My Broken Mind: An Unwanted Life Story

This is the third instalment in the Unwanted Life story series, with this story coming from James M. Lane. James is a dad of two, husband, project manager, and the writer of Perfect Manifesto, a blog writing about living a healthier, fulfilling life. Today, James will be sharing his workplace experience of being hassled by a manager and how that led to a broken mind.


Without further ado, here’s James’s story in his own words.


My Broken Mind


The Perfect Manifesto Logo


Throughout my life, I’ve had lots of injuries, but I’ve never felt anything like this before.


It was a Thursday morning, a day I would normally be at work, but instead, I was lying in bed feeling like my brain had been split in half.



My relationship with Rachel had never been easy, a bit of a people pleaser I worked hard to try and make my manager happy, but there was always something wrong with it, and this was killing me.


I’d spent the last nine months of my new job constantly going in circles trying to address the mistakes of all the things I was allegedly doing wrong.  But the pressure of trying to make Rachel happy got to me, the constant criticism began to impact my performance and I got sloppy.


This reached a point of explosion, being challenged in the corner of a room, taking abuse about my performance. The whole spectacle lasted about 15 minutes, but it felt like 15 hours.


Because I’ve never been good with confrontation, my throat went dry and when asked to comment, I was mute, the words unable to escape my mouth. Rachel translated my silence as apathy, which made her angrier.


Unwanted? The whole experience made me want to die, or at least run away, anywhere would do, as long as I didn’t have to work for her anymore.


Broken glass to represent a broken mind


That night, I took my broken mind, wrote out my resignation which explained why I would be leaving instantly without notice. The following day I walked into the office being careful not to draw attention to myself and calmly began placing my personal possessions from my desk, into a backpack.


Normally, I’d never make such an irrational decision, I had no idea what my future would hold for me, but for once I didn’t feel scared, figuring anything was better than this.


Hovering over my empty desk, I rubbed the envelope containing my resignation letter with my thumb and forefinger, looking towards her office for my chance. I could see Rachel’s silhouette through the frosted glass as she talked to someone on the phone.


A female silhouette to represent the manager in the story that caused the broken mind


“Right” I said to myself to gee up confidence.


“When she’s finished on that call, get in there and hand it over”


I visualised several situations how best to play it out, my favourite being the one where I March in, throw the letter in her face and walk out in silence, but I deep down I knew I’d never do that.


My thoughts are interrupted by a colleague, obviously, I wasn’t looking inconspicuous enough, what with the packed bag, empty desk and me just stood about looking weird staring across the office.


They know I’m not right – the usual happy friendly personality in the office, with time for everyone, just walking into the office and not even saying morning.


Another colleague, who had also noticed something was wrong came over to check on me. I didn’t even have to say it, they knew what I was thinking.  So they took me out of the office for a bit.


“Don’t let her break you” I remember one of them saying, in a time when my mind wasn’t focused on much.


We returned to the office 10 minutes later. I unpacked my bag, sat down, put the resignation letter away, and switched on my desktop computer for the day.


I can’t quite remember if I did much work, but I do remember thinking “Not like this…”


The next day was Thursday, which is where this story started. I contacted the doctor to arrange a sicknote. I don’t take sick days but getting time to think was essential. I was acting on impulse, classic fight or flight response, and I was choosing to run.


Those two weeks off allowed me to be more rational in my approach. I recognised the relationship with my manager had diminished, that I could never trust or work with this person anymore.


An inspirational quote about mental health that says "Don't make a permanent decision for your fleeting emotion". The quote is on a ink stain on top of an industrial background


But I didn’t just want to resign, I’d been long-term unemployed in the past with no money, and had only just started building myself back up again. I wasn’t going to go back to nothing, so I returned to the job, focused on other interests, looked for my next job opportunity, and kept well out of Rachel’s way.


I was worried about retribution, but rumours had ignited around the office of the reasons why I went off sick, with fingers firmly pointed at her. This made me untouchable, she knew a line had been crossed, which if reached again would mean her departure – this thankfully let me do my job without criticism.


Eventually, I would leave, on my terms. Reflecting on it, the whole situation hit me hard, it destroyed my mental health, the “broken mind” seemed to get better after a few weeks, but it took me years to regain my confidence, and I still get a bit neurotic about getting things wrong at work.


I’ve always been grateful for the outpouring of support I received from colleagues who took my side, it was them who helped get me through, and for them, I’ll always be thankful.


