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Combating the office bully

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM
  • 17 Replies
Share your tactics or advice on dealing with the office bully.

This bully has been at it for 8 years. I've managed to ignore and just do my job. She's not my boss. We are equal. I shrug her off. I'm not here to make friends although I do have some. I just don't let her antics effect me. I see her doing it to others and I think - aw that sucks but hey at least I'm not alone.

But in the last month, she has up'ed her efforts. She has started attempting to humiliate me during team meetings. This is a time we share about struggles and things on our desk that we are working on. Twice I have shared of struggles that I was able to complete - check off my list. She has started interrupting and basically saying 'I have that issue and it's not that big of a deal'. Which I shrugged off except others have noticed and have come to me with 'what's going on?'

This morning, she attempted to cut me out of a weekly report we are both responsible for managing. She did the same thing yesterday on a different project. I went to my boss and stated that she has stopped communicating with me regarding our reporting. My boss said, well if you guys didn't communicate that's on you both. You didn't communicate either. So this morning I decided to communicate regarding my expectations and that I need to be copied. She came unhinged. I felt successful. But wondering what kind of retaliation should I be embracing for in the days to come?

What are your experiences? Have you been successful in combating the office bully? What worked for you?
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by on Jun. 13, 2014 at 11:44 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Marti123
by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 1:41 PM
1 mom liked this
First, I am constantly working at being in control, and living in each moment. I try not to allow the situation to control me or upset me or creep into my evenings lnłor other moments if my day. I try to stay calm during my conversations with the person. It's really hard.

Second, I address each problem or behavior as it happens. Sometimes if I know the bully has a consistent behavior, I will practice what to say at home, because I am bad at impromptu confrontations. I try to be objective such as, "it was my understanding we are working on this project as a team. However I have received no emails or verbal communication from you, so I am unable to successfully complete my job." And if things get ugly, I call out the emotions, "your tone and words seem hostile and angry to me.........." Them wait for a retort, and last if it progresses, "this is completely inappropriate & unprofessional behavior, please do not address me in this manner." Then document every single conversation & her and your action for HR.

As far as my experiences, I worked with a guy who had a narcissistic personality disorder, and it was literally like being in an abusive relationship, getting belittled and attacked followed by praise and adoration, only to cycle to more derogatory comments. I ended up quitting, however I did get the ball rolling and his contract was ultimately not renewed, but too late!
Marti123
by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 2:53 PM
Oh, and the last thing, I forgot, if the person is just temperamental, I try to connect more with them, I've had success with the following:

1) socially stop by their desk and ask them about themselves, day, etc, regularly
2) find something we both have in common or relate too, grand kids same age as mine, pets, good, restaurant whatever
3) share something if I can, food, beverage, book, magazine article, cartoon clipping, etc. that we both appreciate
4) say something positive & genuine about them to co-workers or boss
5) listen to an idea they have, acknowledge it, implement it, show appreciation.........
mumsy2three
by Shauna on Jun. 13, 2014 at 2:53 PM


Quoting Marti123: As far as my experiences, I worked with a guy who had a narcissistic personality disorder, and it was literally like being in an abusive relationship, getting belittled and attacked followed by praise and adoration, only to cycle to more derogatory comments. I ended up quitting, however I did get the ball rolling and his contract was ultimately not renewed, but too late!

Yikes! This ^^ seriously sounds like someone that I work with!


OP~ unfortunately my "bully" isn't someone I can discuss  issues with so I see a very good counselor, have been for over a year now. My counselor has given me great strategies to deal with what I have to deal with at my job.

Marti123
by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 2:57 PM
Supposedly, about 5-6% of the population suffers with NPD, so sadly we probably all come into contact with someone on occasion.

