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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5119
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I need some help getting over a bad situation I caused for

Customer Question

I need some help getting over a bad situation I caused for myself recently. In the past few months we have been having some issues with some green people we have. They are slow, jobs run long, the jobs that go out come back for re-do's and then our money is slow coming back. I had a very hard time paying bills this last month. I waited until the last minute to pay, but in the end everyone got a payment. (my husband and I run a small construction company. It's just the 2 of us) My husband has been at his wits end, he has been very upset, he comes in my office at least twice a day, ranting about how he is going to shut the doors and send everyone home. Then with the bill paying, he is not very supportive, so I had to sit here alone and figure stuff out and make it all work out. So unfortunately I have been very up set and worried and after all the bill paying I just snapped.
we were going to a class reunion over labor day weekend. So, I left a turse little message on my email vacation reply and I put in there that I didn't care what anyone wanted I was taking a few days off. I also said that if anyone left me a snippy notice I was going to delete it. Most of this came from the bill paying. Because I waited until the last minute to send checks out....People that we had been doing business with for lots of years....acted like I was the biggest dead beat that ever did business with them, one person even told me she was going to put me on credit hold. I work very hard to keep my credit in good standing.
The problem comes in with the message I left. I thought I took it off on Tuesday when we came back to work, but I forgot to save the changes, the message stayed on. I got lots of invoices and statements and such from other customers and vendors and no one said a word. But one customer, sent a request for invoice and got my nasty little message. Instead of just thinking I am idiot, they called up and started yelling on the phone. they called my husband and they sent the message to their managers, it spread like wild fire. They threatened to find another vendor to do their work. I apologized 3 times, on the phone, by fax and email. They said it's not in my realm to be nice. and now its been almost 2 weeks and I have heard nothing from them. If they indeed did find another vendor...that's ok. It's the silence I can't stand. Are they contacting a lawyer to have me charged with something? Are they just not going to call us anymore? I just don't know and I am afraid this is going to come back to haunt me and I will have to relive this all over again,....say in a month. I don't sleep, when I do, I wake up thinking about this!! I can't eat because I am sick to my stomach all the time...I need to get this off my mind. I need some suggestions on how to get over this. I did not mean any harm by my note. I was just frustrated, worried, stressed. I am not normally like this. I try to be accommodating to everyone.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello again, I believe we chatter earlier about this issue as well.

Dr. Z :

I am sorry that you are still having great anxiety over this, I can tell that it has been very distressing for you

Dr. Z :

We are having a technical issue with our system right now, so I am not sure what I recommended for you the last time we spoke on how to lessen your anxiety and stress.

Customer :

yes Hi,

Dr. Z :

I do remember that you said you and your husband were no longer happy about this business and that you wanted to move and start your own RV park, what happened with that plan?

Customer :

depends on the day. We had a good week last week, so now we are keeping going, but that could change.

Dr. Z :

I understand, and I think since none of the other vendors contacted you about this message that you had on automatic reply because you were stressed is because that they did not take offense to it, like the one person did.

Dr. Z :

And also there is no legal ramification from this either, so you should not worry about them contacting their lawyers at all.

Customer :

I understand this. But what a about the one that did?

Dr. Z :

Well the one that did will be angry and upset, and you most likely will lose that business from what you told me. Is there any way you can make it up by getting other vendors?

Customer :

oh sure... We have people coming to us all the time, wanting to do business with us. That's not the issue. I just don't want this one company to come after me. You say there should be no legal stuff....but people are so sue happy these days...I am afraid they will find a reason.

Customer :

I guess I can not tell you just how offended this person was. She was more than a little anoied

Dr. Z :

I understand your concern and people are sue happy, but I see no civil or criminal complaint that they could file from this one automatic reply that you sent. Offending someone is not against the law. Unless you said something directly about this one person, that can be considered slanderous, there is no case here.

Dr. Z :

If you are truly concerned you can ask to do a consult with a local lawyer, but I am sure the lawyer will tell you the same thing

Customer :

I just wish I could be sure. The lady took it as I had sent it directly to her. I tried to tell her the message should not have gone out and that we try very hard to do quality work and I was sincerely sorry. But she had already sent the message to her supervisors and to the local contact here and I got emails and calls from all of them.

Dr. Z :

Most likely she is just trying to ruin your business by spreading this to other people you do business with, but I can assure you that she does not have a legal case against you for this automatic reply on the email

Customer :

Its as if NO ONe there had a brain and could see that this was just and automatic message and that I was just blowing off steam. Nor did they look at it like.... wow this lady is having a bad day.

Dr. Z :

She is just taking it out on you and felt like it was poor customer service and this is her way of trying to hurt you. I am sorry that she is being vindictive like this.

Dr. Z :

But she cannot go after you legally, so there should be no worries there, but if she spreads lies about you to other businesses then actually she can be on the hook for slander

Customer :

I do not think she is doing that. She really would not know who else we do business with. But what about me just snapping and doing such a horrible thing. I don't fell like I am entitled to be happy, or have nice things done for me. I feel like I should just keep my mouth shut and have no opinion at all.

Dr. Z :

I remember we discussed that I think you were very stressed and this was your way of expressing your anger/frustration. There are therapeutic interventions that I can recommend to help you lessen your stress and help you be more happy

Customer :

See...I don't think it would help. I am not supposed to be happy. I am supposed to be misable all the time. That is my purpose in this life. Is to carry everyones burdens.

Customer :

and now I have created one for myself. and I can't forgive my self for being human

Dr. Z :

Those are negative thoughts that you are focusing on, but you do deserve to be happy. You made a mistake in a moment of stress and all of your vendors, except one understood that, but for some reason you are focused on the one vendor that did not understand that. The reason you are focused on that one vendor is because of your negative thoughts. If we focus on the positive and objective thought process, this will help lessen your symptoms and you will be more happy

Customer :

ok,, but there isn't any positives to focus on.

