update: my boss’s wife is rude and insulting, and we’re forced to deal with her

Remember the letter-writer last fall whose boss’s wife was rude and insulting and kept trying to involve her in their personal finances?  Here’s the update.

It’s been a very crazy situation, so I’m sorry to have taken so long to send this. I feel like I’ve only just gotten over it properly this last week.

Thanks again for your and everyone else’s advice. I showed it to my coworker. We have both since quit and are working at other jobs. YIPPEE! I must say, the “normal” of working with people that are respectful, work hard and aren’t compete weirdos was really startling to both of us at first (in a very good way)! Seriously, I pinch myself each day and feel extremely lucky.

So, what happened after I wrote in is we had a meeting: Jane, Boss, Coworker, and I. Coworker and I called the meeting and they reluctantly agreed to have it. We thought the meeting actually went okay at first! (We were wrong.) We came prepared for the meeting – brought in figures, our work hours, Jane’s rude emails printed out, evidence of the increasing workload, and customer comments/feedback and suggested we collaboratively come up with a plan and set of values (for lack of better word) around how we could all work together in 2016, go through everyone’s issues, the money stuff, how we would treat and speak to each other, how we’d all agree to behave, and what we’d commit to do as a company (e.g. answer emails within 48 hours, etc). We printed a calendar of the whole year to plan the goals they wanted to work towards each month. I’m embarrassed to say we both naively thought this could be a positive meeting.

Boss was very strange around Jane (his wife). She went through the figures, expressed amazement at how good they looked, apologised for her emails, it was all going okay-ish until Boss cut her off mid-sentence and told her to “okay just be quiet now, you’re babbling, Jane!”
I think my jaw actually dropped when Jane retreated into her shell and didn’t say anything. Keep in mind, Boss is usually charming and laissez faire about everything and Jane is usually aggressive and quick to anger.

We’ve never seen this side of him. Or her. He turned in a split second. Emotional abuse much?
She then very quietly fobbed off the planning and said she wasn’t interested and Boss could go through this on a work day, not today perhaps. Boss said,” Oh, don’t you f**king tell me what to do, Jane!” then said he was going out for lunch because he was bored of the meeting. He left and then Coworker, Jane, and I were still sitting around the table (in shock). Jane apologised again and said she was under major stress because Boss could not handle money well and getting them into a lot of debt. We said it was nothing to do with us and if they couldn’t afford to pay us then they shouldn’t have staff.

Jane kept apologising over and over about her emails and said she hadn’t thought before she typed and she was angry at Boss and acknowledged she shouldn’t take it out on us. She then launched into inadequacies of Boss, how lazy he is, how he spends all her money, how he’s irresponsible and selfish… Coworker and I were very wary and just listened and kept moving towards the door. We know better than to get involved in a married couple’s relationship issues. We honestly said nothing, just said some vague hmmmms in response, and got the hell out of there as soon as we could.

We left together and were happy Jane had communicated with us and felt we had a bit more understanding of where she was coming from (and that she knew she had behaved unacceptably). The next work day, we came in and started replying to and calling customers. Boss said good morning, was bumbling along, sitting there watching YouTube videos of racing cars as usual for about 20 minutes or so, and suddenly he paused the video, swivelled around in his chair, and the side of him we saw at the meeting was out again. He started shouting and swearing at us saying HOW F**KING DARE WE speak about him to Jane behind his back. HOW DARE WE say X, Y, Z about him (it was actually Jane who said XYZ about him being lazy, not us). HOW DARE WE continue the meeting without him present. Coworker burst into tears and I would have too but I was too shocked! He kept going, really a monster and verbally abusive. We were backed into our work corner too and he was blocking the exit (not stopping us from going or anything, but when someone is shouting like that, it’s quite threatening in atmosphere not to be able to reach an exit). We calmly eventually got out that we didn’t say anything, that Jane said all those things and we just sat and listened, and he started going off again saying he spoke to her and she said we had said all those things about him.

I packed up my things, left the office key on the desk, said “excuse me” as I pushed past him, and walked out and so did Coworker, to him yelling at us in the background: WHERE THE F**K DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?! COME BACK HERE RIGHT NOW, HOW DARE YOU LEAVE, YOU DON’T HAVE MY PERMISSION TO LEAVE… etc etc. It was quite scary, to be honest, but in the moment it kind of seemed comical and I felt pity for them. I couldn’t stop worrying about the customers though and what would happen there, but self preservation got me out of there!

