Brittany had started working for us to replace Peter’s old position. Since Peter was now in Harold’s old position working half in and half out of the lab his job needed to be filled.
Brittany was blonde, about my age, positive and really nice. She started learning the ins and outs of field sampling and met everybody in the group. I just so happened to one day notice that she had commented on a friend’s Facebook page and it turned out that we had a couple of mutual friends and I had actually met her before at a party that we both went to.
We talked a little bit and I told her about the party, but I always told myself I was awkward around new people. I didn’t see her too often after that. She was always on the other side of the building or out sampling and I kept to myself for the most part. After Lauren and I had our falling out I kept to myself even more. I had to tend to my hurt and my heart.
This gave Lauren a chance to start a steady friendship with her. Everytime Brittany would come into the lab to get her cold packs and racks that she’d need to go out sampling, Lauren would start attacking her with questions. So, where are you going today? Then she would tell a story about the time when she was on that run and someone had given her flowers from their garden or someone had said how cute or nice she was. That was always how those stories went. A way to make her look better. Then other times she would give Brittany all of her notes. The tone in Lauren’s voice made me uneasy it was almost caressing but in a boastful way. She always sounded so proud for her knack of conversation. She was always questioning and wanting more.
I kept seeing Lauren as an energy vampire because that is what she was. I noticed right away that Brittany was better at boundaries than I was. I had read about boundaries in a new book about codependency. They were something I didn’t even know about for 26 years. I noticed after being stung by Lauren what clear boundaries Brittany had set. Lauren would try to ask too personal of a question and Brittany would come back with a more general response. I started learning how it was done.
I was scared to keep putting myself out there with Brittany. Lauren, of course, within the span of a month of so, had already sunk her teeth into Brittany and was going down to her office daily to see her.
One time on my way back from the microwave down by where Brittany’s office was I decided to stop in to see her and say hi. I was super nervous because it wasn’t something I would normally do. I kept telling myself to relax. I wasn’t very compassionate towards myself and my nerves. It didn’t go great, but it was fine. She kept talking about things to do with work. In my mind I was afraid that Lauren had categorized me as some work crazy person who didn’t care about anything else. I started comparing myself to Mary while I was trying to have a conversation with Brittany. I was thinking about how people maybe thought that I was like Mary. But I cared about things other than work! Everytime Brittany brought up work it just further reinforced my new fear that Brittany thought I was like Mary.
It was already too late. I had gotten it in my head that Lauren had said something negative about me to Brittany by that time. They were at least closer than Brittany and I were. I felt stupid even trying to get to know her more. Lauren in my eyes had ‘won.’ She had isolated me. I had isolated myself.
Sometimes, its painful to look back and see how you created a situation for yourself. I was learning in therapy, that I, in fact had created this just as much as Lauren had created it, if not more. It was hard to look and see how I had isolated myself and then felt like a victim because of it. It was me doing it, nobody else.