"That's what you get, now fix it."
March 7, 2010 11:23 AM Subscribe
Am I experiencing "bully feelings"? I feel like slapping my coworker for being so insecure.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure I come off as a total bitch with that headline, but please note I do not plan on acting on my feelings, I'd just like to understand them better.
I have been working with this woman for a year now, she is in her mid 30s and has extremely low self esteem. It's just me and her in a small team of two, so we are working together very closely. Our personalities are very different, probably polar opposites. She doesn't believe in her own abilities despite being brilliant at everything she does. She is a complete doormat and will let people walk all over her. If someone shat all over her she would probably politely thank them and ask if there's anything else she can do for them today, and then go to the bathroom to have a cry. If, in a month, she has aced 999 tasks and failed one, she will cry and beat herself up over the one failed task. I, on the other hand, am borderline cocky - I know my strengths and I use them.
I started off by feeling sorry for her. Despite being 10 years her junior I felt like taking her under my maternal wing. I'm pretty sure her lack of confidence originates in past bullying, both at school and by family, and I realise that this is a deep and complex issue which I have respect for. I have not asked her too much about it. I have tried to offer her my support and encouragement, but she will brush off my efforts, which is somewhat annoying but fine. I understand I am not in a position to "save" her in any way, she'll need some hardcore professional therapy for that, but I have let her know that I am there for her and will also automatically stand up for her in situations where she's incapable of doing so herself.
However, I am now finding that her behaviour is starting to infuriate me. The "poor me I'm a victim" aura isn't evoking nurturing feelings in me anymore, I'm "over it" and it's hampering our work. It makes me feel like if she can't stand up for herself and grow some balls, she deserves to be shat all over, and it almost pleases me when that happens because "that's what you get, now fix it". I know how bad that sounds... I realise that my reactions are unhelpful at best and harmful at worst, they scare me a little bit, and will not tell/show her how I feel - but it leaves me wondering, is this how bullies feel? What am I experiencing here? Why am I so cold all of a sudden?