Hi! We're Arianna and Katie and we like casting spells and giving advice. So we're combining those interests here, in Witches' Counsel, where you can send us any problems, hang-ups, fears, etc., and we will do everything in our ~power~ to help. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello dear Witches,
I am writing you with the following concern: My boss is ruining my life. He is an overly emotional person: he screams for every little thing. He is demanding, and requires me to get to work at 9:00 and get home at 7:00. After work, he still bothers me on the phone about work-related problems while I'm trying to relax at home with my boyfriend. When I get my work done, he doesn't recognize it, but when I don't manage to get things done in the too-short periods he gives me, he starts picking fights. Unfortunately, I cannot quit my job at the moment, because I am dependent on my salary. I really need your help, because I mentally cannot take this anymore. Sometimes I selectively listen to him, but that worked only in the beginning. Every time he gets going I feel like a tidal wave is coming at me. You know when you swim in the ocean, and a wave pushes you down under the water, and you don't know where you are or what the hell is going on? Same feeling. How can I protect myself from his mental and emotional instability?
Ugh. This is such a real and infuriating problem, and we're sorry you're stuck with it. It's hard enough to deal with negative people, but to find yourself reliant on one can feel downright suffocating. And the person you're describing isn't simply negative — we'd go so far as to call his behavior abusive. Your top priority right now should be getting out of there.
Of course, easier said than done. You need your job; you need a salary. You can't just roll up and tell him off and walk out (although feel free to visualize all the ways you would do this; it's surprisingly cathartic) but what you can do is set up all of the necessary factors that will allow you to get out of there. Can you start quietly spreading the word among friends, family, acquaintances (and their friends, family, and acquaintances) that you're looking for new work? Can you set aside some after-work hours for updating your resume and looking through job listing sites like Craigslist, Indeed, Monster? Maybe there are local establishments you're interested in that don't have postings up — no one will fault you for reaching out and inquiring anyway! Some of our best friends have jobs they love because they emailed a professional they admired and basically pitched their own job. And those friends and family you were asking about work? Go back and nudge them some more. This is the time to be selfish. Promote yourself like crazy. You (and your emotional wellbeing) are worth it.
But maybe you really, really love your job and don't want to leave. You don't mention your line of work, but if it's part of the corporate world there's a good chance you have an advocate within the company. Is there someone above your boss whom you trust? An HR representative? We'd bet you aren't the only person on the receiving end of this man's wrath. Maybe lodging a formal complaint will get someone to notice. If you go that route — keep notes of your interactions, save emails. We won't pretend that this will be an easy or successful way to go, because people in power are, well, powerful, and things tend to keep going their way. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't fight back.
Either of these scenarios require you keep interacting with this man, at least for the near future. Girding yourself against his negativity is going to take some strong will. Remind yourself that this is HIS problem and not yours — that your boss's perception of you has no bearing on your actual worth — and surround yourself with things and people that make you feel good whenever you're not at work. To encourage and strengthen this internal positivity, we're giving you a spell for you to do at home. It comes from Ellen Dugan's Practical Prosperity Magick and requires a yellow flower (of any variety, from a store or a garden, can even be just one) and a vase. Put the flower(s) in a vase with fresh water, hold your hands over it, and repeat this spell three times:
By blossom and color this spell is begun
My attitude is now a positive one.
By the element of air, this floral spell is cast
The energy breezes around and goes to work fast.
Happiness and cheer now come to me
And as I will it, so shall it be.
If you have a desk, keep the flower with you at work; if not, find a spot at home for it where you'll see it often. Repeat as necessary, and keep your head up!
The Universe is not my friend. Things seem to never go my way. It's not that I'm a very negative person, nor do I think of my problems constantly. But it's gotten to the point where I've had to wish for the opposite of what I want to happen in order to actually get what I want. I'm actually a pretty calm, go-with-the-flow-type person. If something goes wrong, I just work with it. But my bad luck seems like it's starting to affect really important things in my life that I can't always work with (especially financially). Could you by chance do anything to help me?
Ill-Fated in Florida
We're sorry to hear you've been having a hard time of it lately. It's difficult to keep one's head up in the midst of a rough patch, and it sounds like you're better at it than most. Even still, after so many disappointments and difficulties, that kind of streak is going to get to anyone. The first thing we think you should do is give yourself a chance to vent and wallow and cry, if you need to. It's great that you're so adaptable and resilient, but it's OK — and often very helpful — to let yourself feel like shit for a minute (or a day, or whatever). It feels like everyone and everything is conspiring against you, and that sucks!
The truth, of course, is that they're not — unless you were recently hexed and neglected to say so here. While we all go through ups and downs in life, and some periods (of each kind!) are more protracted than others, we don't think it's especially useful to think of these cycles as the byproduct of some capital-u Universal smear campaign. You are part of the Universe, after all. If you start thinking of it as your enemy, or as something that does not want good things for you, you will only feel more and more isolated, and resentful.
We suggest you start taking a little time each day to think of things that are going right. These can be small if they need to be — your hair looked good, your coffee-milk ratio was perfect, you started the car right as a song you like started playing on the radio — but find an empty page in your planner (or start a note on your phone) and make a list of "good luck" items every day for a week. Look over that day's list at night before you go to bed. It's possible your bad luck items are sticking out to you more the more you ignore the good. This will be a reminder that good things and bad things always go together.
Still, though, a little magic can't hurt. We think you should try a "Change Your Luck" bath, which we've adapted from Everyday Magic by Dorothy Morrison. All you need to do is place six teaspoons of ground nutmeg in a coffee filter and run it through your coffee maker using one cup of water. Let it cool off to a comfortable temperature, and add the liquid to a warm bath. Stay in the tub for about ten minutes, sinking under the water six to eight times. Each time you go under, say the following:
Change of luck, come to me,
As I will, so mote it be!
Additionally, you can carry three Job's tears (seed or bead form) in your pocket for a little lucky boost. Hang in there. You can, and you will, get through this tough spot.