From the prompt, Dreams, in the DailyOM.com
Dreams are torture for me. I often dream of things that mirror some of the traumatic experiences in my life. My most recurring dream is that I am still working for Mr.”S”. My 25 years of working with this controlling, lecherous, gross old man haunt me in my dreams at least 3-4 nights a week. I have no control over these nightmares, which causes me to feel as though he still has control over me.
I was such a young, independent, trusting free spirit when I met Mr. “S”. I went to work for him in January of 1986 and it was just the two of us in the office. Many people questioned why he would hire such a young, uneducated girl such as myself to run his office and take on all the computer and tech jobs for his company, but I was smart and highly capable, What I didn’t know was that he essentially hired me for my looks. My brains were a bonus for him. My youth was a bonus for him. He could mold me and groom me and that’s exactly what he did. He paid me well, complimented my work, gave me gifts. Within a year of going to work for him, he, 25 years my senior and a married man with three grown children, told me he was attracted to me. I had no idea and told him I certainly hoped I hadn’t done anything to encourage those feelings. The whole conversation was so disturbing, and I just didn’t know what to say. I tiptoed around him for a while and then he was suddenly diagnosed with prostate cancer which resulted in him having his prostate removed thus rendering him impotent. This only served to make things worse. He was a desperate man by this point, and he was convinced that only I could solve his problem. It was all so gross, and I felt humiliated.
This was long before the #MeToo movement and I was a single woman on my own with a great paying job that I couldn’t afford to lose. I rebuffed his advances constantly, steering him in other directions (escort services and the like) but it never ended. Even after I married, it continued. During my pregnancies, it continued. I was constantly shocked at his bold behavior. I was so naive! Did this man have no shame? After 15 years it just became untenable and I decided to quit, declaring that I wanted to spend more time with my children. He was very angry and hateful about it and begged me to work from home on a very part time basis, which was a financial relief for me, but it wasn’t at all what I’d hoped. There was no escape from his controlling ways and now his anger was present in all our dealings. He resented me so much for no longer serving in his presence and punished me greatly for it.
This went on for ten more years until finally he was forced to retire due to health issues. By this time, I was jaded and bitter and angry at myself, I never told a soul about his abusive behavior, and I was filled with shame as so many women in my position are. While nothing physical ever happened, thank God, I carry this shame to this day. It was a horror story for the better part my my career and I’ve never been able to resolve it. I sent him a letter eventually, confronting him with everything he did to me, but I never heard from him again. I check the obituaries every single day, waiting for him to die, hoping my nightmares will die with him. As it is, I only find relief upon waking, knowing that my dreams are not true, that I’m not still working for this hideous person, but it takes me awhile to sort out my thoughts and get on with my day. No one should have to go through this, and I remain angry and resentful to this day. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, and it makes perfect sense to me because it was truly a traumatic experience for many years. I am afraid I will be plagued by these dreams for the rest of my life, and I have no control over that. So, there is no end to this story. It’s ongoing.