Dealing With A Toxic Person Who Wants You To Fail & How To Be Strong

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    I hate my supervisor. There, I’ve said it. I try not to hate anyone, but she does everything she can to belittle and undermine me and make me feel small. I work in the same room as her and have to see her every day. She’s really terrible. I had no idea people could act this way, but her pettiness, vain nature, and obsession with success and what she can’t have is soul-crushing.

    She is the perfect spoiled little rich girl always complaining how hard her life is, but she’s too blind to see her own failings and thus blames others for her failures.

    I come from an immigrant family where we had to work hard to get by and were always worried about money, so listening to her gripe about her life and the lady who didn’t do her hair right at the salon and how HARD her day to day world is (oh, how awful! expensive vacations! private school and a good fully-paid education! parents who will pay all your medical and therapy bills for you! actual xmas presents at xmas!) is just unbearable. I know she is a sad, lonely person, and she has even said this. She has even said she doesn’t have any friends. But she is judgmental, critical of others, petty, doesn’t listen, and is just not a pleasant person to be around at all, so I can see WHY she doesn’t have any very close friends. She’s downright exhausting. It’s just too much. She has to be always be right. You can’t talk back to her. I can literally SEE HER EYES GLAZE OVER when I talk to her.

    A family member of mine was in the hospital and I had to miss work to go see him and she asked offhand how he was doing when I came back and I could see her eyes glaze over when I started talking about my family. Then she cut me off and went on a rant about the failed healthcare system and her own medical issues. My family member could have died, but she wouldn’t have cared. She just has no empathy for others.

    Her life is full of gossip and complaining about everything she doesn’t have. How do I deal with these feelings? She’s narcissistic, thinks everyone desires her, is often mean to others just to be mean. Plus, we are both in the same profession and she tries to undermine me to build up her status. When people compliment me and say I’m talented, she challenges them and says the compliments should actually be directed to her because she’s JUST as talented. Why do people act like this? Why do women try to beat other women down? She’s tries to make me feel worthless and incompetent on a daily basis. Plus, she’s a bad communicator and a terrible supervisor and scolds me for not doing things she didn’t even assign me to do. Is it a mind game? Probably.

    I seriously think she may have borderline personality disorder. What’s worse is I never know when she’s going to explode. She’s very two-faced. For instance, now she’s being sweet as pie to me, but I can just think of all the times she was awful and I just… I just don’t trust her. The perks of this job are pretty wonderful so I don’t want to leave, though I know, with her supervising me, there is no room for growth and it’s pretty much a dead-end with the company. I feel lost.

    How do I find inner peace to put up with her when she is constantly trying to make me feel worthless? I feel like in another life she left me to rot in a dungeon or something and we are dealing with past life regressions now. Her worldview is so distorted she wants the big house, the fame, the respect, but just complains about how others are keeping her small.

    I won all these prizes for my work, and she shrugs them off and only tells people of my failings or how inefficient I am and then nitpicks on small details that are really very confusing. I want to stay in my job for now, but she is so toxic and soul-sucking. She’s an emotional vampire. I never knew people like this existed.

    My coworkers say it is because I am extremely more talented than her and more beautiful and am reaching outside success so she’s just picking on me cause she can’t deal. Is this true? Why can’t I see my own self-worth?

    At this point she’s taken away most of my responsibilities at work and a once creative job is now mostly full of data entry. It’s boring and I feel under utilized. I know there will be more toxic people I will face in my life. I would like to be strong and I know this can be a test to better face the future, but I am kind-hearted and don’t think mean thoughts of others and I hate that I am thinking defensive, mean thoughts about her.

    Help. Why do people treat others like this? Is it envy? Is it their own personal pain? Is it all of the above? She says when she meets someone nice she likes to try to make them cry just because. Thank God she has never made me cry, but I am filled with anxiety. The site of her makes me feel sick. Just the way she walks into the room. Haughty. With a chip on her shoulder. (Though she claims she DOES NOT have a chip on her shoulder. She’s really delusional and it’s driving me crazy to be around someone who is so blind. Is she messing with me? Ahhhhh.)

    I try not to give her any power in my life, but I really hate being around her. She’s unpredictable, moody. It’s like walking on eggshells whenever she’s near. She moans about how she can’t find love and she should be able to find love because she is beautiful and witty, and I just don’t know what to say to her. I really hate her view on the world. Help me. Please. Any advice. She says everyone’s viewpoints are boring and she is the funniest person she knows and she can’t find a man as interesting as her. Who the heck says that in the real world? Honestly, I am not making this stuff up.

