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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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Interacting With Coworkers


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It is possible that this woman has a significant emotional or personality disorder. If this were indeed the case, your best course of action would be to stay away from her as much as possible. People with personality disorders can be very toxic in the workplace and it is not good for your emotional health to be involved with such a person. Request a different work area if possible, and be cordial but distant.

We all have to deal with a certain number of difficult people during the course of our lives. Since this person is not in your inner circle, e.g. parent, child, sibling, spouse or in-law, be grateful that she is only a work acquaintance and that you do not have to live with her – enabling you to keep your distance from her.

It seems that you enjoy getting along with others, perhaps making you a people pleaser. This is not a bad trait, but be prepared that in this case, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to please this person.

You must make a decision to not care so much about what she says while attempting to establish healthy relationships with others in the office. To reiterate an earlier point, her possibly toxic personality may worsen if in fact she is jealous that you have a fuller family life than she.

Whatever the reason for your coworker’s behavior, your situation is obviously difficult. Create a support system for yourself, so that you do not begin to internalize these negative feelings. Furthermore, keep reminding yourself that this situation is not of your making and that you have no control over other people’s feelings. And as you continue to be kind to others, remember that their happiness is ultimately up to them. Hatzlachah.

Dr. Yael Respler

About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.


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