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Meltdowns at work due to stress

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by dragoncat16, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. dragoncat16

    dragoncat16 Active Member

    Sep 2, 2017
    I am wondering if it is a common experience to have a meltdown at work due to the stress of having co-workers treat one badly, and how it happens. I'll relate my experiences and then others can respond.

    What triggered my "meltdowns" was being put in impossible situations. I was given an unfair workload, but when I informed my manager that I was having to stay up until the wee hours of the night just to get everything done and I was suffering from stress-related illness, she met with me and blamed my trouble on "poor time management". People were rude to me, including my colleagues, and blamed me for pretty much everything. Every time I requested the same level of support given to my other colleagues, it was denied. I was humiliated in meetings, and my colleagues would send emails to me criticising my work and copy those emails all over. Sometimes when someone would be particularly rude and/or confrontational to my face, I would keep calm while it was happening, but then I would go to a so-called "friend"'s office and vent. I do not get angry often, usually just frustrated, and I am able to control myself quite well, but with the environment I found myself in socially, along with the lack of sleep, I just kind of exploded. I wasn't violent at all, but I did raise my voice and I might have uttered a few choice words, but I thought it was ok because I did this in front of a "friend" who would understand. This happened twice that I can remember.

    What I didn't know was that several of my colleagues, including my manager and my "friend", were having private little conversations and email exchanges behind my back. But I guess that doesn't matter for this topic, since I didn't find out about that until later. What does matter is that that was the background behind my social environment. Every time I had even an innocent conversation with a colleague, that seemed to always prompt a buzz of emails being sent back and forth. Nobody wanted to talk to me, but they sure seemed to enjoy talking about me. Most of the time I hadn't even been given enough information to do my job properly and it felt as if I was constantly running uphill, whereas my colleagues always seemed to have such an easy time, and none of them were having to stay up half the night.

    What I am really wanting to know is whether my outbursts were just me losing my temper, or if they were actual meltdowns. I have always had a very long fuse before I'll even complain, i.e. it takes a lot to really p... me off, but when I get there, I usually withdraw very far from the situation, sometimes to the point of never having contact with a person again. I understand now that such withdrawal behaviour is also characteristic of a meltdown. Recently, though, withdrawal hasn't been an option because, as far as I was concerned, because I could not physically withdraw from them, these people could easily just invade my personal space and verbally assault me again. Finally, I just couldn't take the negativity and unfair criticism and outright lies any more, and I lost it and broke down in the boss's office and ultimately loaded all of my office contents into a taxi and left the place (another withdrawal).

    Has anyone else had similar experiences? Do you think that what I experienced were meltdowns or just anger issues? Just looking for other opinions so I can better understand myself. My diagnosis was very recent so I am looking at everything through new eyes. Thanks.
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  2. wight

    wight Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2016
    What an awful place to work and what a bunch of nasty people. I worked in a place that was "behind the back gossip" like that. But I was stuck, and eventually I just stopped talking to my coworkers about anything, and then left as soon as I had an option to do so.

    I think that some of your reactions are probably ASD related, but most of them are completely normal reactions to being mistreated, lied to, and scapegoated.
    • Agree Agree x 6
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  3. OkRad

    OkRad Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Oct 4, 2013
    Omg that is horrible,. I hate when people talk about u and not 2 u. I am so sorry i am using textspeak but my puter is down and i am on ipod. Grrrrrrr. But i had that gossip recently and i never went back to what had been my safe place
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  4. Maiki

