Is it really true that the tendency to burn bridges is yet one more MENTAL DISORDER? oh really? Let’s look at this one for a minute.
I think it’s a person’s right to end a relationship any way they choose. I have known people to end them so abruptly it shocked me. “Why’d ya do that?” and my explanation would still leave me with my jaw dropped. “Because he didn’t come pick me up when I asked him to.”
Yes, there are those types. Those types who get pissed and end it on a whim. We know those types of people who will suddenly get mad like that. I question whether this is a “tip of the iceberg” type of thing. Maybe they’ve been mad for months, and never said a word, stored it up, said nothing, and then…..EXPLODED. Over a toothpick. Maybe it only looked like a trivial matter. Yes, there are folks like that.
I have been criticized for burning bridges. I know that as a whistleblower I have had to. This is part of the trade. What do you think I am supposed to do? Go back to MGH and ask them for a character reference? (I hope you are laughing…)
See, I got into whistleblowing as an extension of writing memoir. I ended up writing about what I had seen and witnessed and been through on the wards. All that would not have been so terrible except they didn’t like that I exposed a lot of wrongdoing. Those were their exact words to me. “We’re afraid you will expose us!” (MGH staff nurse to me, 2011).
As I see it, if they were not doing terrible human rights abuses, there would not have been anything to expose. There was. This started it all.
MGH was not happy that I had written about human rights abuses. First of all, about 1/3 of the patients were denied telephone rights. They were forced to make all phone calls in the presence of a nurse, standing right there, and, the nurse had to dial the number for the patient, at the staff desk. I knew already that this was against Massachusetts human rights laws. These laws could only be overwritten by a doctor’s orders and there had to be a very good reason to overwrite the laws, like if you were calling your drug dealer and trying to get the dealer to bring drugs, or calling your ex and threatening her. These were the most extreme situations. In mine, calling my blog and talking about FEELINGS wasn’t very extreme. C’mon. They claimed I would violate the confidentiality of other patients but I am a professional writer and I knew enough not to do that. And they knew that, too, they even said they didn’t want stuff leaked out.
Secondly, I was being deprived of water drastically. I need six liters a day of drinking water because of a VALID medical condition caused by lithium. I wasn’t taking lithium but the condition is permanent anyway. This is real physical need. I kept asking them to give me water. They cut down my drinking water to 1/6 the daily amount my body requires and kept me at that amount, forcing me into a dehydrated state. I asked why and they said that everyone was on this protocol. They ignored my medical condition. Ironically I had come into the hospital dangerously dehydrated and with a dangerously low heart rate.
Dehydrating a person causes a traumatic reaction because it’s like they almost killed me. This has nothing to do with an opinion, it is fact. They were wrong and they know it. I blew the whistle afterward. They were furious.
So yes, you do cut ties, you can’t go back, you can’t expect them to be “nice” after you open your mouth. That’s a consequence. But to me, whistleblowing is a service. It is what I do. It’s something I do to help other people, to open eyes and tell people THIS IS WRONG. These places aren’t even hospitals, they are prisons. So that way I spare you all some grief, and maybe help out.
So I take these consequences. Can you see why I HAD to leave Massachusetts? After all, how on earth could I live so close to MGH after all that? I continued to stay there and sure enough, I was abused again in another hospital as soon as they “shared” records with my prior outpatient psychiatrist from MGH. I really felt trapped. I was looking into relocating to Western MA but I knew MGH was buying all the hospitals in the area. It was scary, the thought that ending up in an ER meant being re-captured, more record-sharing, and abused again. I was really scared, scared of many things back then, due to the trauma.
I still blow the whistle when I know something is wrong. Blowing the whistle will, by default, burn a bridge. This is a consequence of doing what I think is right and what I judge may help others. If I spot a scam, I tell you guys. Remember the Windows computer scam? I told you, right? If I find what I think is a bad business deal, I say so. If I see a good way to save money I will tell you also. And there’s no excuse for bad medical care, right?
Sometimes I really have to stay mum until the fallout clears. That’s been the case recently a few times. For instance, I ran into an opportunity that I decided, ultimately, to bow out of, but I have yet to mention that here. I felt that I should not till the moment strikes me. The only reason for sharing my experience would be to save a few of you the waste of time and disappointment who might also consider the same deal. I need to think it through. Sometimes it is best to stay silent for a long, long time, and mention the offense long after the adversary has forgotten I exist.
Another thing: You really have to be careful when naming names. Sometimes you cannot, nor can you be too revealing nor too personal. There are ways to distinguish this.
For instance, let’s say you went on a date and the date did not show up. I think the proper wording of this is “I was stood up.” Let’s say you are female and a guy stood you up. I would recommend against posting his name and dating app pic to Twitter and publicly saying what a jerk he is.
However, I don’t see anything wrong with publicly writing on the general human virtue of showing up. Isn’t that 99% of life? If you feel a little better doing so, why not? It’s a useful intellectual exercise, and maybe he’ll get the idea should he ever see what you write even though it’s not even likely. A more general essay might reach a more universal audience and that way, you don’t sound like you’re carrying a grudge.
Sometimes, I speak up immediately when the moment strikes me, as the timeliness will make the story funnier. I tell some stories as they occur, such as some of the hilarious scam calls I have received recently. How many guys named Sam are going to call me about charities for police and fire? Or…Is it the same Sam? Does anyone get these charity calls ALSO from a Sam? Who the hell is he? Or is it a whole team of them? “Hi, my name is Sam!” Oh great, him again…….
He talks like Oklahoma……Have you gotten those calls? I have gotten three male Sam calls recently, and just now, an overly cheerful female Sam telling me I won a Disney trip. Did you get that, too?
Have a nice day.