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One of my senior coworkers who is in a position of significant responsibility hates me and has been hiding it for months by behaving like a wolf in sheep's clothing to protect his status and reputation in the company. He is able to remain professional, sympathizes with my views and occasionally does acts of kindness to my face with the aim of earning my trust, but behind my back when I cannot see or hear him, he has used a number of underhanded methods to stab me in the back, which I will list below:

  1. makes cuts to my bonus pay without me knowing

  2. pulls strings in the dark by ordering other staff to berate and yell at me with the intent to cause mental distress and evade responsibility for bullying in the process.

  3. baits me into situations to make me look bad in front of management, or sabotages my performance at work by doing the tasks that he knew I was preparing to do to give management the impression that I had wasted time and resources in doing needless preparation

  4. Change or alter a situation after I had made a report to management to give the impression that I was dishonest or mistaken

  5. Portrays himself as the good guy by saying to my face that "I believe you deserve more bonus pay over co-worker X", which seems to be consistent with his act of distributing more bonus pay than co-worker X on that same day, but in reality, he was forced by management to distribute more pay to me from the bonus pool as he was ordered to do so.

  6. Excludes me from social gathering and chats in the workplace, but does it in a way that makes it seem like co-worker X is responsible by pulling strings in the dark AGAIN. Co-worker X would look displeased and annoyed by my attempts to join in on their conversation with the backstabber and try to isolate me at work, but I have come to realize that he was under the backstabber's influence.

  7. Does everything in his power to deny me training and promotions to prevent me from advancing in the company, and ensures that I receive all of the dirty work that no-one wants to do.

I had no clue this guy harbored such a deep-seated hatred against me, and I only made aware of this when a co-worker who the backstabber was on better terms with had informed me about this due to pity. I'm just astonished how one person in a position of power can hinder your growth within a company like that. Before I believed that progression in a company was performance based, but now I have come to the stark realization that corporations are hopelessly political and your advancement is entirely dependent on the authority figure's approval, or favor, to be more precise.

Given this situation, the only solution I could think of was to just quit. I feel helpless knowing that your company career can be over simply because a powerful person or senior in a corporation hates you for whatever reason, and the hate need not be ethical or justified. It can be due to be bigotry, homophobia, envy, not apologizing for the most trivial things, or just plain discrimination. Since the more emotionally intelligent individuals are incredibly sly and cunning, they know how to gain power by means of psychological manipulation and abuse it to bully and harass people they don't like, all the while getting away with the harm they have inflicted. I find it hard to trust people now that I have met an individual extremely skilled at deceit, as shown by his ability to maintain an image of benevolence and innocence while driving a knife in my back and twisting it around this entire time.

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  • hi Rémy. Your question is rather long and has too many details. any way you can cut it to the core problem and stick to the facts? Have you talked to your manager about this? – aaaaa says reinstate Monica Jul 10 '20 at 2:15
  • This is pretty serious. Would you know why he is targeting specifically you? Can you gather hard evidence and record the incidents? – notsure Jul 10 '20 at 2:33
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    Does he just do it only to you, or to all your coworkers? How do other coworkers see this person? The problem is that its quite difficult for one person to influence everyone like that to the point that they disdain you, unless you did something particularly bad. Most people are able to see if someone is defaming someone else. And if you bring this with HR, and HR sees that all the senior coworkers agree that you're the problem and not him, they will believe the majority. – notsure Jul 10 '20 at 3:13
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    A lot of things are not adding up, and I don't recommend you to jump into conclusions and assumptions. If you are not happy with how he is manipulating others perceptions of you, can you do anything to clear it? For example if the coworker thinks you are unwilling to help, what is stopping you from sending him a message or going to his desk? What exactly is he doing to stop you? And also usually in a typical office everyone knows who the liar is, and rumors fade away. If you are a hardworking honest friendly coworker, and prove it via your behaviour and work, other coworkers can see that. – notsure Jul 10 '20 at 3:56
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    Two faced people exist and I understand how unpleasant it is interacting with them. I would recommend to distance yourself from him as much as possible, be cordial, and focus on repairing your relationships with your other coworkers, and hopefully aim to form a network of coworkers you can rely on and they on you, and maybe also be able to vent about the 'backstabber' later on. – notsure Jul 10 '20 at 6:00
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Based on what you wrote, I have the following opinion:

