TOXIC ATTENTION: THE JEALOUS BFF

Katy Perry gives Rihanna the ol' side-eye.

Katy Perry gives Rihanna the ol’ side-eye.

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

My girlfriend Josie used to be sooooo cool.  But in the last three months though she has  became the biggest bitch going. We were best friends.  Truly, I love the girl. I helped her get a job in my office and we even live together.  I’m not saying she has to be slavishly thankful. But ever since Todd (the football player she likes) gave her the old razzmatazz and blew her off she’s a different woman.  Now she is so two-faced, making comments implying I’m some sort of slut just because guys like me, especially my actual boyfriend Scott.  Sorry Todd’s just not into you.  Josie’s now the biggest attention seeker going. Always lectures me on how I’m eating the wrong thing and how I am sure to get fat. She flirts with every guy with her vapid baby talk. Then storms off when she doesn’t get attention.  She stalks me and inserts herself into all my conversations, interrupting to say how she likes the colors we’re wearing and taking pictures of me and whomever I’m with (!!!). She gets wasted at parties, breaking lights off the walls, taking her top off and running around in her bra. Now she’s trying to split me and my boyfriend Scott up because she “wants me to keep my options open.” Gee, thanks for your concern. I am running out of patience.  When will my old BFF come back?

-Petrissa Q. 

Hatin'.

Hatin’.

You know that movie Single White Female?  Well, meet Single Black Female.  My boss and I are the same type — Black women in our 20s.  Except I’m a size 4 and pretty (you better be if you want a decent guy in Manhattan). My boss is a big girl, with a big nose, droopy breasts from yo-yo dieting and a bigger ego.  Because of her job title and salary she really thinks she ought to have the best of everything, especially guys.  But the only way she can is to pay for a guy — give a broke musician a place to stay, give a bar guy in Jamaica or Dominican Republic spending money or marry an ex-con mechanic.  Not. My. Fault. But I’m tired of her insisting on tagging along when I go out for drinks or clubbing.  We’re not actually friends and she’s just using me to meet men.

-Alexa K. 

WARNING SIGNS

liono

This person is a little self-hating stalker.  She is no longer a genuine friend.  Don’t be fooled — she’s a little bit in love with you and even wants your attention.  Maybe even all your attention. But right now, she hates you more than she loves you.  And she is actively seeking to hurt you

Will it rise to the level of physical violence? Time will tell.  But the undermining, gossip and innuendo will cost you at work and in your personal life.  Whether on the cheerleading squad, in the sorority, in your neighborhood, yoga class or job.

The aggression is real.  The hater hopes you are weak and will believe her negative comments.  She dreams that you will internalize her hateful bullshit.  From nasty gossip to throwing shade, eye-rolling and sucking teeth, you can’t ignore these assaults.  They are meant to trouble, hurt and intimidate you.

It’s not a surprise when, despite her criticisms she starts talking, acting and dressing like you.  Your haircut, handbag, cut of jeans.  It’ll get much weirder before it gets done.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

As much as you can, cut this hater off.  Cut down on the information she knows about you.  Supply preposterous misinformation to make the shit she talks about you baseless and non-sensical. Tell her your arms and legs are prosthetic, you found out your family is really from Russia, tell her you’re an alien, tell her you’re wearing a wig/ weave, tell her this is not your real name, etc.

As long as the bad behavior persists, make clear to others that she is no longer your bestie and that you do not accept or co-sign her behavior.  Stop socializing with her as an automatic part of your clique.

Every time your hater says something bitchy, say “That’s not a very nice thing to say. Would you like it if I did or said something like that to you?”

Alternately, when your hater seeks attention, completely ignore her, walk away, talk to someone else – don’t even comment. And keep it moving.

Attention seekers love being the focus of attention. When they don’t get any attention, they get bored. Sooner or later they find a new target. Trust me, they don’t see you as a human being, they just see you as a tool to gratify them with attention. You’ll get rid of her sooner or later.

