— 2nd & Final Open Letter — To LiWa (Devlp. Mngr)

Dear LiWa,

I wrote already enough and certainly a lot, but I think often if you really had a brother who died similar like brother did. You lied to me early on already, the whole disciplinary hearing was flawed because of your involvement. And then you lied to HR in the investigation and blamed me for it that you “had to lie” because of me. No, madam, you lied completely out of your own responsibility. You were more than happy for me to lose my job where you have been part in this. But as usual you are just like the most, you save your own skin to remain in this system, because it is safe and familiar.

I lost my job and you lost your face for a while. And I lost my job while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. Another Pret attribute. I am sure your colleagues, and certainly your boss and the Head of HR communicated their support for you, because I am this ill person out there creating a racket that everyone loves to hate and to whom you said that I am making myself enemies. No, I was bullied, held low and continuously tricked. And you poor person ONLY wanted to help me. But I, as this crazy person supposedly wasn’t able to see this “genuine” support as you called it. The trouble with this is, that you know better that this wasn’t genuine help, LiWa. It was crooked, calculated, flawed, corrupt, manipulative, and as my Psychologist called it while I still worked in Pret, calling it abusive. Abusive because you are a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner studying to become a Psychotherapist. You should know better than to abuse your position like that, certainly abusing my trust. Confusing me, giving mixed messages where I couldn’t figure out if you were the Hearing Manager giving me the disciplinary, or a Therapist using some tools to “help” me, or a Friend because of our brother’s similar death. A proper double agent and it all feels so toxic.

I still really don’t know if you had a brother. You have a painted picture of him on your work mobile number, while on your private mobile number, you have no picture whatsoever, no avatar. Why? I understand that the CEO said that Pret is family, and maybe your colleagues are like a family to you where you rather share a personal picture like that compared to on your personal phone. I am the opposite. Even though I am completely “out there” sharing my turmoil, there is now always a “before” and “after” my brother died. Before he died I was extremely private and discreet, believe it or not! Even yearlong colleagues often wouldn’t really know me, and when they found out some personal information I would often get the feedback like “Oh, I didn’t know that about you”. I was just very very private in general. I would not have my boss on my Facebook friend-list for example, I would separate job and private life very strictly. I don’t know why. But since my brother’s death and what happened at work on top of it, now I am way out there. And I often wondered about your picture in your work phone compared to your private number.

I remember all the advise you gave me and how much wisdom you had. I enjoyed the brainstorming about things and told you that many times. I loved the questions that you asked that made me think a lot, and I saw you somewhat as a mentor. But then in reality you couldn’t even follow your own advise. The strange sentences you said sometimes that came out of the blue, where I thought ‘Why is she saying that?’ I sometimes asked you what you meant by this or that, but your rarely answered or explained. Or sentences that the Head of HR would usually say or another OPs, and you repeated them word for word (and the Head of HR saying things that I only told you!).

Later I realized and you admitted as well to have been speaking with a person. And I realized also that these are the tools of NLP to get information, for you to learn about my mental state and possibly find solutions to help. But this was not help because everything was so secret and later you admitted that we weren’t allowed to speak. And it always felt secret and like a secret therapy session, a secret friendship. But I don’t like secrets. I don’t have “affairs”, not even emotional affairs. I have open, transparent and free relationships that are built on truth and protected by the boundaries of responsibility. Responsibility and protection for myself and the person I enter into relationship with, be it in friendship, work-related, sexual, emotional or professional in therapy. There is no mix-up unless the grey zones are very clearly understood. For example, I have a good friend in Germany who is a family and marriage counselor, but she is a friend. And sometimes she counsels me, not in a session, but over a cup of coffee or a walk in the park, and she digs into her counseling experience toolbox. But we have a very clear relationship, nothing confusing, nothing secret, very clear and open.

You know another metaphor I sometimes think of when I try to come to terms with how you entered the “scene” so-to-speak? You giving me the sanction and then entering into confusing personal communication is like a policeman stopping a drunk driver, letting him do the alcohol test that he fails. The policeman then gives the drunk driver a ticket, explains that his driver’s license will be confiscated for a few months and he has to appear in court to get sentenced. Fair enough.

But then the policeman asks the drunk driver if he could tow the policeman’s car with the policeman in his car to the police station, because the police car has just broken down. I am sure the drunk driver would be confused, but he would obey because this after all is an authority, a policeman giving him the sanction and then entering into a “towing” relationship.