So all these years, under the casual and relaxed persona of Boss has been a psychopath and behind Jane’s cross-ness/rudeness is an emotionally/verbally abused woman acting out her bottled up anger. And we’re pretty sure she threw us under the bus in her place when they talked after the meeting to save her marriage. Equally scary and sad.

So Luxury Teapot Company has sadly now closed. I know some readers suggested Coworker and I buy it (we wish!) but the asking price is around AUD$8 million. Yes, really!

They replaced both of us four times since January (so, eight different people) and couldn’t get anyone to stay – while Jane was apparently very nice to them they all complained about Boss being lazy and not managing and the workload being ridiculous – they couldn’t find anyone willing to do the extra hours we had for free. They begged us both to come back but there’s no way in hell. We called Fair Work Australia because surely his behaviour is illegal, but they weren’t particularly helpful and nothing went any further. We’re both just happy to be out of there.

So it closed down a few weeks ago because Jane doesn’t have time to answer and service and schedule the customers as she works full-time with a lot of overtime and Boss refuses to answer emails or answer the business phone, so without staff the customers go unanswered and no bookings get made. And no one has a spare $8 million hanging around to buy the business. I feel very sorry for the lovely customers that had booked and now are trying to get their deposits back from Boss and Jane, and I’m still getting calls about it on my personal mobile phone. I do feel a little responsible, but I just couldn’t stay there.

Thank you again, Alison, for your and everyone else’s advice. It got both Coworker and I out of the fog and crazyland and things are so, so much better now. Totally and utterly relieved.

{ 154 comments… read them below }

    1. LadyCop*

      I try to not get all Schadenfreude about these…but -THIS- is why I read AAM!

      P.S. Way to be strong OP. I know it was probably scary as hell walking out of there…but I pictured it as something straight out of a movie, and you’re awesome.

    1. B*

      This times a billion. You never know what is truly happening in someone else’s life, but WOW

    1. WorkingMom*

      Seriously! My jaw dropped several times just sitting here reading this! The situation with Boss and Jane does sound very sad and scary. I hope the two of them survive that relationship; in more ways than one. Glad you and your coworker are free!

      1. Kelly L.*

        IIRC, the Hanukkah Balls boss tried again with some other clueless Christmukkah BS the nest year! I can’t remember the details though.

  1. KarenD*

    Wow, talk about a plot twist. Glad OP and her friend got out of that mess! It does seem as though they were keeping he business afloat.

  2. The Butcher of Luverne*

    It’s amazing the business lasted as long as it did.

    I’m glad you’re out safely, OP.

  3. AMG*

    How sad. But thank goodness you are not there any longer. I hope Jane gets some counseling. I am afraid for her.
    Alison, can this go on the list of worst bosses for 2016, even though it’s an update on a 2015 story?

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          Wait, I was confused for a moment and thought Jane was the name of the coworker, not the wife. I wholeheartedly agree that she needs out. No matter where the blame falls business-wise, this doesn’t seem like a healthy relationship in either direction.

    1. Liv (OP)*

      We do too. When I sent my last invoice to Jane I gently suggested she get some help and advice – didn’t go down well!

      1. NoProfitNoProblem*

        It usually doesn’t honestly, but kudos to you for trying anyway! She might need to hear it twenty times before she accepts the truth, and you never know if you’re #19

    1. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.*

      This is exactly the response I had. Wow. If ever there was a good reason to get up and walk out of a job, this is it.

    2. Anna the Accounting (Almost) Grad*

      Agreed. I read the update and had to re-attatch my lower jaw. I mean, I — I can’t even.

  4. MsChanandlerBong*

    If I didn’t know the OP is in Australia, I would be REALLY afraid one of my FIL’s employees wrote the original letter. The scenario is almost exactly the same, except my FIL is the verbally/emotionally abused one and his wife is the abuser. She has run off almost every employee they’ve ever had, and the only guy left only stays because he’s really close to retiring.

