Forum: Advice / Secrets PG-13

I need to dump stuff I shouldn't know about my coworker
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Sep 06, 2017 02:08 PM

Hey all. You probably know who this is, but keep it to yourself because the world is small and I need an outlet to vent, but these are also real people and situations and I'd like to not name names or places or locales. So this is one of those things where I know more about this situation that I want to, but due to the nature of the situation(s) I'm not at liberty to share details with anyone else in my real life. So it puts me in this weird place of having this kind of gross secret, even though it's not expressly a secret, but it's not public knowledge either.


Let's establish a confusing cast of characters shall we? To protect real people involved, I'm going to use the character names from Modern Family because the kids are in the right order. I was going to use the Simpsons, but the kids are out of order and that would get confusing. And this way, it just reads like bad fanfic.

Coworker = Claire
Live-in Boyfriend = Phil
21 yr old daughter = Haley
16 yr old daughter = Alex
15 yr old son = Luke

A little backstory. Claire was married before and had all three kids with her ex. Her abusive ex. She eventually realized that between his drug and alcohol abuse which led to verbal and mental abuse, physical abuse wasn't far behind and she took her young kids and left. Luke was still pretty tiny, maybe 3 or 4 at the time. But she got out and she got divorced and she has been raising all three kids without the involvement of her ex or any other steady partner until the year before last when she met Phil.

Let's start with Haley.

At 17? Right after highschool graduation Haley ran off with her boyfriend and got married to a guy with a kid. I'm unclear whether she was already pregnant. She may have been? I've only met Haley once or twice, and this happened before I started working here so the details aren't clear (and I haven't asked for a timeline or clarification because like most of this stuff I DON'T WANT TO KNOW). But she stopped speaking to Claire for, well, until she needed money. But at this point, she just turned 21, she has two babies under the ages of 3, is step mother to a 4 or 5 yr old, was hospitalized for overdosing on prescription painkillers, only talks to Claire when she needs money, but talks to her dad on the regular. Okay.

So initially, just knowing about Haley, but having met Alex and Luke, I thought that Haley just had issues. She was the oldest. She took the divorce the hardest. She was acting out and making stupid decisions. Alex and Luke seemed like normal stupid teens. They weren't perfect, they did dumb things, but they seemed to have the normal teen stuff going on. At this point I thought it was just Haley.

Then, months after starting my job, because it is a very small office and things effect us all, I get told that Luke molested his 4 yr old cousin. He was 12 at the time. This all just happened. Claire does the responsible thing and proactively gets him into therapy. This is why I found out about it. It ended up being court ordered, but for two years Claire had to leave 90 minutes early from work to get Luke to his group therapy sessions. So his action (I don't know exactly what happened, I don't want to know, I don't want to know, I just know it involves molesting a 4 yr old girl which is disgusting and I can't look at that kid without thinking that he sexually abused a pre-schooler) ended up effecting the entire office. Me and my other coworker and my boss. He was just released from his mandatory therapy and community service and everything.

Okay Alex. Maybe she'll escape unscathed? Nope. Her first thing was Claire was called because topless pictures of Alex were found on a boy's phone that he was showing around. Well, okay, part of that is the time we live in now. Allegedly she sent them to another boy who moved away, a 13 or 14 year old boy who clearly hadn't been taught consent yet. Just because a girl sends you a picture does not give you the right to show anyone else. But she was also 13 or 14 and sending nudes isn't a good idea because that can get into dangerous territory depending on who's device it ends up on. That can quickly end up being child pornography. So ladies, if you're an adult, do as you please. If you are not legal, please don't. Then she went through a phase where she was bulimic. Both of these things Claire sort of just brushed off.

Last year Phil moved in with them. Claire was living in a two bedroom apartment. She had one bedroom and Alex and Luke split the other. Phil moved into this situation. He's never dated a woman with children before. In fact it's been a long time since he hasn't lived alone.

Alex at one point made accusations that Phil was inappropriately in her room, which Claire dismissed. Which I did hear Claire's accounting of the story, one of the times Alex is claiming Claire was there for and nothing legitimately happened. But between sending topless photos, the bulimia, and now these (unfounded?) accusations, maybe instead of dismissing them, listen to your kid? Because clearly Alex is trying to get your attention.