FIRED WRONGLY

WORK SCENE INVESTIGATION

My name is Emilia I’ve been working as the Executive Assistant for the President of the American Quilt Museum for four years.  I know everything and everybody. My boss — he always praises me for working hard.  He says the Museum couldn’t run nearly so smoothly without my diligent, consistent efforts. I’m not bragging but one time the Board of Directors sent me a note with a bouquet of pink roses.  It said the Board members consider me “a treasure, part of the institutional wealth of the Museum.”  This is my dream job.  But six months ago, I got a new boss Matilda Campbell.  The wife of a wealthy donor who got a patronage job as my middle manager.  Matilda does nothing every day except put on an outfit, go in her office around 11am and turn everything on, call her friends and family  then she goes to lunch, comes back and leaves by 4pm.  She “manages” to give me all her work since I was doing it before she arrived anyway.  After three months, Matilda gave me a horrible performance review.  I changed nothing about how I work.  And she warns me that if I don’t improve, “there will need to be change to staffing.”  So I have three kinds I am raising as a single Mom — I can’t afford to lose my job.  I go to lunch with one of my Board Members Todd Sorenstein. When he asks how things are going, I give him the lowdown. He swears me to secrecy but he tells me I’m being railroaded out of there.  Everyone knows Matilda doesn’t want to work — she’s a do-nothing political hire.  He says she doesn’t like how well-liked I am so is cooking up bad performance reviews to put her boot on my a**.  After 4 years? I ask Todd, how much time I have left.  He says, “Matilda’s going to fire you after lunch on Friday.”

-Emilia C.

I am Larry Tsang and I got a bad problem.  I got out of UConn in three years and landed my first job for a children’s television Division President Anna Rogers.  You know, the one who invented “Platypus Dance Team,” “Lions Story Time” and “Ring Around the Rainbow.” I know Hollywood types can be a little crazy and I figured I’d do my time and earn my bump up. But four years and no bump — no better job, no better salary, nothing.  When I suggest shows I could go work on or next-level jobs I could take, Anna jokes, “But who would take care of me then?  I couldn’t find anyone better than my Larry.”  And she’s always hugging me which I can’t stand. But the final straw has come in the form of Anna’s beloved dachshund Twinkle.  Anna flies often and likes to take Twinkle with her.  The woman makes millions but insists that I magically get a free seat for Twinkle in first class. I don’t know what regulations changed but nowadays this free seat is impossible.  I just told Anna and she just told me I’m fired.  No recommendation, no bump, no job, no gratitude. Now I know what her ex-husbands felt like – a used tissue, a disposable razor, an emptied packet of low-sodium soy sauce. Done.  Just like that.  Now what?

-Larry T.

WARNING SIGNALS

Anyone who works has to deal with some amount of hierarchy.  And, for managers, it’s a delicate balance to firmly tell your direct reports what to do while remaining respectful and kind. It’s one thing to be the boss and quite a different thing to intend to hide behind the title of boss to demean, exploit and harm with impunity.  Firing someone unfairly is a war cry — it is declaring you and your employee as enemies.  It happens so often because bosses plain ol’ get away with it.

But know this: it is a soul-clawing catastrophe to have to answer to a Psychopath Boss. Today’s miserable job market has made jobs scarce and worth holding onto despite harrowing abuse in the workplace.  The most outrageous part is that while you’re finding out about your Psychopath Boss for the first time, their behavior has been like this for a long time.  You are not their first victim.  You’re not discovering fire, the wheel or America. Rest assured that their peers, managers, ex-employees and Human Resources know about it but continue to turn a blind eye.  

