Stressed Out

This person who also accepts a paycheck from my employer (I can't say "co-worker" since he doesn't do much work), let's call him Mueller, has been at it again. He is the pettiest, most passive-aggressive, little turd I have met in ages. I was originally assigned as an advisor to his project but, since he's taken so dang long to finish, I've moved on to other projects. But he is still a thorn in my side. Every few days he sends out an email accusing me (or one of the other people on my team) of having broken something that is preventing him from doing his work. The fact that most often the error is his own has not deterred him. In fact, it seems to have goaded him into more snide remarks than ever.

I can tell that he thinks he's clever. When I call him on his insults, he claims that he didn't intend to insult me. I would accept this excuse once or from a five-year-old. But not from an adult, week after week. So, unless Mueller is seriously mentally ill, and all the evidence points to incompetence rather than insanity, he knows exactly what he's doing. And he thinks, because I haven't unloaded on him, that he's getting away with it.

Sadly, my manager is spine-challenged and insists that I just "ignore" Mueller. (Oddly, that path is less work for my manager. What a coincidence.) But that just stresses me out. I "ignored" abuse for a couple of decades; there's no way in hell I'm going to ignore it again. But my manager keeps getting in the way, not to defend me from Mueller, but to defend Mueller from me. "Just one more month" he tells me last week. The problem is I've heard that "just one more month" before from Mueller's project.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm afraid that if I force the issue, my manager will feel betrayed and exact his revenge. But I'm afraid that if I don't do something, the stress is going to sabotage my health.

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