How to Deal with A Coworker Who Undermines You? (Perfect Solutions)

Having a toxic coworker who demeans others is a common issue in most workplaces. If you have someone like that too but, you want to stick around in this job for a long time, you need to learn how to take charge of it. But, how can you do it? How to deal with a coworker who undermines you?

Deal with it by detaching yourself from them through limited communication. Try to rise from their undermining behavior through good performance at work. Empathize with them thinking that they are projecting their insecurities by trying to put you down. Laugh at their undermining remarks about you or befriend them to keep them quiet.

You do not have to suffer in the workplace. I have some proven solutions for you that you can follow if you want to deal with them. Keep on reading to know more.

Reasons Why a Coworker Might Undermine You

Before learning how to deal with these people at your workplace, let me tell you what makes them undermine you. The reasons are pretty serious. Let’s take a look:

Jealousy and Lack of Confidence

One of the most identifiable reasons why a coworker is likely to belittle or undermine you is envy. If you are a good candidate for the job and are loved by your boss, a colleague with jealousy will try to undermine you. They will probably feel threatened that you will reach a higher rank before them. 

If you excel at everything you do, it can also compel their undermining nature towards you. They resent your success and the only way to feel good about themselves is by putting you down.

Lack of confidence is also one of the reasons. Watching you grow makes them angry, as they compare their failure with your success. Instead of building up their confidence and focusing on themselves, they try to weaken your esteem instead. 

Superiority and Fear of Being Replaced

If your colleague is overqualified for the sector they are working in with you, they will sometimes try to undermine you to establish their intellect. Without any direct undermining behavior, you will already feel useless as they will try to overstep your walks. 

If they have been working longer than you have, your fast popularity in the office will threaten them mentally. The fear drives them to belittle you in every step

It all comes from a place to gratify their stance and to make sure you do not jump over them in your career. The ego they tame inside them always wishes to find faults in you, which further uplifts their self-importance. 

They Don’t Know Any Better

Sometimes it is not even intentional. Some people with a bad upbringing and bullies at school will put you down even without the knowledge of what it is doing to you. As a child, if they did not receive the lessons on how to treat people, can you blame them? They perhaps have a hard and miserable life. And weirdly, the only way they overcome it is by undermining others.

Perhaps that is how he/she was treated in the office before you came along. However, it is bad either way. Micro-aggression is often normal for people with a bad childhood, they do not know any better.

How to Know That a Coworker is Undermining You

You will either be picked on, made fun of, insulted if a coworker intends to undermine you. Being roasted and bullied by senior coworkers is a common problem in many workplaces, but sometimes it is not intended to undermine you. How can you recognize whether they mean to hurt you?

For example, you entered the office wearing a jacket that is not appropriate for the hot weather. The undermining coworker will try to make fun perhaps saying, “So it has started snowing?” indicating that you have worn the wrong jacket.

If they say it privately or in front of your close colleagues, it is probably fine. But if it is in front of other bullies or the whole office, it means they intended to put you down.

During a meeting, they might tell you that your breath stinks, or tell you that you look tired. They will give remarks like- your shoes don’t look good with what you are wearing, or pick a flaw out of your perfect presentation. 

If you two have joint projects, they might take all the credits by not letting you work at all. They will flatter how they know better than you.

When you bring your partner to an office event, they will make a way to mention all those times you made mistakes at work. And laugh about it later, saying- “I’m just joking.”, “just teasing.”

How to Deal with Coworkers Undermining You?

A coworker who keeps draining your confidence daily needs to stop. How can you do it without picking a fight? Here’s how-

Limit Communication

As you are in the same workplace, completely ignoring may not be possible. But limited communication will help. Try to keep the conversations solely about work and leave them be as your purpose is over.

If they are from separate sectors, it will be easier to avoid them. Be with those colleagues who appreciate and have respect for you. 

Get Better at Office Work

Start putting your concentration at work and give your best shot for remarkable performance. As you do that, the coworker who undermines you will have less impact on you. Your success and service at the office will keep your impression too high for a bully to try and put you down. Your better performance will frustrate them.

Your bully coworker does not matter. Your work, your career, your accomplishments, and yes, payday matters only! Concentrate on the bigger picture.

Empathize with Their Sad Life

People who like undermining others usually have to set themselves free from the miserable life they have. They want to make others feel low, which makes them feel happy temporarily.

So, empathize with their sad life that depends on you. Their boring life finds joy when they embarrass or insult you. You can report the office counselor about this, asking them to speak to your office bully, seeking what drives their aggression and urge to put others down. 

Don’t Take It Personally and Laugh Along

Laughing at your own mistakes is an effective practice. But you cannot allow a person at work to undermine you while you become apprehensive around them and accept all their remarks. You can rather laugh along in issues that were your silly mistakes.

When you do not react to them mocking you, it frustrates them and often makes them stop. The more you react, the more they want to continue. So be unresponsive. 

Befriend Them

One of the things that make people with belittling nature uncomfortable is when the person they make fun of becomes close to them. It confuses them and often makes them stop the sabotage. A popular saying is, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”- well even if they are not your enemies, you can try to keep them close to you. 

When a human with a toxic attitude towards you receives good behavior from you, it puzzles them. It may also make them shift their target from you. 


Will you always tolerate and let them put you down? Now that you know how to deal with a coworker who undermines you, that should not even be an option. You have to take a stand for yourself but, to avoid any extreme situations, try out the solutions I suggested in this article.

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