update: I’m jealous of my attractive employee and it’s impacting how I treat her

Remember the letter-writer who was jealous of her attractive employee and it was impacting how she treated her? The first update is here, second update is here, and the third update is here.) Here’s a new update.

I have been sober since March 19, 2017.

I completed my rehab programs for both my addiction issues and my eating disorder. I still visit my therapist once a week for a check-in. In the evening I still attend meetings for one of the two support groups I belong to, one for eating disorders and one for addiction. These things help me keep in check and make me feel calm and supported. I feel happier than I have ever been and therapy and support groups help.

I no longer use any kind of substance or pills and won’t take anything unless it is prescribed and I am under the supervision of the doctor. Nothing over the counter or anything along those lines. In the past year the only time I have needed to take anything was before a dental appointment under his watch. My anxiety is under control with my therapy and the coping techniques I have learned. In my case I am no longer on medication for it and I feel comfortable with this (I am not saying no one should go without it, just me). I don’t weigh myself or own a scale. I cook and have a better relationship with food.

The other four weekdays I work at the job I mentioned in my last update. On the weekend I attend church, volunteer there and spend time with my family. I work with nice people who are aware of my past issues as I have nothing to hide. I have made new friends in the support groups and at church. I addressed the situation re: my old friends in my last update and that has not changed.

I wanted to send you a note because you and your readers were so supportive. I am still sober despite a couple of bumps in the road: A criminal case from my conduct to my former employee and the reappearance of an ex-boyfriend. The court case resulted in conviction. I got a suspended sentence because I had already gone to rehab on my own and settled the lawsuit at the first chance.

Therapy has helped work out that the case was warranted, anyone who heard the facts would agree. I am okay with the outcome and have accepted responsibility. The outcomes of the lawsuit and criminal case forbid me from contacting my former employee at her request. I have had no contact since I was fired from my job. I wish her well.

My ex-boyfriend told everyone who would listen online and in person he knew I had problems and he had tried to warn me something was wrong with me and had tried to help me despite my “verbal and emotional abuse.” I admit to not being perfect in the relationship. Fortunately my family, new coworkers and fellow church members paid no attention. My old coworkers and friends surely did.

I’m thankful to my parents for taking me in and for paying for my lawyers, my rehab and the lawsuit settlement. Without them I wouldn’t have made it this far. My brother got married this year and my sister-in-law is pregnant and I will be an aunt any day now. At the end of the day I am still sober. I have my health. I have support from the people around me. The rest is just background noise.

I send wishes to you and your supportive readers for a prosperous year. I owe my new life to all of you as well. All the best. Your book was great and I give it as a gift and tell everyone I know to read it.

{ 235 comments… read them below }

  1. leya*

    this is a lovely outcome for a very difficult situation. OP, you sound like you have done a lot of really important growth, and that is admirable work. i wish you the absolute very best as you move forward.

    1. ginger ale for all*

      I agree. This letter writer is one of my favorites for her honesty, rehabilitation, and redemption. I read chick lit occasionally and it’s nice to know that anyone in real life as well as fiction can change the course that they are going on for a better path. Best wishes!

  2. Bend & Snap*

    I’m glad the LW is doing well.

    I’m also very confused. A criminal case? For treating someone badly? I thought the settlement was weird but this is weirder.

    I’ve read often here that it’s not illegal to be a jerk at work.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m not sure, but I suspect the OP may not be in the U.S. and/or this could have happened if it was something like harassment or stalking. (I’m just speculating though.)

      1. Washi*

        Out of curiosity, in the US, if the OP was discriminating against or harassing an employee, would a lawsuit brought by the employee be against the OP personally or against the company?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          So, there are two different types of harassment in the U.S.: there’s harassment in the labor law sense, where you’re being harassed at work (sexual harassment, hostile workplace, etc.), and that’s a civil action that’s typically brought against the employer, not a coworker personally. And there’s also criminal harassment, which is conduct that annoys/threatens/alarms/puts a person in fear for their safety.

          So if Bob sexually harasses a colleague, the lawsuit would be civil and against the employer. If he chronically prank calls his neighbor and vandalizes their property, he might get a criminal harassment charge.

          1. TootsNYC*

            I would think it’s possible that Bob’s conduct at work could result in criminal charges against him personally as well. That fact that it’s happening inside work doesn’t change criminal law.

            It’s just that sometimes the criminal system doesn’t want to be bothered, or there isn’t quite enough evidence, or something that’s against employment law (repeated dirty jokes) might not rise to criminality (the way assault would).

            1. dealing with dragons*

              yeah, if you’re at a bar and someone is lewd, you can leave. not so much at work. your employer has a duty to keep the environment safe. still can’t punch someone in a bar.

          2. I AM a lawyer.*

            In California, there is personal liability for harassment. The plaintiff can go after both the employer and employee.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        And I should add that I agree with others that the OP is probably being careful about what details she does and doesn’t share, and I should have respected that by not speculating! I got sidetracked on wanting to address the confusion. My apologies!

      3. Dagny*

        Depending on the jurisdiction, a physical threat could rise to the level of a criminal complaint. “I’m going to rip your eyes out” or somesuch could, arguably, be criminal.

    2. Not Me*

      “it’s not illegal to be a jerk at work”

      I hear that a lot in response to people thinking it’s harassment when someone is generally a jerk. As opposed to the legal definition of workplace harassment.

    3. Ra94*

      I actually think this is the update that made the pieces click together for me- it sounds like a lot more happened with the employee than just verbal meanness, and it explains the fully burnt bridges, etc. I don’t blame OP for not listing it out more fully at the start, both because it can be really tough to confront that kind of behaviour, and because I imagine her lawyer could have warned her against it. But the whole thing makes more sense to me now.

    4. dealing with dragons*

      to me it sounds like they may have been drunk or high at work, considering they mentioned that the sentence was suspended due to the rehab. they also may have been drunk or high at home and then further harassing the victim, maybe through social media as that was previously mentioned as a weakness.

    5. Beth*

      It’s not illegal to be a jerk at work–as long as it’s limited to general meanness and doesn’t extend to any specifically criminal activities. But if you, say, punch a coworker in the face, being at work won’t protect you from having criminal charges leveled at you for assault. OP’s behavior probably escalated well past casually being a jerk, based on her own words and based on the fact that there was a successful court case. I’m just glad it’s worked out well for everyone involved; OP’s former employee gets an OP-free life, and OP gets treatment and support that has clearly helped her a lot.

    1. pangolin of the hills*

      I am intensely curious about what the LW actually did to her employee and have been since the second update. The details about the employee hiring a lawyer, LW losing all her friends, LW being blacklisted in her entire industry, and now criminal convictions really make me wonder what happened. I’ve disliked or been jealous of coworkers before (though not to a level that affected my mental health) and I’ve known people who hated their coworkers – but never anything that rose to the level of a criminal conviction.

      However, that said: I’m really proud of the LW for taking such comprehensive responsibility for her actions and moving on thoroughly. I’m glad that she’s found help through therapy and support groups and a new community at her new church.

      1. WellRed*

        Oh yes, well done to the OP! She totally owns her actions and has moved forward, thoughtfully.

      2. Lisa*

        Yeah, there just has to be way more to this, I am baffled as to the level this has been escalated to for the LW. Lawyers, arrests, court cases, convictions!!?? I’ve worked with some shitty petty people across the years of my career. While I did wish some of them would get some comeuppance for their crap behavior, I cant imagine any of that raising to the level of me taking action that would nearly destroy their lives. I feel like there is some key info missing here.

        1. Jaybeetee*

          Well, her first update indicated that things had, uh, deteriorated since her first letter and that her behaviour towards the colleague had gotten worse, and the subsequent letters suggest that “alcohol was involved.” I don’t say this to play detective or try to figure out what LW “did”, just to say that the updates make it clear that the LW was in a very bad place at that time, *thought* she was still holding together, but had some kind of rude awakening that she was very much *not*. That other letter about the woman with severe anxiety who went to a colleague’s home comes to mind.

          1. Busy*

            I agree, and I think we can just trust OP here on this since her therapists seem to agree it was warranted. Definitely after reading this site for years, I can think of lots of ways things could have gone sideways here – confronting the rock-star she used to bully drunkenly and aggressively in a restaurant comes to mind (I hope she updates some day again).

            I think it is great though the ownership OP has had over all of this from the very beginning, and I am glad she is in a better place surrounded by people who can be supportive of her.

        2. another Hero*

          Eh, it’s the op’s prerogative in this case not to give us all the details

          1. Anna*

            Yeah. She’s been really open and honest about her journey and if this is where she wants to keep it private, that is A-Okay.

          2. dramallama*

            I think it’s actually really healthy that she’s accepting responsibility, but not obsessing over the details. I can accept her mental health is much more important than my morbid curiosity.

      3. Kettles*

        It almost feels like she’s taking *too much* responsibility, but that’s impossible to say without details that OP has every right and reason to keep to herself.

      4. JSPA*

        The details may be hazy, or best left in the past. I’m thrilled by the update, and probably happier not knowing the “juicy” details.