    1. Liv (OP)*

      Oh that’s so sad and awful to hear. I feel for your FIL, that can’t be an easy situation for him.

  5. Shell*

    Yikes. I know a couple of commenters had nailed down that Jane was actually mad at Bob’s laziness/inability to do anything/getting them into debt and taking it out OP and her coworker, but the issues run deep in this one.

    I’m glad OP and her coworker got out, but man, I feel sorry for Jane. Working high power job and crazy overtime to cover for Bob and his madness, and abused on top of it.

    1. Kelly L.*

      Yup. Now it’s pretty clear the reason she threw fits about requests for money was because he was going to throw a fit at her when she passed it along.

    2. Shell*

      And I would bet money that Bob blamed OP and Coworker’s leaving on Jane (partially true), and when their eight replacement workers wouldn’t stay (because of Bob, not Jane, who is now very nice), Bob blamed it on Jane again for chasing away their best workers.

      There really isn’t a silver lining for Jane here.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      Yep a lot of the commenters were right in their analysis, but I don’t think anyone expected the dude to turn like that. Wow.
      Sad part is, even after scaring away four more sets of employees they couldn’t get their act together and save their company. Or save themselves from themselves.

      1. Anonsie*

        I think a handful of us suspected he was probably somewhat like this behind closed doors or in the background, but I doubt anyone would have ever guessed he would lash out at the LW and their coworker like this or keep it up when their replacements came in. I figured him for one of those that makes sure all his shittiness is private so his wife looks like the problem and he can shrug and act like it has nothing to do with him.

        1. Liv (OP)*

          I think you are spot on with the ‘private’ personality which is text book for a lot of this kind of marital abuse I’d guess.

          When he lashed out at us, truly it was like another person had taken over his body, he was *unrecognisable* which is why I was so shocked rather than scared or teary. It was just so… Strange. And it was also clearly uncontrollable, I packed up my stuff when I saw in his eyes that he was totally out of control of himself — he looked like a wild animal running on instincts. I don’t think he could have stopped if he wanted to. *shivers*

          1. Preux*

            Unfortunately, abusive people are never really out of control. They do like to give that impression because they know it’s frightening – but it’s an intentional tactic, although it takes a lot to get them to admit it.

            In other words, his words and behavior during his apparent ‘snap’ were all 100% his choice, and he liked the fact that he came across like an out of control loose canon. You and coworker handled it really well by leaving (in the immediate situation and in general).

          2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            When he lashed out at us, truly it was like another person had taken over his body, he was *unrecognisable* which is why I was so shocked rather than scared or teary. It was just so… Strange.

            Oof. I know this, all too well — it’s very, very common. Abusers are never really out of control, they just determine that a particular situation is a safe one to let loose in. Family history, I won’t get into it here, but… let’s just say I grew up really, really attentive to the little tiny warning signs.

          3. Andrea*

            I’m just *SO* glad that he didn’t have a gun. I’m writing from America, and I feel like your situation could have gone down a whole different, horrible way if he had a firearm.

            I’m so glad that you and your coworker are safe, and I feel *awful* for Jane. I read in another comment of yours that you had advised that she seek help: that was a brave and generous thing for you to do, and I hope that she listens. Just as you and your coworker didn’t realize how awful the situation was until you got some outside opinions, your perspective may help her to see that nothing about her married life is normal or healthy.

            1. Aisling*

              Uh, just because someone’s a jerk and emotionally abusive doesn’t mean he wants to murder us all. And if he did, the fact that he didn’t have a gun handy wouldn’t stop him.

              Anger, even unreasonable anger, does not automatically equal murderous tendencies.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Not me. I was betting on “selfish asshole letting Jane take the heat”, but not this!

    4. Anonsie*

      Yeah, I had a big “CALLED IT” fist pump reading this. The reality is worse than I had imagined though so instead of being smug I just feel really sad about the whole situation.

  6. CH*

    Congratulations OP for handling a tough situation in a classic way. Also, Congrats on the new job!

    1. Carpe Librarium*

      Adding my congratulations on the new jobs for OP and coworker; I didn’t re-read all the comments on the original letter but IIRC one factor adding to the stress was uncertainty about finding suitable work elsewhere.

