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Ignore temptation to undercut co-worker

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: I have a very pompous, inconsiderate co-worker that I just found out something very juicy and very embarrassing about. I can easily use this against her – in an anonymous, passive-aggressive way, of course – to cut her down to size. I know it’s a bad idea. I just need some moral support in being convinced not to.

Moral support not to do something amoral – it’s meta-morality!

So here goes: You know using this tidbit against your co-worker would be wrong ethically, and you know that just because someone is pompous and inconsiderate doesn’t mean that she deserves to be the target of an anonymous, vitriolic attack that violates her privacy and humiliates her. (What is this, the Internet?)

It would also come back to you, somehow, some way, whether through karma, guilt, or it actually being traced back to you and getting you into trouble.

By all means, deal with her insensitivity and ego by standing up for yourself and calling her on it. But doing something like this? That’s not going to prove anything except you’re capable of worse behavior than she is.

Q: I have two kids with my boyfriend of 10 years. When we were in high school, I cheated on him. I told him the truth and he cheated to “get back” (or to see what he’d been missing out on). Now there’s no trust at all. When he’s mad, he says things like, “We’re only together for the kids.” But when we’re on good terms, he says those statements are just out of anger and he wants to have another baby. I really want to be with him and marry him, but I’m exhausted over the same issues. I’ve asked him to consider counseling but he says it doesn’t work!

So he claims that he has anger problems, and they make him say cruel things he doesn’t really mean, but that counseling won’t work. I suppose the sitting-on-his-rump-doing-nothing-instead technique is winning awards for its efficacy?

I am bothered less by your history (though it’s a doozy) than by his seeming unwillingness to work toward the future. It will take a lot of effort to work together toward a healthier path. If he won’t go to counseling, then you go alone. And please don’t even think of Baby No. 3 until – hmm. For now, let’s just leave it at “Don’t.”

Andrea Bonior is a psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com
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