      5. anon moose, anon mouse*

        Yes, good for the LW, but I really hope the OP is okay since it sounds like they were pretty severely affected by this. It’s weird that it keeps getting glossed over by everyone.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Criminal as opposed to traffic conviction. That’s not snark, I promise, keep reading.
      In NYS you can have a criminal conviction for possessing a joint. This would be considered a violation on the same level as a speeding ticket. You need to take care of the charge but it’s not super serious.

      If you have large quantities of pot, then it goes up to a misdemeanor. This would be on the same level of seriousness as a DWAI, maybe a tad worse. Okay now things are getting a bit serious, but it’s not the highest level of charges you can face.

      Felonies are the top level. But there are different classes of felonies based on the severity of the offense. So there are criminal violations, criminal misdemeanors or criminal felonies. We don’t know what level OP was charged at and it’s not our biz really. With what little I have seen, people who get suspended sentences were NOT charged at the felony level in the beginning. (not everyone, not all the time, just from my narrow observations.)

      OP got a suspended sentence. In order to get the court to suspend a sentence the judge and prosecutor have to be SUPER impressed with the defendant’s actions to rectify the problem. IF there are underlying problems, such as addiction, then the courts will want to see proof of counseling and abstinence. Additionally courts and prosecutors will probably look for some statement of remorse/regret and they will definitely watch to see if the person is sincere. This is one heck of a lot of work for the person facing the charge.

      So keep in mind that if a person gets convicted of possessing ONE joint then they have a criminal conviction. We have no idea what OP was convicted of and again, not really our beeswax anyway.

      In short OP is showing us that she has done a ton of work on herself and her life as part of her process through this. She had to earn that suspended sentence every inch of the way. Well done, OP and congratulations on all your gains here. My friend is a lawyer. She said her work is the most rewarding when she can see someone pull their lives together and go on to have a rich and full life. I wish you the very best life has on your new path, OP.

      1. Lilo*

        I clerked for a judge on a criminal calendar and interned for a prosecutor and that’s not my experience with suspended sentences at all. We put a lot of people into pre-trial diversion for first offenses, including a couple who had to restart the program a couple times.

        This is why speculating here isn’t good. There really is no information to say what it was or the severity.

      2. Temperance*

        So …. a lot of this is not really correct, especially your points regarding suspended sentences. I don’t think we need to discuss it/speculate on her issues, but we live in a country where plenty of awful people (rapists etc.) get suspended sentences, so …

        1. AMT*

          Right, and also, a violation is NOT a criminal conviction! (Worked in public defense in NYC, not a lawyer.)

      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I think it’s highly unlikely that the criminal charge was related to a DUI or possession. The presence of a restraining order as part of the relief sounds like OP was engaged in some kind of criminal harassment (or other criminal threats) that specifically targeted the Coworker. But I think assuming that it’s a simple possession case and applying that lens may be skewing your experiences with suspended sentences.

        What you’ve described is not really how suspended sentences work in NY or other states. You’re describing “drug court” diversion programs, which attempt to intervene if someone is charged with a “non-violent” controlled substances offense and addiction appears to be the driving factor in that person’s unlawful controlled substances activities.

      4. Turanga Leela*

        Criminal lawyer here. You can absolutely get a suspended sentence for a felony. Happens all the time—it basically means probation instead of prison.

        That’s not to say OP has a felony conviction! We don’t know anything about her particular situation. I’m just saying the suspended sentence is not a clue about the severity of the charge.

      5. Sal*

        Sorry, have to jump in:

        Violations in New York state are non-criminal offenses, even if they come from the Penal Code; and

        Suspended sentences and whether/when they are available is a highly technical issue and varies wildly by jurisdiction.

        Source: I used to be a public defender in NY and worked as a criminal-defense intern in 2 other states in law school.

  3. league.*

    I am so happy to hear that the OP is doing well. While we are certainly not entitled to such information, I think many of us are confused about the details of how she behaved to her employee; the original email and Alison’s answer suggested it was “just”* some mildly negative interactions. But from the follow-ups, the OP was not only fired, but sued AND taken to criminal court for her actions. And none of her friends have stood by her. I reiterate that we don’t at all have a right to these details, but I for one am curious about this and if she does want to provide us with any context, that would be great. In any case, OP, congratulations on your continued recovery and on rebuilding your life – that is difficult to do and you have come a long way!

    *Of course this isn’t okay either.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      I really feel like the details would just be salacious, unnecessary, and potentially identifying at this point.

      It’s clear that OP did something awful, but she has made strides in fixing that and makings amends as best she can whilst trying to heal herself at the same time. That’s all we need to know.

      1. your favorite person*

        Obviously it’s true at this point that we don’t need to know additional details, however, I wonder if Alison’s advice may have been different two years ago if she had known the full extent of the treatment. Maybe not, but the advice would be different to someone who was ‘unkind’ regarding their remarks to a employee, rather than some kind of harassment.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Sure! But I’m always only getting one side here, and I’m sure there are a lot of letters where details are left out that would really change the advice. That’s just the nature of advice columns; we work with what we have.

        2. TootsNYC*

          I went back and read Alison’s advice.

          I think it was spot-on, even if there had been more details about wrongdoing.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Harassment and retaliation in the workplace is illegal and if you engage in it as a manager, you may be sued individually as well as the firm itself, it’s a very real liability to be in a position of authority and engage in breaking employment law. So we don’t need details, it doesn’t have to be absolutely outrageous but a documented pattern of abuse, most judges and juries are sympathetic to employees in bad situations. So we can probably just leave it at that.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This and adding we don’t know but maybe the friends were engaged in other stuff, too. It’s a little too easy to assume the friends were perfect in their behaviors, and this is not always the case.

        I have talked about a friend of mine who got straight and stayed straight. He calls himself a “recovering AH”. (hey, he is honest about it all…) Part of his recovery involved losing friends, recovery seems to do this for many reasons. But as the decades roll by, time can level the playing field. Some of his friends drifted back into his life. Some of these people also got sober and some did not, but 30 years out there is a mellowness or an acceptance that could not be possible earlier. OP’s story is not finished and it will take her a lifetime to see how it all plays out.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        It’s true that you could be sued individually, but that’s a civil lawsuit, not a criminal suit. I’m incredibly curious about what triggered the criminal suit (which I suspect was not related to possession, but rather, something that took place between OP and the Coworker), but I agree that we can probably leave it as OP has left it.

        1. Ra94*

          Agreed that it seems unlikely to be possession, since it seems like coworker obtained a restraining order (OP can’t contact her.)

  4. Mel*

    I’m so happy for you, OP! That’s a lot to go through and I’m glad you’ve got a supportive family and church .

  5. BradC*

    Glad to see her doing better, but good gosh, a criminal conviction for her actions against her employee?!

    I’m not prying for details, but OP’s behavior must have been 1000x worse than her original vague description of “allowing her jealousy to affect how she treats her employee.”

    1. Reba*

      I think the OP has been careful to not give away a lot of details in all of her letters. This protects her privacy as well as that of her former workplace/coworkers. She is vague but I definitely don’t think she is downplaying the seriousness of what she did!

      The opposite–she has accepted responsibility and basically remodeled her whole life because of it. It’s just that she hasn’t shared the nitty gritty with us

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        And let’s remember, her first letter was written before she went to rehab and started the process of healing herself.

      2. Liane*

        It not only protects her privacy, but that of the former report and others involved, which is best. And that’s before noting that she “settled the lawsuit,” and, in the US at least, settlements often include agreement that neither side will disclose details.

        1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

          That was my thought. OP is not so much erring on the side of caution, but following court mandate.

      3. pangolin of the hills*

        These are basically my thoughts. Sure, personally I’m deeply curious – but I’m not owed an explanation, particularly not one that contains identifying details. OP has been clear that she deserved what she got, her therapists and other outside authorities agree with her about that, and she is moving on, refraining from contact with people from her “old life”, and structuring her life so she will not do anything like the inciting incident again. That’s actually a very good outcome, and I’m glad she’s in a better place. I hope her former coworker has been able to find a similar peace.

    2. cmcinnyc*

      I always found it odd that a manager got fired so quickly for behavior that (in my imagination) was crappy and unprofessional but probably also semi-invisible/hard to prove, as so much discrimination is. But clearly something way the hell out of line happened because it led to quite the cascade of consequences for the OP! My picture of Snarky Manager clearly fell way short of the truth!

      1. The Original K.*

        I remember there being a lot of comments from people who thought the OP’s punishment was too severe, and I also remember thinking that the OP’s former employer’s clients had noticed the OP’s behavior toward the employee so it was probably pretty bad. The OP’s updates have always said that her punishments were warranted (she has never said she was treated unfairly as a result of her actions, which I admire), so I’m guessing whatever happened was indeed quite serious.

        1. Busy*

          Yeah, I think it was around the second letter where she said “I got worse” where I felt like things were getting out of control.