Quoting mumsy2three:

Quoting Marti123:

As far as my experiences, I worked with a guy who had a narcissistic personality disorder, and it was literally like being in an abusive relationship, getting belittled and attacked followed by praise and adoration, only to cycle to more derogatory comments. I ended up quitting, however I did get the ball rolling and his contract was ultimately not renewed, but too late!

Yikes! This ^^ seriously sounds like someone that I work with!

OP~ unfortunately my "bully" isn't someone I can discuss  issues with so I see a very good counselor, have been for over a year now. My counselor has given me great strategies to deal with what I have to deal with at my job.

momof2ex1
by Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 5:12 PM
These are great ideas and something I already do. Here's what happens:

I notice she is being cold to me after several consistent weeks of being completely fine, acknowledging my existence and coming to me for help/advice on a project. I used to ponder and wonder 'what did I do?' Until it literally ate me alive and then I would go to her and say 'are you upset with me, did I do something to offend you?' Her response was always to make me feel like I'm crazy and had lost my mind. Like is had imagined it all.

So I changed that and decided to never confront her as if I might have done something wrong. I am not perfect but I am cautious of other people's feelings and I am always respectful and professional in the office. Many people I've talked to say I am way too nice and have never seen or heard of me being ugly or unprofessional with someone. So I'm pretty confident it's not me.

I started paying her attention. Complimenting her dress or hair style. Which immediately crumbles her wall. And gets us back on track with communication and speaking to each other in passing. Being civil. I always ask her how she is doing. I remember to ask about her new niece and new nephew. How are they doing? When we collaborate on ideas, I feel that I am fair and make sure to give her praise for a great idea. She does have a lot of good ideas. So it works for the time being but give it a couple of weeks and she's back to this behavior. It's gotten to a point of exhaustion. I'm tired. I'm so tired of stroking her ego on a daily basis just to get her to treat me like a human being that exists.

So I let my boss know that these are the things I do to try to lower the conflict. My boss told me to stop. Stop it and just ignore her. Do not let on that it bothers me. Let her see me having a good day every day. But see that takes effort too. She gets me in to a bad mood with her behavior and then I struggle to not be angry all day. Even though I am a master on keeping a smile on my face. Mentally I am spent at this point.

Quoting Marti123: Oh, and the last thing, I forgot, if the person is just temperamental, I try to connect more with them, I've had success with the following:

1) socially stop by their desk and ask them about themselves, day, etc, regularly
2) find something we both have in common or relate too, grand kids same age as mine, pets, good, restaurant whatever
3) share something if I can, food, beverage, book, magazine article, cartoon clipping, etc. that we both appreciate
4) say something positive & genuine about them to co-workers or boss
5) listen to an idea they have, acknowledge it, implement it, show appreciation.........
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
valkins
by New Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 5:19 PM

I have never been bullied at any job I ever had and believe me people have tried. I would quit a job in a minute, before I even let someone bully me. I'm the type of person that would pimp slap the hell out of someone and not even think twice about it, so no I have never been bullied and it just wouldn't happen. I don't think that any person should allow themselves to be pushed around no matter how bad you made need a job. Always see it this way, you are just as important as the next person and definitely deserve respect and if the place you are working at is not giving that kind of work environment than why allow yourself to go through that. Believe me it's not worth it and people need to realize that. I hope the way you handle it, will keep that young woman at bay. Good luck!

momof2ex1
by Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 5:24 PM
I fully believe she is a narcissist who is a master at gas lighting.

I was receiving therapy for my divorce several years ago and my therapist told me that my ex had NPD traits from what I was sharing with her. I have researched it over the years and have become very good at dealing with him and keeping him at arms length, protecting myself from him and managing myself. In this situation, for me it's much more difficult but I don't have to deal with him (my ex) on a daily basis. And I can ignore his ranting emails and have no contact with him. With her (the co-worker) I have to work closely with her.

During my research it dawned on me that I'm working with the same kind of person. However, most research I've done regarding this issue has come back with how to manage a boss who is a narcissist. Not so much someone who is equal to me.

