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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Got caught up with a toxic female co worker

    Hey all, it's been ages since I have posted here or any forum for that matter. But I am in urgent need of advice, as the stress is getting me down. Also I am sorry this is so long.

    At work I have got involved with a female who has turned out to be quite toxic. I first got to know her after i was promoted into a new team and I have been getting along well with all of my team mates. But she seemed to always present herself as a victim, and i did see people quite often get distant with her and other times i saw people be quite firm with her. The way she'd handle it made me feel sorry for her, so i reached out to her one day to see if she was ok. After reaching out to her she more or less latched on to me. She moved herself to the desk next to me and talked and talked all the time to me during work hours about her issues with people. Then every break was expected to be spent with her. Then she was facebook messaging me on my days off asking how my days were as I am part time, and then she'd go on about things happening at work and how she is such a victim. When i would be back at work it became really clear as well that I wasn't allowed to speak with any people that she didn't like. So i started to feel isolated and that she was the only person I was allowed to associate with. It became suffocating, and my relationships with other people became effected. If someone she didn't like came over to speak to me, after they walked away she would then go on and on about how they don't talk to her and how she thinks they don't like her, and how they're such a nasty person.

    It all came to a head though once I realised my stats have failed dramatically since having involvement with this girl, so a couple weeks ago when she messaged me on the weekend, i told her as nicely as I could that I was going to move to a desk where i am away from people as I am stressed about my stats and need to re-focus on them. She didn't take it well, and she told me that I am just part time so the company wont care about my stats.... I told her that is far from the case, and that mine are just as important as everyone elses and I hate letting down the team.

    She told me that she understood, and that she will move desks. I told her i don't expect her to. She then sent me messages saying "And whatever i did to p*ss you off I am sorry" and I felt myself shutting down at the moment as I have given this person endless emotional support for week and weeks that i just needed to put myself first now. So i told her that i never said she upset me, that i feel i have explained myself enough and that i was really tired and stressed"

    The next day she was sitting in the same desk that she was in, so to stick with my plan i went to a different desk. Then a person she didn't like said good morning to me, so I said it back to them and asked how they are, so then i was glared at by the girl and she gave me complete silent treatment. I saw her in the lunch room and said hello, she asked what am i having for lunch and I told her, i then invited her to come sit with me to show her I still am her friends, but she grabbed her lunch and went and sat in her own booth away from me. I decided to leave her be then and she gave me complete silent treatment for the whole day and instead started talking to other people who sat in our area about how I have 'turned on her and ditched her'

    Then throughout the day the people sitting in our area started acting awkward with me. I wasn't talking about her to anyone, yet she was clearly going to town about me.

    The following day when i went to work, she started emailing me aggressively telling me I have been horrible to her and she doesn't understand why i moved away, and that how could i take the new desk without telling her first. I asked her why do I have to tell her where I am moving to? And she told me its because it was the right thing to do by her.

    I asked her that i didn't want to stop being friends, but I don't know what to think now after she snubbed me at lunch. She told me that me sitting in my own booth sent the message to her that I snubbed her, otherwise i should have asked her where SHE plans to sit and followed her. It's like she decided I had a whole lot of making up to do with her now but because I was just doing my own thing, it was hurting an threatening her.

    I ended up telling her that I felt she was controlling and too demanding of me. That I will do whatever I want as I am an adult. She then tried to change the events that happened and made out I said things I hadn't and all this crazy making stuff. I became upset and asked her to leave me alone so i could work.

    Now she is just going to town telling people how i have abandoned her and treated her terribly. There are some people who are acting weird towards me now. I just don't understand why this has happened just because I wanted to sit alone to focus on my work. Another good friend of mine at work did the same thing when her and i sat together. There was no problem with it, she moved to where she said it was a quieter part of the room and we're still as great friends as ever, so that's why i felt this other co-worker would understand as well.

    I am feeling stressed from it as she is on my facebook but it's clear she's put me on limited profile now so i have done the same with her.

    This has happened all because I wanted to help someone who seemed to be in need, and now it appears she's put me in the position she was in by making ME be the isolated one in the group now.

    Sorry this is so long. I feel uneasy going to work now. I have moved to a desk on the other end of the office to get away from it all as the people she is badmouthing me to now were making me feel uncomfortable by giving me silent treatment with her.

    What should I do about this? How would you handle it? I don't want to go to HR or anything. I just want her to grow up and understand that we're there to work and that's all I wanted to do, and i never wanted to stop being friends but she has well and truly ended the relationship now.

    I don't think this will fizzle out either as she seems be super angry now and avoids me at all costs, but also glares at me across the room. It's just so horrible to go there now.

    Am i actually the bad one here? As I feel confused and starting to think maybe I am? Her reaction is so harsh and extreme towards me over what I though was someone so minor.

    Last edited by Serenity Love; 31-03-2017 at 11:32.