This was the lowest point of my life, but despite this, there was always a touch of dark humoured optimism in me, as I’ve always said about the situation:


“When you hit rock bottom, there’s only one way left to go…”




I’d like to thank James from the Perfect Manifesto for sharing his broken mind story with my followers and me: it takes a lot of courage to open up about such experiences. But at the same time, sharing such personal stories can make people aware that they too might not be in a situation that’s good for their mental wellbeing, and show them they’re also not alone in this. I know I had a run-in with a manager that was terrible at their job while working on a placement for my postgraduate degree. That manger almost cost me my postgraduate degree.


So if you’d like to show your appreciation to James for sharing his story, and to show him that he is wanted, then why not visit his blog – Perfect Manifesto – or his Twitter account and let him know.


As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences of feeling unwanted or share how James’s story of feeling unwanted made you feel in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new posts by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom left corner.


Also, if you’d like to submit your own stories of feeling unwanted, then let me know by contacting me through my social media accounts or by going to the contact page.


Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.





49 thoughts on “My Broken Mind: An Unwanted Life Story

  1. Thank you so much for featuring me. Sorry to read about your post grad experiences- some managers seem to let that power go to their head and can take advantage of their position to sully reputation of others.

    I hope that your readers get something from my words. This was a tough situation and it was difficult having to just put up with it.

    I’m grateful I was patient and didn’t just resign. If anyone is going through similar things, just note it does get better, look at the good things you have, keep your head down and work on your escape plan!

  2. I’ve been in similar situations in my working life. I’m impressed with how you could find the strength to go back and take control. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I read the story thoroughly. I haven’t been in this situation so I’m so impressed how James handle the situation, I think his colleagues also play the roles here. Thank you for sharing x

  4. The amount of courage one has to have to share this story is incredible. Thank you for sharing James’s story. This is so inspiring and I know I can always come here and I’ll be reading a wonderful post. You never fail to share inspiring content (whether it is your story or someone else’s). Thank you for this!

    • Thank you! It was a story I’ve always debated sharing, though when I got an opportunity to appear on Unwanted Life it seemed ideal to share my experience. I hope people who maybe experiencing (or have experienced) similar situations can get something from it.

  5. Such a great story! I love the outcome…the realization to TAKE TIME to THINK, and that James left on his own terms! Sadly Rachel was the nasty catalyst, but necessary for underlying reasons (there are nasty Rachel catalyst lurking everywhere). Thanks for sharing, James. Be well, all!

    • Thank you Aspen, I’m glad I took my time and didn’t react to pressure as that way I was still getting paid and could pick my right opportunity – my next role was a promotion. People like my old manager will always exist, its knowing how to deal with them so that damage they do to you doesn’t last!

  6. Thanks for sharinga your story and I’m really sorry for what happened to you. Work can be stressful enough without managers like that. I don’t know how people like her get jobs like that!

  7. Thank you for sharing James’s story. A manager can make or break a workplace. I think it’s important that workers are aware of their rights and know when to seek outside help or mediation. Getting a doctor’s note, then taking the time to plan an exit strategy rather than quitting on the spot, was very smart. I hope things are going better for James now.

    • Hi Irene, you’re right a manager does make or break a place. I’m glad I took the strategy I did, I think if I did ‘flight’ I wouldn’t have ended up as well as I did. And thank you – it’s nearly seven years since that happened and I’ve managed to move on and found success in my career that I’m more senior than my ex-manager!

  8. I can totally relate to you James! I had a similar situation and I decided to cut it before it was too late!Thank you for sharing x

  9. I’ve had some appalling managers too, so I really felt this. Some people use their position to bully and belittle others, while some just have no idea how to care for their staff or communicate well. I was really glad to hear that you had a kind colleague who helped you to calm down and make a decision that worked out better for your wellbeing – and I’m extra glad to hear that you’re now working somewhere else! Thank you for sharing your story.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. It helped me identify a gender bias in my own thinking. For some reason when I read the excerpt of this article before clicking on the link and reading the full story I just assumed the harassing manager was male. I didn’t know i would make such an assumption until I did, so you’ve helped me grow in this area.

  11. I have been in a job where I have experienced bullying and put me downs, that I got to the stage I would have anxiety attacks before I even was near the workplace. I wasso desperate to leave.
    I reduced my hours by a few hours so that I was only working Mon to Thurs to give myself a long weekend from the abuse or whatever else cropped up the following week until I found a job elsewhere and put my notice in.
    Until then, while I was there. Nust a couple of months later there was a meeting arranged by the very top to speak to people like me who had experienced the same or similar things. Some changes happened after that and all of a sudden I felt human than a number. But I left once I had another job to go in.

    • I’m not surprised you left. Even if some improvements have been made, that toxic work environment is hard to forget and often doesn’t fully change. I hope your new job treats you much better. Thanks for commenting

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