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What do you do when your boss is your meltdown trigger?


Well-Known Member
It's not a particular person that's the issue (if only it were that simple!). Rather, it's the position, and the usual tasks that come with it.

Specifically, it's that time when the boss has to tell me that I've done something wrong, or that my work isn't meeting their expectations, or some similar not-entirely-pleasant thing.

What the hell do you do when that situation is a guaranteed trigger? Avoiding the situation is impossible. It's going to happen at one point or another. It's part of life, sometimes you screw up, or you're not working up to par for whatever reason, or whatever.

No matter what I do, I can't stop the crying, the desire to go curl up in a corner and scream and bawl my eyes out, the desire to just freak out at the person in general. At best, I can keep from actually doing the latter two, but the crying part is inevitable, and while I don't actually do the other two, I still want nothing else than to do them. Not professional, suffice it to say.

No amount of CBT has been able to stop the chest tightening, the tensing of the facial muscles, the tears, the mental shutoff. Or even delay it.

What am I supposed to do with that for a trigger?
It's a hard situation to deal with. Even as nice as my boss is, on occasion it's hard to take what they say on a non-personal level. My job is flexible enough that I can escape to the elevator (which is rarely used) and sit in there and stim and breathe until I calm down. I think it's impossible to stop a panic attack once it starts, and I agree, CBT can't really help you there, so the best you can do is escape for a bit and wait for it to pass. I'm not sure if your job enables such an act, but if there's any way you can get away for a few minutes, even if it's not officially sanctioned, take it, because you'll need it.
I work remotely now, thank goodness, but I wasn't always so lucky. Being trapped in small rooms with the boss and at least one other person certainly never did me any favors on that front.

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