problem with one of the lecturers in the department

15-May-16, 17:39
edited about 8 seconds later
Avatar for phdalive
posted about 4 years ago

Something has been bothering me since I have started my PhD. I am in my second year. My situation is that I have a problem with one of the lecturers in the department. I am a seminar leader of the course (she is a course convenor). After I have started teaching, we became kinda a friend. She was always telling me something about my PhD supervisor (BTW, she is interested in my supervisor) and trying to get some words from me about him. Also, she was always saying to me that my supervisor says that I am good in academically and personally. how i am reliable,nice, and sweet..

I noticed from the beginning that she has weird personality. She behaves over friendly to the people and makes a fool of herself when we go out (in front of other staffs and PhD students). After we became a good friend, she started gossiping with me about the other people in the department. I did not make any comments since I got know her that she is not realiable. Over time, she really turned very weird person. Over the summer, I was away almost 1 month. After I got back, she was totally depressed.( I think because of the workload and she was alone and she did not have anyone to share something at that time). Since something was wrong in her life and work, She started attacking me and saying to me that my supervisor does not care my PhD, I am not good enough and I need improve a lot of things in my phd. Also, before that, she deleted me on facebook because I did not bring an umbrella to her when she asked me. After she realized what she did, she sent an message to me and saying: I apologize and sorry for hurting you blah blah.

Then, I decided to keep my relationship with her in a professional way. However, she became more aggrasive and attacked to me. ( pick on me all the time). During these times, i just ignored her and I thought perhaps she is gonna accept that I do no want to be her friend anymore but again, one month ago, she said one of my friend in the department that I am not strong academically. I was so angry about it this time and decided to talk to her. I said her that you always say to me how my phd is good but I am hearing this kind of things. I do not care what you think but please do not be 2 faces( I meant that). She said she did not say anything to anyone. On the other hand, she was trying to learn who told me this thing , keep asking me 1 person or more, phd student or staff member? From there, it is obvious that she was gossiping. I think she is gonna stop now but like I said you guys, she is so weird and I expect everything from her. She is psychopath. I have decided to talk to my supervisor but I do not know the right way. I never talk to my supervisor about the other people and the first time, I am going to share something with him (kind of personal). I would be very appreciate if you could help me about it. Should I talk to my supervisor or just let it go.? if I talk, how should i start? (btw, he is the best professor in the department)
16-May-16, 17:26
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 years ago
I think I would talk to my supervisor, as you probably have a good reputation for not talking about people/being negative by the sound of it, so he will be aware of that and know that you are only saying something to protect yourself from any future attacks. But then again, it depends entirely on the dynamic of the department/staff-student hierarchy, and how much you think you can trust him and he will believe you.

I had a bad experience once where a lecturer tried to attack my character in a reference that she wrote (because I had chosen to do my PhD with a different lecturer, I think). Thankfully, it did not prevent me from getting my PhD funding (although what she wrote was pretty disgraceful). I think I was spared because it was obvious from my credentials and my other reference that what she had written was not true! Even though I had to continue working in the same department as her until she left a couple of months ago, I never raised the issue with my supervisor or any other lecturer. I was worried that she might try and attack me again, but thankfully (as far as I know) she didn't. If she had, I would have raised it as an issue. Maybe you could take that approach - make a written record of what she has done, and if she does anything else, raise it with your supervisor.

What do others suggest?
16-May-16, 23:21
edited a moment later
Avatar for phdalive
posted about 4 years ago
Thanks for writing. I think that I can trust my supervisor. and he will believe and stand by me since he knows how this lecturer has weird behaviour in the department and she always talks about the other people life and work. Also, my supervisor knows me well that I never say any single word about the other people. When I raise this issue, he will believe but he will not say much things about her since she is his colleague. Probably, he will just say to me "do not think about it" . However, if there is an injustice, he will definetely protect me. He has a reputation in the department that he never lets staff members to attack his students during the presentations.

In addition, I have a lot of evidence about what she did to me. I did not delete her messages. ( such as "apologize for hurting you. I did not mean it" . deleting me from facebook and adding me again with stupid reasons like not bringing umbralle to her). There are much much more on my phone.

Also, like I said you before, she is interested in my supervisor. When she is drunk( sometimes she is prenting), she is always trying to flirt with my supervisor although she knows that he is in a very good relationship since long time. I am sure my supervisor is aware of that. She was trying to get some words from me about him. Also, saying to me that how I am beautiful and my supervisor likes beautiful girls. She did not say anything directly but indirectly, she says my supervisor likes me more than a student and trying to learn how his approach to me. I always told her that I have a very good professional relationship with my supervisor. I have evidence for that as well but i do not want to bring this to my supervisor. i think it is not a good idea for now.

Also, I went to medical center (kind of Psychological Therapies) 7 months ago. I told them everything about her. I think I will write all evidence.

These days, I am not productive in my research because of this( I am always thinking that and I could not get rid of it from my head) and have started worried about my phd. I hope that I will sort it out soon and get back to normal.
17-May-16, 08:55
edited about 19 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 4 years ago
I really hope things get better for you soon. I have to say that since reading your response I have changed my mind about my initial advice. If you say that your supervisor will protect you, so as to speak, then what are you actually worried about? Your work will show how good you are, not her comments.

If people already recognize that she is a bit unstable and untrustworthy, I do not think you need to worry about her comments having any impact.

On the other hand, if you raise it as an issue, I think you might end up regretting it - as nothing may actually come of it. Then it would make you feel more upset/frustrated. I think if I were in your shoes I would focus all my energy on ignoring her and what she has said, and getting productive again with my work. If what she says consumes you, then she has actually won!
18-May-16, 10:02
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for phdalive
posted about 4 years ago
Hope so as well. These days , I am not focusing on my work much since thinking this situation. She did a lot of stupid things to me since last year and I did not want to stay quite anymore. Thats why this situation pissed me off so much.
Also, My supervisor is research director and university promotions committee. and This lecturer is in probation. I know that she is scare of that I will tell this to my supervisor.
I think I will not raise this as an issue. Sometime, we have a drink with phd students and staff members. If I have a chance, I will tell this to my supervisor casually.
You are totally right. I should not let her to consume me anymore. Just focus on my research and get some work done.
Thanks for writing.


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