This escalated further with Alex making suicide threats. Something Luke did as well when he was in therapy. By the way, now that his therapy is over, he's no longer in therapy. Alex made an attempt? threat? at school that required the authorities get involved. Claire made an appointment today with a therapist for Alex to see. But Monday Alex took it a step further and drank bleach. And ended up in the hospital. She's okay. It wasn't much, it was a call for help more than actually trying to kill herself, and she got admitted to an inpatient facility for a week for therapy. And hopefully medication. Which is hard because her mother believes in naturopathic medicine. So it's going to be interesting and frustrating to see what happens. I do believe in Western medicine and anti-psychotics. I hope if they do put her on a medication it helps, because medication to fix the brain is a tricky road and not all medications work for all people.

Now. Here's my issue. If Haley went the route she did, why didn't Claire put Alex and Luke into therapy straight away? Yes, money is tight. But somehow she managed to afford to go vacation in Mexico two years running with Phil for a week each. Before Phil, she would book week long luxury vacations around her birthday which falls during holiday season. She buys herself new clothes and things pretty regularly. So yes, things are tight, but she does have insurance, the kids have insurance, and she has enough money for luxury extras. If she were scraping by paycheck to paycheck, okay, fair. But she's really not. She's humble bragged about that. She was able to easily rent a three bedroom house with Phil in a nice neighborhood. She doesn't have collections and past due bills. She was able to buy furniture and decorate it. Yes, she did some refinishing and refurbishing, but my point is, she has money for things, but she doesn't seem to have money for getting her kids help.

The fact that Luke isn't still going to some sort of therapy just astounds me. He molested a preschooler. Alex tried to kill herself. And Haley overdosed on prescription painkillers. Maybe, just maybe, you need to realize that your parenting isn't working, get those kids into therapy and keep them there until they're 18. Maybe don't go to Mexico next year with your boyfriend. Maybe use that money to put your kids first. Because they clearly have issues and need help.

TL:DR - my coworker's life is filled with drama and because it's a small office I hear all about it. And because of the nature of the drama I'm not at liberty to divulge details to actual people I know.

But all of this has been eating at my soul and I just need to know that it's not just me, she's sort of a bad parent right? I mean she simultaneously a good parent in some ways and a really terrible parent in a lot of others. I don't want to judge because I'm not her, I haven't walked in her shoes, but get those last two kids in therapy. It seems so worth it?

5 Replies to I need to dump stuff I shouldn't know about my coworker

re: I need to dump stuff I shouldn't know about my coworker (karma: 1)
By ChristinePremium member
On Wed Sep 06, 2017 07:06 PM
Edited by Christine (207347) on 2017-09-06 20:24:40 typo
I too hesitate to comment/judge because of course, I am not there, am not a family member, and do not know the entire situation.

That said.....

WTF is wrong with this woman?

If the summary you just wrote turned up in court as a case study (and it has all the makings of exactly this....)these kids would be in foster care.

Again... I don't know them.... but certain things are "rules for life"

1) You NEVER give money to someone with a drug problem. Imagine what life is like for those three toddlers having a recovering (?) drug addict for a mom. Toddlers are a LOT of work. It requires maturity, discipline, selflessness and enormous self control to make a good life for them. Not the stuff the life of drugs are made of. Assume the best.... she is a "sadder but wiser girl" and doing well in recovery. This would mean she needs a TON of self care (difficult with toddlers). She needs time to... go to meetings, go to individual therapy, exercise, pray or meditate. She needs to keep stress (triggers) under control and this, of course, means sound financial and time management. She also need to manage her own relationships successfully in order to 1) model good relationships for the children and 2)avoid triggers.

Mom issues are huge here.... and "Claire" is hardly a good model nor does her relationship with her daughter sound healthy. I suspect she gives her money so she doesn't have to give her time,(which is her greatest need) help, tough love, or any other kind of love.

2) If someone issues a "cry for help" YOU HELP THEM . Drinking bleach, no matter how unsuccessful is a cry we can hear "Through every Middlesex village and farm", to quote Longfellow.
I am CERTAIN mom was advised to get this kid into therapy. For any medical personnel neglect to do so is gross negligence. Mom made a conscious choice to opt for denial, against medical advice, I'm sure.

3) If an adolescent boy has shown antisocial behavior endangering the mental health of ANY younger child (and molesting a toddler fits this criteria) YOU KEEP HIM IN THERAPY UNTIL HE IS SAFELY OUT OF ADOLESCENCE Is this woman a Duggar?