One of the things that makes me so angry is when I have a belief whether it's a personal belief or professional, she has the exact opposite. Or she will passive aggressively say 'her feelings' that is in direct conflict with what I've just said. For example: we were discussing setting weekly goals. This is something I already do. I think about my goals at work and at home Sunday night/Monday morning. I set daily goals as well. I have a note pad where I jot down things that I need to get done so that I don't lose track of time during the day and forget. I deal with a very high volume of accounts and I get constant interruptions through the day - on top of managing an employee who is still in training. I shared my idea of jotting down what I need to do today before leaving. When it was her turn to share an idea of how to set weekly goals she started off with 'I don't have time to doodle all day' and made a gesture with her hand - like she was jotting something down with a pen. I feel that was 100% directed at me. She thinks I'm doodling all day. Whatever - if it's not something she wants to do, she doesn't have to. But it's been working for me for a long time and I am rarely the team lead that misses deadlines. But I just kept quiet.

My boss liked my idea though so she suggested that everyone go to the supply cabinet and grab a tablet to have to start making daily and/or weekly goals. I am sure that pissed her off.

Quoting Marti123: Supposedly, about 5-6% of the population suffers with NPD, so sadly we probably all come into contact with someone on occasion.

Quoting mumsy2three:

Quoting Marti123:

As far as my experiences, I worked with a guy who had a narcissistic personality disorder, and it was literally like being in an abusive relationship, getting belittled and attacked followed by praise and adoration, only to cycle to more derogatory comments. I ended up quitting, however I did get the ball rolling and his contract was ultimately not renewed, but too late!

Yikes! This ^^ seriously sounds like someone that I work with!

OP~ unfortunately my "bully" isn't someone I can discuss  issues with so I see a very good counselor, have been for over a year now. My counselor has given me great strategies to deal with what I have to deal with at my job.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
momof2ex1
by Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 8:09 PM
This is where I struggle. I've never been in this situation before until this place. And this is the only chick that has ever been this way - even at this company. The thing is - why should I leave? I've worked my way up very quickly from the bottom. I like my job. I have great perks. It's not about needing a job because I believe I am qualified enough to find a similar job or same making what I make ... But I enjoy the company I work for. I get to take trips (nice resort vacations) on the clock. I've built relationships with customers and vendors. I'm fully vested in the company profit sharing. I'm fully invested in the industry. We are the largest distributor in the US in our industry. I can't find another company in our industry. Which I feel like would be such a waste for me to walk away from. I've built my name and have respect of so many. I don't think a bully should be able to push me out.

On the OTHER hand - I should have the support of my manager 100%. It needs to be stopped. Others notice it. No one says a word. They may say something to me but never to the right people. I am better than that! I deserve better. My job should not cause me this much stress after hours. There are other jobs. Companies that are just as good.

But I just can't seem to decide which side of the fence I want to be on. I did not want to make any threats but when I told my boss that I was extremely close to walking out last week... Her eyes got big and she kind of panicked. I said - it's that serious!!
And quietly I am job searching. If a great opportunity falls in my lap then I will jump on it. Just have to see.

Quoting valkins:

I have never been bullied at any job I ever had and believe me people have tried. I would quit a job in a minute, before I even let someone bully me. I'm the type of person that would pimp slap the hell out of someone and not even think twice about it, so no I have never been bullied and it just wouldn't happen. I don't think that any person should allow themselves to be pushed around no matter how bad you made need a job. Always see it this way, you are just as important as the next person and definitely deserve respect and if the place you are working at is not giving that kind of work environment than why allow yourself to go through that. Believe me it's not worth it and people need to realize that. I hope the way you handle it, will keep that young woman at bay. Good luck!

