I Am the Villain In Someone’s Life Story

by robinhardwick

This week I learned that there is someone who carries intense hatred for me. Not annoyance, not a dislike, but a burning, unstoppable, all-consuming hatred of me. I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and some people would ahem, prefer, not to be in my company, but I assure you, this is different. This is someone who actively uses their mental capacity and time to infuriate at the thought of me. They have, for over several years , been carrying a grudge so large that they can’t seem to shake it. This woman has spent much of their time plotting to make things bad for me.

Spoiler alert: she has failed. Multiple times.

“What the hell did she do to gain this person’s hate?” is something you probably asked, after pausing to look up at the sky pensively while reading this. The simple answer is: everything. And maybe nothing.

For several years it was safe to say that during our professional tenure together, myself and this person did not necessarily like each other. We came together in conflict occasionally but otherwise just tolerated each other. I had no respect for her professionally, and did not necessarily enjoy her personal company. Yea, alert the media. People at work not liking each other! Nothing new to see here. In fact, she was not the only one I didn’t care for, and vice versa! As I mentioned, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I know that.

Several years ago, my supervisor at the time sat me down and explained that she was required to investigate a claim that was made against me. It involved engaging in inappropriate use of our work computers, and it was completely false. It was a matter of taking something someone overheard out of context and stretching the truth in order to get some dirt on me. I explained the situation, and my supervisor believed me, and considered the case closed. [I have never had anyone make any such claims since, and I always have high performance reviews.]

Cut to almost four years later, and I am in a meeting with said person and a third party suddenly takes issue with something I say that was innocuous and inconsolably upset and begins to lash out at me, letting this avalanche of hate on me over things that I have done and perceived to be done, along with the aforementioned incident. Now, nothing incites my IBS more than interpersonal conflict, and as you can imagine that having someone make a list of things they hate about you and list them off doesn’t feel good. I was more stunned than anything, and the HR-minded voice in my head told me to “just be quiet and not engage” as this woman just dug herself deeper into inappropriate work outbursts. I eventually left the meeting, and felt…stunned. Amazed. Not insulted, not upset, but stunned.

Someone has that much hatred for me? Me? Should I be flattered? A quick analysis of the reasons for this hatred came down to issues her therapist should be earning their salary on, not mine, including:

(1) professional jealousy. This person hates their position, and I came in soon after them at a higher position, and then soon rose up the ranks (and I use ranks loosely, this is not exactly Wall Street), and I am in good favor with the leadership of the organization, because I, oh, I don’t know, get my work done, am logical, and don’t bring my personal shit into work stuff. (I’m like a Vulcan! The hot Zachary Quinto kind.) This person has stayed stagnant, and is projecting her dissatisfaction onto others.

(2) The fact that I don’t bring the personal into work. I will ask somebody to do something, tell them when it needs fixing, follow up when it’s late, and make things happen. It’s called my JOB. I don’t do it with condescension or some weird power trip (because, really, I could give two shits about the power I wield at my job). I do it with pleasant professionalism. But since I don’t care about people’s feeeeeeeelings, I am “unliked”. Mortal Enemy doesn’t like this, and probably wants me to suck her metaphorical dick before asking for something. And really, I am personable at work, but when I need some documents I don’t want to sit through a slideshow of your boring ass vacation to get them.

(3) Jealousy. Believe me, I am not trying to flatter myself here. But I suspect it has to do with social relations in the workplace, which are so fucking exhausting to navigate. I have become close with a colleague at work. It’s called chemistry; we make each other laugh, have the same values, and enjoy talking about the same stuff (i.e., television). My mortal enemy also desired to be friends with him, because hey, he’s a good catch to have as your office bestie. As is with life, friendships can’t be forced. He and I hit it off, and will go to lunch together, not inviting mortal enemy, not because of any specific reason, but also for the same reason we don’t send out a mass evite to the entire building. Sometimes you are friends with some people and not others. It’s called LIFE. She took this personally, I thought nothing of it. Until now. We never grow out of feeling left out, and I am so excited that that feeling will perpetuate until the day I die.

Still, with the above reasons, is that enough to spend many waking hours and schemes to bring me down? What is it that I represent to her? I know for sure that I have no desire to make her like me, all this malevolent behavior is only digging her into a deeper professional hole, and is all about her own stuff. She is an irrational person who I have no interest in appeasing. In the basic economics of it, it’s not worth my time to put into it. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it should be upsetting that someone hates me so much, but on the other hand, I’m also fascinated. How much of this person’s sense of self been influenced by their hate for me?

Maybe, just a tiny part of me, is flattered that I am taking a starring role in someone else’s inner monologue.