    Maiki Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2017
    I can relate, I believe... and so sorry about what happened to you there. My meltdowns happen from overwork/ under-appreciation, compounded with just TOO much going on in my life outside of work. In my case, get emotional and cry. I can tell that management totally hates it; the few times it has happened (and never in front of the public). It's been said that I'm overly emotional and need to better manage my "work/ life issues". People have ZERO idea how capably I manage everything. So many plates spinning, with a busy family/ personal life, high stress job, etc. I think it's amazing that I don't melt down every day!
    I have ended some important friendships with colleagues when I learned that they had betrayed me behind my back. Covert emailing is just the worst. I am also coming to my ASD diagnosis after 20 years of working at a vocation that I love. As you say, looking with new eyes at past situations and decisions, can now affix a reason to a lot of it. I have inadvertently and--more recently--purposefully directed my career toward my 'Aspie comfort zone'. I have pulled away from the management stream that it seemed everyone but me wanted me in. I work less popular shifts, thus avoiding the majority of group meetings and functions. I specialize in an area where people know me well (my work persona). They respect my knowledge and don't demand that I constantly prove myself. I have numerous friendly acquaintances at work, but avoid venting/ making myself vulnerable to them. I use my husband and occasionally my other family as sounding boards for stressful/frustrating work issues.
    I have become adept at crafting emails proposing solutions for work issues that bother me. I keep them as positive and solution based as I can, and forward them to relevant management in a timely way. No one could call them inappropriate. I follow all the rules, but 'kill them a bit with kindness'. I insist that they acknowledge my concerns and recognize my efforts, all wrapped up in a package labelled "quality improvement". Hard to call it whining. Once I've put the thought into the letter and pressed 'send', I feel like I've said my piece and can let the frustration go. It works well for me. I don't really care whether positive change actually happens as a result, tho it sometimes does. I just need acknowledgement that I've been 'heard'. The rest is someone else's problem.
    • Like Like x 2
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  5. Alaska

    Alaska Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Wow Dragoncat16. I am sorry you had such a horrible time at work. I know it feels bad to have someone betray your trust.

    I had a job like that once and I quit it too. It is good to get out of such a bad environment. That does not take care of the healing you still need to do. You need to figure out things to do to help with your healing from your bad experiences.
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  6. WereBear

    WereBear License to Weird V.I.P Member

    Jul 17, 2016
    That is utterly brilliant and can be used by anyone, regardless of neuro-status.

    As to your question, @dragoncat16 , I don't think your Aspieness has too much to do with your reaction. It might have prompted such people to make you into the Office Scapegoat, but then again, such people will always target someone. By creating a co-worker to be the one who is always wrong, and making sure they are overloaded by not giving them proper support, they can pretend they are more competent than they are, and they get a thrill from bullying.

    What I have learned is to document everything that goes on. If you can prove, to someone, that you are not being informed properly and overloaded on purpose, you can draw attention to the facts and feel better. If this does not work to fix the situation, it's best to find another position. Keep copies of the emails to make sure they will give you good references; no company wants their shenanigans exposed.

    I had an issue at work, and thanks to some fine coaching by family members, I kept emotions out of it as much as I could, detailed how this was undercutting my ability to do my job, and wound up at a good meeting where I got a promotion and the person who caused all the trouble got scolded.

    This kept me there. If they had continued to treat me badly, I would have had to leave. Because a bad situation only gets worse.
    • Creative Creative x 1
  7. Rich Gray

    Rich Gray Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2014
    I was told to complete online training. The email said to click on a link. There was no link visible. I asked my supervisor for directions. My supervisor told me to ask a coworker. She said “you do it.” I think she is on the extreme other end of the logic/emotion spectrum, and this contributes to a great deal of whatever she says to be expressly not valuable information for figuring out logic problems (plenty of people on the extreme emotional end of things add value, even to logic problems, but this is certainly a contributing factor to miscommunication). This did not make me happy. What instruction manual would have “do it” as the one and only step? I was like “no, where are the directions?” I got a blank look. I figured out that the picture link sent in the email that redirected to the training webpage was somehow made invisible! Possibly by some security program, or some nonsense. Basically click on the [invisible] link was the first step of the procedure. It was an annoying encounter all around. I was quite frustrated.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bella Pines

    Bella Pines Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Jun 6, 2017

    Yes. I graduated about 20 years ago and have hit every single one of your issues. Many times.

    It's no wonder you are bordering on meltdowns. I experienced all of the issues, but not at the same time!

    I'll try and describe how best I ended up handling each problem, but please don't get offended, I'll try not to be my usual blunt self!

