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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1321
Experience:  Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
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Hi, Im 23 years old. I had a break down back in September

Customer Question

Hi, I'm 23 years old. I had a break down back in September and I cannot bring my self out of the anger and disgust I have towards my previous boss/cousin.
I quit my job of 2 years at a family business because I was being exploited. On top of that I was living with my father who has anger issues and his mean alcoholic girl friend. My living situation was unbearable. My cousin is CEO and owns the business and my father was my direct boss. I indisputably went above and beyond the call of duty. I worked overtime, did projects, created streamlined systems for this business. I was chastised for working over time and over applying my self by my boss/ cousin. I would speak to my cousin about my living situation and he would claim to empathize with me.
I was stuck in the house because compensation ( for a 40 hour work week) was not enough to move into project housing (project minimum was $1500 a month). Even though I deserved a raise and was told I would get one (by the companies professional advisory group), it never came. Even though he "sympathized" with me he neglected to pay me a livable wage (I made $1400 a month). At the same time I worked another job as a pizza boy and went to college at night. Which put a lot of stress on me. A week after the day I was suppose to get a raise, I walked in on my boss who was internet shopping for yachts and explained to him that our department was overwhelmed. He immediately assumed that I said this because, he was caught not working and being frivolous. This man is tax cheat and I had been asking for him to put me on the books for year. After, asking that if he wasn't too busy if could assist our department he became immediately condescending and confrontational (He told me to close the door in a scolding tone). I responded by asking if he new what exploitation was. At this point he became livid and yelled, pushed and kicked me out of the office. My father participated in slamming me into a door and screaming at me. I posed no physical threat to either of them yet they assaulted me. After that I stayed hotels and friends houses so I wouldn't have to be around my father and his nasty alcoholic mother. My entire family was complicit in turning a blind eye to my being exploited. Even though it was acknowledged to be true. Since then I've started my version of their own business/ got a part-time job and continued college. I know that success is the best revenge but, I'm still very bitter. I have not told my father that I started my own company (4 months ago). Yet I would like to for hope that he would be proud. I'm at odds with myself if I should make it known. I have issues trusting my own father. And the cousin I worked for has a history of averting tax law as well as other laws. I was morally appose to him since I started. I have also made that known, gaining the title "golden boy." I know my cousin (who had the business given to him by his mother) is uneducated and quick tempered. I also know that he spent all the money his company made for him on himself. (bought a 2.3 million dollar home, a boat and 3 cars). I saw nothing but the unfairness of this. He has another cousin (35 years old) that works for him doing a job that starts at 30k being paid 23k (for 4 years now) and is living in a trailer with her 80 father (his uncle) that she has to financially support. I was offered 30k to return but declined on the lack of moral and social responsibility; because I knew his character flaws were irreparable. I have issues trusting my father and his side of my family. Yet I still know I have to love them I cant bring my self to think about them in any other light other than being abusive and exploitative. I have a high respect for what is moral and right. Yet this has left me with an empty feeling and resentment towards my cousin and distrust of my own father and his side of the family. I could use a some advice on how to better deal with these strong emotions. My esteem was shattered. I was working on $1.5 million dollars of account while teaching new employees how to do my job (they started at higher pay than me!!!)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I am sorry that you have been treated with disrespect, abuse, and a total lack of compassion.

Dr. L :

Family businesses are very difficult environments to work in...and you have seen all of this up close and personal.

Customer :

Yeah, in the words of the late biggie smalls "money and blood" don't mix

Dr. L :

What you already understand is that the best way for you to recover from all from all of this is to live an ethical life. Keeping your "nose" clean by treating people well, staying within the law, and using your own conscience and life experience as guides will make all the difference in regaining your self-worth and becoming successful.

Customer :

I think i was blessed (or cursed) with a heavy conscience. I have trouble excelling with out being exploited.

Dr. L :

Yes...beating them at their own game will be an antidote to what you have endured. Yet...working for revenge only is not the answer. Using revenge as a way to initially motivate yourself may be healthy...but in the end you want this to be about your dreams, your skills, your internal motivation to do good.

Customer :

I think I did the right thing. But the wounds wont heal

Customer :

What can I do to get the anxiety to pass?

