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BS: my cautionary tale

20 Jan 19 - 09:20 PM (#3972518)
Subject: goodbye, dream, goodbye
From: keberoxu

As music is part of this tale, it maybe could go upstairs.
But this is very personal and hard to talk about, and
at the same time, it wants to come out and be heard. To break the silence.
So this thread will be opened below the line.

By the time my repressed memories of trauma from very early childhood came up,
my thirtieth birthday had come and gone,
and with those first thirty years,
my formal education -- most of it --
and my first attempts at holding down jobs and getting work.
What changed? On one level, everything.
Not all at once, mark you.
But there has been a bereavement and a grieving from that day to this.

I was always going to attempt to go on to higher education, regardless.
I wanted to get into a college or a university, and to be graduated (that's my maiden great-aunt's fellow English teacher and lifelong roommate talking, pedantic as it sounds) with a formal degree.
I managed to do that, getting two degrees in six years' time.
I still have them. The degrees won't be taken away from me.

My family of origin, in the bosom of which the traumas took place,
had means, ambitions, and an image to uphold.
I saw the last of them years ago, and I imagine they still have those things,
along with a world of other shadowy things which they deny having.

I worked with single-minded dedication at the studies I undertook. My family paid for everything. The only time I earned anything financial,
was when assistantships were available right at the department where I was enrolled.

My field being applied music performance, and my instrument being piano,
there was ready work for a student like me,
accompanying the faculty music lessons taught to other students.
And that was how I had an experience that altered everything
and which, years later, I am just now able to grasp.

At the time, although I never in my life taught a lesson or had a student,
I had some notion that academic credentials in applied music performance
would qualify me to be what a teacher is and to do what one does.
And I paid careful attention, not only to the lessons and coachings
where I was the student paying the tuition,
but also to the lessons and coaching at which someone else was the student
and I was the piano player,
deferring to the teacher on the faculty.

One teacher-student combination, to which weekly lessons I was assigned, has haunted me from that day to this.
I have to be very careful indeed not to say anything libelous
about this teacher. Credentials; ambitions; connections in high places; extremely literate and well-traveled; highly educated ... what could go wrong?         Oh, dear God.

I don't know how the student, one with an undergraduate degree already from another school in another place,
who had been admitted to the post-graduate level,
was to blame for what happened. Impeccable manners, obvious talent, also well-educated, articulate, all the rest of it.
A student, as it happened, of singing.
The instrument was the student's voice.
The student's voice was at the mercy of the teacher.

All three of us showed up and went very formally through the routine
of completing the requirements: the weekly lessons, the rehearsals, all of it. And in this very decorous, decent scenario,
I observed from one side as
the student's singing technique was hammered into jagged shreds.
It is the queerest thing in the world.
When a student so schooled speaks in conversation,
the student's voice sounds as it always has, and no one suspects a thing.
Then the student attempts to sing, and what comes out sounds strained, unmusical, too tense to control, and downright ugly.
If you haven't seen this for yourself, would you believe me?

Well, neither of the other two people are here to defend themselves.
I have to be considerate. Each of them has their own story.
The last I heard of the student in question, that postgraduate degree was never completed. Left the school completely, more or less left music,
and went their way, finding some other way to make a living. I remember writing and leaving phone messages; I was dropped, cut dead.
I don't blame the person anymore.

I completed my own degree, which I was working on at the very same time.
And then came a moment of decision I never anticipated.
My assistantship track took me away from the music studios to an office receptionist post at -- I have to say this carefully -- a division of the same school, part of the arts but different than music. Not my choice, just the way the job vacancies played out at the time. That was an easy decision because I respected and liked the grownups -- faculty and staff -- involved, and they treated me very decently. Some friendlier than others.