      1. Liv (OP)*

        Thank you both, but the thank you should go to Alison and of the wonderful commenters who helped me and CoWorker see straight!

  7. AdAgencyChick*

    And in continued delusions, these people think their failing business is worth $8 million. Whaaaaa?

    Glad you got out, OP!

    1. LBK*

      From OP’s original letter and comments, it sounded like there was certainly the customer base for it to be worth that much – the only reason it was failing is because no one was following through on the orders the customers wanted to make.

      1. Sunshine*

        OP should look at starting her own business for the product/service. She knows the customers.

        1. Adam V*

          I thought about saying that, but as Alison has written about before, it’s really easy to tell someone else “you should start a business!” and a lot of work to actually do it.

          Granted, in this case, you already know there’s a market, and in many cases you may already have all the necessary skills to actually *do* it, so it’s probably a better chance… but it’s hard to make that leap.

          1. LBK*

            At first I thought you meant, like, a ficus. I was very confused why that would make it harder for the OP to start a business.

            1. Turtle Candle*

              I am cracking up at the idea of a geranium valued at eight million dollars or something.

          2. Liv (OP)*

            Yes, if you wanted to start this kind of business from scratch (not buying an existing established one), you’d need to invest at least $5 million just to get set up.

            1. Catherine*

              I am so glad you got out, and I hope Jane gets out too, but please, please tell me – what on earth is a Luxury Teapot Experience? Google tells me nothing and I am absolutely consumed with curiosity…

              1. MeridaAnn*

                I know this was months ago, but anyway: “Teapot” companies are the generic field of work traditionally used for posts here – it’s just a code phrase. So in this example, it’s some sort of luxury product (not teapots), but the letter writer doesn’t want to list their actual field for privacy reasons.

    2. MsChanandlerBong*

      I posted above about how my FIL’s business is mismanaged and has a lot of the same conflicts. Somehow, they manage to bring in millions of dollars in revenue each year. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!

  8. Rocket Scientist*

    WOW !!

    I was thinking this sounds like emotional abuse about 3 sentences before you go to saying that.

    Congrats on getting out, to both of you. Are you and the former coworker at the same, new company now?

  9. Van Wilder*

    Satisfying for you but that still SUCKS. I wish boss would get his comeuppance. I suppose his business (and hopefully soon) marriage falling apart amounts to getting what he deserves and yet, people like that will never realize they’ve brought this on themselves.

    Also OP – do NOT feel responsible! You served your customers the best you could but it’s out of your control to make them honor their contracts. I hope their customers sue them.

  10. Ang*

    I think I’m still in shock on this one. So glad you’re out of there! It’s a compliment to your character that you care so much for the customers, but ultimately, neither they nor their deposits are any of your responsibility – don’t carry that with you! Congrats on new jobs to you & your co-worker!

  11. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Wow, I feel bad for Jane now…but she still turned her trust issues with her husband into the OP’s problem (and her coworker’s), and that’s not right. I’m glad they left before the business went under, because it probably got even worse at the end, as the noose tightened.

    Since the business didn’t sell, I wonder the OP and her coworker could try to buy just the informational assets of the business, namely the client information. I don’t know if that works the same there as it does in the US, but usually at bankruptcy, assets are auctioned off to pay creditors and vendors, and from what the OP said, it sounds like they might be sued into bankruptcy soon (“customers go unanswered and no bookings get made…the lovely customers that had booked and now are trying to get their deposits back from Boss and Jane, and I’m still getting calls about it on my personal mobile phone”).

    1. fposte*

      Yup. And the rambling on about how they have a nerve to want to get paid when the owners’ kids need to go on vacations–all on her.

    2. INTP*

      I’m not saying Jane’s behavior was “right” but it’s pretty normal for emotional/verbal abuse victims ime. Unfortunately I’ve seen this play out in my family and all of it seems typical to me. I think that the emotionally abused often get into sort of an emotional survival mode where they aren’t really operating according to normal rules of propriety and fairness because they’re just trying to get by, and with that comes behavior like picking confrontations they should have with their spouse with other people because they can’t express their anger to the spouse, throwing other people under the bus to save themselves a confrontation, etc. I think even nice, considerate people can become Jane under enough pressure.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I agree, the abusee can turn into an abuser themselves. OP and her coworker were “crutches” allowed her to continue on in her bad situation. Even in the end, Jane had to use your voices and not her own by couching everything in terms of “you guys said x and y and z….” So she is in a baaaaddd spot. I hope she is able to get herself out and I hope she gets counseling. Her worldview is already distorted into believing that it is okay to treat employees like crap and covering for a man who will never be a happy person unless he makes some major changes.

