By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Content Agency
Q. I know I am a very vengeful person, and I really would rather get even than get mad. I believe in "karma" but also think some people really need to be punished when they run others over. What do you think about vindictive feelings? How do you deal with people making bad allegations against you?
A. When my clients feel as you do, I point out that vindictive and vindicated are similar words for a good reason. Most deeply revengeful emotions are about wanting to force someone who has hurt us to experience the same situation they've put us in. On an unconscious level we believe if that person is made to feel what we felt, they will finally have empathy.
Unfortunately, the people in our workplace that are most likely to put us through hell are the least likely to have any empathy for others (even if we take action to put them in the exact same hell).
What I recommend is always to make your well-being, peace of mind and ability to sleep well your top priority. Don't ever let revenge plans side track your own welfare. It's what I do and what I recommend to my clients.
Also question your belief that bad things only happen to bad people. The truth is that plenty of bad things happen to good people. The difference is that good people will make good things out of bad events. Good people tend to learn, grow and become more resilient and creative in the face of bad things.
Yes, I know there are others in your workplace who will point fingers at you when bad things happen and believe there must be an equal sign between your value and external events. However, if you glance even briefly at human history you'll notice there are tons of wonderful people that had bad things happen.
I am also a big fan of embracing your inner frustration and creativity in composing elaborate get even strategies - that you are not going to implement. The mere act of imagining all the terrible things you will do to the person who hurt you and discussing these evil plots will bring humor and catharsis to your situation.
If you are accused of bad things at work when you are innocent, you'll also immediately discover who you can trust and who was never an ally. Coworkers who treat you as innocent until proven guilty and don't take joy in the accusations against you are staunch allies. Coworkers who immediately treat you as guilty should never be trusted again.
Also keep asking yourself to identify the reality of your circumstances. We all have a tendency to assign global, terrifying meaning to challenging events. My clients make up horrible things like, "My reputation is ruined, I'll never find work again, and I will have to change careers."
Don't be your own worst enemy by making up things that are far beyond the actual challenge you face. When you feel emotionally overwhelmed, ask yourself to describe the facts about the problem. Make a note of the differences between the facts and the ruinous story you are telling yourself emotionally.
Bad accusations naturally bring up shame in all of us. Shame is the sense that there is something wrong with us but we don't know what. Negative accusations make us feel that our badness has been discovered by our outer world.
Remind yourself that the outer world really only sees your behavior and language. Your workplace and all the humans that inhabit your office will never have magical powers to evaluate your inherent goodness or value!
Bad times truly don't last, but good people always do and are the wiser and more strategic for their experiences. Lastly, getting a fabulous career, life and personal peace truly is the best revenge!
The last word(s)
Q. I have some goals that I think are out of reach. Should I be realistic and accept my limits?
A. Heck no! Shoot for the moon, since you'll hit a few stars, rather than give up without even trying for the moon.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
This was printed in the March 19, 2017 - April 1, 2017 edition.