Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: Eight months ago, I resigned from my job because my supervisor was a bully and disrespectful of me. When I brought this up to her supervisors, they did not do anything to correct the situation. I have always been good at what I do—a very dedicated employee, trusted and got along well with people I work for and with. Now this former boss has given me a bad reference to a prospective new employer. I can't seem to get away from her influencing my life. How do I move on? How does someone who mistreats people still have a job, and I do not?
— Wendy J., Rockford, Minnesota
I think there's a short-term answer to your dilemma and a long-term answer. The short-term answer is to explain the friction to your prospective new employer quite openly. You will radiate trust and goodness on your own, and employers will pick up on that. Offer to give other references if you want, but I think no one will miss who you are just because of a nasty reference.
The long-term answer requires some inner work on yourself. I sense you feel wronged and hurt, but also offended and perhaps guilty, as if you had provoked her bad behavior or failed to make it get better. These feelings are the strings tying you to this old boss. You need to talk about them with a mature person who will understand and compassionately guide you. No good will come if you stew in your own juices and keep reliving the past, trying to make yourself feel better. You have real wounds inside, even if they are invisible. Take steps to find a way to heal them. I hope this helps.