Sunday August 12, 2012
Down and getting low blows
I AM married with three children and my life was a routine of taking them to school and tuition. Then life dealt me a blow – my husband died, leaving me to handle the kids alone. My whole world came crashing down and I didn’t know where to start again.
My husband had been an addict and whenever he got drunk, I had to bring him home from wherever he had fallen asleep. People used to pity me, saying, “Poor woman. She has to handle the petty jobs.”
But soon after his death, I became the bad woman. According to some people, I went clubbing with different friends every night. I received lewd SMS messages calling me names – I made a police report about these.
My children too were not spared, and had to suffer the same horrid comments. All this happened while we were still grieving.
The second blow came when my greedy relatives tried to take whatever my husband had left for me and my children. Instead of consoling us over our loss, they dragged us to court.
When this case was not even settled, the relatives went and told my best friend of 10 years that I was having an affair with her husband. But my friend didn’t even bother to listen because she knew it was not true.
I gathered myself together and found a job in a private company. I liked the place and started adjusting to life as a single mother. My main aim now is just to take care of my children.
My colleagues understand me well and they help by giving me all the support that I need. My boss is extremely nice, but his wife is the meanest person on the earth.
She does not like me, doesn’t like my work and keeps complaining to her husband about it. She constantly finds things to complain about me. I am fed up with her harassment but I do not know who to talk to about this. She has defamed my name in the office and outside too.
Should I lodge a police report or do I go to our HR division to complain about her? Or should I leave my job?
IT is when we are truly down on our luck that we hope and expect our friends and family to support us. And we feel devastated and disappointed when we find that the exact opposite happens. Instead of being of some help, they add to our difficulties, making things even more painful to bear.
Only you will know what you have gone through, all the difficult times and the hardship that you have endured. But you survived all that and you have probably come out stronger from the experience. You are not going to be able to change people’s behaviour, so you will be better off changing your expectations of them.
Know who you can trust and turn to for help. As for the others, your energy will be better spent making new friends. As for your husband’s family, you have a right to his property and, therefore, have good reason to fight for it.
You like your job and seem to be fitting in there. Why should you leave? You should speak to your boss about the problem you are facing. Despite the fact that his wife complains about you to him, he has not fired you. That must mean something.
Your boss either knows what his wife is trying to do and does not support it, or he values you for the work that you do. However, you cannot be expected to continue working effectively if the harassment continues.
You will have to tell him that it is a problem and that you would like it to stop.
If the defamation is serious, you have the right to lodge a police report against your boss’ wife. Just remember though, that this would create tension between you and may affect you even more in the office.
The diplomatic approach would be more amiable. You will have to evaluate all other approaches if diplomacy does not work.