  • if your colleague is really doing the stuff you claim he is doing, that is bad; however, you do not seem to have much proof for your claims;
  • there is a lot of improvement room for your professional behavior.

makes cuts to my bonus pay without me knowing

So he is a kind of a manager, not a simple colleague (senior or otherwise).

pulls strings in the dark by ordering other staff to berate and yell at me with the intent to cause mental distress and evade responsibility for bullying in the process.

Also, he must be some kind of a manager, if people actually follow his "orders".

baits me into situations to make me look bad in front of management, or sabotages my performance at work by doing the tasks that he knew I was preparing to do to give management the impression that I had wasted time and resources in doing needless preparation

Why do you fall for the bait in the first place?!

You do not "prepare" to do tasks". You make a record in the official tool / system that you start working on a task, then you dot he task. Agree on that with your manager / project manager. If you do that, you can easily prove that your colleague stepped over your responsibilities - and you have proof of that, not just angry feelings.

What is preparation anyway?! Making coffee? Having a snack? De-cluttering your desk? The way I see it, it is indeed useless. You work or you do not work. It is that simple.

Change or alter a situation after I had made a report to management to give the impression that I was dishonest or mistaken

Make reports based only on the information that can be proven with data from the official systems. If you provide your feelings, then anyone can make a mess. And in a business, only hard data is important.

Portrays himself as the good guy by saying to my face that "I believe you deserve more bonus pay over co-worker X", which seems to be consistent with his act of distributing more bonus pay than co-worker X on that same day, but in reality, he was forced by management to distribute more pay to me from the bonus pool as he was ordered to do so.

Again, it looks like he is a kind of a manager, if he distributes bonuses.

Excludes me from social gathering and chats in the workplace, but does it in a way that makes it seem like co-worker X is responsible by pulling strings in the dark AGAIN. Co-worker X would look displeased and annoyed by my attempts to join in on their conversation with the backstabber and try to isolate me at work, but I have come to realize that he was under the backstabber's influence.

Build better relationships with your colleagues, independent of him. Create your own gatherings.

Does everything in his power to deny me training and promotions to prevent me from advancing in the company, and ensures that I receive all of the dirty work that no-one wants to do.

So again, it looks like he is a kind of a manager - only a manager has the power to allow or deny trainings.

Also, work is work. You are supposed to do the work that you are given, not to hunt the easy or interesting tasks. Again, you should improve your attitude towards work.

If you think you need trainings, then make a list of those trainings, and provide very solid arguments why you need those trainings. Also prioritize the trainings by importance and impact on your work. Present the list to your manager, and he will act according to his reasons.


Additionally:

coworker harassing me, stabbing me in the back, and undermining my work

hates me

has been hiding it for months by behaving like a wolf in sheep's clothing

He is able to remain professional

he has used a number of underhanded methods to stab me in the back

baits me

sabotages my performance at work

the backstabber

under the backstabber's influence

this guy harbored such a deep-seated hatred against me

Before I believed that progression in a company was performance based, but now I have come to the stark realization that corporations are hopelessly political and your advancement is entirely dependent on the authority figure's approval, or favor, to be more precise.

bigotry, homophobia, envy, not apologizing for the most trivial things, or just plain discrimination

emotionally intelligent individuals are incredibly sly and cunning

psychological manipulation

abuse it to bully and harass people they don't like

an individual extremely skilled at deceit

driving a knife in my back and twisting it around this entire time

Do you notice the kind of language you have? Do you notice that your attitude is far from professional, regardless of profession? You think strictly in terms of emotions. Everything out there seems to be designed to be against you.

Well, things are probably quite different from the point of view of your colleagues.

My best advice is to talk to your boss, explain the situation to him (but in nice words, not like the ones here), and ask your boss to be on your side (as a coach) while solving this situation.

