Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 767862

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two-faced coworkers

Posted by peddidle on July 5, 2007, at 13:02:40

I had to go up to the front to deal with someone because the other people who would usually handle it were out to lunch. I wouldn't have ordinarily touched a computer that wasn't mine, but I had to look this person up in the system. Well, I noticed that there was an open IM conversation with another person in the office on this computer. I know I shouldn't have read it, but I'm a girl and I couldn't help myself. At one point in this conversation, I see this:

"Am I as fat as ____?" (referring to me)
"lol no! why would you even think that?"
"I feel so big and gross and I was looking at her fat a** in that dress on tuesday and I thought 'omg what if I look like that?!'"

There was some other stuff about other people in the office in that conversation too. I can't believe this! I mean, I knew the one person has been being a little extra catty lately, but weight is a really sensitive issue for me.

Anyway, luckily more people weren't around because I started crying and of course my make-up got all messed up.

This is the kind of thing I should probably tell my T about, right? I kind of want to email her, but what would I say? That I took a stupid comment really seriously and got too sensitive about it?

I realize I shouldn't have looked at the conversation, but I did, and I can't change that.

Am I overreacting?

 

Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle

Posted by sunnydays on July 5, 2007, at 14:58:57

In reply to two-faced coworkers, posted by peddidle on July 5, 2007, at 13:02:40

I would be devastated by the comment. Definitely email your T. It's a really hard situation to deal with. Maybe you could say to your coworker something like it seems like her behavior towards you has changed recently and ask her why? That would take a lot of guts, though, and I'm not even sure I would be able to do that in this situation. Definitely, definitely talk to your T.

sunnydays

 

Re: two-faced coworkers sunnydays

Posted by peddidle on July 5, 2007, at 15:25:23

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle, posted by sunnydays on July 5, 2007, at 14:58:57

I called one of my friends a little while ago, and she suggested the same thing you did. That I should tell her I "overheard" her talking about me and that I think it's really immature, and that if she has something to say to me she should say it to my face, etc. I'm like you though, I really don't have the guts to approach someone like that.

I was also thinking of talking to another person in the office and asking her if she thought talking to her would be a good idea, or if I would be better off leaving it alone for now. I have absolutely no reason to think I wouldn't be able to trust this person, except after today, who knows.

Maybe I'll email my T later-- I don't want to do it from here.

Thanks Sunny! I'll let you know what happens.

 

Re: two-faced coworkers

Posted by LadyBug on July 5, 2007, at 15:59:20

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle, posted by sunnydays on July 5, 2007, at 14:58:57

I would feel just as you do. I don't have the greatest self esteem anyway, but this would be a blow to me. I'm thinking you should contact your T and have your T help you move away from the negative thoughts.

LadyBug

 

Re: two-faced coworkers

Posted by peddidle on July 5, 2007, at 20:17:17

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers, posted by LadyBug on July 5, 2007, at 15:59:20

Yeah, I have practically zero self-esteem, so this was not what I needed. I thought I worked with mature people, but this is just such high school drama it's ridiculous.

Thanks Ladybug!

 

Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle

Posted by JoniS on July 6, 2007, at 9:26:57

In reply to two-faced coworkers, posted by peddidle on July 5, 2007, at 13:02:40


>
> This is the kind of thing I should probably tell my T about, right? I kind of want to email her, but what would I say?

** Yes, email your T or call her or talk in your next session. Say how it made you feel when you read it.

That I took a stupid comment really seriously and got too sensitive about it?

** Don't judge yourself. It wasn't a stupid comment, it hurt you, and rightfully so. You did not get "too sensitive" about it. You are human. Anyone who read that about themself would be hurt.
>
> I realize I shouldn't have looked at the conversation, but I did, and I can't change that.

** Don't beat yourself up about having looked at it. Everyone has temptations and at some point have been involved in a similar circumstance. The next time you're in this situation you probably wont do it again because nothing good can come from it. But you are right, you did and you can't change that.
>
> Am I overreacting?

** you are not overreacting.

If it were me, I would not talk to anyone else in the office about it. That would put you in a triangle - which is not a healthy place to be. Work with your T totally on this. You can't change people in the office (or anywhere for that matter) It would do absolutely no good for you to say anything to the one who wrote it. They have problems, obviously.

Good Luck to you and be good to yourself :)

 

Re: two-faced coworkers

Posted by LlurpsieNoodle on July 6, 2007, at 11:53:12

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle, posted by JoniS on July 6, 2007, at 9:26:57

Hi pdidi

I would be really hurt by that comment. I remember my hs history teacher talking about the rise of Hitler and saying that the surest way of uniting two different [groups of] people is to create a common enemy. My guess is that the two people involved in the IM were insecure for various reasons and felt more secure if they had some kind of "bond".