Meanwhile, that singing teacher on the faculty? Not quite at the summit of the faculty/academic track in terms of pay and tenure and position. Really wanted to climb the whole way to the top, and was assertive about it: not just in it for the music and the art, but for the academic career and all that it stood for.
I paid this no mind until I was working in that other office at the receptionist desk. In walked one of the friendliest, most accessible senior members of the faculty of that ... arts division.
He approached me directly:
What do you know, Miss, about so-and-so on the music faculty, whose faculty status is going before the board members, of which I am one?
Well, this was no place for the horror story. For any story, honestly.
So I spoke the truth -- my truth.
I summed up an individual who really wanted this to work, who was committed to the school and to representing the school, took seriously the art and the profession, what sort of colleague they were to their faculty peers, and ... and ... based on what I had observed, I would not recommend the individual as a teacher. Period.
Professor Friendly thanked me.

A week or two later, in walked Professor Hardcase, also a board member. He didn't ask for opinions, he pronounced his own, sitting back and staring at the ceiling as he made his pronouncements. And he informed everyone in the office, with his usual arrogance, that he was going to vote against the case before the board, because he had heard from one of his peers that ... and I heard my whole summary repeated verbatim.
I knew then what I had done. And that I could not undo it.

Today, I don't know what has become of the former student.
I left music and academia long ago. I don't teach.
The study I do is not practice and performance,
it is studying literature and repertoire for my own satisfaction.
The singing teacher is still alive, albeit very elderly.
When his petition or whatever it was, was turned down by the board,
he actually packed in working there, although he was welcome to continue with his current status, whether it was adjunct or assistant or what have you. He left the institution, in good standing, and taught the same singing technique and all at other schools in the same area. When he retired, he became a financial benefactor and patron. I don't know whether or not he served on boards himself.

But because I said what I said when I said it,
that teacher was no longer doing what he did to
the singing techniques of music students
at my alma mater.

I will never know how differently I would have chosen,
had I already been getting professional help at the time
or even had already uncovered the concealed, denied trauma history.
I see today that my trauma history had significant consequences
for the things that I chose to do and the company in which I did it.
I used to sit there, while the singing teachers -- any of them -- put their students -- any of them -- through exercises, vocalizes, all that noise-making with the singing voice,
and ask myself silently,
Why do I feel at home with this god-awful carrying-on?
That question has an informed answer, now,
and the details make me uncomfortable to this day, so I will spare myself and you.

And to think that I dreamed of being a teacher.
Who knows what the future will require of me?
I only know that it is time I admitted that the dream is dead.

21 Jan 19 - 03:16 AM (#3972540)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Dave Hanson

You ought to know by now nobody reads anything over 2 full screen lengths.

Dave H

21 Jan 19 - 04:09 AM (#3972546)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Senoufou

Well Dave H, I have read it, every word, and have been moved by keberoxu's experiences.

Firstly, there is never any shame about speaking the honest truth. It will always shine through no matter what others say or do with it.

And speaking out against malpractice and bullying, about a person who is doing harm, is also completely right, and courageous too.

You should be proud and feel glad keberoxu that you did that.
Please don't mull it over and over in your head, or try to work out 'what happened'. What happened was that you absolutely did the right thing.
Eliza x

21 Jan 19 - 04:18 AM (#3972550)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Iains

I would think many of us can think of occasions when our honesty has caused outcomes we did not entirely wish for. There is no point in beating yourself to death over it. Had it been a pack of lies causing the outcome then perhaps repentance should be prolonged for a period. In both cases there is a time period beyond which closure should be obtained. If you cannot achieve it by yourself then seek help. You carry an unnecessary burden.

21 Jan 19 - 10:01 AM (#3972627)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Charmion

I am a singer who worked with several teacher-coaches over some 30 years. Two were excellent and taught me valuable techniques that have kept me singing into my mid-60s despite severe asthma. One was a bad bully, and one was just incompetent.

If the bully had been knocked off his tenure track by an honest and unguarded assessment such as keberoxu provided, many students would have been spared his toxic attentions.

Oddly, the question that was directed at keberoxu sounds like something I experienced as a mid-ranking civil servant at the Department of National Defence in Ottawa. When a senior naval officer was a candidate for promotion to a very high position in the bureaucracy, the search committee conducting the hiring process deliberately sought to interview subordinates as well as his peers and superiors. I was interviewed by a blindingly elegant commodore who wanted to know all about how my ex-boss had treated not only the subalterns and non-commissioned officers in his chain of command, but also the civilian employees who did the humdrum administrative tasks that kept the directorate functioning.