          But yeah I still am having trouble with it was That Bad, why was her boss seeking the opinions of her staff and why were their views so conflicting? That suggests it wasn’t THAT over the top. Like if it was that bad where they fired her, settled a lawsuit, she settled a lawsuit, and plead guilty to criminal charges, why all that other questioning? I feel like maybe her boss should have shut this down a bit sooner? Or did OP do one Big Thing at the end that was over the top?

          I dunno. But I am glad OP is in a better place.

          1. Jamie*

            Conflicting views could easily stem from people have different levels of exposure and see different things.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Try not to be too stunned by the phrase criminal conviction. I mentioned above that possessing one joint can lead to a criminal conviction. I think half the US has possessed one joint at some time in life. Additionally she has a suspended sentence. It COULD be that the conviction will be dropped and the case sealed. Not for everyone, but it is possible.

      If the charge is sealed, it COULD end up that OP’s biggest problem is losing her friends, her job and her career. That is a huge mountain to climb right there. But I know a few people who have done it, so I know OP can do this especially if she keeps going at life issues the way she has been.

      1. Ra94*

        The possession argument is a bit of a red herring, though, because some parts of the US are pretty draconian with drug laws, and it’s clear the coworker was involved somehow, since OP isn’t allowed to contact her.

      2. Lilo*

        It depends highly on jurisdiction, but sealing a conviction can be extremely dependent on the type of offense. Even so there is often a time period that, at least in the two jurisdictions where I handled these, is dependent on the type of record.

        Again, I really wouldn’t recommend speculation here. Way way too little detail to make pronouncements like that.

    4. MommyMD*

      I got the feeling the treatment was really very bad. The original letter affected me more than any letter on AAM. I felt she had such malice towards this employee that my spine ran cold. I’m not surprised there were severe consequences. I’m glad she’s making changes for the better. I would also recognize that if I behaved to this level some friends would make the choice to move on and not support me. Thankfully she is changing and has made a new group of friends. Self reflection is a healthy thing.

  6. Emmie*

    I am still rooting for you, OP. It sounds like you have done a lot of hard work. I’m glad you get some more joy in your life . . . being an aunt is incredibly fun, and heartwarming!

  7. SometimesALurker*

    I don’t know you, but I’m so proud of you. It sounds like things got very, very bad, but you are taking responsibility and taking care of yourself, two things that are hard enough on their own without having to do both.

  8. Anya the Demon*

    I am sure that your co-worker who you mistreated also struggled, and I hope she has her own support network to help her deal with everything that happened to her. While I don’t want to lose sight of the victim and the harm you caused her, I think it’s admirable that you owned up to everything you did and took responsibility, but emotionally and legally. I’m sure that was both healthiest for you and that it went a long way in helping your victim cope with what happened. I know you said that mental illness is not an excuse, but it IS an explanation. Mental illness is real and it can cause us to behave in ways that we A) never would when we are mentally healthy and able to make sound decisions and B) that are truly beyond our control. It sounds like you were not in a place where you were able to regulate your behavior or emotions. So, although it’s important to take responsibility for what you did, I think it’s also important to acknowledge that at that time you were not able to regulate your behavior, that you probably had to hit rock bottom in order to be forced to seek out help and get healthy again. I’m really impressed by how hard you’ve worked and how you’ve rebuilt your life. Everyone deserves that kind of second chance after making mistakes and taking responsibility for them. Hopefully the people from your past will come to see it that way as well in time.

    1. Loubelou*

      Yes to all of this. I admire you, LW, for the way you have navigated this difficult journey. You are such a good example of the fact that It is always possible to make amends, forgive ourselves and grow.
      I wish I could know you in person as I think we would get on well.

    2. MommyMD*

      I also thought about the victim. This can leave lasting scars to actively have someone undermining you and have so much malice towards you. I hope she’s ok. She may have been in real fear. I hope both sides moved on in a positive way.

  9. Foreign Octopus*

    This is a wonderful update. I’m sorry that you’re dealing with ex-bf nonsense, but it sounds like you’re working hard to get yourself together and to be happy. You’ve done a really hard thing in recognising that your behaviour was destructive and have made the steps to correct it. You should be proud of what you’ve achieved, and that you didn’t drag a court case out with your former employee, which would have just been salt to the wound for her.

    I hope that you move forward with happiness and kindness.

  10. lawyer*

    For what it’s worth, I understand the curiosity but I feel like the OP’s vagueness about specifics has helped me to focus on how to advise her rather than dissecting the details of her conduct (which she’s admitted was bad), and personally, that’s helped me give better advice.

    1. Allornone*

      I agree. If she chose to disclose, we might have ganged up on her because of her original actions, failing to see her true remorse, the efforts and hard work she’s done to address the underlying problems and begin to overcome them, and the strength and self-reflection it must have taken to do that. While it’s clear OP has a great support system IRL, our additional support had to be helpful and I’m glad there was nothing there to distract us from providing it.

  11. Engineer Girl*

    This is wonderful news and makes me want to cry.

    My wish and hope for you is that you get complete healing of the underlying issues that drove the destructive behaviors. You’re well on your way.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, I got a little misty eyed thinking of all OP has overcome to get so far.

      OP, you got yourself a bunch of virtual friends here who are just cheering for you. If you need more cheers come back to the Friday thread and let us know.

      EG, when I think of those in my life who did not overcome their underlying issues and succumbed to their destructive behaviors it makes me realize all the more the magnitude of what OP has done here. For many it is a life and death battle.

  12. AJT*

    Thanks for this. I’m not posting it because I have no way to verify that it’s the same case. I hope you understand! – Alison

  13. Wing Leader*

    You’ve done the hardest part, OP, which is recognizing where you went wrong and taking steps to correct that! Remember that none of us have been perfect all the time, and we’ve all said and done things we regret. The only thing we can do is learn from our mistakes, do our best to right our wrongs, and move forward with as much grace as possible.

  14. Another Lauren*

    I’m so glad to hear this update! OP, I’ve been thinking about you, and hoping you’re doing well, and it sounds like you’ve done some incredibly hard work on these issues. When things get tough (which they sometimes do), please remember that your AAM cheering section is rooting for you, and enjoy your upcoming new nibling! :)

  15. your vegan coworker*

    OP, it sounds like you’re only halfway to accepting responsibility. If your behavior towards the woman of whom you were jealous was extreme enough to warrant a court case and subsequent no-contact order, then chances are that your former boyfriend’s claims of verbal and emotional abuse are warranted. It might be useful to go back to the therapist who helped you to see that the case was warranted, and ask them to help you review your behavior within that relationship.

    1. Kali*

      I think you’re misreading. The criminal case had to do with the former employee. The reappearance of the ex-bf was not a criminal case, but a “bump in the road”. The OP admits that she was not perfect in that relationship, but there’s no criminal case alleging emotional/verbal abuse (which is not a crime in most states anyway).

      It sounds to me that the OP is taking full responsibility for the situation with the former employee. She doesn’t delve deep into the situation with the ex, and romantic relationships can be a tangled web, but she’s admitting that there is some merit to some of his claims. But just because there was a criminal conviction in one situation, it doesn’t mean that all of the ex’s allegations are warranted. It also doesn’t mean she hasn’t taken responsibility for them or spoken about them with her therapist.

      I think we should applaud OP for how far she has come. What she has done is a tremendous achievement. It’s a long road, and she has stayed on it. Few people have that capability to see when they did wrong and accept it, much less semi-publicly.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Actually, all the ex said was that he tried repeatedly to warn her that she had destructive behaviors and she was verbally and emotionally abusive in response. Vegan doesn’t say there was any kind of court case associated with that. What Vegan is saying is that the OP originally downplayed how badly she was abusing her employee — abuse that lead to a criminal conviction, no contact order, and civil case all against her — and is proposing that there’s something similar in play here, that the ex isn’t necessarily wrong or vindictive and that she really was abusive toward him in their relationship. Given her history, it’s worth exploring rather then dismissing him as a jerk who’s just out to get her.

        1. Kali*

          Vegan said, “It might be useful to go back to the therapist who helped you to see that the case was warranted” right after and before speaking about the ex. So maybe I was the one misreading, but what *is* clear is that OP is taking full responsibility for her behavior regarding the former employee. Saying something like “you did this terrible thing, so it’s probable you did this other terrible thing” just seems harsh given what *very* little we know about this romantic relationship. Maybe the ex has a legitimate complaint. Maybe he doesn’t. Stepping on someone’s strides in recovery and telling them they need to go back to therapy more to examine something we have only a few sentences about seems unnecessary.

          1. Close Bracket*

            “It might be useful to go back to the therapist who helped you to see that the case was warranted,”

            I believe the case vegan was referring to there is the case brought by the coworker. It took a therapist for OP to realize that the case was warranted. That same therapist could help OP examine her behavior toward her ex and realize that his response to being hurt is also warranted.

          2. Kettles*

            Exactly. None of us know this woman and arbitrarily deciding she’s abusive on this level of knowledge is unfair and pointless.