    This will happen time and again, this happens to everyone, especially when the manager is a moron and incapable of basic project management. Estimating tasks and matching it against resource availability is not rocket science but yet so many NT managers are incapable of doing it.

    The worst way to handle it is to whine and complain about how unfair it is. That doesn't solve the problem and just annoys managers. Actually, tell a lie, the ABSOLUTE worst way to handle it is to explain to your boss what a moron they are and use phrases like "it's not rocket science" and "my 4 year old could do better than you". :)

    The best way to handle it is to list out the tasks that need to be done (excessively, break down EVERY task and then make some up, also list ones that you've already done). Put a day estimate beside each, exaggerate massively on the ones that your boss doesn't understand and then talk it through. Ask your manager to prioritize their top tasks and be cagey about when you'll get it done.

    Yeah this is in the whiney category... this will only achieve an irritated manager.

    There is a lot of this to go around. Later in life the blame will morph into scape goating. Specifically setting someone up to take the fall if the project goes wrong. Again, this is not uncommon.

    In addition, a persecution complex is a minor aspie trait, so this will seem further exaggerated in your mind. But remember, that is exactly where it is, IN YOUR MIND. People try to blame me all the time, but now I just shrug it off. They can think what they like but it's your choice to accept their opinion or not. In this case I would suggest not.

    Furthermore, it's obvious. I have no patience for people bouncing blame around. It makes THEM look bad. I'd rather people stopped whining and concentrated on the project so that there was no need for blame or scape goating!

    Sorry to say, but you are requesting it wrong. Look around, there will be people who are getting help and people who are not. How are the people who are getting help behaving? Once you have analysed this, then it is a simple choice. Fake it and act like them and get help, or be true to yourself and accept the fact that you're on your own. I'm sure there is a happy medium but I'm very aspie so everything is pretty digital to me!

    Yep, I still do this, I just rotate round the "friends" :mad: I also have retrospective arguments in my head! Of clever come backs that I could have said but didn't....!

    Which is perfectly understandable, like I said, I've had these problems, just not all at once!

    Yes, they do this. Let them, it makes them happy.

    This will happen, and not just to you. I know you are in your own head at the moment, you are the victim, you are being persecuted. But try and step out for a minute. EVERYONE has one problem or another. If it's not you that they are talking about, it will be the new boy, or the senior manager who didn't deserve the promotion, or the pregnant girl, or the office romance. There is ALWAYS something. I once tried to engage in this but found it all so pointless, and trivial.

    So act like them and join in if you want, but eventually you'll probably come to the same conclusions. So try to accept that it happens, leave them to it, and be grateful they are actually interested enough in you to select you as there primary topic. Think of it as a type of fame!

    There will be something. Everyone has something that they struggle with. It may seem that they are having an easy time, but they will be struggling with something. You seem to be spending a lot of time thinking about what they are doing, how they are coping, what they are saying. But really there is no comparison. Focus inward, focus on what will get you more resources, figure out how to take on less work, what your manager wants to hear, make justified arguments. And if logic doesn't work, learn people skills, take communications courses. There is years of self study to be doing here, don't waste another minute watching your deadbeat colleages.

    Withdrawal is wonderful. I love it, I dream about it. I try to do it on a daily basis! Unfortunately, the world doesn't facilitate this. I have to pay the bills, I have to face this. So withdrawal is a luxury and not a solution.

    How very dramatic. But unless you learn from each experience, it will happen again at the next place.

    But the good news is that aspies are remarkably capable individuals and become pretty much anything they set their mind to.

    So hopefully if you encounter these problems again, it will be one at a time!! xx
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Larry1968

    Larry1968 New Member

    Jan 16, 2020
  10. Larry1968

    Larry1968 New Member

    Jan 16, 2020
    Hi Dragoncat.
    I hope you don't mind a noob addressing you so soon into his membership:)
    But it was actually this very post which brought me here.