As the studio accompanist, keberoxu was a critical witness to the singing teacher's techniques and relationships with his pupils. The professor who sought keberoxu's opinion was following what the human resources people call a "best practice".

21 Jan 19 - 12:19 PM (#3972646)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Stilly River Sage

It is a tangled story, I had to take notes to sort it out. It actually is at least four stories:

Rich, misbehaving family gets what it wants but the storyteller escaped and remembered more later

Life and times as a piano student working within a department with good and not-so-good faculty

Episode of really poor teaching destroys a voice student's good voice, technique, and career

Bully professor gets his comeuppance when fly-on-the-wall accompanist speaks truth to power

Writer of this tangle of stories has moved on herself and is still sorting out the bits. It reminds me of a cartoon
in the New Yorker last week "Now playing, everything you said at the party" (link) to which several friends
responded with things like "not only the party, but the party from 30+ years ago." It's what we do, but since
we're the only ones who are probably holding onto that conversation any more, and the only one with this
particular perspective, no one else will miss it if you decide to let go of it.

I played with the line breaks so it wouldn't stray all over the page in this pseudo-abstract.

21 Jan 19 - 12:51 PM (#3972655)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: punkfolkrocker

If you haven't already - might be helpful to google "Rumination"...

eg.. today's top 5 hits...

How to Stop Ruminating: 10 Tips to Stop Repetitive Thoughts

Rumination: A Problem in Anxiety and Depression | Psychology Today

Rumination: Problem Solving Gone Wrong | Psychology Today

New voices: The problem with rumination | The Psychologist

Rumination (psychology) - Wikipedia

My breakthrough in my early 30s, after getting too over-anxious and introspective,
resulting in bolloxing up my post grad,

"f@ck it, I can't be bothered thinking about it.."

.. that's worked fairly well enough for me...

21 Jan 19 - 01:11 PM (#3972658)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: punkfolkrocker

oh.. btw.. if someone asks for my honest opinion.. they get it...

unfiltered and as harsh as it might be..

My wife still hasn't learnt not to ask what do I think of her new coat or hairstyle...

21 Jan 19 - 01:29 PM (#3972659)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Senoufou

As in "Does my bum look big in this?" pfr? :)

My mother used to call rumination 'dwelling on things'. If I had a problem which was troubling me, she'd say, "Don't dwell on it." Quite good advice. But often, intrusive thoughts about one's past actions are hard to shut off.

There's an excellent book called 'The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F***' by Sarah Knight. She gives the following two instructions:-

1. Decide which things you don't actually give a f*** about.
2. Don't give a f*** about those things.

21 Jan 19 - 02:03 PM (#3972673)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Rapparee

I'm surprised that the voice student didn't complain to Those In Power. My niece, an art major, complained about a prof who she felt was too "touchy-feely." Turned out the former President of the college had kept a drawer full of similar complaints without acting on them. The prof did not return from Christmas break; my niece was interviewed all the way up the line to the college's outside law firm.

21 Jan 19 - 02:17 PM (#3972678)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: punkfolkrocker

"I'm surprised that the voice student didn't complain"

It's too easy for bullying lecturers to victimise vulnerable inexperienced young students,
making them feel that it's their own fault, their own failings,
to blame for problems
in the student / teacher power relationship.

I had a lecturer who was a nasty vindictive control freak...

21 Jan 19 - 02:41 PM (#3972681)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Helen

Thank you keberoxu.

As Iains said, the consequences of being honest should not make you feel guilty. If you had been lying or back-stabbing that would have been different.

And like pfr said, I will always be honest to the best of my ability, although over the decades I have learned to be honest in a more diplomatic way - most of the time. LOL

I also second Senoufou's book recommendation, but the book I have is by Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***

I have a long story, which I won't bore you all with, about being bullied relentlessly by a serial bully who was a high level manager. I was just one in a long line of serial targets.

