What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

I Don't Even Know What Happened

by Carolyn
(Yukon, OK, USA)

For several years, I have been "targeted" as the one to exclude, to gossip about, or to just basically lay all the blame. Now we have a new person who feels it is okay to start work product rumors with others in the office and to try to build her group of supporters by using these rumors or making things up. A near "family" relationship I had with a coworker was totally destroyed by this woman after more than 20 years.

Lately she has resorted to flipping me off in a way that if I call her out on it, it is my word against hers, even though we all sit in the same large room. When I reported it to my supervisor, we were to sit and talk about it. During this "discussion" (and I use the term loosely), I told the supervisor that every time I laugh at someone on the phone or an e-mail, or my phone rings or any sort of noise comes out of my area, she glares at me letting me know of her displeasure. I told her that she does not have the right to control my behavior and if she wants to worry about the little noises I make and only my noises, then it is harassment and unacceptable.

So the end response was that she did not see the bad behavior so it must not have happened. This employee said I need to apologize to everyone in the room because I yawn too loud. I was shocked. Really? I yawn too loud? The woman who sits about 15 feet from my desk has her headphones on so loud, I can hear them over the radio that is inches from my face. That same woman has the loudest laugh and if she leaves her cell phone on the desk, it rings repeatedly, no less than 5 times for each time this person tries to call her. But I yawn too loud. This same person suddenly had issue with me yawning after the meeting, even though the supervisor said it is not to leave that office.

So now I am, 30+ years of service with this place about to walk out the door because I can't stand it any more. It hurts me and I'm tired of it. And because the boss didn't see it happen, it didn't happen... I don't make things up about people! And I did get flipped off TWICE. And the gossip continues and the abuse continues and the bullying continues... and now that she has gotten away with it, it is going to get worse. What do I do now?

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Follow up
by: Carolyn (Original poster)

Since I posted that, I have developed severe health problems. I have episodes that totally mimic a heart attack and I keep ending up in the hospital. I vomit regularly. The latest is an extreme case of vertigo. Even my own heartbeat created enough "movement" to make me vomit again. I have vomited so much I ruptured a part of my throat. On top of that, my mother is dying and because of my emotional trauma at work, she and I can't get along. I tried explaining that to her last night without success.

That said, I have found a great book that has helped a great deal. It's by Noa Davenport, Ph.D, Ruth Distler-Schwarz and Gail Pursell-Elliot. The title of this book is Mobbing, emotional abuse in the American workplace. Oddly enough, the symptoms I have on a nearly daily basis are covered in this book and directly linked to the bullying. Unfortunately, the only action this book offers is get out...I've been here 31 years and a widow...how do I leave??? I can't... I'll end up dying here.

See Also: What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know


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