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Conflict Insults Feedback Yelling

There is one person in our department who has been making sugar-coated mean little comments to me and taking shots at my work whenever she can. When she did it again last week, I completely lost it and blew up at her. The problem is that I did this just as our manager appeared, and I ended up getting a verbal warning. Now what should I do?

In the corporate arena, you are like the athlete who gets unmercifully fouled, but the referee does not see it. And then, when you take some kind of retaliatory action, the referee turns around and punishes you.

Granted that it is not acceptable behavior to "lose it" and scream at a co-worker, it is not as if your behavior was either the first salvo or a random act of aggression. Nonetheless, you are viewed as a loose cannon because you blasted a co-worker.

At this point, rather than letting your insulting co-worker continue to drop verbal scuds on you, tell her in a clear and businesslike way that you find her constant insults to be upsetting, unfair, and unwarranted, and you want them to stop now. You can promise her that if they continue, you are going to discuss them with management. At the next sign of an insult, keep your promise.

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