Dr. L :

Yes...you did the right thing by walking away. And...if you were working for a corporation you likely would have had a case against them for physical violence. But from what you wrote you were working "off the books" - right...there was no taxes, unemployment, etc. being paid?

Dr. L :

Anxiety is about fear. So ask yourself what are you afraid of? Are you afraid that your cousin and dad will find out you have started a similar business?

Customer :

I was working in Florida as an "independent contractor" which means I have no legal recourse

Dr. L :

Okay...so you had no recourse. I would still check with an attorney to see if you have any rights...but that's up to you.

Dr. L :

In any event, let's look at the anxiety...

Dr. L :

What do you feel afraid of? Do you know?

Customer :

I'm more afraid of trusting them and confiding in my father then the starting my own business.

Dr. L :

Then don't trust them and don't confide in your father...at least until you have healed more and have the strength of will to stand up for what you believe in.

Dr. L :

I think you have ample experience that says these are not people you should trust...blood or no blood.

Customer :

I say that I still love my cousin but that I have no respect for him. I don't think I can forgive him. He doesn't even acknowledge he has done me wrong.

Dr. L :

It doesn't sound like your father has been very supportive...I would advise you to stay away from any talk about work...

Customer :

on top of that my parents are divorced.

Customer :

he has been there financially

Dr. L :

There are different levels of relationship. You can love someone but dislike their behavior. That sounds like what you are saying here...

Customer :

thats really all. I feel like a bastard.

Dr. L :

Where is your mother in all of this? Is she supportive of you?

Dr. L :

Why do you feel like a bastard?

Dr. L :

You have the right to carve out a relationship that works for you. It would seem that there ought to be a no talk rule about work...you got abused there...get that off the table until you feel stronger or until they show some understanding of what happened...

Customer :

because my dad has ruined his second marrage with my mother. He was cheating and won't own up to it. even after I told him we had to talk and took him out on a canoe trip

Customer :

my dad never even played catch with me except once

Customer :

he was more concerned with work and has a reputation of being unfaithful

Customer :

hence my mother divorcing him

Customer :

and his first wife

Dr. L :

So why do you feel so loyal to your father?

Customer :

because he bailed me out of jail for marijuana possession twice.

Customer :

he sent me to military high school even when my behavior improved in 8th grade ( i feel that it was because he was in the midst of divorce and wanted a place to stick me)

Customer :

I know hes done more drugs than me when he was my age. and as of now he doesn't abuse any substance but he enables his gf to be drunk 24.7

Customer :

I guess my loyality to him is based on his financial support soley

Dr. L :

Most people want a loving, healthy, and happy relationship with their parents. But the truth is, it doesn't always work out that way.

Dr. L :

What might be the best course of action here is to figure out what you can live with in a relationship with your father.

Dr. L :

What I hear you saying is:

Dr. L :

I love my dad.

Dr. L :

I don't agree with his 24/7 drunk gf

Dr. L :

It hurt when my dad did not defend me against my cousin

Customer :

yup

Dr. L :

I have wounds from childhood because my dad wasn't an ideal dad and he sent me off to military school

Dr. L :

I question how my dad feels about me from time to time

Dr. L :

My dad has helped me out of some significant scapes in life

Dr. L :

If I have this correct, then it's back to what I said earlier:

Dr. L :

you love your dad

Dr. L :

you don't love some of his behavior

Customer :

not to mention when i was in elementary school social services had a case against him for beating me

Customer :

correct

Dr. L :

That means that you need to establish some boundaries with your dad...boundaries that keep you safe, that give you want you need from him, and protect you from things you don't need/want or that hurt

Dr. L :

So...those boundaries might be something like:

Customer :

but I have no male role model to confide in. I want to be better father then him one day. All I know is what not to do..

Dr. L :

I will talk to and spend time with my dad without his gf around

Dr. L :

If gf is around and she is drunk, I will make my apologizes and leave

Dr. L :

I will attempt to get to know my dad as another man in the world.

Dr. L :

I will find other men who can help me understand the role of a father

Dr. L :

I will vow to learn how to be a father before I become a father

Dr. L :

Do you see where I am going here?

