea of lies. Hang on tightly to that rock and don’t let go. You might want to look at mindfulness to distract your from the intrusive thoughts your having. They are normal as the brain tries to work out just what the hell happened but can be overwhelming x
2nd February 2019 at 9:42 pm #71781EbonyRavenParticipant
He used you as supply, and also to ‘triangulate’. If you had capitulated he’d probably have got bored and done the same all over with another woman. It’s such a heady thing a relationship with a person like that, it causes addictive chemicals to be released in your body.
You have done the right things, absolutely. Stand tall, he’ll give himself and his ways away at some point. It’s horrible to lose what you thought was a great friendship as well.
I understand totally because my husband was that man. Not literally of course, but near as could be. He had an emotional affair with a work colleague, that drove me crazy. They would text back and forth all day, every day and well into the night. If we were talking and her special text noise went off he’d just turn away and answer the text, no matter how important the topic of conversation was, in the middle of my sentences. He totally refused to turn off the text noise or vibration, so they would wake me over and over again every night. He even once stopped sex to answer a text, saying it’d just keep going off if he didn’t.
He would talk about them going places ‘as friends’, to see bands I hate for example, and having to stay overnight, but it never happened. Probably because she wouldn’t. He’d also tell me I should be more like her in many ways. That she understood him better than I did, cared for him more, was more affectionate (‘as friends’) etc. etc.
He even discussed changing jobs with her before even mentioning it to me. He told me I couldn’t possibly understand like she did, and had no remorse about discussing how our lives would be affected with someone else first. He would tell me partners weren’t invited to work events, but his workmates social media told another story.
He also discussed our marriage with her, our intimate moments, and totally unforgivably, told her some things I’d told him in confidence before I knew better, that he knew I didn’t want anyone else to know of.
When I said how unhappy the whole thing made me he’d tell me it was my fault. If only I’d paid him more attention, been home more, was thinner, larger, etc. My mother was dying at this time, and I work full time.
I think she may have pulled the plug on him in the end, because it all stopped and he went on a massive binge.
From what you’ve said there I can see this man was already trying to isolate you, and make you his property, as well as doing things just to get a reaction from you. Be proud of yourself, you are far far better than he can ever hope to be.
3rd February 2019 at 5:58 pm #71835
I’m so sorry that happened to you, I can’t imagine how hurtful and frustrating that must have been. I’m so sorry for every woman who has gone through this but I can’t even tell you how relieved it makes me that you understand what I’m going through.
It’s so hard and it really does make you feel as though you’re going crazy, especially when you miss them. It’s the most isolating feeling. Sometimes I feel like I can’t even leave the house! (Then I get angry at myself for feeling that way)
Seeing him in the office is difficult but I know I need to find a way to make peace with it. I can’t let him take that away from me, I won’t be driven out of my job.
I’m seeing a counsellor and she’s helping but I’m still battling with depression massively. I absolutely fell to pieces this week and cried harder than I have in months. I felt suicidal. I feel as though pieces of me have been taken away and I don’t feel like myself.
I know a lot of people are concerned and deeply care about me, my friends, my family, my colleagues (bar the HR woman who’s been taken in by his lies) but I just don’t know how to pull myself out of feeling like this – humiliated, betrayed, weak, pathetic. How do I move past this and not let him completely erode my sense of self worth? What can I do to realign my confidence and move past the feelings of weakness and embarrassment?
I am so thankful to each and every one of you who are taking the time to write and to help me. You are all wonderful and I am indescribably grateful x
3rd February 2019 at 6:35 pm #71836
Try to understand that this was never your fault. You did nothing wrong. If you carry his guilt and embarrassment then he won’t have to. What he did was a dreadful abuse of trust and of his position as your senior manager. If there is someone higher up than the HR lady then I would take it further. Take it to someone more senior. You should not have to face this man on a daily basis. Can he be transferred to another department? If not I would ask for some time off to regroup. If your company has health insurance then access that for counselling. I found that taking back the power andcontrol is what helped me move on. From what I’ve heard from you he has had zero accountability.
6th February 2019 at 11:02 am #71934
Yeah, it was a massive slap in the face for HR to tell me it seemed like he really cared because it’s simply not the case – his behaviour was obsessive and aggressive, not caring.
I’m trying to find peace with it and move forward but obviously it isn’t that simple, you can’t flip a switch and forget it all or how you were treated and how trapped you feel.
I spoke to my manager about it recently (I couldn’t during the HR investigation) and she was very understanding and very disappointed/annoyed with how it was handled (he didn’t have to apologise to me and I never had the chance to talk to him about it or tell him how it made me feel)
It angers me that the moment it stopped being a ‘fun game’ for him, a secret, some twisted little fantasy, that he just shrugged it off and went back to normality and his family while I was left to struggle.
I’m trying to take it day by day and not throw myself into a victim mentality – some days I’m okay and some days I’m upset… I suppose it’s just a case of time
6th February 2019 at 3:03 pm #71938
Hi honeybeewings, you’re posts are starting to sound stronger. You’re doing really well, I suppose it is a learning curve and now you know how these men can work you’ll be able to avoid them in the future. He drfinately shouted he want a friend, as friends don’t treat each other like that. I’m glad your manager saw through him. Unfortunately the HR lady was hoodwinked by him. I hope she never had to go through what you did. It’s a hard way to learn not to take people at face value isn’t it.
Best wishes and keep listening to your gut when it comes to your boundaries. I found looking at what my basic human rights are and writing them down reiterates what I find acceptable to me.
8th February 2019 at 9:55 am #72001
Thank you xx
I have decided to take some time off so that I can have a mental reset. I need it. I had no idea it would hit me so hard to see him just settle back into the office so happy and not having an ounce of care or remorse – but I need to accept that.
I need to be able to work and socialise and be present without panicking or wanting to cry or feeling like I’ve been punched in the stomach every time I see him.
If anyone has any advice on how I can let go of the anger/hurt and sense of ‘it’s not fair’ it would be much appreciated!
I just want peace and to be as completely indifferent as he is and be able to just be happy without constantly going over it in my head, I know that’s not healthy for me.
As always, thank you for listening x
8th February 2019 at 10:36 am #72005
What ive recently learned about anger is you need to vent it no amount of crying apparently can vent the emotion of anger. You have the right to be angry he has violated your trust and you as a person. Its your dignity that’s making you feel so bad. Punching pillows, taking vigorous excercise or writing it all down is supposed to help. I know in America people are signing up to smash up cars in scrap yards! 🙂 Time will heal this too its just a case of finding a way to work through your feelings. I tend to attract womanising men, for me im beginning to see that charming men are a red flag. My dad always said all that glitters aint gold 🙂 I wish I had listened now xx There are good men out there I believe xx hope your ok diy x
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.