Dear Lila Warren,
did you really have a brother? Or was that not true as well?
If you had a brother who died in a similar way, why did you let HR use your tragedy against me?
Did you and HR really expect this to work in the long run?
They don’t care. You served their purpose, you let them step all over your dignity.
I wonder often what my brother would think about the turmoil I fell into. I regret not having heeded the warnings of a friend who warned me to be careful when I told her about you. Remember I told you that I was upset with my friend, because finally there was someone who understood my grief? I still have to apologize to my friend for disregarding her warning. She knows me like no other after decades.
It was too good to be true to have met a person with the same loss. And for a connection like this to be taken away again, because it was more important for you to please HR and bow to their continuous tactics is like someone died again.
In hindsight so many things now make sense. Remember when I asked you at the end why we never spoke on the phone or met up after you constantly either canceled meeting up or were “too busy”, and you confirmed your busyness? And yet looking at the transcripts of our sole electronic communications, we at times were texting for over an hour, or throughout the day. And you saying that you always delete our conversations, I don’t believe either, for one because you preferred to text, and I am sure you wanted to keep all the texts for your Psychotherapy studies. I declined being interviewed by you for your “Essay in Anger” because I didn’t know you. And yet, you used my story anyway, didn’t you? You later didn’t want to show me the essay, supposedly because you wanted to protect your volunteers whom you interviewed. Remember when I questioned this later, because an essay is how many pages, no more than 10? How easy it would have been to quickly black-out or change names, and essays are written with pseudonyms anyway, and even if the names were not changed, I don’t know any of the volunteers anyway.
It bothered me when you “demanded” trust, especially early on, as we both know that trust cannot be demanded. Trust grows with time, it is like a little tender seed that has little strength and roots until it grows stronger in time. Once trust has roots it becomes confident, but even with strong roots, once it is really betrayed at its foundation, it is nearly impossible to grow back except with even longer time and tests. It is then that trust grows to becoming testing, that it tests who can be trusted.
You are a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Psychotherapist. You should know more about trust issues and boundaries than anyone. As a therapist you should know better than most how fragile trust can be and how damaging it is when it is broken. Broken, especially from someone who is in a kind of “higher” position, be it as a superior at work as you were the manager giving me the disciplinary (work-related) or a therapist, as there were confusing elements of this as well, or on a personal level, if the story with your brother is true. And I really mean it, not in any bitterness or anger, but as a fact, that what you have done has so damaged me, LiWa, my Psychologist has called your conduct “abusive”. I still don’t even know if your story with your brother is true. And I don’t want to know. It doesn’t matter anymore.
I always wondered why you have the picture that you explained to me concerning your brother on your Pret work phone avatar, but you have no picture on your private phone. I always wanted to ask you that. You told me that hardly anyone knows about your brother in the office, and yet, how can that be? Your work for over 15 years in Pret HQ, you know everyone, you have a picture regarding your brother on your work phone, not on your private phone, and hardly anyone in the office knows about your brother?
You know how paranoid I am now? I canceled several appointments with mental health professionals, because I feel they will just take me for a ride. I questioned a dear friend recently, who invited me spontaneous for a Saturday afternoon chicken roast. I assumed there would be several people there, as she did a BBQ before, or having people around for dinner, Christmas etc. And when I arrived there she had a whole chicken incl. stuffing, veg cooked, for only herself and me? And we had a lovely, simple Saturday lunch in the garden. And later I questioned her effort, wondering why she cooked this whole chicken just for me? You can imagine how much I apologized to her later, right? But every kind action or effort a friend, a therapist makes now, I can’t trust. I go into “fear-mode” and at times I cancel before the event even happens. So, I keep withdrawing and just write and write and write as if there was no tomorrow.
I often think what else Pret HR is capable of? And if people so easily follow something that hurts people, how quickly would they follow a wrong ideology or group or political opinion if they are swept away so quickly. It is really scary how no one from HR or HQ in general speaks up and says if something is just plain wrong. SaNe, OPs did somewhat in the end, after she got to know me professionally and privately, beyond all the gossip. It is unbelievable to me how many people have lied, and tricked, and twisted things. For what? Pleasing a toxic HR department and CEO? Was it worth it?
I wonder how you feel of what happened and if this really was the right thing to do for you. Maybe it’s easier to keep lying to oneself to cover up the pain. I never meant to have had a go at you, and when I was distressed about it I told SaNe that I had a go at you and that you are the last person who deserves my grief. SaNe replied to not worry, that you are a big girl. She meant well, but I wish she would have been more honest herself. And at the end remember when you asked me why I was angry with you. I didn’t know myself and couldn’t answer this at the time. But in hindsight I realize it was all this secrecy and the weird way you often were. How stupid of me to fall into this trap. The different roles you played. And all this because you had no courage to ask HR not to be the hearing manager for my disciplinary?
You know if HR would have done the right thing “naturally” as they claim, do you know that we could be sitting in a Cafe somewhere sharing about our brothers, openly, transparently, not in secret as if we were hiding from political persecution, or two married people having an affair, or being spies, or like I wrote in the other post being like a double agent.
I often felt “off” with our communication, and when I drank something I ticked out in this illness. You know how stupid I feel for having let you all treat me like this? The shame and pain? The long road back to trusting people again? And yet those who planned this, lack so much in insight, love and respect to treat people like this. It speaks more about them than about my mess. What is lacking in their lives to behave like this? It can’t just be insecurity, can it? Never meant to hurt you, but I want to say how much you have hurt me.
They have a laugh, they don’t care, LiWa. I do believe in the saying that whoever laughs last, laughs best. But it’s not about that. I will never laugh, I would never laugh about a persons illness or their “downfall”, even if they have hurt me, and I certainly can’t grasp how much I have been lied to and tricked by you guys in HQ. The heart of Pret got involved and showed true colour. Pret leadership is amazing, it has been like one massive “role play” in group behaviour. I was alone, anyone ever realized that? I know I am a strong “character” as people often say, but come on! A bunch of professionals stumbling over each other not knowing what to do except to just lie, trick and trap that one person? This must be ridiculous and funny to people looking in from the outside. But it remains painful and damaging to me.
You know my brother is sacred to me, no one can ever use him or my tragedy against anyone. I could not live with myself. Whatever your reason was is your personal choice and responsibility. I know your thoughts on certain things, and I share them, but just when it comes to my loss, I don’t let anyone touch it.
Don’t you let them, too. It’s just what’s in them, what they are made of. Let them do their thing, but don’t let them use what is sacred to you. The loss is too great to letting them use you.
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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