I have a boss that hates me. She only talks to me when the other lady is not in the office. She will ignore me most of the time. When I ask to take a day off we always end up in a conflict. She will embarrass me in front of the students. I can't take it anymore, but I need my job.
I don't know what to do.
I don't really have a lot of information to go on so I will have to do a bit of guessing. It sounds like your boss is rather immature and tends to mix up her duties as an employer or manager with that of a friend. She evidently personally likes the other employee and is not staying in a professional framework of neutrality. This would account for her only talking with you when the other person is not available. It certainly is not right and it does not help to assure you that this is common. It does happen frequently, but would still hurt. We all expect a boss to be fair, impartial and to put their personal likes and dislikes aside. This would create an atmosphere of detached caring. This can only happen with someone who is extremely mature.
This person, however, seems to be shame bound as well as insecure. If she is embarrassing you in front of other people on purpose, then that is actively abusive and usually results from disliking herself and needing to put down others so that they can feel better momentarily. A problem like that usually stems from childhood experiences with a dysfunctional family. Essentially, they hate themselves to such a degree that they project (see what they hate about themselves in you) and lash out. That makes them feel a bit more powerful for a while. Other members of their family while growing up usually repeatedly did this.
If someone has been abused, they internalize both the role of the victim and the role of the abuser. They actually can go into a hypnotic trance during the abuse and remember in detail what it felt like to be abused and everything the abuser did. This is internalized and split off which results in partially liking yourself and partially hating the self. That causes a massive amount of tension that is difficult to resolve. If a person replicates the past by either victimizing someone else or getting themselves abused again (subconsciously) this relieves the tension for a short time. This is why people tend to sexually abuse if they were sexually abused and why people often marry alcoholics if they had an alcoholic parent.
Usually, people who abuse have an uncanny knack of picking people who have been abused in some fashion and therefore have poor boundaries. If someone feels strong within, and has the ability to say no when appropriate or confront someone if they are mistreated, the abuser doesn't bother them. This is just like pecking orders with other animals. The one that doesn't stand up for itself gets picked on.
The best way to change someone who is treating you poorly is to confront him or her quickly, firmly, but in a detached way. This is hard to do when a person is not used to it or is scared. It is very difficult with a boss because we need employment. However, I think we often take much more than we really need to and have more personal power than we realize. If you say it firmly yet respectfully, it often goes well and the boss will probably be shocked and have more respect for you in the long run. If this seems too difficult at the moment, that would indicate the need for personal counseling or a class in assertiveness, which are given in many schools.
This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.
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