I have been asked to attend a conference and present from my current employer since this conference is highly focused on my research point. In this conference, my ex-supervisor and his collaborator are going to be present and one will give a lecture. My current employer doesn't know about my story since they did not ask. I am afraid and confused on whether to avoid the places they are going to be in as they have tried to destroy me before and it was very harsh or face my fears and face them without speaking. I am also afraid that they would do badmouthing to my current employer.

What could be the best thing I can do, I am highly interested in to be in, but I am afraid of them and I don't know in case I refused attendance, what kind of accuses I can explain to my current employer ( the project I am working in is cooperation between different university, and each university is going to submit their students for this conference which focused only on my research field).

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    I don't think we could possibly answer this for you. – Azor Ahai Apr 29 at 23:12
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    I'm a bit confused on your timeline. In the past couple months, your current PI has been "very pissed off", you have considered nominating her for an award, you have been looking for a new job, you've been blacklisted because your current PI is taking advantage of you, and been discriminated against because of your ethnicity. Can you clarify? – cag51 Apr 30 at 3:48
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    @cag51, I was holding a position at a research institute and then they offered me a Ph.D. position, after one year I was forced to leave. I did not find a place to host me, I accepted to go to a loof country because I was in a desperate need for money and they give me very low salary of 350 euro plus a room, I could not bear any more, I started to apply for another position, this ordeal ended after six months, I have been offered a Ph.D. position again in another good country and for the destiny it is the same work I did in my previous first year PhD. – user103209 Apr 30 at 3:55
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    It sounds complicated track and that was because of my toxic first PhD supervisor and his collaborator and then the other lab in other country take advantage of me and offered low salary when I arrived in their lab, so you can say both of the first experience were bad, now I am thankful to be with nice people thats why I was asking whether to nominate my current supervisor for a workshop I am coorganizing. The current didnot know any thing about that as they didnot ask and thats why I am afraid to meet this people as I mentioned this field is pretty small. Hope the events are more clear now. – user103209 Apr 30 at 3:59
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    With this number of giagntic interpersonal problems in your immediate past, I suggest that you should seek professional counselling rather than the advice of random people on the internet. – David Richerby Apr 30 at 9:31

First of all, I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this.

I would ignore them in the conference. I don’t know if this motivates you, but going to a conference, doing an amazing job and still shining in my field despite their sabotage attempts would be really satisfying to me.

On a professional level, if your job requires conference attendance and you categorically refuse for whatever reason, it will not help your career. Don’t let them sabotage you further!


If you're staying in their field, you're going to run into them sooner or later.

Some suggestions.

Certainly do not approach either one. If they attempt to talk with you casually, you can either immediately excuse yourself by pleading previous business (meeting someone, etc.). If one attends your talk and tries to derail it or asks questions that seem inappropriate, shut them down, perhaps by one of the techniques listed in this answer.

If you are not seeing a mental health professional, you may want to do so. The right one will be able to help process what has happened and give you tools for dealing with it, and with other situations that might happen in the future.