When people at work irritate you

Struggling with hierarchical relationships? Do line managers and people in authority always seem to be a source of irritation? Do you react to certain individuals with suspicion and paranoia? It may be that you suffered from undermining and intense sibling rivalry as a child. Or, it could be that you suffered from toxic messaging from parental figures. Or, perhaps you endured bullying behaviour in the past that has undermined your sense of esteem. When we have unresolved issues from the past we can be more prone to 'project' parts of our wounded self onto others, particularly authority figures within hierarchical structures. Psychological projection is when we defend ourselves against our own unconscious impulses or qualities, which can be both positive as well as negative, by denying their existence in ourselves while attributing them to others.

Some people are annoying and a lot of the time there is no need for any further analysis. However, when you have conflict with certain individuals, particularly when such people seem to be on good terms with everyone else; there might be something in your background that is triggering your hostile reactions towards them. Such individuals might never be able to say or do the right thing. They just always seem to irritate you with whatever they do and say.

It might be that such projections are based on unconscious and unprocessed material from your past. Healing and transformation can take place when you decide to investigate your past and seek to uncover what is under the surface of your actions. Understanding the source of such irritations can potentially free up your creativity and set you free upon discovering previously unconscious life scripts.

Realising why certain individuals give you such a strong reaction can be enlightening. Once you can understand why such people give you such a reaction you will no longer be a captive to these states of mind. New and more empowered ways of relating to others can be developed which can lead to greater serenity and peace of mind.

Anxiety can be a debilitating state of mind when conflict with others is intense. Therapy can be an opportunity to assess and evaluate what is good worry and what is bad worry. Some situations may well require some levels of anxiety and to experience some unease would be entirely appropriate. This might be what could be defined as good worry. Other situations might trigger worry for no apparent reason. It is these triggers which may have some unsolved and unprocessed unconscious material from the past. Therapy can be a process that can facilitate greater insight into present day behavioural patterns and bring about healing to past emotional upsets. This increased psychological insight can boost levels of self-esteem and reduce stress at work.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Noel Bell MA, PG Dip Psych, UKCP

Noel Bell is a UKCP accredited psychotherapist in London who has spent over 20 years exploring and studying personal growth, recovery from addictions and inner transformation. Noel is an integrative therapist and draws upon the most effective tools and techniques from the psychodynamic, CBT, humanist, existential and transpersonal schools.… Read more

Written by Noel Bell MA, PG Dip Psych, UKCP

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