Quitting job with uBPD boss whom I'm close to. Advice?

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woundedpuppy

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Quitting job with uBPD boss whom I'm close to. Advice?
« on: March 03, 2018, 08:05:35 PM »
Hi, first-time poster. I'll try not to write a novel here, but I could really use some advice.

I've worked at the same job for 15 years. I was hired right out of high school by my boss. The position was meant to be a stepping stone, I was supposed to work part-time while I completed college and then move on. I excelled at the job, and became my boss's "golden boy" -- eventually dropping out of college to work for her full-time. My boss loves to 'collect' people and get deeply involved in their lives, and I allowed her to do this with me. My reasoning at the time was that she was a good friend, and it was also job security.

I'm a self-identified highly sensitive person (HSP) and I tend to be conflict-avoidant and a people pleaser. After the initial euphoria of having a young, productive worker wore off for my boss, her behavior began to change. I just figured she was having a hard time with a toxic marriage and constant drama in her personal life and simply wasn't able to check her emotions at the door when she came in for work. I found that I was able to play the role of therapist and keep her calm, which seemed at the time to be a good idea. It kept the office at peace. It also turned me into her security blanket.

Over time I've realized she exhibits a lot of markers in common with BPD. I unfriended her on Facebook because she was hounding me about work projects when I was off the clock, and constantly using benign social media posts against me when I couldn't meet the deadlines she swore she told me about but never did. The day she discovered the unfriending, she locked herself in her office for the rest of the day and wouldn't speak to anyone. She's deliberately left the office without me when we were supposed to work together offsite, and then later accused me of "abandoning the team". She gets jealous that my technical skills are above hers, even though I utilize them to make her and our department valuable to the organization. As you can imagine, the laundry list goes on.

My lightbulb moment came when we were spending the week at an industry convention. I was instructing staff back at the office on how to do something, when she came into my hotel room unannounced, and said that I was "taking too long". She forcefully took charge of the situation, and I let her. When I calmly interrupted because she gave incorrect information to the staff back home, she yelled at me to "CALM THE **** DOWN". I didn't speak after that, until she was leaving my room.

"I know we can sometimes get pissy with each other," she said to me.

I replied in a very calm, even tone of voice: "Please don't speak to me that way again."

She proceeded to blow up and start screaming at me. All I could do was silently stare at her until she stormed off in a huff. The next afternoon, I ended up next to her in the hotel lobby as we were checking out. She immediately grabbed me in a hug and jubilantly declared to the front desk staffer, "we had an argument but it's all good now!"

She tells this story to people as testament to our close bond, claiming that we got into a shouting match with each other. I've never once raised my voice to her in my life.

I have decided that my well-being is more important than this job, and it's time for me to move on. I've almost got another job lined up, but I'm consumed with dread about having the "I quit" conversation with her. She has severe abandonment issues and I know I'm going to immediately become "evil" in her mind when I tell her I'm leaving. I absolutely hate conflict, and these situations are extremely difficult for me to cope with. What's more, though her borderline behavior causes me great distress, I genuinely care about her and consider her a really good friend. In rare moments of clarity, she'll admit to not being good at controlling her emotions, but it's become clear that she's not motivated to seek help and change is not likely.

I've never had a job before this one, and I'm really concerned that if she's ever consulted as a reference, that she will say something to sabotage me as revenge for 'abandoning' her. Further, I'm concerned she's going to make my final working days a living hell in retaliation.

Any advice on how to have this difficult, but necessary conversation would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 08:12:20 PM by woundedpuppy »

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Thru the Rain

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Re: Quitting job with uBPD boss whom I'm close to. Advice?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2018, 10:14:18 PM »
Hi woundedpuppy,

I have quit many jobs over my career and it's always hard. Believe it or not, it can be even harder when you have a solid relationship with a manager you respect.

Here are my recommendations for a non-confrontational, drama-free resignation:

1. Use the "pull the bandaid off" approach. Don't tip your hand until the moment you are ready to hand in your notice. No hints to your boss, coworkers - no one at work.

