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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello Kate.What are several ways I can take power away from

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Hello Kate. What are several ways I can take power away from our night supervisor? He has no people skills. Whenever I always come to work, smile at him and to say hello. Whenever I hear him run me down to someone else or as I walk by, just ignore him and keep on walking like it doesn't bother me and maybe show a smile. Act like I am happy there. I have always worked hard and there has never been a complaint about my work. The only thing that seems to bother me is the namecalling by him. This shouldn't bother me as no one likes him as a person on the night shift but it still does. He was running me down to the new worker and he didn't say that but he didn't deny it. I offered to give him a ride home and I said dont believe all the negative things you hear about me. He laughed and said I am a good guy and that felt good to hear him say that. My night supervisor ran me down to another worker before and that did not stop him from coming to visit me at my apartment and bringing his wife. Nobody is wanting to be the night supervisors friend except the grocery manager, our boss. I think it is because he feels sorry for him. He has no life, and he hates his father. The other place where our night supervisor worked, my grocery manager said he was glad he rescued him from there. My mom says you can't prove he is talking about me, did you hear your name involved she said. If I confronted him about it and said I heard you say these bad words were you talking about me. He would lie. If I tried another approach, saying to him that his behaviour is rude and unacceptable. I dont feel this would work with this guy as he has no people skills and he has no life and would go back to running me down again because of his low self esteem. I just can't assume everytime I hear him running someone down that he is always talking about me. He goes from one person to the next running people down so it is not just me, but I feel more of the namecalling is at me. Instead of talking to my grocery manager, one worker complained about him and he said to just ignore him. Maybe the best solution with his namecalling is to just ignore him and carry on. I can think to myself that I am not going to respond back to him with namecalling or arguing because that is what he would want and I will be lowering myself to his level. By showing his namecalling is not getting to me, ignoring him and keep on smiling, I am taking power away from him would you agree? I can think to myself that he has an unhappy life and low self esteem and that is why he runs people down and this is not my fault or problem, that is his. My mom says to be more like Johnny. He used to work there. He never runs anyone down and everyone likes him. I have made the mistake several times before talking about him in the work place and my mom said if you dont have anything nice to say about someone don't say it. I felt before, if he is going to bad mouth me I will do the same but that is the wrong approach. No matter how nice I try to be he will still run me down sooner or later. He likes to run people down and when my night supervisor runs me or someone else down that makes him look bad so why would I want to be like my night supervisor by running him or someone else down who no one likes as a person. This behaviour of his is giving himself a bad personality trait. He is digging himself deeper and showing more of the bad person he already is that almost everyone would not want to be friends with. Is this a Good Approach to help me get over the namecalling Kate? By him not coming to my face and saying these bad words, this shows he is a coward. It is always easy for him to run me down with my back turned or as I walk by. I will think to myself I will not lower myself to his level and that he is a coward and just an immature kid for behaving this way. By not responding back to his namecalling, smiling and keep showing I am happy working there, I am taking power away from him. I can also imagine holding up a large mirror and as soon as I hear him run me down I will deflect those harmful bad words right back at him, and imagine those bad hurtful words coming right back at him and he is being zapped by a lightening bolt. Thinking with those bad words he is saying, it is not coming at me and this is not who I am as I am deflecting his bad words right back to him,as these mean words belong in his vocabulary, not mine. This is who he is for running someone down. That he is not worth getting worried or upset over. If he is worrying me,stressing me out or making me angry, he is winning. He would like for me to argue back with him and if he sees his namecalling is worrying me or upseting me, he will do it all the more as he knows he is getting under my skin. I can also also imagine him as a mosquito trying to get on my skin and whenever I hear him namecalling, feeling he is talking about me I will swat my arm, imagining gitting rid of that pest mosquito. Are these good strategies to think of Kate to help me get over this namecalling?
Hello, it's nice to talk with you again!

You are doing the right thing by not acknowledging your supervisor's behavior. From your description of him and his behavior, it sounds like he is not able to relate to others very well because of his poor self esteem. He must feel so bad about himself that he focuses totally on his perceived "faults" of others and trying to bring them down so he doesn't have to face how he feels.

You are absolutely right that by ignoring his behavior and being pleasant at work you can win everyone else's friendship and prove that your supervisor is wrong with what he says. But I also think you have more power than you think. Your supervisor does not realize that in his attempt to make himself look better than everyone else by running them down, he makes himself stand out as a person no one wants to be near. So in a way, he does the very thing to himself that he is trying to avoid- making everyone dislike him. And your co workers see it very clearly. They may feel sorry for him or dislike him but they do see him for what he is. Since your co workers do see him for who he is, anything he says about you will automatically be ignored. No one is going to trust anything he says. Even your new co worker picked up on it right away. So your supervisor must be pretty obvious in his attempts to run you and everyone else down.

Your strategies for dealing with this are good and solid. It is not easy to deal with someone who tries to get under your skin at every turn. But try to see him for what he is- a very sad person who has no self esteem that is trying desperately to feel better about himself at the expense of others. Everyone sees him for what he is so he can't even be deceptive in what he does. He feels that bad about himself.

When he does say these things about you, you may want to try asking yourself if you feel they are true. Of course they are not, but by asking yourself you allow for any doubts you have about your own self esteem. And if you question yourself about what he says, then working on your own self esteem will help you develop an even stronger barrier against his words.

Overall, though, you are doing a very good job handling this guy. People like him can get under your skin, making it hard to focus on your job and develop good relationships at work. But even through all that he tries to do, you are focused and making a great effort to cope with his problems. Keep on doing what you are already doing and when you feel it gets too much, talk about how you feel. The support you get can put you back on the right path.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you Kate. So you feel the mosquito squatting strategy or the large mirror strategy deflecting his words are good ways to deal with namecalling and when you metion to keep on doing what I am doing to just keep quiet and ignore his bad mouthing and smile using either one of these two strategies giving the message like I don't have a worry or don't care what he or anyone thinks about me. You metioned when I feel it gets too much, over worrying or being too upset with his namecalling to talk about how I feel. The sypport I get will put me back on the right path. Do you mean talking to a type of counselor in the city where I live or life coach. I have talked to my mother and sister about our night supervisor and to her boyfriend and they have made me feel a little better talking about it.

Yes, I do think what you are already doing is a very good way to handle it. It isn't easy and sometimes his badmouthing you can get to you, as it would anyone. That is when it's good to reach out. If you feel seeing a counselor over this would help, then that is fine. But if talking to your mom, who seems like a wonderful (and wise!) support to you, your friends and to me works for you, that is fine as well. You just need someone to vent to and to support what you feel. But other than that, you are doing a great job handling this situation.



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