        I assume you will show your former coworker this column also. Therefore I wish the both of you many uneventful workdays and jobs for years to come. I think you both have had enough for one life time.

        1. Anonsie*

          Absolutely. Jane is in self preservation mode with this, it’s wrong but it’s hard for me to fault her for it.

      2. Liv (OP)*

        I think you’re spot on. Totally in survival mode. At the meeting, Jane was hyperactive and almost a little to jumpy and enthusiastic, very nervous energy and when she was shut down by Boss she was almost like a small child that had been reprimanded, so strange at the time but it makes sense why now. I do feel for her and I hope there is no physical abuse happening and that she can find the strength to get out.

        I’m sorry to hear something similar has played out for someone you know and I hope they are okay.

      3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        BTDT, and you’re absolutely correct.

        More than that, it also can turn into a feedback loop where the emotionally abused person is panicking because they know that the heavy end is going to come down on them — ie, Jane probably knew intellectually that *of course* OP and Coworker deserved to be paid, but that was overridden by the panic instinct of “We don’t have enough money -> Bob will rip me a new one” which turned it into the employees’ fault that Bob was going to rip her to shreds, because they were the proximate cause of the money issues. (The real cause, of course, being Bob himself, but she couldn’t unload on Bob for obvious reasons). And then of course, employees complain about her to Bob, more heavy end comes down, once again the *proximate* (not ultimate) cause is the employees…

        I’ve been there, and it sucks. It isn’t fair for the OP and Coworker to be the targets there — I’m not for a second saying it is! But it also isn’t necessarily as simple as Jane venting anger where it seems safer to do so.

        1. Rosemary*

          Isn’t this the evil plight of middle managers everywhere? Trapped between clueless, lazy, finger-pointing, YouTubing top management and powerless, frustrated, abused staff. I fight everyday from the middle to end the blame culture. Any time top mgt brings up their blaming crap, I ask them to give me one, just one thing they think they could do to make things better. Just one. The silence is deafening. “Do you really think if you fire everyone and replace them you’re not going to have the same problems? Name a thing the staff is doing wrong, name a behavior. Can you?” NO. They can’t. They have their theories, they form opinions about motives, but they struggle with facts. And it is such a waste of time.

  12. LBK*

    Well, I certainly didn’t expect the update to be MORE crazy than the original letter, which already set a pretty high crazy bar.

    Good on you for getting out and for recognizing that no amount of obligation to customers is worth putting up with that (and if your customers knew what you were going through, I bet a lot of them would’ve said the same thing).

    1. OhNo*

      Neither did I, but then I never would’ve expected the situation to turn out to be something like this!

      Seriously, though, it sounds like the OP and the coworker did a fantastic job of recognizing when the situation turned abusive and untenable and getting the heck out of there ASAP. It was definitely worth a try to fix the issues, but given the background to the situation, it was probably doomed from the start.

  13. Mina*

    Walking out when getting abused at work is kind of a major dream in the employment world, I think, and so rarely seems to happen. I’m very glad they got out. I really hope Jane will be ok.

  14. Bowserkitty*

    Holy bajeebus…didn’t see this ending how it did. I hope Jane is going to be okay.

  15. Catalin*

    Really no one should be surprised that Jane blamed them on saying the bad things that she said: if she’s with him after hours too, (assumable since they’re married), she may have been just trying to Stay Alive. The man who blows up at his employees will blow up at his wife and blocking exits is awfully close to blacking eyes.

    1. OhNo*

      Agreed. Although I hate to jump to any suspicion of more abuse than we have evidence of (honestly, the emotional terrorism mentioned in the update is bad enough on its own), it would not surprise me in the least that Jane threw anyone and everyone under the bus in an attempt to smooth things over. If she has to put up with him 24/7, she’d almost have to if she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life getting screamed at.

