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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi there,i havent used this service for a while. I need

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Hi there,
i haven't used this service for a while. I need suggestions on dealing with a 62 man who is a work colleague, he is very intense and shares my office. Initially being the friendly person that i am we got on very well, but in the last month i became aware that he was becoming to "in my space" and almost like a 15 year old, seeking my attention, listening to my phone conversations, asking questions about my work when he didn't need to know and generally being in my space a little too much. Its nothing sexual at all but i feel that he's very needy and acting like a 15 year old, it came to a head about a month or so ago when we were having a conversation about something that he became very angry about and which i thought he was overeacting, he was almost trying to start a fight with me and this is when i decided that there is something wrong with him mentally and he was becoming a little obssessive, i told him we will have to agree to disagree and from that time one i have taken 10 steps back and just get on with my work.

now he tries to start conversations with me and i dont engage for too long, he sends me emails about the most trivial things just to seek my attention, this morning i came into work to find a cup which i found for him to use when he started a year ago on my desk and he told me that he was sorry that he had taken so long in returning it. I dont think he can comprehend that he was crossing my boundaries at all.

Im finding that i feel anger towards him which is actually masking a little fear because ive had two men in my working life who became obsessed with me when i worked with them, again not a sexual nature but just fixated on me and i did nothing to warrant it just am a kind person and both occasions were very stressful with one man who was married mind you crying because i stopped talking to him.

I dont think this person handles life very well but i dont need to be responsible for their feelings im 44 years old and have worked hard on my own issues and i would really appreciate some strategies to manage this person before I angry with them and tell them to back off and grow up. I have had discussions with their manager and made them aware of the situation and that i am basically just doing my work and not saying much to him, unfortunately we work in a very small area and his desk is almost next to mine so that doesnt help either.

any suggestions of dealing with my brewing anger/anxieties with this will be greatly appreciated.

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


Setting boundaries with this man is a good way to get him to leave you alone. Decide what you feel your boundaries should be. For example, if he approaches you with something personal, mention to him that you are busy. Be polite but firm. And do not show emotion such as irritation or anger. This only tells him that he can affect you anytime he wants. Repeat your message as necessary. If he inquires whether or not he has offended you, say No, I'm just busy. Say that to any of his attempts to reach you emotionally.


As long as you stick to your point, he should get the message.


To handle your emotions, realize what is making you upset. Is it his behavior, your fear that he will stalk you, or something else? Once you identify why you are feeing upset and angry, then you will be able to respond to it. Most likely, part of it is because this man's behavior makes you feel out of control over your own space that contributes to your feelings. When someone invades our personal space, it can cause anxiety because we feel the need to defend ourselves. With this man always in your space, you are most likely feeling overwhelmed.


As you notice yourself becoming upset, take a deep breath. This will help you focus. Using the response we talked about above will help you feel more grounded and in control. Focus on repeating your message calmly and firmly. This gives you a measure of control over the situation. You no longer have to worry about how to respond to him. You already have a response no matter what he says.


If you can, schedule a walk or time out of the office during the day. This will help you take a break and give you the space you need from this man.


Are you allowed to keep desk toys at work? There are many helpful toys to let you work out your stress and anxiety over this situation.


Also, keep track of any behavior this man has that bothers you. Keep a journal in your handbag (it may get seen if you leave it in your desk). Jot down dates, times and what happened in the journal. Then if you need to take the situation back to the manager, you have proof of what happened. You also will not have to rely on memory.


If you feel the situation gets more out of control and you cannot relax at work, consider talking to a counselor. You could use the support to get you through.


I hope this has helped you,

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I haven't heard from you. Did you have more questions or want clarification?



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