I have a coworker who is driving me insane. She talks loud, and a lot, and always about herself. I have given her every social cue I know - not looking at her, continuing to work while she talks, walking away from her in mid-sentence (and she follows me!), and her incessant chatter, combined with her apparent neediness makes coming to work more and more unbearable.
~ A little peace, please!
The Irritant in the Mirror
Dear Peace Seeker,
One of the greatest gifts we are offered to understand ourselves is found in our judgment of others. When we have a strong negative emotional reaction to another, as it seems you do with your coworker, it is an indication that something within ourselves is being mirrored back to us in the behavior of another.
This is called "projection." When we feel something about another that we are too afraid to see in our self, we are projecting our feelings onto someone else. Much like a projector found in a movie theater, we continually have various stories (tapes) playing inside of us (like the movie reel on a projector) that look for a screen to play out our stories and beliefs. The people, places and things in our own world become our personal movie screen. What we see is a reflection of what's inside of us.
We must be willing to find out that we "are" what we least want to be. When we become curious and ask ourselves, "how am I like that?" instead of declaring, "I am not like that" we open the door to ourselves. When we do not "own" (which is simply saying, "I am that") what we are unable to accept about ourselves, everyone and everything around us mirrors this quality back to us.
So the way to make peace with your chatty coworker is to ask yourself this question: "In what ways am I like her?" Resist going there, and continue being irritated, or unwrap the gift that is so cleverly disguised as another's annoying behavior.
Michele O'Mara, LCSW