It took me a while to wake up to what he was doing and during that period of waking up a former lecturer of mine, a clever, brilliant, articulate woman I respected greatly but didn't know personally, came to work there. I noticed that the bully had her sitting in his office one day while he rabbited on and on, but I couldn't hear what he was saying to her. I resolved to take her aside and tell her what I knew about him, including that he felt greatly intimidated by women with better management qualifications than his own. I had been left isolated and vulnerable by almost all of my work colleagues who were too scared to put their heads above the trenches and risk becoming a target. Only two brave souls stood up and helped me to see what was really going on but that wasn't until I was almost a year into the experience, so I vowed to stand by this woman and help her to see what the bully was doing.

Unfortunately, I couldn't talk to her that day and being part time I didn't get back to work until the following week, by which time she had committed suicide. I carry that guilt around with me. I thought there was enough time to talk to her, but being such a brilliant, creative, clever mind, I think she also had vulnerabilities in assessing her own capabilities in a new work environment, working for a slippery, sociopathic bully who would have started manipulating her from day one.

Following that, I started my own campaign to make sure that his superiors and people in positions of power knew exactly what he was up to, and had been doing for all the years he had been there.

His contract was renewed not long after that, but the next time the contract came up for renewal he was out of there.

I have never regretted what I did because I know that I probably helped a long line of other people who would have been targeted. He would have moved on, found new targets, but at least he was recognised for what he was in that organisation, and possibly that whole industry because he never worked in that industry of loosely linked state organisations again, as far as I know. He went freelance after that.

After one of my two saviours mentioned the word "psychopath", I Googled it and found this site: Tim Field: Bully Online

I wrote to Tim Field afterwards and thanked him for saving my life. I was a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wreck for some years after that, but without my two saviours and Tim Field, I don't know whether I would still be here.

This is the page which started me on my healing path: Tim Field: Bully Online

BTW, the experience Charmion referred to is known as 360 degree feedback. I have never known a manager brave enough to use it because honesty from subordinates can be very confronting.


21 Jan 19 - 02:46 PM (#3972682)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Senoufou

I think if one looks at the enormous amount of historic abuse, malpractice, unprofessionalism etc over the years in various institutional environments, only a few victims have been bold enough to make a formal complaint.

They might be afraid of the repercussions, embarrassment, counter-attack, loss of a place in an organisation and so on.

Keberoxu did very well to give her honest view and speak up for the sake of the singer who had been so badly treated.

As a teacher I have experienced several Inspections by HMI (not Ofsted, that came in later). The entire school would be looked at, and some teachers, parents, ancillary staff and even pupils were canvassed for their opinions of the running of the school.

I was once chosen to give my private views on the Headmaster. Fortunately the man was excellent, and I had no hesitation in commending him. I hope however I'd have been as brave as keberoxu and told the absolute truth if that had not been the case.

21 Jan 19 - 02:52 PM (#3972684)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Senoufou

'Qui tacet consentire videtur'. In other words, if you say nothing you're as good as approving of what's going on.

21 Jan 19 - 04:02 PM (#3972698)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Charmion

Helen, I spoke with a member of the promotion board, not the senior naval officer who was the candidate, so the meeting I described was a reference interview.

21 Jan 19 - 04:30 PM (#3972703)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Helen

Yes, Charmion, but the usual process is to only ask for references from the candidate's managers or overseers. It's a rare thing for a candidate's subordinates or juniors to be asked for their opinions.

I had a manager once who was charming, clever and said all the right things to his managers and couldn't give a hoot about anyone lower on the food chain than him. I had the chance to work with his manager for a while. I was honest, when asked - or even when not asked, i.e. expressing my frustrations.

People who have not been targeted by bullies or in domestic violence situations etc will often say, "Why didn't you say something, why didn't you speak up, why didn't you make a formal complaint?" Sometimes some people go on to the blame game. If it was so bad, he/she would have complained so it can't have been as serious as he/she is saying it was. "Put up or shut up."

There are a lot of reasons why people don't speak up. Even when the person is as outspoken as I am. I first needed to recognise what was happening in a new work situation where I was trying to fit in with the manager's way of doing things. Also, I was getting no validation from other staff there. I worked out much, much later that they were keeping their heads down to avoid being his next target, but for me I was trying to work out if I was falling short in the job, or miscommunicating, misinterpreting what the manager was asking me to do, etc etc. I was also seriously desperate financially at that time so I was not in a position to just up and leave.

