Got an award, then got backlash...


Trauma therapists say I keep getting into trauma reenactments. Maybe.

I volunteered to lead a team. There's a local chapter and a state chapter. The local director, B, appointed me to run a local team and the state director appointed me to run a statewide team. I only serve in this volunteer role upon appointment. The state director gave me an award for my leadership at the local and state level. Everything was going very well. The people I volunteered with were great, no concerns. For years. B is normally very amazing to work with on a regular basis.

Then the damn award...

Days after the award, the local director, B, started being weird. They started doing things that they can do, but also undermined the team and the work that just got an award. It was really strange. They actually did some pretty eff-ed up things. It suddenly became a really toxic place and the local director tried to triangulate a lot of shit. I held boundaries as best as I could. It devolved into a volunteer and the director screaming at me and my leaving as to not be screamed at, then being insulted for leaving. Who the hell would want to volunteer in that environment?

Nothing like this has ever happened before with this organization.

I requested a meeting with B and the board member. They agreed. I have volunteered for years and never seen a red flag and now it's a flood of them. The state office has NO control over the local office. It's kind of a weird organization in how it's organized, but the only one that can do what it does... I don't want to be involved anymore with the toxicity and crap being thrown at me since the award. It will be very strange to lead in the statewide role and not at the local level. I'm considering walking away from it all, and I have sort of a two-year commitment on my end - but again the local or state director can replace me or cancel the effort at any time. Everyone says they do not wish to do this but what the eff? I'm not here to be abused as a volunteer.

Tomorrow, I have a meeting with B and the board member. I'm struggling with the balance of doing whatever they want, because they are the director, and being clear about what I need to continue to volunteer, and to stick up for my work as valuable. PTSD symptoms are starting to show through since the screaming at me started. I am very depressed. I built a team, a project, and now since getting an award all hell broke loose and I do not understand what the hell is going on... and now I have this meeting and I have to try to somehow think I am of worth --- and also be willing to be ok with walking away from it all. I'm not ok with that. At all. I worked really hard. No one has expressed a complaint about that work. The screaming was about a project I am not even involved in. (Yep, made it extra weird.)

I'm falling apart and any thoughts on how to go in and face a screwed-up mess and find the right balance of respecting their choices and sticking up for myself and my work... and yet not letting myself get dragged into a jealously driven shit show...

I don't walk away well when people start tearing me down. I try too often to fix it or do whatever people what to make it ok --- all nonsense. I can't fix what others do. I can't make it ok. They are being jerks. I'm having symptoms. Maybe it's just over. Maybe not.


@Justmehere , I am so sorry, and I don't understand, either. 😦 From what you;ve written my gut would wonder if there is something else going on- someone looking to get recognition for a paid promotion? ??, or something else likely entirely unrelated to you directly. But perhaps interfered with by your recognition? Either way, it doesn't take away one bit from your years of hard work and success, and your award. I don't blame you one bit for being thrown off and disturbed by that behaviour, it's unacceptable anywhere. And I 'know' you enough to know you wouldn't have responded to your award with ego. As you said, it's not even your project. Perhaps the person(s) in question are fearing your success and ease contrasts their poorer performance? Or perhaps they are insisting on their way, and it's obviously not as effective as yours? Or funds are coming under scrutiny?

You don't have to fix it, but it would be nice if they could explain how you ended up triangulated in, why, and why there is so much emotional disregulation, or buttons pushed? Maybe something is going on unrelated to you with B? Or B fears they will offer you his job? No, it is totally sane and nothing else would be acceptable than to expect to be treated with courtesy and dignity. Stay calm and I will be pulling for you that you have the words and strength and courage and calmness you need tomorrow. 🤗
Last edited:


I have a bit of understanding all that is happening also, but it does sound like someone is very jealous of your award.
I worked in a non profit (but paid position) before and although hesitant to say as I dont like to criticize (particularly when they do not pay staff well), there are a lot of people with lack of experience or expertise, with a title in lieu of decent pay.

The fact that you mention it is a volunteer position makes me think it non profit but it may not be. I was paid very well thru a contract funded by a grant, but most hourly workers were not. These jobs often attract co dependent people who are paid with titles. (who else would work endlessly for so little pay).

Anyway, you are worth more. They have presented the award. Dont take any are worth more....and remember that.


It is a non-profit, very volunteer and title run. That's good insight.