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
momof2ex1
by Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 8:14 PM
1 mom liked this
Thank you so much for taking the time to type all of that out. I really appreciate it. I liked all of your ideas. And thanks for listening to me rant lol

Quoting Marti123: First, I am constantly working at being in control, and living in each moment. I try not to allow the situation to control me or upset me or creep into my evenings lnłor other moments if my day. I try to stay calm during my conversations with the person. It's really hard.

Second, I address each problem or behavior as it happens. Sometimes if I know the bully has a consistent behavior, I will practice what to say at home, because I am bad at impromptu confrontations. I try to be objective such as, "it was my understanding we are working on this project as a team. However I have received no emails or verbal communication from you, so I am unable to successfully complete my job." And if things get ugly, I call out the emotions, "your tone and words seem hostile and angry to me.........." Them wait for a retort, and last if it progresses, "this is completely inappropriate & unprofessional behavior, please do not address me in this manner." Then document every single conversation & her and your action for HR.

As far as my experiences, I worked with a guy who had a narcissistic personality disorder, and it was literally like being in an abusive relationship, getting belittled and attacked followed by praise and adoration, only to cycle to more derogatory comments. I ended up quitting, however I did get the ball rolling and his contract was ultimately not renewed, but too late!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Marti123
by Platinum Member on Jun. 13, 2014 at 10:51 PM
From my understanding many narcissists actually have low self-esteem and hate that others might have good ideas, and yep, prepare for the aftermath if you got attention and she didn't.

That sucks. I am sorry, working with the guy I referred to, was exhausting and depressing.

Quoting momof2ex1: I fully believe she is a narcissist who is a master at gas lighting.

I was receiving therapy for my divorce several years ago and my therapist told me that my ex had NPD traits from what I was sharing with her. I have researched it over the years and have become very good at dealing with him and keeping him at arms length, protecting myself from him and managing myself. In this situation, for me it's much more difficult but I don't have to deal with him (my ex) on a daily basis. And I can ignore his ranting emails and have no contact with him. With her (the co-worker) I have to work closely with her.

During my research it dawned on me that I'm working with the same kind of person. However, most research I've done regarding this issue has come back with how to manage a boss who is a narcissist. Not so much someone who is equal to me.

One of the things that makes me so angry is when I have a belief whether it's a personal belief or professional, she has the exact opposite. Or she will passive aggressively say 'her feelings' that is in direct conflict with what I've just said. For example: we were discussing setting weekly goals. This is something I already do. I think about my goals at work and at home Sunday night/Monday morning. I set daily goals as well. I have a note pad where I jot down things that I need to get done so that I don't lose track of time during the day and forget. I deal with a very high volume of accounts and I get constant interruptions through the day - on top of managing an employee who is still in training. I shared my idea of jotting down what I need to do today before leaving. When it was her turn to share an idea of how to set weekly goals she started off with 'I don't have time to doodle all day' and made a gesture with her hand - like she was jotting something down with a pen. I feel that was 100% directed at me. She thinks I'm doodling all day. Whatever - if it's not something she wants to do, she doesn't have to. But it's been working for me for a long time and I am rarely the team lead that misses deadlines. But I just kept quiet.

My boss liked my idea though so she suggested that everyone go to the supply cabinet and grab a tablet to have to start making daily and/or weekly goals. I am sure that pissed her off.

Quoting Marti123: Supposedly, about 5-6% of the population suffers with NPD, so sadly we probably all come into contact with someone on occasion.

Quoting mumsy2three:

Quoting Marti123:

As far as my experiences, I worked with a guy who had a narcissistic personality disorder, and it was literally like being in an abusive relationship, getting belittled and attacked followed by praise and adoration, only to cycle to more derogatory comments. I ended up quitting, however I did get the ball rolling and his contract was ultimately not renewed, but too late!

Yikes! This ^^ seriously sounds like someone that I work with!

OP~ unfortunately my "bully" isn't someone I can discuss  issues with so I see a very good counselor, have been for over a year now. My counselor has given me great strategies to deal with what I have to deal with at my job.

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