Difficult co-worker interactions

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rainydiary

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Difficult co-worker interactions
« on: June 08, 2020, 12:42:23 PM »
Hello community,

I am currently on a break from work (I work in public schools and have a summer break).  I feel some stress as I don’t know what work will look like when we return and my job is already tricky to navigate at the best of times. 

I am struggling with one coworker in particular.  She and I had a disagreement the last day we were in the building together.  What that disagreement helped me see was the context of a lot of random comments she had made to me.  It helped me see how passive aggressive she had been towards me and that I wasn’t picking up on what she was poorly trying to communicate.  My struggle is more about my inner critic critiquing me for not getting her passive comments. 

I am worried that I won’t be able to stand up to her when we return to work.  She treats me like someone she is in charge of when really the way I work with her students is up to me.  In trying to stand up to her I become really wordy and passive aggressive in return. 

I am trying to think my way through this and think I’ve been ignoring some feelings that I pushed aside so that we could work together during a difficult time.  I had opportunities to stand up to her that I didn’t take. 

I’m wondering what others have useful in navigating difficult coworker situations. 

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notalone

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Re: Difficult co-worker interactions
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2020, 01:21:19 PM »
It helped me see how passive aggressive she had been towards me and that I wasn’t picking up on what she was poorly trying to communicate.  My struggle is more about my inner critic critiquing me for not getting her passive comments. 

It is confusing when someone says one thing but means something else. You are not a mind reader and her poor communication is on her.

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Snookiebookie2

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Re: Difficult co-worker interactions
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2020, 02:28:20 PM »
Hi rainydiary

I wanted to say that I hear what you say. Work and relationships with work colleagues are the main cause of my problems.   

I hope you don't mind me sending you a supportive hug  :hug:

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Three Roses

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Re: Difficult co-worker interactions
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 02:44:15 PM »
Passive-aggressive people are so frustrating. I guess we all have a bit of it (saying yes when we mean no, dragging our feet, etc) but the ones whose communication style is 100% p-a are hard to work around. Especially when they seem to think they're your manager!

I Googled this to help me write a response to you and found this article - https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/passive-aggressive-coworker/ which states in part;
Quote
“The aggressive part is motivated by the same things that make anyone aggressive.” Maybe your coworker feels wronged, threatened, or offended.

“The more interesting part is what makes people passive,” Crabtree says. “I believe it is fear. Unfortunately, conflict between people has been dangerous or deadly throughout human history. It’s natural — and even useful — to be conflict-averse. In passive-aggressive people, their fear stops them from being direct, but their aggression leads to them acting out or speaking up in passive ways.”

Compassionately understanding that their passive-aggressiveness is their issue and has nothing to do with me helps me stay true to my own standards of communication.

Having a firm grasp of my own goals and responsibilities as spelled out by my actual managers has been useful to me in the past, when I was still working.

I hope I've been supportive and helpful in my response.
 :heythere:

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rainydiary

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Re: Difficult co-worker interactions
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2020, 02:58:15 PM »
Thank you all for the thoughts and hugs! 

I am noticing that my brain wants me to blame myself for things that aren’t really my fault.  I have tried to give this person openings to share how she really felt and she always says “everything is fine” while acting in a different way.

I also do respond to my world through a traumatized brain.  While running today I realized that while I intellectually understood that my brain responds differently than someone that didn’t grow up in trauma, I am finally understanding that on a different level (if that makes sense). 

This person is especially tough because she has worked in the district for a very long time and this district loves to value those who have stuck around more than the people who are newer yet were hired for their experiences and expertise.  They love to use this idea that “we’re doing what’s best for kids.”  I genuinely think they believe that is what they are doing yet it also sets up unhealthy dynamics between adults.  I also believe that we have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of our students.  That may be some of why I have conflict with this person - I have established boundaries and she hasn’t. 

I really think I have been handling the situation as well as I can. 

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Three Roses

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Re: Difficult co-worker interactions
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2020, 03:04:28 PM »
👍👍👍

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notalone

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Re: Difficult co-worker interactions
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2020, 03:35:32 AM »
I also do respond to my world through a traumatized brain.  While running today I realized that while I intellectually understood that my brain responds differently than someone that didn’t grow up in trauma, I am finally understanding that on a different level (if that makes sense). 

Yes, that makes sense. In many parts of my journey I have levels of understanding &/or acceptance.

I have established boundaries and she hasn’t. 

I really think I have been handling the situation as well as I can. 

 :applause: :thumbup: