Triggers in the Workplace

I work with a guy that resembles my daughters father so strongly it routinely freaks me out beyond measure. I have tried and tried to find ways to manage the anxiety that he creates in me. I am failing. I may have to own up some day to him that he reminds me of someone from my past and the memory creates a strong emotional disturbance for me. He is a nice guy. Our teams work closely together yet I fear I am consciously (or subconsciously) avoiding or treating him oddly as a coping mechanism.

What else can I do? It is unnerving. Really. I need help with this.

Any suggestions, oh wise readers? My therapist friends?

4 Thoughts.

  1. I went through this about 15 years ago. My co-worker cornered me one day and asked why I couldn’t look at him in face when I talked to him. Reluctantly, I told him why. He was very sweet and understanding. After that if he caught me looking at him funny he would tell me “I’m not *****”, and he would give me another hug if I looked like I needed it.

  2. focus on the ways in which is he unlike? Take him for a quiet coffee and explain, ask for his support and appeal to his higher instincts.

  3. Fwiw, probably not much, but I have been on the receiving end of such a comment. Not an adoption situation but a man I knew socially who treated me kind of strangely then admitted I reminded him of his ex who had done some pretty awful things to him.

    It left me feeling all kinds of awkward and not wanting to deal with him. I imagine it would only be amplified in a work situation. Work can be pretty cut-throat, so I would advise against it. I mean do what you want of course, but I wouldn’t show anyone I work with soft-spots because well, it can come back to bite you..

    • I completely agree Joy, hence my challenge. I am not one to mix my personal life with my work life. Jeez, I struggle having to leave early for a sick child let alone telling someone of my own sick past. Eeeps. For now, I am casually avoiding him and dont look at him much. Not ideal by any means but all I can muster for now.

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