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And I am sure you’ve gotten something out of the communications with me. I felt so stupid that I believed Pret really supported me when you entered the scene. I felt so ashamed, and plain dumb and crushed when again I had to learn the hard way that in Pret there simply is no straight forward and transparent support for me. I don’t even want to know anymore if you really have a brother who died in such a similar surrounding and time period as my brother.

I wrote this already in the other letter, but my brother is sacred to me, I would and certainly could never let anyone use my brother, my grief, my tragedy against another person with similar grief. I would be more than happy to offer support for another bereaved person, if someone would approach me because I know the pain. I’d be more than happy, in an open and transparent situation. But to sanction someone because I would have “access” to that person where others have failed? For my brother, my tragedy to be used to sanction the other? No. Absolutely not. And that is my greatest disappointment and really shock to be frank, that you allowed them to use you like this. That they use a flawed way, I have accepted that, that is the way they are, but for you to go along? I mean this in the most caring way when I say this, I feel for you.

I know that you all are in the background planning and scheming how to deal with my open letters. The sad thing is that you will find yet again a way to tweak and scheme around it. You will not find words of apology or owning up to it. I have to say that even though I am not a great fan of Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg the CEO certainly has to play it smart, but for him to openly admit to having made mistakes, apologizing and committing to change things, to me is a noble and courageous thing. If he follows up on this or even means what he says, time will tell. But to own up to mistakes and even wrong doing, that has my attention and respect. You all will find your excuses again, and the blaming game is on and solicitors are already fletching their teeth. And I know already who will be the scapegoat. Or whatever other creative and tricky thing you all come up with again. So, I keep telling my story without any fear anymore. It is my story.

To end the Open Letters section, because I have said everything I wanted to and could say. But I want to share why it is also so painful, that what you have allowed to be done and that I have great difficulties now and in the future. I really don’t know anymore who to trust. My long-term friends I know, I know who is who. But any new friendships or acquaintances or even work relationships, my trust is screwed up pretty bad now. I met a person in 2016 or 2017, I can’t remember, but I met this artist in an art market where she was exhibiting her art and we started chatting. This artist is very involved in the local community and art projects and knows tons of people. As she also gives drawing lessons, and I booked a session, because I was deep in this grief coming to terms and I had this bonkers idea to learn to draw my brother and give the picture to my mum.

But I gave that up soon because looking at his photo non-stop was too painful. But this artist gave me a lot of life “injections” and how to just find myself again. And recently she invited me to a Saturday afternoon chicken roast. I haven’t done any meals with friends pretty much since my brother died. And as she has also recently put on a BBQ and friends came by, I thought it would be really good to get back into socializing and meeting people over a chicken roast. And later I was glad that due to being jobless I had very little money, otherwise I would have gone to town bringing lots of foodies as I usually do. I asked my friend if I can bring anything, and she just said, some fruit. If I would have had the money, I would have made a huge fruit salad with a proper fresh pineapple and all the good stuff. But I only was able to afford a honey melon for £2.99. I’m glad I didn’t have much more money, but I didn’t want to come empty handed. I never like to come empty handed.

And when I arrived, it was only herself and I, no other people. She is one of those people who just does things spontaneous, with many people, alone or just with 2. The meal was fantastic and lots of catching up. But you know when I was at home my ruminating started to kick in again, and I thought why did she go through all this trouble to cook a whole chicken and all the stuff around it for only 2 people? And I did that sick thing again questioning her motivation. I even asked her what she wanted from me that she goes through so much trouble. I won’t have to mention that she won’t do this again because I don’t know anymore how to take it when people do something nice. Just because. Simply just because.

Your involvement, where I thought at first that it was Pret supporting me, but you then wanting to meet up because you wanted to interview me for your Essay on Anger for University because of my intense anger regarding my brother and Pret. I declined as I didn’t know you well enough. And then our communication being solely via text messages and a little bit of emailing, where you said you didn’t have time to phone or meet up, and yet our text messaging went on for hours sometimes, or spread on and off throughout the day. Text messaging, solely electronic communication for which you sanctioned me.

Yes, it is very hard for me to just simply enjoy a chicken roast with a friend who just meant well and enjoyed my company. I will speak about this openly for the rest of my life.

Please take care of yourself.

“I have a voice; I’m going to use it. This is my story; I’m going to tell it.” — From a fellow blogger and griever Joni, GriefToLife.com

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