What I’m about to say may really surprise you. I once worked with someone that totally drove me crazy. I actually had to mentally prepare myself to see her face and have a conversation with her. Yes, it was that painful. And after I spent a few minutes with her, I was exhausted like I had just run a marathon.


This strong reaction just mystified me. Why did this woman drive me crazy? Why did I feel the emotion just well up inside me when I was in her presence?  Many years passed before I totally understood WHY I reacted so strongly in our interactions.


Have you ever found someone in your office annoying? I’m talking about someone that just seems to bring out the worst in you. Does it make you feel out of control? Maybe if you understood why you were having such a strong reaction, it might help you deal with the situation in a more effective manner.


You can have a strong emotional response to someone that triggers one of your life values. In fact, after much analysis, I realize that’s what was evoking such an intense reaction in me. You see, my co-worker was far from an authentic individual. She put on airs and pretended to be someone that she definitely was not. Her inability to allow others to see her true self, just totally turned me off. One of my strongest values is authenticity. I strongly believe that people should be true to self and others. Someone that tries so hard to be something they are not, triggers me. At the time, I didn’t recognize this in our interaction. If I had, it would have made it easier for me to deal with her behavior. Instead of just emotionally responding to her actions, I could have consciously worked to understand her behavior.


You can have a strong emotional response to someone that displays behavior that you subconsciously feel represents you.For example, you are constantly triggered by a woman that works in your office. She’s a really nice person but you can’t stand to interact with her. You look for reasons that the two of you don’t have to socialize or work together.


The truth is that you have struggled with being able to advocate for yourself since the beginning of your career. In meetings, you have difficulty finding your voice and speaking your mind. You would have moved up in your career by now if you could overcome this deficit.


When you interact with that co-worker, it’s like looking in a mirror. You are reminded of all the ways that you don’t measure up. Of course, you don’t realize that this is happening. All you realize is that you can’t stand to spend time with her and you feel irritated in her presence.


You can be triggered by a co-worker that reminds you of someone in the past. Actually, this one has happened to me before. Apparently, I reminded a past co-worker of a sister. I had this epiphany while we were in the middle of a meeting. As she hurled accusations at me, I realized that she sounded like she was talking to a sister. I interrupted her accusations to calmly ask her if I reminded her of a sister or someone. Her face turned white and I had my answer.


If you are presently dealing with someone that gets under your skin, the trick is to look inward. Once you understand WHY you are having this reaction, it will make you feel much more in control to handle the situation.

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