The Solution: Get Out Of His Frame
You can completely solve the problem by learning how to respond assertively and calmly, and with determination acting independently of him, all the while NOT falling into the "frame" of his accusations or attempts at domination and control.
Disclaimer: I make some assumptions about the dynamics that are going on for you. These assumptions could be invalid or sound like I am coming from an arrogant perspective. I beg you to use the "shopping cart" method: you only put in your shopping cart the things I say that you like and think can help you. The rest? It simply doesn't apply and isn't about you. Is that a bad deal? If not, keep reading. For what it's worth, why do you think I know about these resources—obviously it's because I have needed them myself. So I'm in no position to judge anyone!
Here are my best recommendations for how to do that:
Go watch all the videos you can on how to stop communicating low social status to others and start communicating high social status. Start with those on the Charisma Matrix YouTube channel. Watch the ones that interest you. Watch related videos that interest you. (Ignore the videos that channel has about being more interesting to women. It doesn't matter that he talks about that, too—the rest will apply to you.)
Get the audio book "Never Split The Difference" by Chris Voss. You can get it for free if you have never had Audible, by starting a new Audible trial (make sure you put an item in your calendar to cancel the trial before you get charged the next month—and you don't need the trial running to listen to the book). My advice to get the audio book instead of the printed book is very deliberate—you need to hear that voice saying all the things. Listen to the book twice.
Search for resources such as YouTube videos, or self-help books, on how to stop being a people pleaser. If you don't think this applies to you, that is okay, you can still use the techniques that a people pleaser would use to change the results you're getting.
I promise you that these resources will make an incredible difference in your life: IF you are ready to learn them, and you invest time, energy, thought, and a little courage into trying them out, with the determination to not let some friction and failures in the beginning stop you from your journey.
With these techniques, for the most part you will not be addressing him directly about the content of his slights. That is because it is low status to be defensive, and it is a losing game to directly defend yourself publicly from his individual accusations. Your defense has to come from another source. Specifically, let's say he says "I had to teach it all to you" and you say "you did not have to teach it all to me" then you have lost, because you were forced to respond within the frame of his accusation. There is always a way to reframe it so that you are not playing the game.
Think of reframing this way: imagine that he sets up a chess board and puts all the pieces down where he wants. He makes you sit down across from him and then makes a move that puts your king in check. You move your king away from check. Then you both get up and walk away. Did you win anything? No, you did not. You were forced to defend yourself at a game you didn't ask to play. Instead, you have to find a way to not play the game, or to change the rules, or to switch seats, or to put another chess board underneath his so that when he makes his move, it clearly affects the lower board in a way advantageous to you. Does that make sense? Learn to stop playing his game.
I'll explain a little below some techniques that I am mostly getting from the above resources and also some personal experience in the past. Note that I'm going to call your rude coworker Joe to make it easier.
Stopping You From Speaking
How does he stop you from speaking? It is probably interrupting you, right? How else could he stop you? So don't let him interrupt. Reserve something very important or insightful to say until the very end of the meeting, then say it. If he tries to interrupt try the following:
- Ignore him and keep talking. Right over him. Look at the person who you are talking to (not him), and turn your body toward the management member. Do not turn your body toward the rude person. If anything, turn your body away from him a little. Don't acknowledge his presence. If you want to, you can optionally hold up a hand in his direction like you are saying "stop" or "just a minute", but don't look at him.
- Or, give him a glance when he interrupts, say "stay with me", and turn back and continue talking. Do this every time he interrupts like you are a crazy monotonous robot that has ONLY one, and instant, response to being interrupted.
- Or, you can directly address the interruption. "Joe, do you mind, I'm saying something to Steven here and I think he would like to hear me out. Would you like to hear me out, Steven?"
- Or use a technique from the Charisma Matrix channel. Turn toward him after he has interrupted and started saying whatever it is, and say his name over and over until he lets you talk "Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe." then when he stops, pick out some aspect of his words that you can agree with and say, "I agree with you. This project is too important to trust to contractors. That's actually what I was going to bring up." Then turn back to the other person and start saying what Joe was just saying, but add more detail and go farther into your information. Every time he interrupts, do the same thing and take over his point as your own.