    Our situations(yours & mine) sound quite similar, so I can TOTALLY sympathize.
    In my case, I work at a jobsite, where I love my work & the people I work alongside,
    however, I am subcontracted to this site & the immediate company I work for, well...let's just say hatred/loathing of them is how I feel at the best of times.
    My job is a shiftwork job, 9 - 5, after which I get relieved by another person. One of the things I hate about my company is that they stipulate you absolutely cannot leave site unless/until your relief shows up.
    I have worked at this site now for over 2 years & the number of times & excuses I've had to endure for people being late could fill a novel in itself. And while I've come to absorb this as just part of the price(karma?) I have to pay for a job that I otherwise love, yesterday things came to a boiling point, of which, unfortunately I've had a number at this site. Again, the cause being my immediate employer.
    There had been a snowstorm yesterday, which pretty much shut down our entire city. The City, The Police, even the gov't advised everybody to stay at home. Foolishly, I thought I could bypass any commuter chaos by taking a taxi to work. I had booked one online for this morning, the previous night, feeling pretty confident I had outsmarted everybody.
    Well, after waiting around for nearly 45 mins, it became clear that they were not going to show up. Despite them confirming my booking the previous night. So, out into the foot deep snow I go, where I would wait for over an hour for a bus that never came. I came back home, freezing, tired, my feet soaked from trudging through Snowmageddon. I tried calling every cab co. I could think of, and well, you can pretty much guess the rest."Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line, blah,blah,blah..."
    So, I call my employer telling them of my situation. They simply wouldn't take no for an answer. In fact, they went so far to get me to work they arranged for the President & OWNER of my employer to come by to pick me up to take me to the jobsite. Being torn between feeling flattered they would go to such lengths to help me get to work & absolute RAGE they wouldn't let me stay home, like 99.9% of the city, I chose to keep my feelings to myself as the Owner dragged me to the jobsite.
    Now; Complicating matters is this: My Wife had just undergone surgery a week before & was at home recovering. In fact, I had taken last week off & Monday & Tuesday to be with her during her recovery.
    Well, of course on this particular morning she was in a lot of pain & told me she might have to go to the hospital. I relayed this to my Chauffeur, to which he would hear none of it, because after all, it's more important to man your shift(as my company believes)than the well being of your family.
    So, I get deposited at work(I work at a residential community) everybody looking at me like I was from mars, asking why I came in to work. Towing the company line, I gave the expected "because I'm committed to my job, yada, yada" BS.
    As I said, my shift ordinarily goes from 9 - 5, but I didn't get to work till just before 12 noon.
    At least I wouldn't have to work long. Only to 5, right?
    Of course not. I find out my coworker had bailed on her shift, because of lack of transit in her area.
    Funny how no bosses, or anybody else from our company not only didn't shuttle her to site like they did for me, but apparently, didn't give her any grief, or any kind of resistance to her refusal to come in...
    But now, I was looking at working till 8pm.
    Again, irritated, but trying to absorb the situation, I carried on.
    5pm comes & finally, I have a chance to check in with my wife. She's in sever pain & had called an ambulance. Ok. Now I HAVE to leave site to see her at the hospital.
    I call in to my company, explaining the situation & was met with: "We can't get you relief till 7;30"
    You HAVE to stay.
    This was the breaking point.
    As I said earlier, I have head several meltdowns at this site because of how the company treats me, & all their employees in general, but when I heard how unsympathetic & cold their response to my wife going to hospital, I flew into an absolute blind rage. I'd had it. I began swearing at them, saying to anyone within earshot: Do you hear this? Do you hear how my company won't let me go to meet my wife in Emergency!?" I was so loud & SO filled with rage I had blown my vocal chords. Especially when it ended the call by screaming **** YOU!!!! into the phone.
    Fortunately for me, one of the managers who had hired my company to work for them was made aware of my plight & I assume, he called my company giving them **** for treating me so poorly, because not long after, they called me back & said I could go.
    I couldn't get out of there fast enough & was able to meet my wife in Emergency downtown, & after staying at her bedside while she was admitted, triaged & it was ultimately discovered she had a slowly bleeding spleen, possibly related to her Bariatric Surgery, combined with some other complications.
    I stayed at her bedside as long as I could until I could no longer keep awake. (not only was I tired from the days events, I was also still coming down from my meltdown)
    One further note; I noticed my company had texted me a rather lengthy message last night, of who's contents I chose not to read, because I simply cannot deal with any more stress at the moment.
    But I will admit, there is part of me hoping it's them giving me my walking papers because of how I conducted myself on the phone to them last night, not to mention throwing them under the bus in front of the client for not letting me go to see my wife.
    For the past 2 years, I have had this underlying stress of loving my jobsite, but as I said, hating my company & I have wrestled with the dilemma of of loving my jobsite so much, that I would just continue to endure the oppressive, & demoralizing practices of my company, in order to remain here.
    Replace THAT anxiety with leaving the site, joining another company & having the anxiety of having to learn a new job from scratch all over again.
    As you can see, there are many levels to my problem. I'm hoping, maybe later in the day to get up enough courage to finally look at the text my company sent me & if indeed, it does say I've been terminated, a sense of relief will form as I will have had my dilemma solved for me. Not to mention, a possible nice settlement as I'm sure I could sue them for wrongful dismissal.
    So, to sum it all up, No. It's not so uncomon(to ME anyway) to have meltdown(s) at work.
    I hope my example helps shed some light on your problem:)
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
  11. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2019
    No, you’re not having meltdowns. Meltdowns are a complete loss of all emotional control—screaming, crying, shouting and/or kicking, hitting, biting, etc. You just felt good old fashioned stress, frustration, and anger in the situations you described. Very, very different from meltdowns.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Larry1968