    2. MistOrMister*

      I don’t think this is helpful. OP said they were not perfect in the relationship. They did not make excuses for themselves. I took the quotes around the text about the abuse to be verbatim what the ex was saying. But it does not seem at all as if OP is saying they did nothing wrong in the relationship. Based on everything they have said about therapy, support groups, admitting to having not behaved well to friends at the time the original letter was written, etc, OP DOES appear to have accepted responsibility for their actions at that time of their life. This ex also sounds like a toxic person. Who in the world comes back 2 years later bashing someone and telling any and everyone who will listen how awful the person was? You don’t do that to someone who has been making a serious effort to get themselves in a good place and has made amends to those they’ve wronged!! Certainly if OP wants to discuss the relationship and his/her part in it with their therapist they should do so, but it sounds as if OP has made huge strides since first writing in and is to be commended, not told that they are only halfway there.

    3. TechWorker*

      I’m really not sure why you would assume that – given her ex-boyfriends attempt to publically shame her 2 years after the fact I’m not exactly convinced that he’s a model of good judgement either.

    4. Observer*

      The OP admits that she wasn’t a perfect partner. On the other hand, the ex is being a bit of a jerk here. After all, what does he expect to accomplish with this? The reality is that there is nothing useful that he can do now, so why is he doing this?

      1. sunny-dee*

        Because she really hurt him and the scars are still there? Because he commented on a FB post and maybe that was the extent of it but it still got back to the OP? Because this apparently sounds like it was a long, drawn-out trainwreck and people like to talk about that kind of thing ad infinitum?

        I am not trying to take away from how far the OP has come, but at her worst, she was horribly, publicly abusive to people. It’s not a stretch to believe that quite a few people are still carrying some scars from that, and their context for the OP isn’t who she is today but who she was to them then. It’s okay to give them a little grace and allow them to have their own emotions (and own path to healing) from a very toxic situation.

    5. Close Bracket*

      “If your behavior towards the woman of whom you were jealous was extreme enough to warrant a court case and subsequent no-contact order, then chances are that your former boyfriend’s claims of verbal and emotional abuse are warranted.”

      I agree. I may be reading tone wrong, but I found the description of her exboyfriend’s actions to be minimizing and dismissive. “Allowing her jealousy of her attractive employee to affect how she treated her” turned out to be criminal behavior. I wonder what “not being perfect” means.

      1. Nous allons, vous allez, ils vont*

        >I agree. I may be reading tone wrong, but I found the description of her exboyfriend’s actions to be minimizing and dismissive. “Allowing her jealousy of her attractive employee to affect how she treated her” turned out to be criminal behavior. I wonder what “not being perfect” means.

        I totally agree. I find the OP’s language to be very minimizing. This might not be intentional, but it’s certainly a bit unsettling.

        1. Jane*

          Same here.
          And I am in no way implying that she owes us any more information, or that it would be a good idea for her to post more info but it is just striking me as odd that the LW who has written in with the most updates, and very detailed updates at that, also seems to have the biggest secret. I wonder if any of the rehab and therapy is court mandated? Getting sober is HUGE, whatever the circumstances. But I sort of feel like the updates are about getting more praise here.

      2. Oranges*

        I read it that way also. The LW has/had a huge mountain to climb. She’s doing it (yay!). The ex-bf/ex-relationship is another part of the mountain to explore and climb over (groan). Which sucks but health is a process. A sucky, sucky process that is totally worth it. Also Yay! LW is getting better!!!

      3. ket*

        But what does it matter now? So she was in a sh&*^ part of her life and was kind of being sh&*^ to everyone. Now she’s sobered up, found a supportive community, found out how to manage her anxiety, and is living a better life. How is her ex-boyfriend showing up and reiterating that she went through a sh*(^ time supposed to change things? Does she need to lose all her new friends? have her church kick her out? What would you like to be the consequences? Does she need to go through a new round of rock-bottom every time someone else pops up from the same time and says, “listen, you were really sh&*^ to me!”

        “Not perfect” can mean a lot of things — and she does not need to explain them here, and she doesn’t need a new round of punishment. Leave well enough alone.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Maybe the consequences are simply that people exist in the world who remember how badly she treated them and aren’t ready or willing to forgive yet. Sometimes you have to accept that and let go.

          And “kind of being a s***” is incredibly insensitive to people whom she abused. It’s okay to applaud for where she is now without diminishing what she did then.

          1. Observer*

            I don’t think that the issue is that he didn’t forgive her. That is really no one’s business (neither for or against – that is totally up to him.) The question is why is showing up and telling everyone this now? No one has really come up with any constructive reason for this. It’s not like he’s telling them something that she’d been keeping secret and was endangering people.

            1. JenJen*

              Because if he was a victim of abuse that would be 100% his right!

              Maybe she didn’t abuse him and she was really just what most people might call “less than perfect” in the context of the relationship. But given how she downplayed her part in her first few letters, it’s not a huge leap to question that maybe she was truly awful to him as well.

              And if he WAS a victim it’s horribly minimizing to say “well, shut up about that now, it happened two years ago.”

              1. JSPA*

                Having been abused is not a license to stalk the abuser.

                If he’s contacting her new friends and her family and her new job and her new church co-congregants–electronically and in person (seriously, WTF?), that’s way out of line. Possibly to the point of criminal offense in it’s own right.

                1. Close Bracket*

                  See, that’s the problem with her framing. She makes it sound like he’s this unhinged guy who is ranting in any venue he can find. Well, we know that OP’s framing doesn’t tell the whole story. Maybe he is an abused ex who is telling people they know in common what his experiences with her were.

                2. Eukomos*

                  We don’t know that he’s reaching out to people to bash her, though. It would completely match her description if a lot of people who know they were dating have brought up what happened with her to him, and his response was always “yeah, she was abusive to me too, that’s why we broke up.” It sounds like they’re in a reasonably tight-knit community and people love to gossip, so it could be pretty easy to get involved in discussions about her situation, and he’s under no obligation to hide the fact that she mistreated him.

              2. Observer*

                Firstly, I don’t think she ever minimized what was going on. In fact, a few people seemed to think that she was OVER-stating the problem. I didn’t, and she was quite clear about her behavior.

                But, in any case, the issue here is not that he needs to pretend that all was well. But they had both gone on with their lives – why is he coming back now? Again, if she were mis-representing herself to people or endangering someone, that would be different, but that’s not the case. She also didn’t go back to him (whether to apologize or ask for an apology or anything like that.)

                If it was a situation like the one the other day, where they wound up in the same office and he said “I’m not comfortable working with her”, that would be one thing. But, that’s not what’s going on. Even assuming that he’d been abused, showing up like this and trying to torpedo her attempts to rebuild her life is not justified.

        2. Close Bracket*

          “What would you like to be the consequences?”

          I’d like the consequences to be that she re-examines her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and comes as far there as she has with her employee.

          1. Kettles*

            What if there’s no re-examination to be done? What if the guy is just a bad person? What if he abused her and is shifting blame? (A common tactic). Why do you feel like OP owes you this re-examination which may be completely unecessary?

            1. Genny*

              Agreed. It’s possible that this was a toxic, abusive relationship all the way around, he was abusive to her, she was abusive to him, they had a tumultuous relationship were neither side was perfect but didn’t quite devolve into abuse, or the relationship fizzled for other reasons and this guy is a jerk who’s reinserting himself into her life for his own bizarre reasons. There’s not enough info here to speculate on it and doing so isn’t useful anyways. It’s very likely that in the course of her numerous therapy sessions her past romantic, familial, and platonic relationships were all examined. She doesn’t owe us an entire recounting of what she covered in therapy nor does she have to grovel each and every time she mentions a new person.

          2. scorpysuit coryphefuss arterius*

            Maybe she has and she only makes a brief mention of her ex here because this site is focused on work issues, and also maybe she wants to preserve some of her privacy at her discretion.

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            That’s assuming something is fact that we actually don’t know. It’s absolutely possible that you’re right, and it’s also possible that you’re wrong. I ask that we not state speculation as known fact here.

    6. JSPA*

      The ex could be largely factually correct (what OP says the ex is saying does sort of line up with what OP says about herseself)…yet at the same time, be undermining OP, be cyber-stalking OP, be working to separate OP from her friends…and thus be part of the problem. Or he could have been negging OP from the start (using correct facts) and thus part of the problem at the time. (“Getting the facts right” is not the same as “trying to help someone get healthy.”)

      People don’t owe an ex partner an ongoing relationship. If they’re in any way dangerous or destabilizing to us, our recovery or our relationships, it’s actually OK to cut them loose, and cease to engage. Whether or not they were factually right about something we were wrong about.


      “I was a destructive jerk. I didn’t listen when my ex and others warned me, until I hit bottom. But now that I’ve done the work to change, my ex’s destructive obsession with those days is continuing the damage. I regret whatever part I played in marking him deeply. I hope he finds peace, and moves on. It would be counterproductive and damaging to engage with him.”