  2. #2
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    I learned the had way that if someone plays the victim card each and every time you speak to them, get the hell away.
    They're not a real friend.
    They will suck the life out of you.
    Unfortunately in adulthood and parenthood, for the sake of socialising, I found I was putting up with far more than I would have had I been single and carefree.
    I've never suffered fools or users and when I put a few things in perspective I just cut off contact.
    You're in a different situation though.
    You'll have to see her every day.
    I totally understand the energy she's taking from you.
    Even now when it's come to a head, she's still acting like a child and having to lower yourself to be on her level is such a heavy hearted feeling.
    I wouldn't try be her friend.
    She will do it all over again because that's how she operates.
    If you have seen others keep their distance I doubt they're going to believe a word that comes out of her mouth.
    Focus on yourself and others in your environment, make that space a happy place to be.
    Sure you can be polite to her, in fact I think I would over do it but that's me, I'd get a giggle on the inside about that, but I wouldn't extend any offers to socialise outside of work hours.

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  4. #3
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    Wow. You poor thing.

    To be honest, I think you should speak to HR for ideas about how to deal with it. You can do so without having to lodge a "complaint" and it doesn't go any further with them other than giving you feedback of options.

    The other option is to send an email (to each of the others individually) (don't send to the other girl) just saying you have felt some tension in the office as a whole and believe there is a lot of misunderstanding about what has actually occurred between the you and the other girl and that you would love to clear the air with the person because you have appreciated their friendship and don't want whatever problems may happen with other staff to affect the one between the 2 of you.

    Give each person an opportunity to have a discussion with you, but make sure you don't say anything bad about the other person, just state that you don't believe both sides have heard, you don't wish to air dirty laundry and that you hope you can work without this hanging over you.

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    Keep all the emails. Speak to your manager/supervisor. Let them know the situation.

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  7. #5
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    You mentioned you work in a 'team' - do you have a team leader you can talk to this about?

    Perhaps these negative vibes could be hashed out in a team meeting?

    This lady sounds needy, controlling and very immature. I am guessing your other team mates probably know what she is like, but they probably don't want to get involved in this latest segment of drama.

    I would not want this to interfere with my work or make me miserable, so I'd be keeping my distance from her and just getting on with my work. This should blow over. There's only so long she can carry on about it before it gets old - she's going to look bad/unstable if she continues making an issue of it. People will soon realise it is her who is the problem.

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    Thanks heaps for the replies.

    My gut was going off about her from the beginning but for some damn reason i got caught up with it all and it was like she owned me suddenly.

    I have kept records of all emails etc. Yeah we have a team manager and i did speak to her about it, but she is very meh about it and even said that I handled it all wrong by telling the person through facebook, and instead if i just moved desks without saying anything then it would have kept it more casual, so I am responsible for her reaction now.

    I also don't think my TM is aware of what this person is truly like, as my manager also told me she is a lovely person so it will all blow over and we'll be friends again. TBH i felt worse and very invalidated after speaking to my TM. she basically put it all back on me and even asked me "how would i feel if someone moved desks from me" and i told her they have and i didn't care, and she just looked at me as if she clearly didn't believe me.

    I sent my TM an email the following day advising her that due to other workers acting cold towards me now where I was sitting and how uncomfortable it became due to my fall out with the coworker, I have relocated to the other end of the office. I did that to start keeping a record now of the events that are happening with it. My TM replied with saying that she thinks everyone should move around and mix up where they sit, and that maybe people being cold towards me is all in my head. I found her reply really odd and unsupportive.

    Yeah i plan to just keep my distance from her. But it's like i don't know what do do or how to act. When i see her should i still say good morning? Or just completely ignore her? I feel like by ignoring her I am playing her own game and she's using it against me now. Ugh. I so can't be bothered with this drama.
    Last edited by Serenity Love; 31-03-2017 at 12:59.

  10. #7
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    If you are seen to be ignoring her, then if she makes a complaint, she could use that as proof.

    I think Be the same nice person you would be to anyone else in the office that you know by name and face but don't know personally.

    I.e saying good morning, hello, goodbye as standard. No need to go overboard.

    You don't need to do anymore than that IMO, just enough that people could see you were being civil.

    That's a shame about the TM, they are either oblivious or don't care. I'm not sure which is worse!

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  12. #8
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    Still say good morning, as you would with any other co workers, but I would keep any other interactions to professional only.

    I wouldn't have conversations about her to any of your co workers. You don't need to give them your side of the story or participate in a tit-for-tat game with her. Instead, I would keep a diary, noting anything negative done towards you.

    I would also remove her as a Facebook friend immediately.

  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicmama View Post

    I would also remove her as a Facebook friend immediately.
    I really want to, but concerned it will make her victimize herself even more and will make her worse. But that shouldn't matter?

  14. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity Love View Post
    I really want to, but concerned it will make her victimize herself even more and will make her worse. But that shouldn't matter?
    If you keep being professional, polite and not engaging in her drama, people will work out what she's like soon enough 😊

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