A student/teacher or more especially a student/lecturer dynamic is usually that the student recognises the lecturer's expertise in the academic area and starts to second-guess his/her own capabilities and understanding of the topic. It's easy for a bully to hone in on that vulnerability.

There is usually a power imbalance in the relationship. Manager/employee, student/lecturer, or a financial imbalance, e.g. a stay-at-home wife and mother who relies on her partner's income.

Then there is the type of person who - inexplicably for me as a loudmouth troublemaker - doesn't like "to make waves" or "rock the boat" so he/she will be capable of being pushed to breaking point and is more likely to walk away from the situation without ever taking proactive steps to resolve the issue.

It's a complicated dynamic. No easy answers. No one walks away unscathed, whatever the outcome.

21 Jan 19 - 06:44 PM (#3972721)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

What I witnessed is not easy to explain to anyone who hasn't observed how singers and voices are cultivated. I reckon that actors would understand the situation, even though actors are not required to execute musical passages with their voices as though they were playing an instrument in a symphony orchestra.

I don't recall, in my time as an accompanist, seeing a singing teacher sexually molest a pupil. Would I not have reported this to the immediate department if I had? I hope I would.
What was being done in the lessons with this singing teacher was not simple, although the consequences were stark and shocking. But how to explain?

The singing teacher directed the student to breathe this way, that way, to make these sounds in this fashion, to coordinate the body like this or that ... it was all done without hands on. I would remember that. No, the teacher would demonstrate, from a respectful distance in the room, and the student would politely make a response, and the little dance would go on. And on, and on ... the sounds were hideous but the actual manner and behavior never broke protocol.

The dilemma is not a superficial thing. What I observed of this singing teacher, was scrupulously observed gestures that were conventional and acceptable. And the teacher, at all times, appeared eager to help and to be of service; and with the teacher's extroverted nature and ambitions, definitely wanted to be SEEN to be of service.

Whatever was driving this teacher was only partly, if at all, conscious. The problem is, how could this teacher have corrected himself, you know? Clearly this was a conflicted person, tremendous inner tensions and drives, inner stuff getting projected onto and worked out through the hapless student.

There is very little, furthermore, that I can tell you about the student, because the student was an exquisitely controlled introvert. It was the more startling when the student would sing an exposed challenging musical passage and it would come out sounding perfectly hellish -- because this person appeared and seemed incapable of putting a foot wrong, so well-heeled and well-groomed in deportment. Truly one of the stranger, more extreme instances among dozens of students whom I worked with.

The question I have had to put to myself, is how could I have felt that I was complicit, simply by showing up and doing my job while teacher and student went through this ongoing ritual behavior. And of course the answer, for my accountability in it, is an answer that is rooted outside of the music studio and beyond the academic world where all of this was acted out.
I'm tiring myself here so I will close this post.

My most inadequate thanks to everyone who responded, who made me feel that I am not alone, who validated my perceptions and feelings.

21 Jan 19 - 09:07 PM (#3972738)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Jeri

I read it last night, and found it difficult to get through. Too much in it, too much missing, and the format of the text was almost too obnoxious for me to get through. (MY problem.)

PFR, I've always appreciated people who don't have filters. One has to trust people will be straight with you if you expect to feel comfortable with them.

Keb, don't feel guilty for being honest. The "senior member of the faculty" who asked you expected you to be truthful, and you were. Your opinion was probably not the only one he heard.

You didn't make any decision about that voice teacher's career, and I don't see that it had much to do with your dream being dead. Dreams often don't stay relevant, and we ought to be able to change our minds without blaming ourselves or others for doing something wrong.

22 Jan 19 - 01:10 AM (#3972757)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: meself

So ... What exactly are we being cautioned against?

22 Jan 19 - 11:29 AM (#3972885)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

Posting at a forum is one thing,
publication another thing, at least it seems so to me.

That my tale makes some readers reach for the editor's blue pencil
does not surprise or worry me. It comes with
breaking the silence and speaking up.

There is more to my tale than meets the eye.
I have my own reasons for not being explicit about trauma or abuse.
It's just that I may no longer deny what happened.