      I hope Jane is able to get out of that relationship someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

      1. fposte*

        “it would not surprise me in the least that Jane threw anyone and everyone under the bus in an attempt to smooth things over.”

        Bad news for her kids, if so.

        1. Observer*

          Bad news for her kids, even if they are the exception (and they might be.)

          This is NOT a healthy environment for kids to grow up in.

    2. Jennifer*

      This is unfortunately reminding me of some things I was reading about why Shelly Miscavige went missing.

    3. INTP*

      Yes, and if not trying to physically stay alive, trying to get by emotionally at the least. Even with emotional abuse alone and no physical, it is quite common for the victims to try to evade any confrontation they can in any way they can and that means throwing other people under the bus.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      Yeah. I’m kind of mad at her for doing that… but we don’t know the whole personal situation for her. It could well be lie or black eye.

  16. K.*

    Daaaaaaamn. I definitely didn’t see that coming! Thanks for the update. So glad you’re free, but I worry for Jane.

  17. sillyquiet*

    Man I remember when I left my last (dysfunctional) workplace.
    Entering a professional, well-managed, modern job was like turning on a light. Only then do you realize how unhappy and stressful those kind of places are.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      Yup and so similar to getting out of bad relationships. Recently catching up with a friend that was previously in a bad relationship, hearing her praise things about her beau of 9 months that I would consider pretty standard was eye opening. She was praising his steady work history, him never asking her for money and taking her out.

      1. sillyquiet*

        Yeah, a cousin had a relationship like that, worse, actually: a marriage and children with a person like that. When she finally, thankfully, divorced and found someone else, it was absolutely surprising to her that a partner could be supportive and provide for themselves.

        1. Liv (OP)*

          Wow, I am so happy that the friend and the cousin of you both have found happiness and got out of those situations :)

    2. Liv (OP)*

      You are sooooo right! Both CoWorker and I feel like we’ve won the lottery. Just working somewhere where my (lovely) boss cares about his customers, is excited when we make progress and actually does work himself is freaking amazing.

  18. Laurel Gray*

    In the Lifetime movie version of this update OP is played by Danica McKellar and her coworker is played by Melissa Joan Hart. The boss and wife are played by William R. Moses and Gail O’Grady. Seriously, so glad you got the heck out of there OP and have a new job!

        1. Adam*

          Melissa Joan Hart being one of if not my first childhood celebrity crushes, I would totally watch that movie.

    1. Liv (OP)*

      I’d totally watch the movie. And I wish I looked like Danica McKellar! We are about the same age so good pick!

  19. Ann Furthermore*

    OP, that is one crazy story! Glad you got out of there and that you and your co-worker have both moved on to better things.

  20. Just A Girl*

    How do updates factor into the Worst Boss of the Year? Obviously this guy was technically in the running last year, but we did not know.

    Oh, how we did not know.

  21. LawCat*

    What the butt?! :-O

    So glad you and your co-worker got out of there safely and are in functional work environments now!

  22. Anne*

    Holy crap! You and your coworker appear to be the only sane people there. I’m glad you both got out and have good jobs now.

  23. BethRA*

    *sound of jaw hitting desk*

    Wow. Congrats on getting out, and thanks for the update – but please, please don’t feel bad about the customers. Whatever negative consequences they’re dealing with are on your ex-boss and his wife, not you.


    1. Liv (OP)*

      I know you’re right about the customers, but I think it’s just in my DNA that I want them to be treated fairly and respectfully. I think the feeling will fade over time but I still cringe and feel terrible for them.

  24. Jeanne*

    I feel bad for the customers and in some way for Jane but you did the right thing. You have to take care of yourself and that was unsafe.

  25. I'm Not Phyllis*

    My jaw hit the floor reading this. I’m glad you and your coworker are out safely. It does take some time to let go of your old job, especially if it was a pretty traumatic experience, as there’s no doubt this was! It’s admirable that you care so much for the customers (a real testament to your work ethic and to you as a person!) but nothing that happened after you left is your responsibility.

    1. I'm Not Phyllis*

      After re-reading the original posts, I wouldn’t be surprised if her emails to you were direct quotes from Boss.

  26. LibraryChick*

    Whoa. The boss seemed to think that he literally owned his employees. What a narcissistic piece of work!