      Could be he started out as a wonderful, together person who happened to fall for someone with a lot of pain, who needed to do a lot of work. Could be he’s the guy who finds broken people, so that any problems in the relationship are due to the other person, and he can tell himself he’s a saint. Or anything in between. But really together people…don’t make a habit of “told-you-so-ing” every last mutual friend. Nor stalk their ex’s, to warn their ex’s new friends. So I’m leaning “option 2.” And, “focus on yourself and your future relationships, unless you’re looking to unpack what mutually bad ones look like, out of curiosity.”

  16. RJ the Newbie*

    Congratulations on sustaining your sobriety, LW! I wish you all the best luck in the world as you continue your healing process.

  17. Liane*

    Glad to know that you are still doing well, OP. All you need to do now is enjoy this new, good life you’ve made for yourself.

  18. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    I’m glad that you’ve continued to grow and that you have a new found lease on life. That’s admirable and a lot of people don’t see this side of things, so thank you for sharing so much with us, I hope that it’s therapeutic to know that you’re helping others by sharing your journey.

  19. Justin*

    I hope this doesn’t come off sarcastic, but I really do hope we occasionally hear more from you and your ongoing recovery and improvement. Cheers.

  20. hills to die on*

    You deserve all the good things in your life. You made mistakes and fixed them as much as anybody can and even though I don’t know you, I am proud of you. Speaking as someone in recovery as well, accepting responsibility and taking inventory of our shortcomings isn’t easy or fun, but you are doing it with grace and honesty.

    I hope there are more good things to come in your life (as I suspect there are) and I am rooting for you. Sending you virtual hugs, love, and support. Keep up the good work. I hope you will send additional updates.

  21. Anonymeece*

    Nothing to add other than I am so happy to read updates like this. I am sorry that you’ve gone through all this, but you’re taking full ownership of your actions, and that’s really hard to do when struggling with major issues. It’s so easy to relapse when you have crises in your life, but you’re remaining sober and it sounds like you’re doing so well. I can see such a tremendous difference from the first letter and this one.

    I wish you all the best, OP, and hope you continue to grow and be well in the coming years.

  22. NickyP*

    Best of luck to the OP in their recovery, but I don’t think I have ever read so many updates where so little significant change has happened from update to update.

    1. drogon breath*

      Agreed – why are we getting so many updates on this person’s personal journey?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Stories like this can be years out of a person’s life for one thing.

        But for another thing, part of helping ourselves is to make sense out of what happened to us or the spot we found ourselves in. One way of making sense out of it is to share with others so they can see/learn. We will never know how many people read OP’s updates and made fresh decisions about their own lives. Typically people do not write in to say this. But readership keeps going up and up for Alison. Something is working right here.

      2. beagle mama*

        They’ve obviously benefited from the advice and general support shown here and want to keep in touch. I’m happy to see how well she is doing some two years down the line. Sometimes we read letters and never hear the outcome or if the changes made stuck.

        Awesome work OP. Please keep us informed!

      3. Dollis Hill*

        Because she’s thankful for the support that Alison and the commenters have given her since the first update and people are interested to know that she’s doing well. Why shouldn’t she share how far she’s come since her first letter? Finishing rehab, continuing to successfully go through therapy and being sober for over 2 years is a remarkable achievement, especially when faced with a criminal case related to her spiral, and she should be immensely proud of herself, as are most of the commenters here! Besides, this is the first update we’ve had since 2017 from what I can see, it is wonderful to know that OP is continuing to do well after hitting rock bottom. It’s totally unnecessary to snark about how often people update or the content of their updates – I’m sure if Alison felt that an update was insignificant or unwarranted she just wouldn’t post it.

    2. MicroManagered*

      Sometimes when the original letter sparks a big response and AAM actually gets updates from the LW, it becomes more about following the story. In this case, I think her continued status quo, sobriety, and mental health *are* the updates.

      However, I will point out that with each update there always seems to be a little nugget of something that makes me think LW must get triggered to seek some positive attention from this particular community. For example, in this case, it seems to be “things are pretty much the same, same story, same story, oh and my ex-boyfriend said I abused him but nobody paid any attention.” In another update, it’s “things are pretty much the same, same story, same story, oh and my ex-coworker lawyered up and sued the company and me personally.” To me, it looks like an event connected with this story happens, and LW sends a update to people who’ve received her warmly and validated her in the past. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a pattern I’ve noticed.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Validation is really important for good mental health. Folks here at AAM are very good at validation, so it makes sense for OP to circle back here. I have done my own version of seeking validation and so have others around me. I don’t mind giving validation because I know it feels so good to receive validation.
        For myself, OP, I will be happy to cheer for you any time you need to hear it.

        1. MicroManagered*

          Oh absolutely! Again, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s an explanation for why these updates are a little different than some others we see.

    3. Not A Manager*

      I’ve been wanting an update ever since the last one. I will want updates forever. No news is good news and I am happy to read the LW’s not-so-significant changes.

      @LW, I hope you continue to stay the course. The life you describe is a good and healthy one for you. I hope that you continue to make positive changes whenever it’s right for you.

  23. Emily S.*

    Best wishes, OP. I am so happy for you!

    And an early congratulations on becoming an aunt! It is really fun.

  24. Ethelred the Ready*

    Many congratulations on your continued recovery and your hard and dedicated work in rebuilding your life! Your update demonstrates that it is worth the effort (and, sometimes, the pain) of working to heal ourselves through therapy and a renewed approach to living. I suspect you will give hope to others here who are dealing with similar struggles and wish you all the best as you carry on this path.

  25. I ain't got no home in this world anymore*

    Oh, OP, I think of you from time to time and hope that you’re doing well. It sounds like you are! I’m so happy to hear that you’re staying sober and building a new community for yourself.

  26. Aphrodite*

    I am so, so happy for you, OP. It takes immense courage to do what you have done, accepting responsibility, being so open with others and honest with yourself, forgiving yourself and others. May I say you are a true role model of the utmost integrity. Reading this now has not only brought tears to my eyes, but it reminds me of a self-developed saying I try to live by: Courage is the art of embracing consequences. You did that, and I admire you more than I can say.

  27. Goya de la Mancha*

    Went back and re-read all the updates before this one, and now someone must be cutting onions in my office!

    Sending so very many good vibes your way OP. You’ve gone through a LOT and put in the work to redeem yourself. You deserve every bit of happiness that is coming your way! Congrats on being an Aunt (it’s the best!)

  28. EmilyG*

    I’m really glad to hear that OP is making new friends. What stood out to me in the previous updates was that she had her family and church family around her, but didn’t mention any other social circle. You deserve friends! I’m glad you’ve found some.

  29. JenJen*

    Obviously she doesn’t need to provide details but it really is striking how differently her original letters came across vs. something that resulted in a criminal conviction. I find myself feeling pretty horribly for her former employee–it sounds like she was put through quite a lot and that seems to get lost I think in these updates.

    I also wonder, like someone else pointed out above, if she is realistically viewing her treatment of her ex. If she WAS abusive he is a victim as well and has every right to share his story.

    Gosh, just a lot going on overall. I hope everyone involved is ok.

    1. ambivalent*

      I feel ambivalent about this update too. I’ve been harmed by someone in the past. He also went on and harmed someone else and was charged and convicted for what he did to her. He also got a suspended sentence. He’s since married and has children and a church community but he still hurt me, you know? It still impacts me all these years later, he’s never acknowledged it or apologized, and I’m sure his new community thinks he’s a great guy who overcame his past but I will never think well of him. I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to say, just that I don’t see this as a happy update the way many here do. Referring to the reverberations of her past actions as “background noise” seems dismissive to me. I’m sure I’m just “background noise” to the guy who… did what he did to me.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I guess I read this update differently. It sounds to me as if OP has been very open with the people in their life about their actions during that bad time. And they didn’t say they did nothing wrong to the ex. Merely that their friends and family continue to support them even after what the ex has said. It is possible that they apologized to the ex, we can’t tell from this letter. I guess I just think that based on the rest of OPs updates, I find it hard to believe they haven’t dealt in some way with the ex. I certainly could be wrong, but there is so much self awareness regarding other issues that it would seem out of character based on what little we know, if OP hadnt acknowledged the issue presented by the ex.

      2. Camellia*

        Thanks for this comment. I was having trouble pinpointing what I was feeling about these updates, but you and the other two replies here hit the nail on the head for me.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        I’d have to believe it’s not your role in life to become a fan of this guy. You have a different role, yet also very practical for reasons we may never fully understand.
        Sometimes when a relationship dissolves, it’s permanent, it’s not fixable. Hopefully, that loss has been a teaching lesson for him. But it does not mean you have to forgive/forget. Nor does it mean you even have to ever speak to him. You are free to chose how ever you want to process it now and forever. And that too, is part of his learning experiences.

        I am very sorry that this happened to you.

      4. Observer*

        The OP HAS acknowledged what she’s done wrong, though.That’s a really big difference, I think.

        Also, in one of the prior updates several people were all “You REALLY should reach out to victim / ex friends / ex colleagues” and OP was steadfast in saying that she can’t do that – she’d done enough damage that reaching back out could do no good and only harm. And, in her case at least, she seems to be correct – her victim has requested that she never reach out to her again, and it’s part of her settlement.

