I work in sales and COVID-19 has knocked our business to its knees. I fear being laid off and for many reasons can’t afford to lose my job. To keep it, I need to be upbeat, enthusiastic and motivated every day.
The problem — I’m married to an emotionally abusive husband. I stay with him for the sake of my kids. He stomps around the house every morning cussing out everything and everyone, including me. I feel like I’ve been through the wringer before I leave for the office at 7:30. Once I get to work, I put a smile on my face. It’s hard.
This morning, I snapped at a difficult customer. My boss pulled me aside and asked, “What’s up? You’re not yourself.” I wanted to answer that “myself” was an abused woman but knew that would be unprofessional in the extreme.
My co-workers also ask questions when they see me on edge, and I pretend I’m OK, because I’m afraid that if I let my guard down, I won’t be able to put it back up.
Any suggestions for how to pull it together at work — other than getting a divorce?
When you arrive at work each day, mentally leave your husband at home and rejoice with the thought that you’re on an eight-hour vacation from him. When you’re on a great vacation, you focus on what’s in front of you for the next hour or day, and leave home worries behind. This allows you to mentally renew yourself — critical because your husband depletes your energy reserves.
This strategy for preventing emotional transference from your morning into your work life only works as a short-term fix. You’re probably aware that what happened this morning with the customer signals how you really feel and that in the long run you may need to make a very different decision.
© 2020, Lynne Curry
Lynne Curry is the author of “Beating the Workplace Bully” (AMACOM, 2016) and “Solutions” (both books are rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com). Send your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.