Dr. L :

Yes, it sounds like your father was not the father you needed or wanted. So...you need to make the best of what he does offer and find other substitutes who can help fill out your understanding of father.

Customer :

"I will attempt to get to know my dad as another man in the world." - you mean a man and not as my dad?

Dr. L :

One good book you can read is Iron John by Robert Bly

Dr. L :

You might also consider a male support group...

Customer :

never knew of such athing

Dr. L :

Yes...I mean as a man. Your father didn't do a great job at being a father...so it will help to see him as another man...that way you can let go of the resentment and bitterness you have about father...

Customer :

the book will help. I read "the anger trap" and it has changed my life in how i deal with anger (converting it to assertiveness)

Dr. L :

Yes..there are men's groups in many communities...you could do an internet search for such a group in your community, check your newspaper for listing of men's groups, or even talk to a priest or pastor...

Dr. L :

Yes...to reading.

Dr. L :

You might also read:

Dr. L :

Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns

Customer :

what would a title of men's group be?

Dr. L :

Men's group

Dr. L :

is usually how they are titled.

Dr. L :

Do you attend church?

Customer :

really? not mens group for such and such?

Dr. L :

Churches usually have men's groups...

Dr. L :

Nope...just Men's Group

Customer :

I don't but I go every now and then to pray. wheter it be for help, thanks or for others i go sometimes

Customer :

* I don't go to mass* (correction)

Dr. L :

That's cool...you can check around at various churches...it's not going to matter if you belong to the church or not...these things welcome anyone.

Dr. L :

You might also check at school...they might have a group.

Customer :

I go to college online. I moved back to PA with my mother.

Dr. L :

http://www.amazon.com/Father-Son-Wound-Healing-Manhood/dp/0840734506

Dr. L :

another good book

Customer :

Thanks.

Dr. L :

You are welcome.

Dr. L :

Is there any last thing I can help you with tonight?

Customer :

Yes.. my cousin

Customer :

I harbor a good amount of hate towards him and lot of disgust

Dr. L :

Yes...I can understand why that would be.

Dr. L :

But again...what you hate and find disgusting is his behavior.

Dr. L :

If you can separate out the behavior from the person...you are likely to be more at peace.

Dr. L :

We can hate someone's behavior and want them to change it...but we still care about that person-the essence of who they are.

Dr. L :

It's like when you were a kid. You might have refused to put on your shoes when you mom asked you. Your mother probably didn't like that you disobeyed her...right. But that did not change the love she had in her heart for you.

Dr. L :

Same thing here...

Dr. L :

You have no power to change your cousin's behavior. Zero. None.

Dr. L :

You can tell him that you feel he treated you poorly and that you want an apology. But whether he understands his behavior and if he is willing to apologize is not something you can make happen.

Dr. L :

Sad, but true.

Customer :

The day after he fired me. I slept 12 hours woke up still pissed off. I explained to my dad that if my cousin was going to extort his power as ceo to belittle me publicly and exploit me. That I would response by knocking on his door to challenge him to a physical altercation. My suspicion is that my cousin trys to act like my uncle. He has lots of insecurities that I exposed by out performing him and that he was holding me down unpurpose (again it was no secrete that I was out performing him in comparison ). When I told my Dad I was going to challange my cousin man to man .. my father basically said that was too weak and that I would get my ass kicked ( I was looking for him stick up for me or at least talk me out of it). I responded in anger by pouring a glass of water in his face.. My dad got up and chased me (like when i was little) and was threatening me with violence. I dogged his attack and threw him to the ground and left (though i didnt go to my cousin's house). I told my dad that "its a lot easier to beat a child" and I won't tolerate it anymore. He was not injured but hes an old man and I after that bit I felt so guilty I couldn't wouldn't confront my cousin

Customer :

A year before that he slapped me in the office in front of the employees and family. I slapped him back and said something similar to "its not as rewarding hitting me now that im an adult and not a child" He responded to my counter slap by pulling the chair out from under me. I got up in his face and either intimidated him out of getting physical or made some type of limited impact on his conscience that made his use of physical abuse subside into verbal abuse.

Customer :

I'll return later.. gonna go to dinner with my mom thanks for your help so far

Dr. L :

You are welcome.

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