    Larry1968 New Member

    Jan 16, 2020
    I can at LEAST sympathize with their situation
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Larry1968

    Larry1968 New Member

    Jan 16, 2020
    Another Anxiety Episode at work I chronicled from last year:

    Houston, we have a problem. A BIG one. So big that if it's not addressed, I see myself filing for E.I. yet again, if I don't go Batshit first.
    I've always had difficulty dealing with Obsessive Compulsive personalities. I don't know why, but their apparent high stress/energy just rubs me the wrong way & raises my anxiety, which then gets me angry.
    It happened at, & now it's happening again here.
    There has always been tension between me & this customer, right from the get-go. From the very moment I even saw his face I felt anxious. I hated him almost instantly.
    Thankfully, I don't have to deal with him every day, but when I do, it always raises my anxiety.
    So, yesterday I see he posts a question to which I thought I might have an answer.
    I should have known better than to even respond, just by his 4-page question alone.
    But, I bite & would live to regret it.
    Sure enough, he responds. Naturally, I didn't solve his query, so he further delves into his bizarre little tirade.
    I decide to break off at this point, but too late.
    I've already granted him an audience & that was all he needed.
    I didn't respond in 30 seconds to his response, so he calls me, knowing our cell is complete ****. As soon as I hear his voice, I recognize him from our previous encounters & I can feel my blood pressure rising. He continues on in a demanding & (what I thought to be anyway) very condescending tone. Now, I HAVE to withdraw as I can feel my Anxiety rising. ****, I don't need this ****!
    I try to end the call, but of course, he calls right back. INSTANTLY I block his number. Now the game is on. I thought I had won, but no.
    Sure enough, he comes downstairs & as soon as I see his ugly ****ing kittens kittens face I wanna KILL this guy. The breaking point was where he tells me, not asks, TELLS me I need to do...
    Lose it.
    I try with my last bit of self-control to tell him politely he can do this task himself. I REALLY wanted to tell him to **** the hell off & get off my ass & get a ****ing life. But I refrained from doing so, but my feelings could not be stopped. I punched a small hole in the wall, to which he immediately looked stunned. It was too late. He had crossed the line. And as he walked away I SHOUTED: I ****ING HATE *****S!
    INSTANTLY I felt weak. You know that feeling right after a fight when you start coming down from the Endorphin rush? That's pretty much how I felt.
    For the 3rd time in less than 4 months, I had lost it again. And not only lost it, but to the extreme. One thing about me, I never do anything half measure.
    But the damage was done. I had ****ed up & ****ed up ROYALLY yet again. I had to get out of there. Just get away. NOW.
    I limped away & hid in a nearby hallway where I could be secluded. I didn't want to see ANYBODY. I was in full licking my wounds mode.
    I called my Wife. Of course, she was away from her phone, so I had no help there.
    I called 21 times to at least leave her the impression that I needed to speak to her immediately.
    I felt sick to my stomach. THIS time, I REALLY did it. I turned off my Work Phone as I just couldn't deal with anybody right now. Thankfully, it was close enough to lunch so I skulked upstairs to the Lunchroom where I fully absorbed the enormity of what I had just done. I needed help. As much as I didn't want to deal with people right now, I wanted to talk to my wife. Failing that, I even tried the (what I THOUGHT was)Crisis line & of course, got some school my mistake.
    Finally, my wife becomes available & I unload my latest burden on her because with everything else going on for her, she really needs to deal with my **** too.