I am a volunteer and I usually manage a training for new volunteers. The local director, T, pulled in someone we'll call Jane Doe to do the new volunteer training. Jane Doe hates volunteering in this capacity. Says it's useless, doesn't want to do it, etc. Has said this for a year. I had no idea that Jane was pulled in. The local director, T, didn't tell me. Literally scheduled it the same time I was doing it. Super awkward situation but whatever, I have other things to do. I canceled my volunteer hours, sent the newbies to the new location, etc. Then Jane called and started screaming like all get out that what she was doing wasn't working, was useless. Same old, same old with Jane... but this time, she was screaming about her trainings she was taking over from me without telling me, including me, etc. Once she calmed down, I offered help. She rejected it. She still did not want me involved but still yelled at me about them. I told her I will not take responsibility for what I am not involved in.

They gave me an award for my team, then took away part of that team and gave it to someone who hates doing it, then had that volunteer scream at me about how they hate it.

Well then don't effing do it.


I communicated to Jane and T that should there be any insulting of me or any yelling, any and all communication will end immediately. If they seek contact, they will need to speak and communicate with a calm tone and no insults. I also asked for a meeting with the local director and a board member to be another person in on the conversation to try to solve whatever the heck is happening here.The board member agreed, T agreed, and then the board member told me do not contact the local director anymore until the meeting at the local director's request. I can carry volunteering but just no contact with the director or Jane.


Then the director and Jaen started emailing me but told me I can not email back. I am not allowed. They just keep emailing me about what they are doing but then I can not reply. Or be involved. SO WHY EFFING EMAIL ME?!



That's really f*cked up. Im sorry for you. It sound's like you need to just defend yourself and put up boundaries. Tell them your being dragged into other people's shit and being yelled at is not acceptable or constructive in any way shape or form.


I asked Jane if she would be willing to meet with a third party, since she is clearly continuing to contact me about the project and there is unresolved conflict about contact and the project. I gave her a time. She only indicated that time didn't work and she is only emailing because she respects the authority of the director.


Why is this happening? It's such a shit show. It's not the first time I've been going along and then suddenly everything is to blame on me. Multiple therapists said it was because I tend to reenact trauma and get scapegoated.

What the heck am I doing to fuel that if it's happening again? I am so tired of this. It's been a huge setback in terms of PTSD symptoms.


What the heck am I doing to fuel that if it's happening again? I am so tired of this. It's been a huge setback in terms of PTSD symptoms.
Step outside of yourself for a moment… you know too many details.

If this happened to someone you know & respect; the received an award and then -related or unrelated- one of their team started freaking the hell out (at them, at anyone/everyone) & the director ordered a CC on all communication between themselves and this teammember to the person you know? There are multiple reasons as to why any of it happened; bad luck, jealousy, manuevering // transparency, political pressure, etc… but how would the person you know and respect handle it?

Fundamentally… taking a step backwards? It’s all politics. Orchestrated or reactionary, you grok politics.

Where you get lost is when people are politicking YOU. You get emotionally invested, and too close, and the past barges in.

So… for just a few minutes… look at this entire situation as happening to someone else. What’s going on? How might it be best dealt with? From a political perspective.

There’s an award
There’s a shift of job responsibilities
There’s a very public tantrum
There’s a seeming transparency in how the tantrum is being dealt with.

Lots of possible motivations on the table. Lots of possible outcomes. Lots of possible moves.

What’s the smart play?


What I should do, what someone else in my shoes should do, is stay very chill about it, and frankly, ignore it as much as humanly possible, and carry on anyhow. Let them try to fight, then keep ducking any swings. When they put up the roadblocks, I could just go do something different. When I have done that, everything shakes out whenever anyone gets dramatic.

I am questioning why I volunteer for this... and maybe that's why I lost my footing to stay chill on this one. I was already unsure. Those involved have commented about how I am usually steady, but I'm not on this one. And they haven't seen that with me before.


One of my friends once said to me "If I were going to open a business, I would hire all adult children of alcoholics, because they work so hard to please other". I think we carry traits that we cant see, but others can.

IMO, the thing about re-enacting has been true for me. The first step I had to take was to respond differently by not engaging and removing myself. Then I began to see how it felt to not be part of things...which stung a bit for me, because I desire inclusion. I have significantly less relationships in my life, but not feeling abused. I still cant pinpoint what I do to attract this crap show but am certain there sure are a lot of A-holes out there, and easier to see when looking in from the outside.


I'm sorry it's worked out this way, and that it's been damn painful in the process. But I'm glad you're actively making a decision in your own best interests.

That probably feels like BS. Quite honestly, though, I've come to find that for me, holding my head and calling time on things that aren't working has been an amazing thing I've had to learn to do for myself. It's no walk in the park, but it's definitely gotten me out of shitty situations I would have once tolerated to my own detriment, and motivated me to go looking for things that work better for me, with more added knowledge of what doesn't work.