    She is always putting SOMEONE down and it is NEVER her fault. I know she is her own worst enemy and will probably be her own downfall, but she’s really, really baffling and hard to be around.

    Man, writing this all out… maybe I should just quit. But no. I like having a small commute. I like the benefits here. The flexible hours. How do I find the inner strength to put up with such a toxic, soul-sucking person? I feel drained just being around her. Why do people push people down just to try to build themselves up? I keep thinking if I can build a protective forcefield around my soul then she can’t f’ing touch me and I’ll be free and safe.

    Any help is much appreciated. Apologies this is so long.



    Perhaps the force field you’re looking for is a popcorn bucket. You have a front row seat to quite a show! Don’t let her scrambling and scratching become personal, define you… she’s far to absorbed in her own mess to see you at all. So, obviously her judgment will be wildly inaccurate. Let it slide on by, enjoy the show, munch some popcorn. What narcissistic personality trait will reveal itself next? I’m on the edge of my seat!

    Or, perhaps bail. Don’t let the allure of “security” undermine the happiness of your life. You could find a different job, different career, even, if it meant you don’t have to be sprayed with toxin every day. Life doesn’t need to be an endurance trial, and if you’re miserable a lot, you’re doing it wrong. 🙂

    With warmth,


    Hi lostandlovinit,

    Wondering if this person is exhausting because you keep trying to please her or change in some way so that she or her attitude changes? It must be a really difficult situation. Draining. For your sake, what might you need to change so that you aren’t so tired & feeling hate in her presence?

    For yourself – maybe try taking her her words, appearance, work style, as a fact i.e. try not to judge – they just “are”. Practice on less emotive items first like watching tv, reading emails, talking in benign situations: without reacting just register the words & events (as facts, if you like but without judgement or emotion) then move mindfully to the next moment. Be a detached observer when you can. It can be very calming when you don’t ‘buy in’. You may be able to step back & see her behaviour towards you for what it is, see your choices more clearly & make decisions about your life from there. Trying to change another person is almost guaranteed to ‘end in tears’ – yours most likely.

    Without strong emotion you may be able to make the best decision about what is right for you rather than reacting to what is ‘wrong’ about your supervisor (& possible themes of you feeling perhaps lesser or unworthy, incapable etc). Being an observer can often change dynamics & you sound very strong from the above & would most likely be easily able to make the transition to watching rather than engaging or judging.

    If we choose we can change anything about ourselves but we can change nothing about others – influence is a far more powerful tool but that’s another story 🙂

    Good luck with your chosen path & be Buddha brave. Let us know how you go if you wish.



    I feel your emotional pain my dear friend. I am very good at my job and considered very beautiful by many people. Not a good combination to accept for some small souls like your supervisor and mine.
    I learned so will you! DO NOT let that b…. take over your life. You are both working there, if she was so reach and wonderful why is she working for someone else and not even for such a hefty pay cheque! She is not any better than any other employee in your company, she is just stupid small soul.
    How much of your time you actually have to spend directly with her? NOT MUCH I bet. And she also has a supervisor. You don’t know what insecurities and fears she might be facing.
    DO NOT let her take a second of your personal time. Be polite and professional in your work place. Do your job, no matter what she took away. As long as your pay didn’t change it doesn’t matter what or how much you do in given circumstances. And things change, she may leave the company, she may be fired, one never knows.
    Build strong relationship with your family and your friends. Vent. Make fun of her, say whatever makes you happy but vent only for a few minutes and let it go. Enjoy the rest of your day, enjoy your weekend, enjoy your life. Don’t give her control, ignore her.


    Thank you all for your feedback. I’ve tried all of the above and it’s definitely helped with trying to keep my feelings in check when around such an emotionally draining person.

    Also, focusing on the good. Not letting her occupy my thoughts or cause me anxiety/stress outside work. Sometimes I forget, but it really does make a difference – being grateful for what is positive in my life and not obsessing over people that make no sense to me or people who I feel have treated others wrongly, for whatever weird reason!

    Recently it has come to light that I am not the only one who feels this way and my coworkers have commiserated with me about having to walk on eggshells around this supervisor. We recently all discussed her constant mood swings, accusatory delusional behavior and general insecurity and lack of managerial skills.

    I know it’s awful to admit, but it made me feel somewhat better knowing I was not the only extreme target of this woman’s delusional, explosive way of thinking. Not sure if that’s borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder or just family patterns on how she was raised shining through. Does it have to be diagnosed? Does it matter?

    Either way your thoughts have been helpful in dealing with such an unstable person on a regular basis, and I thank you for that.

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