Coworkers from hell are predictable. Divas will be divas. Complainers will complain. Suck ups will … . You may not always be able to predict the details of every drama they’ll create, but you can predict the “theme.” Use this to your advantage by anticipating the next conflict and being prepared with a response.
These people are reinforced by the chaos they cause, and they’re further fueled when you engage in it. You should never attempt to engage them on this level. Don’t react to the emotions you feel when engaging with them. Keep your interactions with them as short, polite, and rational as possible. Don’t get into a battle over who is right or wrong. Bring in a third party to help make decisions if necessary. If you consistently respond succinctly and without emotion, the bad behavior will either get extinguished or the co-worker from hell will move on to someone who will play the game the way they like to play it.
Keep in mind that a co-worker from hell’s actions are probably more about them than about you. Try not to take their actions personally, and whenever possible, try to find common ground, something that connects the two of you or helps you understand their motivations better.