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    Excellent recognition of OPs vocabulary. They are most certainly in a very emotional attitude....and appear to be naive in the work world seeing what is possibly only authentic authoritative behaviour as something personal. Though, I would also not be surprised if the manager did purposely do some or all of the actions the OP describes...some people just have it out for ya. – morbo Jul 10 '20 at 7:02
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    @morbo: unfortunately, I had colleagues and bosses even worse than it was described here - so I agree with you, that guy might actually be guilty with everything that was presented. But OP is surely not innocent either. – virolino Jul 10 '20 at 7:06
  • Also, OP May be able to find a mentor within the company, some senior empathetic type. – Michael McFarlane Jul 10 '20 at 17:03
  • There are people that will use any method at their disposal to improve their standing at work. There is a reason why the incidence of psychopathy amongst management is higher than among the general population. If a manipulator is doing their job well, one is left in a position such as OP. I agree OP is probably emotionally charging the situation, which is not helping. Still, I think it would help to explain to OP that the behaviour may not be directed at him on a personal level - simply doing your job well can make you a target for such a person – bytepusher Jul 11 '20 at 12:07
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Most of what you describe only happens in bad TV shows and it's neither logical nor consistent. You are clearly upset so it's possible that you misread the situation. Try to find a trusted peer or colleague and have your assessment fact checked.

  1. If your assessment is mostly correct: find a new job as soon as possible
  2. If your assessment is mostly incorrect: adjust your perception and attitude.
  3. If you don't have a trusted colleague: you are doing something seriously wrong.
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To avoid the sea of comments...there is unfortunately too much to unpack in your post, allegations on top of allegations, untrustworthinesses and hearsay all compounded with conspiracy, anger and abuse.

It appears to be that the OP is being affected by a manager, or rather the manager has gained the trust of the OP to a point and is now gaslighting the person, also committing fraud, possibly theft (through a form of mandatory bonuses) and outright lying and colluding in some kind of conspiracy out to get you.

There is unfortunately a huge lack of evidence beyond words and although it’s terrible if it’s all true, at the moment there is little to do.

My only suggestions to you, assuming you want to keep the job are:

  1. calm down
  2. Be happy you are now aware something is going on
  3. Start documenting everything in a notebook that is dated everyday,
  4. Start keeping/archiving (printing out on paper ) and looking for all emails that are relevant to the situation and this person.

Detailing everything during your day in point notes about your assignments and interactions with people that are noteworthy, good or bad, it may appear tedious, but it’s a good beginning to help remembering things you’ve done in the past, but it will also begin to show trends of specific interactions that can be used as evidence later. Don’t become suspicious of everything, don’t leave the notebook laying around for others to read, and only write when you’re alone. Ideally leave it at home...but having to wait 8 hours to fill it in might be unhelpful.

You will want to now stay cool and calm, now knowing you’re aware of a possible (alleged) conspiracy against you, you will gather evidence of this and then start considering your actions against this person and the repercussions that will come along with it, namely the fallout of filling harassment or conspiracy to higher-up managers, to HR and or to the correct authority in your business and how your coworkers, and other relevant people will see you from this moment onwards.

You may find yourself on a chopping block in the future depending on how you go about the situation and not the manager or if failing that, stuck with employees, as another poster put it recently, walking on eggshells around you.

Considering searching ’hr is not your friend’ on this website.

Depending on jurisdiction this is not only offensive at work but could be criminal and if you need to go to the authorities or consider legal action of some kind against your employer or a specific employee you absolutely need evidence and to talk to a lawyer.

Get your evidence, see if you’re just imagining things or if you really did deserve to be disciplined have docked bonuses or it was a clever conspiracy made by a jealous more senior employee(s). (Unlikely there is more than one person against you in my opinion) If this really is the case, make your move and talk to the correct persons for the action you want to take.

Your documentation will show a clear trend of what is going on.

Our memories as humans isn’t the greatest, especially when we feel threatened.

Paper doesn’t lie as long as you don’t.

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