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Work colleague has sent me to Coventry

PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:25 pm
by flashcampbell
I was toying whether to post this in Work or here. I've decided I feel a bit fragile and sensitive and worry about being called pathetic - probably because I feel a bit that way.

In a nutshell, a work colleague has, for some inexplicable reason, sent me to Coventry. At first, I thought, OK, maybe I'm imagining it or she's preoccupied. After all, she is pregnant after a long time of trying and is having problems with her eldest child sleeping. But then I see her chatty and animated to others but, if she sees me, she'll walk past and look straight through me. She won't see hello when I arrive at work or goodbye when we go but will to others. She will if I speak to her but makes no eye contact and say 'oh hi,' sometimes sounding really flat. If I try to make any kind of conversation, she'll come out with one word answers til I get the hint.

I can't think of anything I've said or done that could be that bad that warrants this behaviour. So, yesterday, I came home feeling really jelly and had to keep saying to myself that I am a worthwhile person and I had a lightbulb moment. I don't deserve this, do I? The rest of the team is fine with me and it's always been the sort of team which has always been friendly and it's not really the done thing to ignore people. It's such a small team and it really shows. There is a new person she has chosen not to speak to, too, who is new and from a completely different background to everyone else, and another really timid lady, who, when you get to know, is really lovely and kind but is sort of invisible and sits herself on the sidelines.

I could say then that it's not personal but it feels it if it's just me and a couple of others. The worst thing is that everyone likes her, she is very outgoing and has a kind of presence about her. If I were to say anything, I would be the bad guy but I don't think putting up with it long term is an option. She will be having her baby in Feb. Could I hang on til then? Get my head down and get on with my work? Or could I wait for her to get over herself as she has before? Or could I wait for someone else to notice? What would a normal person, with no self-esteem issues do? Thing is, I'm the worst person for this to happen to but it does feel like a theme in my life with family, friends in the past. It's hard not to think I've brought it on myself somehow because some people would never experience this, would they?

Re: Work colleague has sent me to Coventry

PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:21 pm
by Bel Bel
You have a couple of options

a) Ask her outright. Say you don't expect everyone to like you but have noticed she is distinctly off key with you and ask if you have offended her in any way. Of course she may lie but it is worth a try. Maybe someone has told her you said something you didn't or she misinterpreted a situation. either way this option gives you the opportunity to put here straight if that has been the case

b) Hang it out til Feb if you think you can but that's quite a long time and resent may get worse until you blow up about it and deal with it inappropriately

c) Talk to someone who you feel you can confide in that has been there a long time and ask their advice on the situation. She may have a history of this. Of course this could backfire as they could report back to the person and it could make things worse

You are not pathetic and no you don't deserve it but we can't control others behaviour only our own. Carry on being polite and rise above it. Above all try not to let it get to you on a personal level. After all she really isn't anyone important in your life

Re: Work colleague has sent me to Coventry

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:35 pm
by Minna
Hi there. What a sad situation to be in, for you. My heart went out to you when I read "What would a normal person, with no self-esteem issues do?"
Almost everyone has self esteem issues, believe it or not, and we can all be hurt by situations such as you are experiencing now.
I am an old girl (65) who, during my working life, has come across this problem with a work colleague. At a couple of jobs, infact, so you are not alone. Firstly, it is not you. It is this lady who has the problems, whatever they are - and believe me she has problems, no matter how much she may appear to be in control and at ease with everyone else. She is a bully. Nice, normal people are not bullies. Think of it - could you bully another person for no reason? No. Because you are a nice, normal person. Anyway, the reasons for her behaviour are probably complex and why should you have to be concerned with them anyway. In the great scheme of things this woman is a nonentity and of no importance in your life, although I appreciate, having been there myself, that it doesn't seem like it when it gets shoved at you day after day!
I agree with Bel Bel that confronting her could be the answer. The possible trouble with this option is why bullies use this type of bullying - its frustratingly subtle. It is all so easy for the confrontation to go nowhere, with her making out that, no, there is no problem and you must be imagining things. By the way, don't expect any of your colleagues to lift their heads up from their desks and join in. From my experience, most people just want a quiet life and, since your colleagues get on with this woman, they are unlikely to rock the boat, unfortunately - that's just the way it is.
The way that I got around this problem was to totally ignore that there WAS a problem. It will take you some courage and I'm afraid it will probably not make her stop, but the main thing is that it will make YOU feel better about yourself and that is what is important in all this.
So, when you (or she) comes in in the morning, cheerfully say "Morning, Mavis" (or whatever her name is). Pass the odd comment to her during the day, as you would to your other colleagues e.g. "Looks like this client's accounts will take me forever, there's so much of it!". She will ignore you, of course, or grunt, but just act as if she had given you a 'normal' response and carry on working and getting on with your day, passing the odd comment to her throughout the day. When you leave, or she leaves, say a cheery goodnight. She won't answer you but, really, so what. In other words, just like a mother will ignore their child's sulks, you are ignoring this 'child's' sulks too. Believe me, after about a week of this, she will begin to look pretty stupid to everyone else. They will be thinking "Mavis is still ignoring [your name], what a daft witch!" The bottom line is that by ignoring her behaviour and interacting with her as you would with your other colleagues, you are showing her (and your colleagues) that not only do you really not care a hoot how she choses to behave, but also that you are above such playground antics and that YOU are the adult in this situation.
I know it will be hard (I know, I've had to do this in the past too), and maybe she will never be civil, but at least you are in control of the situation and will no longer be the victim.
Good luck, Love - let us know how you get on! xxx

Re: Work colleague has sent me to Coventry

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:49 am
by flashcampbell
Thanks for the replies. Well, in the end, I didn't have to do anything. She came back from her week off and was completely normal again. But I must try not to drum things up in my head so much and learn to rise above it. I think it may have been over overtime because she is always going on about people taking her overtime. When she came back, she was tutting about another colleague who decided to do two extra shifts, one of which she normally does and she muttered that 'she'd said she wasn't going to do that...'

Re: Work colleague has sent me to Coventry

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:00 pm
by Bel Bel
Glad it worked out for you.
Overtime is not a given so she shouldn't expect it anyway.