        Would you want your former victimizer to reach out to you to acknowledge that he had done you harm? Would you want to know that he knows and acknowledges that he’s wronged and harmed you, but still never want to hear from him again?

        You’ve “earned” your dislike and disrespect and so have the OP’s former associates. But, the world is a better place when people like this acknowledge the wrong they have done and change their behavior. So, I’m glad of this update. But, I think you make a very important point that calling the past merely “background noise” is dismissive and disrespectful.

        1. sunny-dee*

          I think it’s the “I wasn’t perfect in the relationship, but …” that’s rubbing people the wrong way. Especially since his major sin is … pointing out that he tried to convince her that she was self-destructive and to get help.

          It really seems like it’s treating all of her bad behaviors as just the natural end of a relationship.

          1. Lucille2*

            That comment stood out to me too actually. I have a family member who is in a bit of a negative spiral, and those are the exact words she uses to glaze over her bad behavior. I know she is in therapy and recognizes that she is not in a healthy place, but she is dismissive of her poor behavior as she chalks it up to a side effect of depression. But her behavior can be downright abusive at times and seems to be dismissed as “I wasn’t perfect either but…”

          2. Genny*

            We have no context for the relationship. For all we know, he weaponized his warnings/critiques or maybe he really was trying to warn her in good faith and she lashed out at him. I don’t think we need to take sides on this one because we don’t have enough info to choose who’s “right”.

            1. sunny-dee*

              But we have a ton of context for how she was behaving to literally everyone else in her life at that time, and it fits with “emotionally and verbally abusive” at a minimum.

      5. Reader*

        I agree with ambivalent.

        Also, it sounds like LW’s victim (yes, I say victim and not employee) obtained a criminal restaining order against LW. Judges do not grant restraining orders easily. I do not want to speculate what LW did, but it is very difficult to obtain a restraining order against anyone. In California, for example, restraining orders are only granted if someone seeking the restraining order has suffered stalking, serious harassment, violence, or a credible (real) threat of violence. Those are fairly high standards to meet. While I’m glad LW is moving on with her life, I hope that her victim is doing just as well and has moved on from such a terrifying experience.

      6. Who Plays Backgammon?*

        I understand you and agree with much of what you say. It’s admirable when somebody cleans up their act and moves on, but for the injured party, moving on may take just as much work, time, and resources, and cause a major life challenge for years. I believe it’s especially bad when it’s a workplace issue because you need your paycheck, medical plan, and retirement plan, and replacing a job is often not quick or easy. It’s rare that someone is lucky enough to have the option to just leave. (As a side note, I’ve often wondered how having national health insurance would make it easier for people to leave hellish job situations.) If you’re in a bad personal relationship, again, it’s not always easy, but you can live without a personal relationship and you can’t live without a livelihood. And you don’t have to submit a resume to a prospective relationship and explain why you left.

    2. Spongebob WorkPants*

      Same feeling about this update. It’s all about how she was affected. It’s all about her, and what she’s doing or not doing, but based on her comment “Fortunately my family, new coworkers and fellow church members paid no attention. My old coworkers and friends surely did.” she has not gained the insight that her actions affected other people. I feel bad for the co-worker she harassed to the point of criminality, her ex-boyfriend and all the people on the receiving end of her actions.

    3. RandomU...*

      I feel like I wrote something similar on a previous update.

      I get it…”Only one side of the story” “We can cheer for the OP while acknowledging what they did wrong” “People shouldn’t have prostrate themselves” etc. But yeah, as much as I am glad that the OP has found some peace in their life and has committed to this. I can’t get to the level of cheering that some have.

    4. Jaybeetee*

      It doesn’t seem useful to speculate about her past relationship – we know nothing about him or them together. We do know she was pretty unhealthy at the time.

      The LW seems to be rather honest with herself in other ways, and still in therapy, so I hope she can reflect on the relationship, and her ex’s more recent actions, in that setting.

    5. Lilo*

      I also want to note that I have been someone who cut off a former friend for abusive behavior towards another and while it is great that OP is getting help that doesn’t mean the friends are wrong for needing space.

      It’s great OP is getting help. But it is also great the former employer took action to protect the victim employee and the criminal justice system took steps to protect her. All this can be true.

      1. Alice*

        Yes — and since the OP might be reading these comments, and the former employee, victim employee, and criminal justice system probably aren’t, it’s reasonable to focus on OP.

    6. Close Bracket*

      Yes, this sounds a little dismissive:

      “Fortunately my family, new coworkers and fellow church members paid no attention. My old coworkers and friends surely did.”

      Like, she admitted she was wrong and that she had substance abuse problems. She said she would have cut ties with a friend who behaved like her. She behaved badly enough to her employee that she got a criminal conviction. That doesn’t mean she was abusive, but it’s not a stretch to think someone who treats their friends and employee poorly also treated her bf poorly. If the guy was harmed, then I have sympathy for him telling people what happened to him and what she was like during that time.

      I could be reading the tone incorrectly, though. Maybe she is indicating that she is grateful that her new life is moving forward despite her past mistakes.

      1. Samwise*

        I think the tone is hard to read because it’s written, and it’s a quick summary for a blog. It *is* fortunate for the OP that her current social circle is not piling on — OP reports being open with her current social circle and work about it, so what’s the point of them chastising the OP for it?

        Of course it is ok for him to tell his story. That doesn’t mean OP’s current circle has to react to it.

        I have friends who did harmful things to others — some of them are now former friends, but some have done a lot of work on themselves and, like the OP, acknowledge what they did and take responsibility. Are they perfect and do they sometimes get a little bit “poor me”? Sure, they are human. Are they working at it and do they slip up only occasionally? Yes, also — that’s why they are still (or, once again) friends of mine.

        1. Close Bracket*

          I’m not saying either that OP’s current circle should react to her ex or that they should chastise her for anything. I’m not saying anything at all about OP’s current circle or what they should or should not do.

    7. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I agree, I am really uncomfortable as to why the LW feels the need to provide four updates for one letter, especially since they don’t include any information beyond what the LW is up to in their personal life. I’m not sure giving them a public venue to continue rehashing how they’ve” reformed” is the best idea.

      1. Thursday Next*

        I agree. While I’m glad for OP’s sake that they’re sober and rebuilding their life, each successive update offers information that widens the gap between what OP actually did and how OP represented their actions in the original letter. A criminal conviction is serious, and to continue to describe OP’s treatment of their employee as “mistreatment” is a terrible understatement. I don’t see a value to readers of this site to continue to publish these updates—this is no longer a workplace issue, but one more appropriate for a recovery or sobriety discussion.

      2. Courageous cat*

        Yeah, it’s hard to put into concise words exactly why I feel that way, but I agree.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s been quite some time since the last update and I thought people would be interested (which does indeed seem to be the case for a lot of commenters), but I would imagine this is the final one.

        1. Jane*

          I am definitely interested and glad you published it. Also, it does give me a strange feeling.

    8. Not A Manager*

      I don’t think LW’s victim should forgive her or feel differently about her. I don’t have an opinion about whether her old friends should have cut her off. It sounds like she’s acknowledging that they had good reason to.

      Not only would it be questionable for her to reach out to her victim, she said in several letters that the victim requested not to be contacted. Currently a restraining order actually prohibits her from doing so.

      I think we can both acknowledge that many people in LW’s past have reason to have all kinds of feelings about her, while ALSO acknowledging that she’s come a long way and has worked hard to quote-unquote rehabilitate herself. None of these truths are mutually exclusive.

  30. Muriel Heslop*

    OP, this is a great update. Congratulations on your continued sobriety! You’ve obviously done a lot of incredibly hard work and I am so glad you have a support system around you.

    Enjoy being an aunt! It’s pretty amazing!

  31. MistOrMister*

    I don’t think this is helpful. OP said they were not perfect in the relationship. They did not make excuses for themselves. I took the quotes around the text about the abuse to be verbatim what the ex was saying. But it does not seem at all as if OP is saying they did nothing wrong in the relationship. Based on everything they have said about therapy, support groups, admitting to having not behaved well to friends at the time the original letter was written, etc, OP DOES appear to have accepted responsibility for their actions at that time of their life. This ex also sounds like a toxic person. Who in the world comes back 2 years later bashing someone and telling any and everyone who will listen how awful the person was? You don’t do that to someone who has been making a serious effort to get themselves in a good place and has made amends to those they’ve wronged!! Certainly if OP wants to discuss the relationship and his/her part in it with their therapist they should do so, but it sounds as if OP has made huge strides since first writing in and is to be commended, not told that they are only halfway there.

    1. Genny*

      Agreed. It would be one thing if OP ended up in Ex’s space (e.g. she started going to his church) and he felt the need to discreetly explain the toxic relationship to a few trusted people like the pastor or a mentor or whatever. It’s another thing to reinsert yourself into someone’s life two years later just to stir up trouble. It doesn’t sound like he’s asking anything from OP or confronting her over her behavior. He’s not warning people to protect them from OP. He’s not sharing his story in an effort to heal or process his trauma. He’s trying to turn people against her. Whether he was abused or not doesn’t justify being a jerk.

