I withdrew into a shell. I did no work because there was none. I ignored emails that required responses. I stopped smiling and talking to colleagues. I took days off of work to spend time in London. I spoke to Mr. N only when it was necessary. I counted days thinking of when I could physically remove myself from the quagmire of toxin, but mentally I had already moved on. There was nothing left for me in Germany or with the company.
When there was a video conference with Mr. Yamada, my manager, and a woman who was once my colleague in HQ, at the end of the meeting, the woman didn’t notice the mic was still on and said to Mr. Yamada, “she has gone bad.” Seeing me freeze for a moment, my manager said, “I’m sure she didn’t mean you.”
At that point, 50% of my belief system still rendered the root cause of my poor performance was the breach of trust between Mr. N and myself. There was a considerable power gap, and Mr. N abused his power. All I could was protect myself, even if that meant coming across as “bad” and being an outcast. But the rest was controlled by the voices of others, i.e., Japanese society, the corporate politics & culture, tradition, social norms, all of which derive from patriarchal values. And I was loosening grips on my voice day by day because no one or nothing validated it. On the contrary, ensuing events and conversations challenged it, denied it, and trampled on it.