The next part of the work story is that HR arranged a mediation session between Becky and me. I didn’t know how to approach it, so I discussed a lot with my counsellor and she advised me to adopt a position of explaining that I found her behaviour confusing.
My personal belief is that Becky has or had romantic feelings for me and in the run up to her marriage decided she needed to put a stop to it. It would explain why she has been rude to me when I’ve tried to be polite to her, and why when I simply stopped speaking to her she became very offended and started arguments and passive-aggressive sniping. i.e. there is a lot of inconsistency coming from her because she has confused feelings she can’t manage. It would also explain why she accused me of coming on to her – projection! She definitely does a lot of that. But I can’t just come out with “well, I think you’re in love with me, let’s talk about that”, so we went with the confusion angle.
It worked about as well as you might expect: I came out even more confused. She was quite disrespectful throughout the whole session. She was annoyed with me but didn’t clearly articulate why. The only clear point she made was that I don’t say hello to her when I come into the office, which seems a bit odd because I don’t pass close enough to her for it to be natural. Afterwards I was sceptical this was a genuine point. I tried very hard not to make her defensive and I had discussed a lot with my counsellor what to focus on and how to phrase things neutrally, but it was all effectively wasted effort because Becky opened by saying everything was my fault as she puts in lots of effort to improve our relationship and I don’t return it. It was easy to rebut, I just said “can you give an example of that?” and she couldn’t. But for me, the idea wasn’t to prove her wrong, it was to try to improve things, and she went in with an attitude not conducive to that goal.
I pressed her on the fact she’d twice accused me of coming on to her and the accusation magically disappeared. She claimed she didn’t remember saying it the second time, which didn’t make me trust her any more.
I actually came out with a lot less respect for her than I had going in. I felt she handled the meeting unprofessionally while I was quite pleased with the way I handled it. We didn’t make much progress, but at the time it seemed OK because I felt like I’d done what I could.
The main outcome was that we agreed that we’d give each other space, which is all well and good, but we spend 8 hours a day in the same room. I started taking it literally and worked from home a lot, in part because I feel completely uncomfortable being anywhere near her. I don’t find her behaviour towards me predictable or professional, it causes me a lot of anxiety, and I just don’t want to deal with it.