  27. RVA Cat*

    Is it just me, or does this abusive jerkwad seem to be an exponentially worse adult version of the student org deadbeats in the previous post? This is why you need to let people fail when they won’t do the work – best when it’s fairly low-stakes too. I don’t see how he could possibly thing his business could continue without him actually, you know, working!

  28. Mimmy*

    I didn’t read the original story when it was posted, but….. yikes!!! My jaw kept hitting the desk! Glad you and Coworker are out of there and in a better, healthier environment.

  29. Former Retail Manager*

    I soooo did not see this turning out like it did. WOW! Glad you and the co-worker got out of there. Overall a sad story, I think, and unfortunate that this man has singlehandedly ruined both is personal and professional lives by being such a terrible person. Maybe someday he’ll get what he deserves….I don’t think that has happened yet.

  30. LeRainDrop*

    OMFG! I am so glad you got out of that crazy situation. You and your co-worker were very brave to walk out like that. Very smartly done!

  31. Elizabeth West*

    Holy Amy’s Baking Company, Batman. o_O

    These are two people who should never own a business, should never be managing people or payroll, and thank GOD you two got out of there!

    1. Wakeen's Teapots, Ltd.*

      Yup. My first thought, “Amy’s Baking Company!!” and now the husband and wife of this story look exactly like those two.

  32. Observer*

    It’s hard to tell whether Boss and Jane are in mutually toxic relationship, or Boss is just a s=psychopath on his own. In either case, I feel bad for the kids. This does NOT make for a healthy environment to grow up in.

    In any case, OP you should NOT feel in any way, shape or form responsible in even the slightest bit. You were simply a poorly paid part time worker, and it’s not reasonable for anyone to expect you to pick up the slack for a former employer who cheated and abused you. Unless you lied to them while you were employed by this pair, you have not even the slightest bit of moral responsibility.

    I do feel bad for the people who are out a substantial amount of money. But, I can’t imagine what any of these people think you can or should do.

  33. Brisvegan*

    OP: You might want to check on your superannuation entitlements and whether your PAYE tax payments have actually been made. I have heard of situations like this where the bosses pocketed super and tax payments instead of paying them.

    You want to ensure that any missing payments come out of the company assets before this company ends up liquidated.

    Fortunately, sometimes reports to appropriate government departments can be useful if funds haven’t been paid.

    Glad to hear you got out!

    1. Liz*

      Yes, I had the same thought! I’m sorry FWA couldn’t help you, but I’m glad the company’s no longer operating.

      Now, let’s get all the Australian AAM readers together to launch a mission to save Jane.

      1. Liv (OP)*

        Thank you both, yes, finally got everything paid. We were contractors so responsible for our own tax and super, it took awhile but it’s finally finally all sorted out. Phew!

  34. WhiteBear*

    You are not, repeat, NOT responsible for failing the customers, Boss and Jane are. You can absolutely feel bad for the customers, but you should absolutely not feel guilty or that you let them down. You didn’t. Again, that’s on Boss and Jane.
    And THANK YOU so much for the update, this was easily one of my favourite and most bizarre stories on AAM and I’m so glad that there was a happy ending for you and coworker!

    1. Liv (OP)*

      Thank you WhiteBear! It’s been a verrrry strange few months and we’re both so glad we’re out of there.

  35. Panda Bandit*

    Wow OP, I’m really glad you both got out of there safely. It’s amazing that they went through 8 other employees in the span of 2 months yet gained no self awareness.

    1. Liv (OP)*

      Thank you Panda, yes I couldn’t believe how many people they churned through, and so quickly, but I suppose that is telling. I don’t think Boss will ever get to that place, he doesn’t want to hear it!

  36. Ruffingit*

    There is so much going on under the surface in this situation. I worked for a similar couple except the man was terribly emotionally abused by his wife who was a tyrant. I left after six months, I couldn’t take it anymore. Being abused is awful, watching it is not that much better. Leaving these kinds of situations is the only thing to do. I can only hope Jane realizes that too.