I don't know the structure of your office situation. If this woman is subordinate to you, you might ask to see her in private and tell her that you were using the front office computer the other day and you noticed that she was using IM to communicate with other people in the office. You can tell her that IM is not the most efficient way of communicating business matters and that it's not secure in the way that e-mail is. If this woman (both women) have any kind of common sense, this should create remorse rather than catty revenge.

If you are equals, or in different departments, you might just casually say to her- "I used your computer the other day to look up someone's number while you were on lunch break. I saw some of your Instant Messages on the desktop." and leave it at that.

If you really confront her about the subject matter in the IM's, she's going to get defensive and will likely deflect the blame for their content to another person. It might put you in the position of exposing yourself to further hurt, because you make yourself vulnerable at the moment that you acknowledge that the content really bothered you. If you don't mention the subject matter, you'll come out smelling cleaner and you'll feel more righteous.

And by all means talk to your T about this. This kind of insult can hit you at a very vulnerable spot and trigger a cascade of insecurities.

So sorry you have to deal with this. I had a lot of problems with office politics for about a year, and it was interfering with my work a LOT. my T at the time recommended some techniques from a book called "the gentle art of verbal self-defense". Classic in the field of negotiating these awkward social exchanges.

Take care, okay? Wear whatever makes you feel pretty, knowing that no matter how hard you try you can't turn haters into admirers-- just try to keep your head high. Living well is the best revenge

-Ll

 

Re: two-faced coworkers JoniS

Posted by peddidle on July 6, 2007, at 13:09:17

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle, posted by JoniS on July 6, 2007, at 9:26:57

>Yes, email your T or call her or talk in your next session. Say how it made you feel when you read it.

**I won't see my T until September, so email would probably be the only way.

>
>Don't judge yourself. It wasn't a stupid comment, it hurt you, and rightfully so. You did not get "too sensitive" about it. You are human. Anyone who read that about themself would be hurt.

**Thanks for the reassurance. It seems so superficial, but it really hurt me.


> ** Don't beat yourself up about having looked at it. Everyone has temptations and at some point have been involved in a similar circumstance. The next time you're in this situation you probably wont do it again because nothing good can come from it. But you are right, you did and you can't change that.

**I honestly wasn't expecting to see anything bad in the conversation. You're right, I guess I learned a lesson from it.

>
> If it were me, I would not talk to anyone else in the office about it. That would put you in a triangle - which is not a healthy place to be. Work with your T totally on this. You can't change people in the office (or anywhere for that matter) It would do absolutely no good for you to say anything to the one who wrote it. They have problems, obviously.

**Yeah, I really don't want to make anyone else uncomfortable by putting them in the middle of this. Since I've had a little time to think about it, the only result I can see coming from confronting them about this would be that they would just bad-mouth me even more behind my back. And, yes, clearly they have problems.

>
> Good Luck to you and be good to yourself :)

**Thank you!!
>

 

Re: two-faced coworkers LlurpsieNoodle

Posted by peddidle on July 6, 2007, at 13:50:36

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers, posted by LlurpsieNoodle on July 6, 2007, at 11:53:12

> Hi pdidi
>
> I would be really hurt by that comment. I remember my hs history teacher talking about the rise of Hitler and saying that the surest way of uniting two different [groups of] people is to create a common enemy. My guess is that the two people involved in the IM were insecure for various reasons and felt more secure if they had some kind of "bond".
>

**That's amazing insight, and it makes a lot of sense.

> I don't know the structure of your office situation. If this woman is subordinate to you, you might ask to see her in private and tell her that you were using the front office computer the other day and you noticed that she was using IM to communicate with other people in the office. You can tell her that IM is not the most efficient way of communicating business matters and that it's not secure in the way that e-mail is. If this woman (both women) have any kind of common sense, this should create remorse rather than catty revenge.

>
> If you are equals, or in different departments, you might just casually say to her- "I used your computer the other day to look up someone's number while you were on lunch break. I saw some of your Instant Messages on the desktop." and leave it at that.

**I'm an intern, so basically everyone in the office is my superior, which makes it even more difficult. Plus, it's a small office, so there's no real way to avoid someone (avoidance is my trademark way of dealing with things). We all IM each other during the day, so I don't really have an argument as far as that.
>
> If you really confront her about the subject matter in the IM's, she's going to get defensive and will likely deflect the blame for their content to another person. It might put you in the position of exposing yourself to further hurt, because you make yourself vulnerable at the moment that you acknowledge that the content really bothered you. If you don't mention the subject matter, you'll come out smelling cleaner and you'll feel more righteous.

