I know that I am not alone when I admit to obsessing over one person who has mistreated me instead of focusing on the many who have supported me. why is it that the negative stay with me so strongly? I have an inkling that perhaps it is because I sense that to mistreat a person takes extra intention and planning, but perhaps this is not the case. Just as I feel betrayed, maybe the other person has created a story of justification and entitlement in their mind?
It is difficult to say when the person in question refuses to engage in any form of communication.
Since leaving my stable government job with its regular paycheck, I have created a kind of hodge podge career, combining editing with songwriting, music performance, and teaching yoga. Far and away, I have experienced wonderful connections with the people I worked with. It is these experiences that I should be able to focus on.
In the several years of working as a freelance editor, I have been lucky that all but one client has observed the honor code of paying for my services. It was not until this past spring that a client dropped off the planet after receiving my edits for her Master’s Thesis. She first had informed me that she had mailed a check to my parents’ house in the United States (I currently live in Belgium). When the check did not arrive after more than a week, I contacted her and she said she would send another check that day and to simply tear up the other one should it arrive. Seemed reasonable enough, and I am a trusting person. Why wouldn’t a social justice Master’s student be honest and reliable? The second check never arrived, and I suggested that perhaps she could just pay me via PayPal, which is fast and easy. No response.
Puzzled, I continued to try to contact her. For weeks, I thought that maybe she was not receiving my emails or having trouble with her email account. Months passed by, and I continued to contact her through as many avenues as I could figure out. I had edited the $*%& out of her thesis, but it has still not been approved for reasons beyond those even the best of editors can repair (not enough cited evidence, for one).
While this information at least helped me to try to put a story together for what was going on, I still felt completely betrayed. Already this year, I had been bested by people of perhaps a similar nature, who also claimed to have sent money to my parents by snail mail. What my parents received was a very empty, untampered with envelope.
I know that I should just let it go. It was one day of work (yes, a precious commodity for the part-time freelancer, but not the end of the world), after all.
I continue to send emails and PayPal invoices, thinking, This time, she will surely come to her senses and pay me for the hard work I engaged in on her behalf. What is all the more shocking to me is that this student is both an adult and a promoter of social justice. It boggles the mind, truly. After much denial, I am beginning to think that she has simply started blocking my communications, though I am not sure how this helps her to sleep soundly each night.
What I am left with is anger and a desire for retribution, energies I do not enjoy in the least. What to do with the desire for retribution? I don’t think there is much I can do. Somehow, this person has justified in their mind that they do not need to embrace honor or ethics in their daily life. In this modern, virtual world, there is little I can do to attain my measly $175 beyond sending her emails, which she can just block.
Her disregard does help me appreciate every other client who sends positive feedback and prompt payment. I make a point now of expressing my gratitude to each of them.
In addition, I don’t like feeling awful, and every time I think about her and/or attempt to claim payment, I am revisited by feelings that I would just as soon not embrace.To counter my frustration and to shift the negative, rotten feeling I have cultivated in my brooding, I try to do kind things and to take deep breaths. Essentially, I retaliate with kindness. There is much to be grateful for in my life, and for this I am endlessly thankful.
How do you transcend injustice and frustrations in your life? I would love to learn from you.
In the words of my live-in, guru husband, Right or happy, love. You can’t control her. You, however, are beautiful and wonderful, so lift the corners of your mouth and rejoice!