I'm totally with Coley on the bad bosses. Somehow I got two unstable, passive aggressive ones in a row!
With my first boss ever, I wouldn't speak to him in the mornings until he spoke to me, because I never knew what sort of mood he would be in and I wanted to tailor my approach. You NEVER knew how he was going to respond to requests for time off or "home life" issues. Some days if you had to leave because your kids were sick, he would sympathize and tell you to go home and take care of "what really mattered." And other days, the same issue would result in him screaming at you in the middle of the office about your poor attitude and laziness. I never knew what I was walking into from day to day and the stress was killing me. I fell into a cycle of trying really hard to please him, waiting on pins and needles for him to blow up at me again, internally curling into the fetal position when he DID blow up at me, and weeping all over my husband when I got home. It to the point that I would cry on the drive to and from work every day, before I finally said, "enough." And in my exit interview, my boss told me he thought I would be back to reapply for my job within a year. HASN'T HAPPENED YET!
My second boss was deeply attached to the person whom I replaced and hated the fact that she had retired. He didn't want anyone else in the position and expressed this by being extremely passive aggressive. He refused to give me objectives or goals and said I should just "anticipate his needs." But when I tried to work ahead, I was "presumptuous and over-stepping." He made it clear he thought hiring me was a mistake. And I fell back into the old pattern of trying too hard to please him, failing, taking his (admittedly harsh and nit-picky) criticism too personally, and weeping all over my husband when I got home.
My husband finally said, "You know what, this isn't you. You wouldn't take this (redacted) from anyone else. Why are you taking it from these pinheads?" (meaning this and my previous boss)
So while second boss was out of town on vacation, I went for a job interview with another company. I was hired immediately. When my boss returned, he was greeted with a resignation letter from me. THAT was a fantastic feeling.
Fortunately, my next boss was fantastic. I kept waiting for her to go crazy. I kept tumbling into a tailspin over the smallest errors or the anticipation of errors. And I realize now I was probably presenting some minor symptoms of PTSD. Finally, Fantastic Boss sat me down in her office and said, (paraphrased) "OK, you're really good at your job, and I like you. But I'm worried by the fact that you seem to expect me to punch you in the face over printing problems. That's not normal. What's going on?" And I had to explain what happened at my last two jobs. We agreed that we would talk about it if I began to feel stressed out and it was smooth sailing until I left three years later.
I also have a hard time standing up to my mother, even though we actually have a pretty good relationship. She was not abusive, but I tend to be the "reasonable one" amongst the kids when mom is having trouble with my brother or sister. So to keep the peace, I make compromises that are well, not reasonable. Usually it involves making exceptions for my idiot brother. But I'm getting better at it as I have realized I HAVE to put my DH's needs and comfort ahead of my FOO. My mom is getting better at accepting that.