**You're right, the last thing I want to do is give her an opportunity to make me feel even worse, if that's even possible. I would hope that bringing it to her attention in a subtle way would put an end to the cattiness, but given her display of incredible immaturity, I wouldn't put money on it.
>
> And by all means talk to your T about this. This kind of insult can hit you at a very vulnerable spot and trigger a cascade of insecurities.

**Please excuse my language, but the only way I know how to describe it is to say it made me feel like complete sh*t. It's almost as if she saw the target and threw a dart right at the bullseye.
>
> So sorry you have to deal with this. I had a lot of problems with office politics for about a year, and it was interfering with my work a LOT. my T at the time recommended some techniques from a book called "the gentle art of verbal self-defense". Classic in the field of negotiating these awkward social exchanges.

**I'm sorry you had problems with office politics, but I'm glad you were able to get through it. I work at a government office, so it's difficult to escape the politics. lol
That book sounds really helpful... I might check it out.
>
> Take care, okay? Wear whatever makes you feel pretty, knowing that no matter how hard you try you can't turn haters into admirers-- just try to keep your head high. Living well is the best revenge
>
> -Ll

**Thank you soo much Ll...I'll try to keep that in mind!

 

Re: YAY got that book years ago; now will READ it! (nm) LlurpsieNoodle

Posted by confuzyq on July 8, 2007, at 17:12:44

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers, posted by LlurpsieNoodle on July 6, 2007, at 11:53:12

 

Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle

Posted by Poet on July 10, 2007, at 20:04:27

In reply to two-faced coworkers, posted by peddidle on July 5, 2007, at 13:02:40

Hi Peddidle,

Anyone who leaves an IM, email or website available to other users on their computer is frankly, dense. I would have looked at the IM, too, and I would have been majorly upset to read what you did.

I know this is awhile after you first posted. Did you tell your T? Send an email? Find out if the co-workers have allergies to pet hair and if so sprinkled it liberally all around their desks? I admit I did that to an ex-boss from hell and hope she's still sneezing three years later. Revenge thy name is Poet.

Seriously, how are you doing?

Poet


 

Re: two-faced coworkers Poet

Posted by peddidle on July 12, 2007, at 10:49:16

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers peddidle, posted by Poet on July 10, 2007, at 20:04:27

> Hi Peddidle,
>
> Anyone who leaves an IM, email or website available to other users on their computer is frankly, dense. I would have looked at the IM, too, and I would have been majorly upset to read what you did.
>
> I know this is awhile after you first posted. Did you tell your T? Send an email?

**I emailed my T on Friday. I was very blunt about what happened and how it made me feel. I haven't heard from her yet, which is unusual. I am trying to give her the benefit of the doubt considering that it's summer and maybe she took a long vacation for the 4th of July... although, she didn't respond to an email a few weeks ago either...

Find out if the co-workers have allergies to pet hair and if so sprinkled it liberally all around their desks? I admit I did that to an ex-boss from hell and hope she's still sneezing three years later. Revenge thy name is Poet.

**Haha Unfortunately, they are not allergic to pet hair. ;)

>
> Seriously, how are you doing?

**Thanks for asking. I'm doing OK... it's weird being in the office though. I've lost all respect for the one woman, and now I have to question who I can actually trust. Not trust as in who I can trust with a secret, but who I can even joke around with and not worry about them turning around and making fun of me to someone else. I don't think I have really significant issues with this, but people only get one chance with me when it comes to trust-- I might "forgive" them, but it will always be in the back of my mind.

 

still no email

Posted by peddidle on July 16, 2007, at 18:48:57

In reply to Re: two-faced coworkers Poet, posted by peddidle on July 12, 2007, at 10:49:16

My T still hasn't emailed me back. It isn't like her not to respond to a first email. I've been trying to convince myself that maybe she's been on vacation, but I don't think she'd be gone longer than this...

 

more drama

Posted by peddidle on July 17, 2007, at 17:05:34

In reply to still no email, posted by peddidle on July 16, 2007, at 18:48:57

There was some more drama at work today. I really hate it there now.

When is it too soon to email my T again? I don't want to be a annoying, especially if she really is away. I also don't want to send another email if I'm just going to be waiting for a response that doesn't come.

The counseling center reopens Aug. 1, so if she is away, she'll definitely be back by then. I guess I could wait until then...

 

Re: more drama peddidle

Posted by TherapyGirl on July 17, 2007, at 18:05:20

In reply to more drama, posted by peddidle on July 17, 2007, at 17:05:34

Sounds to me like she *is* away. Is there anywhere to call to make sure, though?

I'm sorry work is so yucky right now. I've been there, done that and know that it's not fun.

Hope you hear something soon.

 

Re: more drama TherapyGirl

Posted by peddidle on July 18, 2007, at 13:45:48

In reply to Re: more drama peddidle, posted by TherapyGirl on July 17, 2007, at 18:05:20

Thanks TG. The only way I can think of to know for sure is to call her office during the day, see if she answers, and then just hang up. I feel weird about doing that though.