22 Jan 19 - 01:50 PM (#3972918)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Helen

keberoxu, I think you are brave for sharing what you did.

I've been thinking about the question asked by the senior faculty member, in the context of what Jeri said:

"The 'senior member of the faculty' who asked you expected you to be 'truthful, and you were. Your opinion was probably not the only one he heard."

And also what Rapparee said: "Turned out the former President of the college had kept a drawer full of similar complaints without acting on them."

Quite often, in my experience, managers have been sitting on their hands, hearing rumours, listening to a whinge here and a whinge there, and not taking proactive steps to deal with a bully or someone who is acting inappropriately. It's more than likely, in my opinion, that your comments were not the only ones that the senior member of the faculty listened to, and this was probably not the first time he had heard that there was an issue. It's commendable that he acted appropriately with the information he received. It's not that common for people to stand up for what they believe is right, in management circles especially - in my experience.

When I and a couple of other people put in a formal complaint about a bully in another workplace, almost all of the managers freely admitted that they had known about this person's behaviour for over a decade but part of the problem was that no one else was prepared to stand up and put in a formal complaint and follow it through to the bitter end. Funnily enough, a whole troupe of people came out of the woodwork to submit their information to the investigators AFTER we started the process. The whole complaint/grievance process took nearly a year and a half to be dealt with, but we won in the end. We've also suffered the consequences from the bully's buddies who still work there. They still hold grudges against us.

22 Jan 19 - 02:54 PM (#3972933)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: meself

I must be a little dense; I'm just not getting the caution:

Person 1 is terrible at his job.

Person 2 is asked how Person 1 is at his job, because he is being considered for a promotion.

Person 2 indicates that Person 1 is less than exemplary.

Person 1 doesn't get the promotion, and goes on with his life.

What am I missing?

22 Jan 19 - 03:25 PM (#3972941)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: punkfolkrocker

"What am I missing?"

that's not an easy question...

It reminds me of the exercises we were set in English comprehension classes
where teacher required us to precise tortuous business and legal writing
into something plain and understandable...

The opening post is more overlong, overcomplicated, and free association than most readers can tolerate...

It was a struggle getting from begining to end..

But here we are with an interesting discussion because of it...

22 Jan 19 - 05:07 PM (#3972960)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

Briefly stated,
those singing lessons
reminded me of being abused -- on several levels at a time --
as a small child, by a much older male blood relative.

I know, I could have said that from the first.

The caution is to me. Perhaps not to anyone else on earth.

Now, at the time I was the accompanist, present for these events,
my abuse and trauma history were still deeply repressed
and I had no clue that they had happened,
since my family denied and suppressed everything.

The denial, repression, suppression, and so on
only protected me up to a point.
Had someone been in a position to challenge me and confront me
about why I felt guilty and complicit,
the questioning would not have got very far,
for I was not yet ready, inside, to start healing.
Regardless, something responded deep inside of me.

There's more. I'm going to stop, however, and post this much.

22 Jan 19 - 06:09 PM (#3972969)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: meself

Okay, so this is all part of the healing process, I suppose. Fair enough. I didn't mind reading the opening post at all; I was just - obviously - wondering about the 'caution'.

23 Jan 19 - 04:33 AM (#3973028)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Iains

The only way to look at the situation objectively is to acknowledge that by your actions you prevented other students becoming victims. The fact that you had previous traumatic experiences in childhood made your role as a "Whistle-blower" far more difficult, because presumably it made you far more sensitive to the repercussions and consequences of your actions. From my perspective you should hold your head up high for making an honest assessment of the situation and reacting to it, even though your previous history made your decision far more difficult due to your heightened "situational awareness" developed from earlier events.
(The last phrase is poorly worded but any other way of expressing myself would lack brevity)

23 Jan 19 - 07:37 AM (#3973053)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Senoufou

I agree with Iains. People who have suffered abuse in childhood (or even later) tend to try and avoid conflict and confrontation. They keep their heads down and hardly dare to speak up.
I expect, keberoxu, you were fearful of the repercussions, as Iains says, yet you did the right thing nonetheless.
The fact that this had consequences for the dodgy tutor is down to him/her, not you!