    1. Liv (OP)*

      Sorry you’ve had a similar situation Ruffingit, and glad you got out! I too hope Jane gets out of there.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Thanks Liv! I worked for this couple 10 years ago, but from time to time I still think about the husband and hope he’s been able to escape. I’m really glad you and your co-worker left, you both deserve so much better than what was going on there. It’s amazing you lasted as long as you did, though I understand why because we’ve all got to pay the bills. Been there too. Congrats on moving forward to a better situation!

  37. Caity*

    Oof. Even when your employers are normal, working for a married couple is awkward at best. I’ve done it twice now and hope to never do it again.

      1. Ruffingit*

        There is no way you could have known about this. As much as we all talk about vetting employers, this is the kind of thing that can’t be known in advance because it sounds like your boss was a psychopath whose true colors were kept under wrap for quite awhile. It’s enough you had to deal with Jane and her insults, but then to have your boss completely change personalities and verbally assault you? Wow. You and your co-worker have my utmost awe for the way you handled it. Gathering your things and leaving never to return – best thing you both could have done! And the fact that they tried to get you to come back after abusing you the way they did?? Really?? Some people just completely lack self-awareness.

  38. Erin*

    *picks jaw up off floor*

    Can you write a short story about it and submit it somewhere, and let me know where I can see it? Or can I write a short story about this?

    I cannot believe they begged you to come back after all of that. They obviously feed into each others f***edupness, believing that how they behave is normal and acceptable behavior. I actually feel bad for them they went downhill so quickly. But join the real world, man.

    1. Ruffingit*

      People like that really do believe it’s normal. I referenced a married couple above that I worked for 10 years ago. The woman just did not understand why people kept quitting with no notice (myself being one of them). She just did not see how abusive and crazy she really was. I suppose that is a hallmark though of that kind of behavior – the perpetrator never does see it for what it really is and truly believes it’s normal and appropriate.

  39. MissDisplaced*

    Holy Moley! That has to be one of the best ever Teapot Soap Operas on record here.

    Wow! Just Wow. Sounds like he’s an abusive A-Hole and she enables it or is bound up in some horrible twisted abusive situation. So glad you got out.

  40. AW*

    I get some joy out of the fact that y’all were able to walk out during his tantrum, especially with him saying you weren’t allowed to leave. Seems like he thought being scary up front would stop that from happening but just lead to everyone leaving faster.

    I do hope his wife finds a safe way to escape to a better situation.

  41. AcidMeFlux*

    I work in an NGO run by a couple, and over the years we’ve had some doubts about which one was the psychopath and which was the victim. It seems to swing back and forth. Moral of the story; put your guard up to supercrazy sensitive if you work for a couple,; and always consider the possibility that the dynamic is NOT what you thought it was. And good luck and bless you for your luck in running away.

  42. Tiana*

    I am hopeful that Jane gets out. Staying with an abusive partner just to give your children their other parent does not end well. I think that’s why she is trying to save this marriage to give her children their father. But seriously, it is better to be rid of him ASAP. Yes, it would hurt the children but it would also hurt the children to grow up, watching this abuse, and if they tried to intervene, they themselves would get lashed at. If Jane took out her frustration on you for what her husband was like to her it won’t be shocking to know that she will do the same to her own children. My brother and I had been through this. We could never understand why she would stay with him when he was like this to her and at us whenever he just felt like having a go at someone and she wasn’t there (she was at work). On the night of my Grandmother’s funeral, he had accused my mother of sleeping with another man. Seriously? That would be the furthest thing from her mind on her mother’s funeral. Needless to say, he was so worked up over this, he just spewed utter bull about her at her. Then she turned on my brother and I when we tried to help her. He’s also shown he’s ready to drive us all off the cliff or into a truck when he gets into one of his moods. Then we got blamed for him getting into one of those moods.

    So, no, we would have been better off without him.

    For a long time now I have contemplated if I had developed feelings of depression or if I was wrong in thinking I had any sort of emotional repercussions from this because they tell me that I don’t have problems that are worth talking to a therapist about. And when you hear it enough you have your doubts about what you’re feeling. Of course, I have reached out to online counselling services to hear a second opinion, and well they have told me to get therapy but I don’t see that happening till I move away. Which is not for another year. I am stuck.

    This was a sad update to read because of how much I could see my parents in these people.

    Jane needs to get out NOW. For her own sake and for that of her children.

Comments are closed.