Friday, July 03, 2009

No, no, please, no.

I always wind up being some kind of de facto moderator in lots of situations. I think that's because I tend to like most people, and I tend to be a problem solver, and I don't tend to get angry and yell.

Well, I may be getting sucked into another one. I want to resist it but I can't, seeing as one of the parties involved is someone I share a workspace with.

This individual - let's call him X - isn't sharing the workspace totally equally. Some of his stuff is on "my" side, but I've never said anything, because I probably don't use that workspace to the degree he does.

However, he's now decided - since, he is Mr. Important Wrote-Two-Books - that he "deserves" space in one of the other faculty's workspaces as well.

And he moved stuff over there, without asking the faculty member. And talked about "throwing away" stuff that isn't being used - which is stuff that is actually University property, and therefore is illegal to throw away.

Well, when my other colleague - let's call him Y - found out, he got very angry. He called me and a third person (Z) in for a meeting (X is on vacation this week, that's why X wasn't in on the meeting.)

The phrase, "pissy little bitch" may or may not have been used to apply to X. Which makes me both cringe and giggle. Because yeah, some of X's behavior of late could perhaps, at the outside, be described in those terms.

Well, anyway, Y sent an e-mail to X about it. One thing he said? "IF you have issues about how ricki is sharing the space with you, take it up with her."

Sorry, WTF? That wasn't something that came out in our previous meeting. In fact, I had told Y that I had 1/3 of the workspace and X had 2/3 - AND I HAD SHOWN HIM.

So now I'm going to have to deal with X wanting even more of my space. And I'm going to have to deal with the fallout of X being irritated - X can be kind of passive aggressive and take stuff out on people who do NOT deserve it - because he's pissed off at Y, so instead of going and talking to Y he's going to bitch and scream to ME, because that means that he won't have to confront Y.

And you know? I'm done. I'm done with being his "trouble tree." I'm done with listening to all the crap that goes wrong in his life. I'm done with listening to him whine about how he should be entitled to something more than the rest of the faculty get, or to release time from teaching, or some other frakkin' thing because he believes he is more important than us.

(He actually said something along those lines to our secretary - who he has really rubbed the wrong way, as well. I hope she doesn't get fed up and ask for a transfer, or decide she's got enough years in to retire, because I doubt we'd ever get anyone as good as her again).

So if X gets all pissy when he comes back, and starts venting to me about something that does not DIRECTLY concern me, I am going to simply say, "I am busy. You need to go take it up with Y (or Z or whomever)." I am done with this. I am done with having my good moods destroyed, my time sucked away. I am done with being a free therapist for this guy.

Now I just need to stand strong and have the guts to say to him, "I don't want to hear this, this does not concern me, please do not drag me into it" when he starts.

X DID send a rather contrite e-mail in reply, but I'm fearful - because it was so short - that it was him barely controlling anger that will then come out - and be directed at me - when he comes back.

What is the best way to deflect the anger of someone who is angry because they feel they are entitled to something and aren't getting it, and they are taking it out on a person because they are just ANGRY?

I am not good at dealing with that kind of anger - when I get really angry over something, it is usually some injustice, and I try to use that anger as, "This is something that needs to be fixed and you can be the person to try to fix it" and then I calm myself down and call whatever office is screwing over the student (often times I get angry at Financial Aid) and try to discuss it with them and work something out.

When I just get the "free floating" anger - like when someone cuts me off on the road - I tell myself to calm down. I don't go to someone unrelated to the situation and "kick the dog" by screaming at them.

So I don't know how to deal with someone who feels thwarted and is yelling at me to deal with it - do I just sit there and listen and nod and in my head imagine myself walking through a huge sunny quilt shop full of fabric I want to buy, or do I say, "Stop. This is not my fault, do not take it out on me." or do I say, "I'm sorry, I have to be somewhere now" and leave the room (doesn't work if I'm working on research) or do I yell back or do I try to talk soothingly like you would to a snarling dog or do I burst into tears and say, "What do you WANT me to do about this? I have so many things going on in my life right now I can't keep track of all them" or what?

I hate human interaction some times.

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