23 Jan 19 - 11:05 AM (#3973085)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Donuel

I saw Music school politics as a battle of egos in a sea of different personalities. The suicide rate in music schools is much higher than dental school. I was lucky my cello prof was a great teacher. Voice teachers seemed to have the biggest egos of all.

23 Jan 19 - 11:09 AM (#3973087)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

Where on God's green earth, Donuel,
have you found
a comparison between suicide rates
in music schools and dental schools?
I say this as someone
to whom it never occurred to look for same.

I mean, graduates of dental schools
are more likely to find jobs in their line of work,
than music school graduates,
of whom there always seem to be more than there are jobs for them.
Still ...

23 Jan 19 - 11:49 AM (#3973096)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: meself

Not sure if I've ever said these words before - but I fully concur with Iains insightful and thoughtful post.

23 Jan 19 - 12:08 PM (#3973104)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Helen

keberoxu, imagine going to work every day and seeing the fear and horror in the faces of your patients. Dentists have a high suicide rate.

I tell everyone that having my two cataract operations was easier than going to the dentist. I told my dentist that too. He laughed and agreed with me.

25 Jan 19 - 12:53 AM (#3973400)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: olddude

I was a full tenured professor and some of my faculty members we experts in bullying. I hear you loud and clear my friend

29 Jan 19 - 02:12 PM (#3974021)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

It frustrates me, it actually gets me emotionally to a useless degree,
if I am expected to give an account of my experience
in a rational, linear fashion.
The reason I get emotional about doing so,
is that I didn't get my experience out of a book, after all --
I endured it, lived through it, and spent the better part of my life
getting to grips with it all.
Making sense of such history is a story in and of itself.
And I did not experience this in a reasonable way.
I had the experience with all these psychological mechanisms hard at work,
keeping me from falling to pieces.

One time, I said to my counselor, who had earned my trust,
"How did I do it?"
Sensitive as always,
my counselor understood what was implied in my question.

She answered: "You know, I can go into
a clinical description of what is done and how one does it.
But, from person to person:
the answer is -- I don't know how."

I guess I will have to try the patience of others
by talking this through, and doing so regularly,
before I feel tempered enough with it
to relate it as though it were an official dispatch.

Again, my thoroughly inadequate expression
of how intensely I appreciate
all the support and validation of those who either
responded to my post
or who "lurked" at the thread
and "listened" discreetly. Thank you again.

29 Jan 19 - 02:54 PM (#3974025)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: punkfolkrocker

My sister had mental health issues in her early 20s [ circa 1986 ] ..

General family consensus is that the 'profesional' NHS councillors made her condition much worse,
than if she'd just tried to talk through her problems with relatives and friends;
instead of being confined in a psychiatric hospital for an extended period of time...???

I think she came out more damaged and difficult to cope with than before she went in there...

29 Jan 19 - 07:01 PM (#3974056)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

My counselor always assured me
that psych hospital wards were remarkably unsafe places!

31 Jan 19 - 05:05 PM (#3974284)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: Donuel

It seems even Congressmen have not been cautioned to avoid bullies probably because they became Congressmen by being bullies themselves.

I'm not prescribing but I bet you would feel a damn sight better if you became a righteous bully for something you believe in while avoiding problematic emotional vampire bullies.

31 Jan 19 - 06:08 PM (#3974295)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

"It would stand you in good stead,"
is the way I was advised by one counselor, who agreed, Donuel.

14 Apr 19 - 01:44 PM (#3987352)
Subject: RE: BS: my cautionary tale
From: keberoxu

The dream that is dead, I would say,
is the dream of being a teacher.
It is ashes on my tongue now.
I would live in fear of
harming someone else
the way I was harmed,
the way I saw harm done to others.

There is a grieving process going on for me,
and as impatient and intolerant as I feel sometimes,
what I have to remember is to give this enough time.
Time is needed to adjust,
and for a while, as it feels today,
nothing is going to make sense or feel right, very much.
I just have to get out of my own way
and allow it to happen.

To use the well-worn metaphor,
right now
there is only one pair of footprints on the sand,
as a power greater than my own
has to take me through this passage.