  32. MissDisplaced*

    I’m so happy you got out of that downward spiral.
    All this too shall pass and you’ll continue to put it far behind you. Stay healthy.

  33. Jaybeetee*

    Thank you for updating letter writer! It sounds like you’ve worked incredibly hard and have improved tremendously.

    One important thing that people can see from your updates is that really, there’s very little you can do that could completely ruin your life forever. It sounds like whatever happened back then was pretty big, with pretty severe fallout. But here you are, living your life, working in a new job, with a community of people who love and support you.

    Which is not to say that the things you did should be hand waved away or not taken seriously. Just that for the more anxiety-prone among us, “life is possible after failure” can be a very important message.

    Thank you, letter writer, for sharing your story.

  34. musical chairs*

    This is really beautiful. I’m so thankful to know your story and I wish you every good thing.

  35. kittymommy*

    This will forever be one of my favorite updates. I’m trying not to cry here at my desk but am having trouble with that. I have a security camera right outside my door and do enough weird things at my desk that’s caught on camera, I don’t need to add crying to the list!

    LW, please know that the way you have faced these problems, evaluated them and then took measures, out of your own desire to be a better person, is inspirational and hugely courageous and not something everyone is able or willing to do. Whenever, if ever, you start to have those little seedlings of doubt about what you have accomplished I hope you look at yourself for guidance. Be very proud at the work you have done and continue to do. It is nothing short of phenomenal.

  36. JM*

    I was not a reader when the original question was posted, so I went back and read it and the updates. And it strikes me as…weird. Someone treated an employee badly at work, and so they got fired, burned all their bridges, had to move back in with their parents, were part of a lawsuit, had a problem with substance abuse, etc. It almost reads like fiction – or else the OP is actually the person who was mistreated, and they are writing a wish-fulfillment story about what happened to their mean manager. Things just get weirder and weirder with each update. Anyone else thinking this?

    1. Aisling*

      No, because we don’t speculate about the veracity of the posts on this site. It’s in the commenting rules. We assume good faith from letter writers.

    2. Close Bracket*

      I think it reads like somebody who didn’t give us the full details of what she did. She admits all along the way that she behaved terribly and even says she would have cut ties with someone who acted the way she did.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      umm. No. It seems to be a normal life stuff story in my opinion.
      I am not sure what part reads like fiction- substance abuse? getting fired? moving back with parents? Stuff like this is happening all around especially with the opioid crisis.
      I’d suggest reading up on addiction to find out more.

    4. lapis*

      Nah. Someone with a substance abuse issue treated an employee badly at work, got fired, burned all their bridges, had to move back in with their parents, and were part of a lawsuit. Sounds like a lot of stories of people with substance abuse issues. Plus, as someone has already pointed out, we don’t do the “is this real or not?” thing here. It doesn’t really matter in the end because Allison is still answering a question about navigating hard things in a workplace.

    5. lawschoolmorelikeblawschool*

      Man, this LWs story sounds squarely within the realm of fallout from substance abuse and serious mental health issues to me. I have family members with similar issues, and while they didn’t have this exact same story, it’s pretty close in many ways.

    6. Anonforthis*

      Eh… have you ever been to a recovery meeting? The stories there are… pretty similar to this. Lost kids, lost jobs, burned bridges, DUIs, divorce, homelessness. If anything I feel like OP’s been pretty lucky / successful / impressive. Her parents were willing and able to have her move in, she was able to pay for and commit to rehab and therapy, she’s found a nice job and reconnected with her faith. All in two years! Plus no relapses.

      In terms of recovery stories, this is a success, the kind that her rehab / therapist would probably want on their website.

    7. AnonAcademic*

      No, I don’t think the sequence of events is implausible, but I do think there is an undercurrent of unreliable reporting. Mainly, that there is suddenly a lawsuit AND criminal charges over behavior the LW has never described in any detail, and that in update 3 they admit to treating people badly but in this update put quotes around “verbal and emotional abuse” allegations from their ex. I don’t mean to diminish the hard work the LW has done because it is truly impressive, but this sort of hand waving explanations and glossing over major details does seem designed to save face in the earlier letters. I hope that this update is accurate, because it suggests the LW is willing to face a fuller scope of the impact of her actions rather than downplaying them as just being mean to someone out of jealousy.

  37. Camellia*

    It’s good that OP’s parent were able to help her monetarily. If they didn’t have the money to pay for the settlement of the lawsuit, the lawyers, the rehabs and therapists, it sounds like OP would have ended up in a much worse predicament. My heart aches a bit for others who didn’t have help like that.

  38. Phoenix Wright*

    I’m so glad that you’re doing better OP, and that those bumps in the road didn’t stop your recovery. You’ve been self-aware and regretful from the beginning, which is a very positive thing and speaks well of you. I truly hope you keep doing well.

  39. Kuododi*

    Mazel tov on your continued sobriety and becoming an aunt!!! Speaking as an aunt, it’s a wonderful position in life. Grace and peace to you in your ongoing journey in life. I’ll pray tonight for the addict who still struggles.

  40. A Silver Spork*

    As another former addict, eating disorder survivor, and formerly very dysfunctional person, I just want to say that I’m very proud of you, LW. It’s really hard to get your life together when all that is going on. Best of luck!

  41. Meg*

    LW, I am so proud of you for making these positive changes in your life. Keep up the great work.

  42. Flossie Bobbsey*

    OP, I am so happy for you that you are continue to thrive in recovery. It is wonderful that you have your family and church communities to support you. You sound like a very thoughtful, self-aware person, and I am sure that has taken a lot of work so it is something you should be very proud of. Best of luck!

  43. Kettles*

    Or, her ex boyfriend was an abusive, manipulative liar and his behaviour contributed to her drug and alcohol use. You have literally no idea. I personally think OP has been honest and straightforward enough, to the point of admitting to a criminal conviction, that if she had abused her ex she would say so.

      1. Kettles*

        This was is in response to vegan coworker’s assumption was that OP was an abusive partner, an assumption I also consider ‘incredibly unfair’.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Except that the OP has an admitted pattern of abusing people, alienating literally her entire friend group, and ending up with serious legal and social consequences because of it. These are facts that she has stated. While it’s in no way proof she was abusive to her boyfriend, her claims of his attacking her constitute telling people 1) that he tried to get her to get help and she refused and 2) that she was emotionally and verbally abusive to him. We absolutely know 1) is true because she’s already said she was in a bad spiral and had been rejecting help; the only question is whether 2) is true. We don’t know, but it’s certainly not an unreasonable assumption, given that she actively abused someone else and alienated all of her previous friends. It is, at least, something worth evaluating in therapy. Alison says to evaluate your own behavior on things as relatively minor as phone etiquette; this is substantially more important.

    1. Oranges*

      I think that she’s minimizing her behavior in the relationship. Why? Because she had to deal with her behavior in her work life and tackling them both at once would be… unrealistic/impossible/too much. She componentized things like all humans do.

      I also think she’s ready to tackle that part of her “recovery mountain” since she’s bringing it up here. To me it sounds like she’s asking for both a) validation and b) a reality check. Which she deserves to have.

      1. Kettles*

        Or she had a bad relationship, and the guy is capitalising on her current problems to create drama. We have no idea and I think accusing OP of being an abusive partner (a serious charge) on this level of evidence is ridiculous. My comment was meant to illustrate how ridiculous wild speculation is, given how little information we have. It obviously wasn’t read that way, but we literally have no idea who was at fault and speculating is cruel and unfair.

    2. Close Bracket*

      The only thing she says about her employee is that her jealousy impacted how she treated her, and that turns out to include criminally prosecutable behavior. She’s been honest but not straightforward. Who knows what she means by “not being perfect” toward her boyfriend.

      1. Kettles*

        We don’t know, which is probably why we shouldn’t leap to assuming she was an abusive partner.

    3. Courageous cat*

      I mean, I don’t have a strong feeling about this either way, but your last sentence is a little wild – how many abusers do you know that just admit it?

  44. Meeting Girl*

    I think what people should understand about anxiety and addiction is that things can spiral out of control very quickly. It’s more than possible that the first letter was just as it seems. Then after obsessing about how to correct the issue, feeling pressure from being reported, guilt from her lies, and now all eyes were on her, PLUS an addiction, well … it can go from verbal abuse to something more serious in a matter of days.

    Good for OP for accepting responsibility and learning new coping skills. Sounds like a lot of hard work and that she’s getting some great rewards. Redemption is possible.

    1. Tinybutfierce*

      Yeeeeup. I have both high anxiety and a past problem with substance abuse, and before my anxiety was actually treated at all, HOOOO BOY, could things escalate fast.

  45. 867-5309*

    OP, Taking accountability is such an important part of our personal growth. You are miles ahead of so many of us in the regard. Congratulations on your continued sobriety and clarity.

