Landed in the twilight zone with a colleague, please help me!
I need some perspective as I think the hell of a workplace I've been in for the last year warped my perception of normality. I will put everything here as objectively as possible.
Last year in September I (26F) started my current job. The very first day, my colleague (48F) who I shared an office with gossipped about absolutely everyone, going as far as calling people's kids ugly. She said that she didn't like women. She then started being hot and cold with me. I shrugged off her mood swings. She wouldn't put phones coming for me through if she didn't like it but I never made a big deal out of it.
A month or so into the job, she went ballistic on me. I will spare you the details but basically she said that I had a problem with her and that I bullied her... by talking to other colleagues but not to trying to talk to her when she was giving me silent treatments. She swore a few times and when I told her that it was not acceptable, she goes 'well I'm (insert nationality), it's the way we talk'. I'm not same nationality with my colleagues, they are native to the country we live in. So this comment made me feel excluded.
At that point I found out that she was with the company for 8 years and there have been 7 people in my position during this period working directly with her and sharing an office. To me it was incredibly fishy, but when I asked about this to other colleagues they were like 'yeah, they all left for various reasons though'.
Around January, where she was completely ignoring me leading up to this, I made a horrible mistake and opened up to another colleague (40M) about it. I said that I didn't know what her problem was and that I was trying to do my job but she was making it impossible. I also mentioned what she'd told me about not liking women and I said that this could be a reason or maybe she doesn't like me personally. All I said was this.
A couple of weeks later, I'm pulled into my boss' office. She's crying, apparently the colleague I confided in told her what I said. Thing is, I didn't say anything hurtful or badmouth her so my boss is not angry with me. He says there's been a lot of misunderstandings between us, we need to grab a cup of coffee together and talk this through. She absolutely refuses it. And since January she hasn't spoken to me. My boss just sort of left it there.
I heard her calling me names, laughing at me, mocking me etc. I ignored all these. We are a small team of 9. I don't have any problems with anyone else. She's friends with everyone else. She has her moments with the others too but nothing as extreme as it was with me. She's overly friendly with the colleague who snitched me, calling him lover etc. Now he treats me with absolute disrespect too.
She's taken about 20 sick days in the last year, my boss doesn't seem to have a problem with it. We have no HR so I can't go over my boss' head. I have been living in the country I'm currently in for only 2 years so I have no way of benchmarking what is normal, what isn't!
Other people including my boss acting like nothing is happening makes me feel soooo weird. I feel like it's all in my head and/or I am the problem here. But I honestly didn't do anything to add fuel, I've been kind and respecful all along. Am I being gaslighted?
I started therapy but it hasn't helped me much yet. Please let me know your thoughts and give me some advice or I'm going to lose it! Thanks so much.
While your boss continues to support her, you're on a hiding to nothing. This woman is really the one who runs the office and not your boss, and she's the bully and is victimizing you. If you have no HR, then you either put up with it or you walk away as the other 7 have done already. Respect is universal and if this company doesn't know the meaning of the word, then it's not worth working for, nor is it worth going into therapy for.