    I HATE that I can't be the strong one. that I'm weak & need to dump my problems on someone. I hate the sense of loss of control. I hate having to need someone. To need ANYBODY.
    But I DID need my wife now & I burdened her.
    We both agreed I should take an extended lunch at LEAST, to which I did.
    Althewhile dreading what would be awaiting me once I returned. The Asshole? With my Manager perhaps? My Boss? All this anxiety I caused simply because I can't get along with someone. ****, but I HATE who I am sometimes. A pathetic, WEAK little ***** who is scared of everything & everybody. It's a miracle I can even hold a job for even more than 2 weeks.
    I remember way back when I was a Teenager & I had a meeting with a Shrink. Even back then he predicted I would never be able to hold a job. That I would forever wander from job to job & **** if he wasn't right! HOW did this person write my entire life's script way back when I was only 15 years old? how the HELL did he know what would happen? How I would turn out?
    I just don't understand...
    But back to today. It was 5 past 2 pm. I couldn't put it off any longer. I collected myself as best I could & still with my phone off, I headed back downstairs. Nobody. Nobody was there. thank GOD. Of course, there was a shitload of, but this was a GOOD thing in this instance as it could provide a legitimate reason for me to dismiss if he came calling again.
    I happily lent myself to the distraction of my task & before I knew it, it was 4pm.
    Hell, even managed to show up on time!
    Maybe. Just maybe I might be able to get out of here today without any further grief.
    I managed to do just that & even when I got home, not a single call, email or text.
    Now today, 24 hrs. later, not a thing has been mentioned. Not to me, at least.
    I may indeed have dodged a bullet at work, yet AGAIN, but the underlying problem remains. I have issues that need to be addressed & they need addressing NOW if I am to ever hold a job.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

    Feb 12, 2019

    Just because someone tells you you can never hold a job doesn't make it true. I have oodles of misinformation shoved on me by my father. He told me you will never go to Europe, l was in HS. I said dammit, l am going just to spite him. Of course it was the best thing ever. So you vented, maybe you even over -vented, maybe you need a tab of anger management work; but you still got through your day. You knew to get away and get a hold of yourself, and you knew to talk to someone, your wife. These are all great skills to manage anger. Some people count 10 and take deep breaths, some people leave the situtation, everybody has coping skills. I turn my emotions off, because my father yelled about everything, and l learned early as a coping skill not to get upset.

    I think you are remarkable, you lasted a long time there. But those people are jerks, who knows how many other victims have been treated exactly like you at this current place. When people get together has a group to crap on you, chances are it's a revolving door. My current place, l realised a lot of people leaving especially the good people, l have my exit plan ready also.
  15. Rich Gray

    Rich Gray Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2014
    I was told that I would (a) know the results of my interview with another department by Monday or Tuesday, and that (b) I would be able to email and ask questions. The interview was cut short, and after I took three steps from the conference-room I heard laughter from the adjacent managers room where the interviewer walked.

    I was not (a) told the results of the interview on Monday or Tuesday, and (b) my email with additional questions was not returned.

    I am besides myself with how to react to these insults. I feel stuck. I cannot advance without passing these gatekeepers, and I am not sure if I can look myself in the mirror without asking them why I was treated so poorly. I certainly cannot give them my piece of mind without damaging things at work.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020