Of the most importance here, though: you MUST NOT GET UPSET OR ANGRY. Speak in a low tone of voice with your inflection falling at the end. Do not speak in a high pitch or let your inflection rise, like you are asking a question. Every word you say with both your content to the other person and your statements to Joe must sound like you are royalty or a drug lord—absolutely secure in your position and there's no reason to get upset. You are not flustered by interruptions. You are not bothered by embarrassing statements. He is a bug. Why do you care what a bug says? He is a worm on the floor. Can a worm make you feel embarrassed? No it cannot. It can only wriggle and squirm and try to find something nasty to eat.
Dominating Every Aspect Of Your Work
Flatly: don't let him. Write down your reasons and information on paper. Make it objective. Practice your statements. Reject his ideas when they don't make sense. Stop thinking like you are a software engineer, and imagine that you are now the supervisor of yourself, almost a manager-level employee, and your job isn't to do the work that he or other people hand you. Your new job is to start acting like a business owner, a stakeholder in the very business itself. You are now a project manager, a team lead, a software designer, a meeting designer, a customer, an efficiency expert, or whatever other roles help you stop thinking of your job as mere software development.
Of course, you always have your "employee" at your disposal: you, the software developer, who knows a lot of stuff and is good at your job and can Get Things Done... but not just Things, Things That Matter to the Business. You, the project manager, can start directing that awesome developer to do the right things. You can start pushing back on a project by saying "this isn't the right thing to build, we should do this instead as it matters more to the business" or "why are we even doing this? Who is the actual customer here?" or "there's no way this project will take only 6 weeks, either we have to cut features or we need more time or resources."
When you start thinking of your job this way, and yourself this way, his control of you will start to fade away. You will wonder how you ever thought him a threat or followed his ideas blindly or let him dictate your work. Listen to Software Engineering Radio episode 333 and episode 317, and really think about how the whole software development process should work. What are you really doing? Can you learn a new way? As you slip into a different way of thinking about your work, Joe will just fall by the wayside.
One way to think of this is that you are going to start acting like God. Not in a religious sense, but in a sense that you aren't subject to anyone else to tell you who you ought to be, and no one else can possibly criticize you. You are the only one who can criticize you, and you might accept ideas from other people, or projects from your boss, but you are running the show now. It may be a one-woman show, but it's your show, and if you know you are good, no one can stop you.
Initiating Jokes on You
This may be the hardest part, but you need to start laughing at the jokes and brushing them off. You've unfortunately gotten trapped in a dynamic where he knows you don't enjoy the jokes, so every time he does another one, and he and others can see you are discomfited or embarrassed, he pushes you down socially and lifts himself up socially. This has to stop. If you are God, though, why would you feel embarrassed? You know who you are!
Start by praising him for his jokes. "Joe, you really did a good one on me that time. Did you see how I jumped? What a great joke!" Change your thinking about the jokes. Your new goal is to learn to see his jokes as a puzzle that your smart software developer mind can solve.
Try making some jokes on him. Or on other team members. Do NOT get petty or angry or spiteful. They have to be funny. He has to laugh, too.
Get some advice from trusted wise friends on how to laugh at his jokes, even if they seem embarrassing. Perhaps you could seek out therapy or counseling for this aspect. It is important for you to find a way to feel secure enough inside that his jokes don't bother you any more, then they will stop.
Perhaps this anti-bullying video by Brooks Gibbs or this one could be helpful for you to understand how your distress is what fuels Joe's actions. There's a different way that puts you in charge!
He Can't Stand Your Appreciation
Above I already spoke about interrupting, but now if he's interrupting someone else who's praising you, then try these:
Pam starts praising you. Joe interrupts. Try one or all of the things listed above to stop him, then, "Joe, I'd really like to hear what Pam has to say. Do you need to say something important right now that really can't wait until she finishes?"
"You're so right, Joe, I almost do nothing around here. You're such a better software developer than I am. The learning is all on my side and the knowledge transfer is all on your side! I only hope I can be as good as you are some day. It's absolutely true. You did all the special work on this project and I just did the unimportant parts. Everyone knows you're the real brains in our team. But I'd like to hear what Pam has to say, anyway. Pam?" You have to say this with no anger, bitterness, or other negative emotions in your body and your voice. It has to sound like you really mean it. If you are careful not to be seen, you can give your praiser (Pam?) a wink. Act like God!
You can do this. You can learn and grow. Changing the situation is possible, but the only person you have control over is you. So change you! Dig into the resources I've shared, or other resources that you seek out and find. Good luck in your journey.