 

Re: more drama peddidle

Posted by TherapyGirl on July 18, 2007, at 17:59:12

In reply to Re: more drama TherapyGirl, posted by peddidle on July 18, 2007, at 13:45:48

No voice mail that she might have left a message on regarding being out of town? Because at least then you could call after hours when she's not likely to answer if she's there.

 

Re: more drama TherapyGirl

Posted by peddidle on July 18, 2007, at 18:46:45

In reply to Re: more drama peddidle, posted by TherapyGirl on July 18, 2007, at 17:59:12

Yeah, I already tried that-- it's just the regular voicemail message. I only got the number for her office relatively recently, so I don't know if she usually changes it when she goes away or not.

 

Re: more drama peddidle

Posted by sunnydays on July 18, 2007, at 19:46:52

In reply to Re: more drama TherapyGirl, posted by peddidle on July 18, 2007, at 18:46:45

Just so you know, my T says his voicemail has been the same for five years. He never changes it when he goes on vacation, and he just recently figured out how to use his email program so it will send an automatic notification if he's out of the office for an extended period of time and you send an email. Call- I really don't think she'll mind. Or send another email.

sunnydays

 

Re: still no email peddidle

Posted by Dinah on July 18, 2007, at 19:59:16

In reply to still no email, posted by peddidle on July 16, 2007, at 18:48:57

I think it's reasonable to call her and leave a message to ask if she got your email, and if she could call.

Does she have any rules that you know of about contact during the summer?

My therapist used to tell me to just call and remind him when he'd forgotten something. There for a while, I was calling him and saying "Dinah. Phone Call. Reminder." He's doing much better now.

I'm not suggesting you be quite that blunt without her prior permission, which I had. But a gentle reminder maybe?

 

Re: more drama sunnydays

Posted by peddidle on July 20, 2007, at 11:43:51

In reply to Re: more drama peddidle, posted by sunnydays on July 18, 2007, at 19:46:52

Yeah, my T is like that too. She's young, but she admits that she doesn't know how to do much beyond check her email and search for stuff.

Maybe I'll try and wait until Aug. 1. If I don't hear from her by then, I'll at least know it isn't because she's away.

Thanks sunnydays!

 

Re: still no email Dinah

Posted by peddidle on July 20, 2007, at 11:57:23

In reply to Re: still no email peddidle, posted by Dinah on July 18, 2007, at 19:59:16

> I think it's reasonable to call her and leave a message to ask if she got your email, and if she could call.
>
> Does she have any rules that you know of about contact during the summer?

**Not that I know of. In fact, I was supposed to have a regular phone call with her during the summer. She then said that emailing would be better, because a phone call obviously relies a lot on talking and she wouldn't even get a chance to try and interpret my body language.
>
> My therapist used to tell me to just call and remind him when he'd forgotten something. There for a while, I was calling him and saying "Dinah. Phone Call. Reminder." He's doing much better now.

**I think she knows she isn't good about remembering things like that. One time I was supposed to either stop in quickly for a check-in or something, or go to an anxiety workshop on this one Monday (both were, ultimately, optional though). Well, I had sent her an email the Friday before, and when she wrote back, she said "see you Thursday." So I didn't stop in. When I saw her on Thursday, she asked if I didn't come on Monday because of the email. I said yes, and she admitted that she had forgotten about it until she looked at her calendar on Monday and saw that I was supposed to stop in. She said she tends to forget appointments if they are outside of her regular routine. I guess I can't really blame her for that.
>
> I'm not suggesting you be quite that blunt without her prior permission, which I had. But a gentle reminder maybe?

**Yeah, I don't think she'd mind a gentle reminder... actually, she probably wouldn't mind a blunt reminder, either, but you're right, I wouldn't do that without prior permission. I'll think about it, and see if I can come up with a gentle reminder from my typical passive-aggressive repertoire. :)

Thanks Dinah.


 

How's this?

Posted by peddidle on July 25, 2007, at 13:13:07

In reply to Re: still no email Dinah, posted by peddidle on July 20, 2007, at 11:57:23

OK, so I admit I'm really bad when it comes to needing reassurance about these things, but how's this for an email:

"Hope you're enjoying your last few days of summer. Did you get my last email? How do you think I should handle the situation?"

Just blunt enough without being obnoxious?

 

Re: How's this? peddidle

Posted by TherapyGirl on July 25, 2007, at 18:18:39

In reply to How's this?, posted by peddidle on July 25, 2007, at 13:13:07

Sounds fine to me. You might want to add something like, "I'm not sure if you're on vacation or not..."

But it also sounds fine the way it is.


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