Why does your Psychopath Boss hate you and hurt you? Unfortunately, miserable people will not be satisfied until you are as miserable as they are.  Take heart in also knowing that haters don’t really hate you — they hate themselves because you’re a reflection of that they wish to be.  Workplace bullying is the result. Refer to http://antibullyingcrusador.wordpress.com/2008/04/06/tactics-of-a-workplace-serial-bully-boss/

Since empathy, moral decency and human kindness play no role in any Psychopath’s decision-making process, it’s no surprise that your Psychopath Boss relishes her ability to use, con, deceive, manipulate, betray and ultimately destroy their employees. That’s what psychopaths do. They feed like ticks & tapeworms upon our lives. They live for the sick thrill of damaging happy, younger, attractive, productive and caring people.  You’ll want to vomit your guts up when you stare into their crazy eyes & phony mask of concern as they twist the knife of insult and betrayal into your heart.

But also know, you are far from alone.  Roughly 4% of the populace are psychopaths.  A fraction of those are criminal — violent robbers, rapers and serial killers.  Many of them are able to operate within the law so statistically speaking, there are decent chances that you have a psychopath in your family, school, social circle or work.  And if your Psychopath Boss  who makes work unbearable for her employees is the only one you encounter, count yourself lucky.

But when wrongful termination happens at the hands of a Psychopath Boss, you have three choices: you can let it define your career, you can let it destroy you or you can let it strenghthen your resolve to succeed.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

For now, you need to defend yourself emotionally and psychologically from this Psychopath Boss who is undermining your wellbeing and work reputation.

  • 1. Learn all you can about Psychopaths.

A basic knowledge of psychopathy can save you years of heartache at the hands of a boss you can never please, who never stops lying and cheating  you and who keeps you dangling on the hook. It can give you the strength to move on from a job where your boss keeps everyone in terror by constantly promising the world but only giving you her a** to kiss.

  • 2.  Gather information.

You will discover you are neither imagining things nor alone.  You may even find comrades. You may luck up and uncover information potentially damaging to your manager (cocaine addiction, exploiting illegal domestic workers, cheating on her husband, etc.)  This could be helpful in negotiating a proper exit from the work relationship.

  • 3.  Develop rapport with those who understand your Boss is a Psychopath.

At the very least, you’ll need a job reference from someone who doesn’t hate you to pieces.

  • 4.  Try to get help from Human Resources.

Meh – you can try.  But honestly, don’t be surprised if that department is a useless dead end that only brands you as a troublemaker.  Especially if you litigate.  There is no justice in their bland, corporate hallways.  Their job is to get people out the door and save the company money.  They don’t wanna know and they don’t wanna get involved.  So spare your breath and effort.

Please read this juicy article about how HR investigations exonerate bully bosses: http://dorightatwork.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/why-internal-investigations-exonerate-bully-boss/

  • 5. Get away from your Psychopathic Boss as soon as you safely can.

Move on.  Trust me — it’s not going to get better.  This Psychopath Boss is a disaster on two legs.  And she will try to strip you of your dignity and mobility until she succeeds.

SEXIST DREAMWEAVING

LOVE SCENE INVESTIGATION

Peter insists in every discussion or argument: “You only feel that way cuz you’re a woman.” He chuckles and claims the only thing he as a man can do is nod and agree since I’m always suffering from PMS hormones like all women. No, I always tell him — I’m a person first.

-Kelly U.

According to Gavin, all women are “mean girls” — all catty and competitive with each other.  They are incapable of higher intellectual thought or functioning.  We are best suited to being check out girls or babysitters.  Furthermore, Gavin states women all think “that bitch crazy” at her job.  He has to hold his sides, he’s laughing so hard.  To him, that’s the extent of any conversation a woman can have with a man about work.

-Cecelia S.

WARNING SIGNALS

The sexist man wants to force you into his unrealistic, archaic “Mad Men” view of gender relations.  Nevermind how it doesn’t mesh with the reality that is LGBTQ and beyond.

He’s gonna bludgeon you with his antiquated, derisive “little lady” treatment.  Sickening.

But I think I see what these guys’ problem is. Aside from the lack of logic and virulent misogyny, as long as they continue to act like women are a separate species they don’t have to relate to us as fellow human beings.  And they can focus their energies on golf and football, hunting and boobie magazines.

TROUBLE-SHOOTING

You need to tell this fool about himself and cut him off.

Life is too short.

Any questions?