2. Keep your written resignation emotionless and bland. I've used essentially the same script for years:

"This notice is to inform you that I will be leaving my position at XZY company. I am giving 2 weeks notice, and my last day will be mm/dd/yyyy. 

Sincerely,
WoundedPuppy"

I can absolutely assure you, that is the full text of my resignation letter from jobs early in my career to today. And companies keep these letters on file. I've returned to former companies when conditions have been right, and I was always welcomed back because I didn't use my resignation letter to air my complaints.

3. You don't owe anyone a complete (or any) answer to the common questions. I've listed some and suggestions of how to respond:

- Why are you leaving?  **I've learned so much here at ABC, and now I'm ready for a new challenge**

- Where are you going?  **I'm still working out details.** 
And even if you've accepted a new job, you are likely still working out details - like what route will you take to commute and so on. You don't owe anyone the information about where you're going - not even HR.

- From your boss: I thought we were friends! **Yes, we're still friends, and I'm pursuing my career**  (What you mean by "friend" and what she means by "friend" are already two different definitions. You will be calling her a "friend" by your definition.)

4. Try to work through all the "exit" details with HR, not your boss. Get them to give you receipts when you turn in your badge, computer, etc. Date, signature, printed name and title of the person receiving your items. (Type up these receipts in advance if your company doesn't operate this way.) It sounds like your boss may get vindictive, and having proof of your appropriate behavior may save you a huge headache down the road.


And finally, I have a link to the blog of Liz Ryan, founder of Human Workplace: https://humanworkplace.com/blog/

This blog has been invaluable in helping me through many job transitions. (I'm in sales, so job changes come with the territory.)  I would recommend looking at her posts about poor/bad bosses - she has a bunch of them. And since you are still job hunting, you may find her overall approach to job hunting interesting.  Note: she has some paid content, and I'm sure it's great, but I've been able to get what I need from her free blog. Her blog and articles are also available on LinkedIn if you follow her.


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Thru the Rain

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Re: Quitting job with uBPD boss whom I'm close to. Advice?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2018, 10:21:14 PM »
One more thought. In order to avoid the confrontational conversation with your boss, hand her the letter on your way out the door on a Friday night.

You don't OWE her a conversation. This is not a joint decision. This will be a decision already made and you are only INFORMING her of the decision.

If she demands a conversation - **I'm about to walk out the door. We can talk further next week.** And then next week - **I've made my decision known to you, there's nothing to discuss.**

And based on your description of your boss, please make sure you have a copy to hand directly to HR - or email to them copying your boss.  Get HR involved as quickly and completely as possible. They will be relatively neutral on the whole topic (I.e. they won't really care) and they should be able to help shut down your boss's inappropriate behavior.

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Fairy Lights

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Re: Quitting job with uBPD boss whom I'm close to. Advice?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2021, 05:45:12 PM »
I just found this discussion and found it really helpful! Thanks  :)  I'm in a similar situation. I work through an organisation (who get me work) and have been with them for 15 years. However, I've come to realise I can get the same service from a different organisation for half the fee, and actually get a better service (actually, I've known this for a while, but I've finally plucked up the courage to do something about it!) I have a meeting soon, and I'm anticipating the boss to use emotional manipulation.. e.g. "We work so hard" and "After all we've done for you!" and "I thought we were friends" (I'm anticipating it because I've heard them say these things in the past, but I've never been aware of what  they are doing, until I started talking to my therapist about my dad's NPD/BPD, I feel like I've woken up and can see this behaviour around me where I was blindly just accepting it before. The boss also discourages me from talking to others about the organisation, has shamed others for leaving the agency in front of me, will always shed responsibility for the lack of work and blame me, and his style of talking through issues is like he 'talks in riddles' and always leaves me confused. I'm determined to pay attention and be aware of these things in our meeting.

I have my meeting soon and I'm so nervous, it's so far out of my comfort zone. I have a 'hangover' (patterns) from my uBPD father, not to make waves, not to speak up, not to criticise. So I'm SO proud of myself for confronting my boss. And also curious to see how he reacts  8-)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 06:31:07 PM by Fairy Lights »