    Here is one of my favorite poems, as I continue in my own, early sobriety.

    Are You the Lamb of Your Own Forgiving?
    I mean: Can you forgive yourself / all those crimes with victims?
    – Richard Brautigan (1971)

  46. sj*

    OP, so happy that you are getting the support you need and that you are taking it one day at a time. It is great to hear from you again.

  47. Game of Drones*

    Another positive update!

    OP, I am so happy for you. Thank you for providing the update.

    Bed of luck to you!

  48. SH*

    Am I the only one that feels like she physically assaulted the employee? The fact that she was convicted of a criminal offense and paid a settlement indicates, as many have stated, that critical information have been significantly omitted.

      1. Dollis Hill*

        Maybe, maybe not, but we’re not entitled to that information at all, it’s OP’s business alone. The amount of speculation of the nature of her conviction in the comments today is frankly creepy and voyeuristic and is making me extremely uncomfortable. It should be enough that she’s aware of what she did wrong, recognises that it was wrong, and has sought help for it and is doing a lot better than she was. The details are none of our business and she doesn’t have to disclose every single detail, she’s perfectly entitled to omit information that would likely identify her in order to protect her privacy. Especially as there was a court case and criminal conviction involved; omission of the details protects not only her but also the co-worker that her actions affected.

        1. MicroManagered*

          I think this case is unique in the way it was revealed. The first letter sounds like maybe she was giving the attractive employee the stink-eye or maybe being too hard on her mistakes. Then in the next one, we find that whatever it was, she was fired for it. Then we find out the employee not only sued the company, but OP personally, which makes it sound far more serious than the original letter. Then, not only was she successfully sued, she received some kind of criminal conviction AND someone else in her past has come forward saying she was abusive toward him. Humans are investigative creatures and I think it’s fairly understandable to be intrigued by how this story is unfolding and be curious as to what *actually* happened. I agree that the physical violence thing is a reach (see my comment downthread) but I think you are also reaching by going for the “creepy” card.

          1. Observer*

            The initial letter was clear that she was being more than “mean” etc. And, it’s also pretty clear that things escalated pretty quickly as well – not surprising since her first reaction to being called out was to try to defend herself in a pretty bad way.

            And, it’s really possible to wind up with a criminal conviction without physical assault – and also more likely to get a suspended sentence without physical violence.

            1. MicroManagered*

              I agree–I shared an anecdote downthread about my mother being convicted of a criminal offense that was not violent, so I think it’s a reach to say it must have been violent. And, like you said, likely inaccurate.

              I’m not surprised by the curiosity about the details though. *I* personally did not read the original letter as being criminal behavior, so I understand the appetite to understand what happened.

          2. Dollis Hill*

            Not a reach at all. People who try and dig into the salacious details of something scandalous that happened in someone’s past ARE creeps. It’s gossipy and gross, it’s none of our business and a massive invasion of OP’s privacy, she doesn’t owe a bunch of internet strangers any explanation. OP has been through a tremendously difficult time and achieved sobriety and self-awareness, how is a bunch of nosy parkers wanting to know all the juicy details of what she did going to help her in any way? Because it’s likely she is reading all our comments, and feeling horrible about people speculating over something that is nobody’s business but hers.

            1. MicroManagered*

              Oh please. It’s an advice column. It’s totally normal to be curious about and question exact context. The danger with that is to speculate and assume, something this community guards strongly against. And as far as OP is concerned, I think it’s probably beneficial to understand how certain actions are perceived by people at large–so you don’t repeat the same mistakes!

              I am on the same side as you are–I applaud the fact that OP has taken so many steps to rectify her behavior. I’ve followed the posts and the updates since the beginning, and I agree that OP has taken the long, hard road out of Hell. But in recovery they teach you that hey, your actions have consequences, including people not-trusting everything you say and do. Again, I think assuming the incident was physically violent is an overstep–but I understand the curiosity about what actually happened, based on how the details have been revealed.

              1. Dollis Hill*

                There’s no need for you to be so dismissive. It is clear that some people here are going beyond mere curiosity and ARE speculating and assuming, and being hugely intrusive, which is what I very reasonably have a problem with. We don’t need to know every detail in order to give her our support and encouragement, and there’s every chance that the small minority of comments feeling the need to know every detail could be potentially triggering for OP.

        2. Kettles*

          Agreed. She has been accused of numerous crimes in this comment section today – on almost zero basis. It’s quite unsettling.

        3. Courageous cat*

          Well, I mean, giving us multiple updates is also contributing to it being somewhat voyeuristic. People are human and are going to speculate, so if you keep giving them more details (when none are really needed whatsoever), then … that’s going to happen.

    1. MicroManagered*

      I don’t know. I think it’s a big reach to assume it was some kind of assault/battery thing.

      Many years ago my mother had a criminal judgment with a suspended sentence against her for trespassing. She was in a dispute with a neighbor and convinced herself they’d stolen a yard ornament, and went onto their property to see. (She says she peeked in the garage, as in looked but did not enter or touch anything. She has some mental health issues though, and I’ve always believed she probably did trespass, i.e. not just look in the window but actually go on the property and possibly in the garage to try to find her yard ornament. And that’s illegal…)

      My point there is not like that my mother is some innocent, but rather that you can have something that is correctly described as “a criminal conviction with a suspended sentence” that doesn’t rise to the level of violence.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Oh, this is a good point. I think I assumed it was more physical because of the restraining order, but sustained intrusive but nonviolent behavior may have led to the same thing.

    2. Kettles*

      Woah. Or she committed gender based harassment (which she admitted) and was (rightly) sued for it. I don’t know about the US but in the UK, severe harassment at work can be a crime in and of itself. Accusing the OP of being physically violent – on the basis of no evidence – is a really OTT reaction. To be very clear, I’m not saying OP is a saint. I am saying that bad behaviour doesn’t equal axe murderer.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The OP has made a point of not sharing the details, and that’s her prerogative. There’s a whole range of things it could be, but I don’t think this kind of speculation is useful.

  49. Kisses*

    I’m so sorry that you’ve had a difficult experience and I’m thankful that you’re finding peace.
    May you continue to do well in life and find happiness. One of the hardest things is moving on from a period where one feels broken.

  50. Tinybutfierce*

    Congratulations on your sober time, from a fellow sober buddy! That’s a HUGE accomplishment on its own.

    It sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of really hard work on yourself and you’re in a really good place now. Keep on kickin’ butt.

  51. Mamunia*

    Great update, OP! I was around for your original letter, and you have come so far. It’s the times we feel the weakest but keep going that show is how strong we really are. I am really happy for you and wish you the best.

  52. Nicewinkwink*

    I’m curious to know how employee who was affected by OP’s actions is doing. Where are they today?

  53. Ann*

    I find this post, and how much praise OP is getting for it to be somewhat creepy and disturbing.

    I remember reading about a program which rehabilitated men who were violent against their partners. The men who made great progress were asked to share their stories and recieved praise for their “progress” similar to OP is now. Researchers found that this actually validated the men so much that they were the most likely to get back to abusing their partners. The men (and their praisers)helped them feel like they were truly good people after all, which was a big factor in their regression.

    OP harmed an innocent woman so badly that she was personally sued and criminally convicted. This is clearly not a case of mild manager disdain or even workplace bullying (because honestly we’ve all witness workplace bullying where nothing has come of it). OP clearly downplayed what she did to this woman, and keeps coming back (are 4 updates really necessary?) with updates detailing how much better she is now, while the commenters sing her praises and shield her from having to actually disclose what she did.

    This has red flags all over it.

    1. Perpal*

      Meh. I know what you are referencing but I think it’s not really translatable.
      I’m not sure anyone’s minimizing LW’s prior harms (I mean, I’m really not sure, there’s over 200 comments so maybe someone is, but not the few comments I’ve skimmed) etc. It sounds like justice was done overall; LW got fired (Even lost /settled two lawsuits!) and original employee is still there and has no further contact with LW.
      I think people are just trying to encourage them to keep going on their stated path of sobriety and general stability. It’s simple politeness not to tear someone down who’s already hit rock bottom if they’re doing what they need to do to climb back out.
      I think it’s kind of interesting to see long term follow up on this kind of catastrophic meltdown too. The last update was 3 years ago; I was kind of wondering if LW would stay on the sober track. I’m glad they are.

      1. D'Arcy*

        No, not two lawsuits. She lost/settled *one* lawsuit, on top of being indicted and *convicted* for criminal behavior against the former employee. The latter is very, very different and vastly more serious than a mere civil lawsuit, and is a detail she hadn’t mentioned before.

    2. Sylvan*

      Yes. She describes progress in treatment and at the same time unveils things like abuse and an ex SO who is warning people, gossiping, smearing her reputation, or… who knows. It’s uncomfortable.

      I’m sympathetic to her mental health issues – I have them, too – but something might be odd here. The first post was the tip of an iceberg and each update shows us a little more.

    3. JenJen*

      YES! This whole thing is so weird. Clearly this woman is getting something from repeated, ultra-personal updates and the following fawning.

Comments are closed.