This is not only crazy, it is almost criminal. When this boy molests his sister's toddlers, while babysitting so she can go get high, is Claire going to play the victim? She is.

Now... as to what you can do about it? Sadly, probably nothing. Keep your eyes and ears open and if you see or hear ANYTHING that is wrong (and you know the difference between right and wrong...) REPORT IT TO THE AUTHORITIES. At this point, sadly, it is unlikely that you can do anything to save Claire's three children. But Haley's toddlers? They need to be protected.

Sort of a bad parent? Duh.... she is horrible. She might seem nice, but she has done a terrible job and continues to do so.

As to your own mental health.... We are all show business people here, right? Well.... what is the most important part of any production? Lights, camera, action? NOPE.... THE AUDIENCE. Without an audience, there is no show. No bums in the seats, strike the set, go home. Bad ratings? No sponsors, show cancelled. We can all name a television show that was fabulous, but didn't get ratings because it ran against another popular show and guess what? Cancelled! This woman, frankly, sounds like she loves attention. I can't imagine sharing ANY of these details about my kids. Has she no shame? Does she look for advice...and then take it....or is she looking for pity?

DON'T GIVE HER AN AUDIENCE! When she starts her tales of woe, look her straight in the eye and say, "What does your therapist say about this?" When she says she isn't in therapy, look concerned and shocked and add, "You really need to be. For your kids, for your grandkids, and for yourself. If you won't do it for yourself, do it for them." Repeat often. "THERAPY" If she doesn't go, at least you won't be complicit in allowing this parental malpractice to continue.

I suspect she loves the life of high drama. If something isn't going on, she is bored silly. And frankly...three kids should be enough to fill any day. Vacations? Shopping? Boyfriend? WOW... her time management skills must be spectacular. How DOES she do it? I'll tell you how... she is sadly neglecting her duties as a mother, and I suspect she has made this her life's work.

I'm sorry to sound so harsh. I see crap like this at my studio all the time and I want to slap some of these mothers and grandmothers and say, "Hey BITCH... WTF did you expect to happen with these kids given the hand you dealt them?" Really sorry... but parenting isn't rocket science. It isn't a soap opera either. Or a fairy tale. It is a LOVE STORY. And you can't love yourself more than you love your kids.

And that too, is a rule for life.


Keep On Dancing*
re: I need to dump stuff I shouldn't know about my coworker
By Anonymousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
Original Poster
On Wed Sep 06, 2017 08:53 PM
Not to defend, but to clarify some points.

Haley only talks to Claire when she wants money. To my knowledge, Claire has outright refused to do so. To the point that I believe she has only been allowed to see her grandsons at large family functions? I think she's seen the newest baby? She may not have. Haley refused to let her be present for the birth, for the Christing, for anything, because Claire refused to be used and give her money.

Alex is under medical treatment right now for drinking bleach. She was immediately taken to the hospital and then admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital for a week. It is being taken seriously. I just wish everything up to this had been taken seriously.

Luke, well, I personally think he needs to stay in therapy. Claire did insist that he join the ROTC at school though to help with reinforcing structures and discipline. This is his second year on it. So at least if she's not going to parent him, she's got him involved in a good program to hopefully not turn him into a serial killer.

I personally think Alex was overwhelmed and wasn't being listened to or given enough attention. She was a part of her highschool team athletic organization, taking very complex classes at a school with very high academics, and working part time. At 16. Add in to this her dad reappearing in her life, giving her a car that ostensibly was a driving hazard and not safe for anyone, paying for half the fees for her team costs and then two weeks later canceling the check, she started having nightmares about him. Apparently when she was younger, before I worked there, when Haley was going through her big drama, Alex would lock herself in the bathroom with a knife and threaten to kill herself.

Also apparently Luke did used to be in therapy as a small child and he'd have these huge screaming, thrashing fits that the therapist finally just gave up and told Claire he couldn't help Luke. But I guess instead of finding a dofferent therapis that specializes in that sort of behavior she gave up? I don't know. I just learned this today. AGAIN I DIDN'T ASK. I JUST GET TOLD. This time by a different coworker who was like, be glad you weren't here before. She said she's never seen anything like this and her husband had a rough upbringing. Like his brother shot him in the stomach, shoved him in the closet, left him for dead, kind of rough upbringing and he never went through anything like what these kids have done. Her husband just decided to be smarter and keep his head down and get out. So, I don't know.