Dr. Z :

How bout that all of your vendors except one still want to do business with you. That seems like a positive because it could have been worse.

Dr. Z :

You could have lost more vendors, but you did not

Customer :

yes I suppose. But what does this have to do with me personally. I am obviously a rotton person.

Dr. Z :

Why are you a rotten person? You made a mistake, it happens because we are all humans and make mistakes. Mistakes do not define the person, it is what you do after the mistake and you very truly apologetic after the mistake, that is what defines you because you care about your business and others.

Customer :

yes maybe...but nice people don't leave messages like that in the first place. They can see past the hurt and frustration and be sweet and "have a nice day"

Dr. Z :

Even people who are nice have their breaking point, this why I recommended the therapy exercises and possibly anti-anxiety medication to help lower your stress, so that you are never at the breaking point again

Customer :

for one thing I will not take medication. I have heard too much bad stuff about it. I just need to get this right in my head so I can forget about it. I have had people from my past do horrible things to me....then years later, I have a PTSD moment, and it puts me right back there and I relive the horrible moment.

Dr. Z :

That is fine, not everyone likes the medication. But you should at least try therapy then, even self-help therapy can be very effective with the right tools.

Dr. Z :

If you have PTSD moments, then definitely therapy can be helpful for you

Dr. Z :

I can also recommend some really good self-help books for anxiety and PTSD that will be very helpful for you

Customer :

I haven't had one in a while, because a lot of stuff I refuse to think about anymore. But I never know when something is going to surface and it scares me to death.

Customer :

so what do you suggest?

Dr. Z :

I suggest seeing a therapist that specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as this is the most effective therapy for what you have described. And also these books can be helpful too

Dr. Z :

It will take 2-3 months for the techniques to start to be effective for you and around 6-12 months for maximum effectiveness from just therapy alone.

Customer :

wow.

Customer :

Is there any little pearl of wisdom you can leave with me today that I could think about that will make me relax about this situation?

Dr. Z :

I think if you start to look at this objectively and not negatively, it will help you see the big picture and that will help give you relief. Also this is a link for something called Progressive Muscle Relaxation that can help you create a long term calm by using muscle tension and release techniques. It can be used for considerable stressful situations

Customer :

I have saved it on my computer and I will look at it when I have some time to myself. Thanks for the chat. No offence, but I hope I don't have to come back here again. I really don't like being a whinner either.

Dr. Z :

You are definitely not a whiner, and those books I recommended are meant for you to be more self-reliant, so they are designed to help you as an individual without any help from others. But if you do have any questions or concerns at all, you are more than welcome to contact me at anytime.

Customer :

I appreciate that! Thanks for your time.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, always happy to help :)

Customer :

Have a great rest of your day!

Dr. Z :

You too!

Dr. Z :

Before you sign off though, I would very much appreciate if you could rate my performance in helping you so that I can get credit for this question. Thank you very much

Dr. Z :

I also think these techniques can be helpful for you as well. CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen

Dr. Z :

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

Dr. Z :

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping lessen anticipatory anxiety and helping you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

Dr. Z :

Also individuals with severe anxiety also have a poor coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help you develop a better coping strategy to manage your anxiety better.

Customer :

I hope that this message reaches Dr.Z.
I have talked to him twice about a situation I had and it all became very clear yesterday.

I told him about an employee shake up we had. Part of that is..our powder coater quit. This guy was very good and at first we felt like it was the end of the world. When he left. When this guy was here..he always brought in work from people he knew. One of those was the company that took such big offence to my vacation message. I got to thinking about this. After our powder coater left..we heard that he was calling our customers trying to get them to come over to the place where he works now. We didn't pay too much attention to that..because the ones that he supposedly called are still coming around.
But.....if he called the offensive people...this would explain why they were the only ones to have a problem with my message..and why they were so quick to jump on it. They are looking for a way out of doing business with us. We are doing a good job and they had no reason to switch. Other than to follow our former employee. Also..when this company would email me to request an invoice..you could feel the tension jump out of the computer screen at me. The lady doing it was very sharp. She is also the one that took such of fence and made such a fuss.
Now I understand why they did what they did..(taking such offence). Our former employee called them to start using the company where he works now. We are doing a good job, but they were looking for a way to quit using us. Just by accident they got my message and that gave them the out that they needed. They acted like I had done the most horrible thing and threatened to find another vendor. My other vendors know me..so know one else paid any attention to my message. I knew in my heart I am not that rotten of a person..and I just couldn't get past the fact that I had hurt someone so badly. Fact is I didn't . They used this situation to get rid of us.
I have spent 2 weeks beating my self up..thinking I am the worst person alive. Jumping every time the phone rings..thinking it was them..calling to cause more trouble.. I don't do mind games very well and it took me a while to work through this. But I went back and read the notes from our conversation and Dr Z said the lady was being vindictive and was trying to hurt me or my company...that's what it was. So I am not worried about them coming after us...they will follow our former employee and if they are that shallow...then we don't want to do business with them either. I am glad our employee and this company are gone.

Thanks again

Dr. Z :

That is great that you figured this out and that you came to the objective conclusion that this business was not terribly offended by your vacation message, but in fact was just using as an excuse to leave because of your former employee. That does make a lot of sense and you are definitely not a rotten person, I am glad that you came to that conclusion. The other vendors do know you and they know that you do great work and are always respectful, which is a good reputation to have. The vacation message was just something written when you were stressful and everyone knew that, but that one vendor that took offense to it was just using it as an excuse because of your former employee, so they did not really take offense to it either. I am glad it all worked out in the end for you and I hope that this is bringing you some great relief right now. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you

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