All I know is that whole family needs LOADS of therapy for many years, like maybe forever. And that's okay. That's the whole point of therapy. Therapy is a good thing. Anyway. Just some clarification there.
re: I need to dump stuff I shouldn't know about my coworker
By ChristinePremium member
On Wed Sep 06, 2017 09:48 PM
Wow... the clarification almost makes it worse, although I am happy to understand she doesn't give money to someone with a drug problem. I had a bit of a chuckle at the idea of a Christening...what? The Bible I read says, "Honor your father and mother." You Christen a baby but don't speak to your mom? Alrighty then!

I am not AT ALL comforted at the thought of a 15 year old going into his second year in an ROTC program. ROTC as in, "Reserve Officer Training Corp?" This is bogus. Legitimate ROTC involves enlisting in the armed forces, completing basic training in the military along side other service men and women, doing "summer camp" while attending college through out the year, and then reporting to active duty upon graduation, entering as an officer. This sounds like The Young Marines, or some other para military club. This kid MOLESTED A TODDLER. Military training for a teenager is NOT the answer. They may teach him to march, but they will NOT reprogram his damaged mind. He should be closely monitored until he is 27 and his brain is completely developed.

Sadly, I have to take this whole thing with a grain... make that rock of salt because it all comes from a mother who has failed to produce happy, balanced, children. It may be that they have inherited some bad genes from their dad...who knows...but if that is the case, herbal remedies are NOT going to protect society from them. They need REAL medicine.

It is kind of you to be so open minded and trying to be so fair to this woman. Think about this in terms of running the math on the time line
Also apparently Luke did used to be in therapy as a small child and he'd have these huge screaming, thrashing fits that the therapist finally just gave up and told Claire he couldn't help Luke. But I guess instead of finding a dofferent therapis that specializes in that sort of behavior she gave up? I don't know. I just learned this today. AGAIN I DIDN'T ASK. I JUST GET TOLD. This time by a different coworker who was like, be glad you weren't here before. She said she's never seen anything like this and her husband had a rough upbringing.

There has NEVER been a normal phase to this family life. If a small child is in therapy, it isn't because his toddlerhood was normal. And btw... I call BS on this report. A good therapist might recommend a Psychiatrist if she feels the child is beyond her capabilities, but would NEVER say, "don't bother". I stand by the impression that this bad mother is a manipulator and has held a rapt audience for at least a decade. Old habits are hard to break and I suspect there is a payoff for her to continue to gossip about her own kids but NOT solve the problems. If this is all true, there is no way Luke's problems just fixed themselves.

I suspect as this continues, there will be more drama, more daily reports of outrageous behavior and more damage to innocent bystanders. I also suspect, it is eventually going to become more difficult to concentrate fully on your work with this constant side show she is conducting.

You have my sympathy. If you are new to this circus, it is going to be easy to be gullible, have your brain twisted by the details and have your heart aching as you watch it unfold. This woman is a soul sucker. Just my opinion, of course.

Hugs xoxo

Keep On Dancing*
re: I need to dump stuff I shouldn't know about my coworker (karma: 1)
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Sep 11, 2017 09:07 AM
Just as a point of information (but not to judge:) Many high schools, particularly in poorer areas do have a program called Junior Reserve Officers Training Program (JROTC.) Here is a link to a Wiki on it. . . .

It is a Dept. of Defense program. Some schools in abutting counties have it (but not in mine as far as I know.) I have little direct knowledge about aside from the fact that such programs exits. Whether this describes the situation you refer to, I of course have no way to determine. The ROTC program which really counts e.g. the one that actually leads to becoming a commissioned officer in the military is college only and admission is highly selective.

re: I need to dump stuff I shouldn't know about my coworker (karma: 1)
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:00 PM
Walk away. Put in your ear buds. Whatever. She tells people cause she feeds off the drama, and she gets to create a whole new round of it when she repeats all this at work.

So you don't want to tell HR because you feel like you'll get figured out, but I'd do it anyway. She's apparently telling a few of you, so there's no direct path back to you for being the source of the information. I mean, unless this woman IS HR, she's got no clear cut way to figure out that you told. CPS might be intrigued about what's happening. And you can tell them anonymously. And if they aren't interested, the shock of a visit from CPS might shut her up for five minutes at work.


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