What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know


by Susan


I have been reading a lot about bullying lately and recognizing the patterns that I have experienced over the years. However, I never worked in an office or corporate environment, but in beauty salons renting a booth - self-employed.

I have a question - I am a little confused. I feel that I have been bullied over the years, but most of the time it was from passive-aggressive types. Nice to my face and behind my back they would gossip or play jokes. I haven't found a lot of stories about practical jokes or work station sabotage. That is mostly what I suffered through. It was demoralizing, and intimidating, not to mention hurtful and making me angry. Also the gossip was destructive, which eroded my confidence and trust. I would try to be nice and friendly which seemed to invite it more. But does that constitute bullying or just rude behavior?

Has anyone experienced a lot of this, or is bullying more about threats?

I can relate to all the material I am reading on this site and others and books, like The Bully at Work, by the Namies, but I haven't found a lot of references to tricks, jokes or gossip. I put up with this stuff at the last 2 salons I have worked at and it has depressed me so much and am too reluctant to return to work now. I feel like it will happen again and I feel like I must trigger it to happen. I am self-conscious and a little paranoid now which is only going to make it worse. I feel like I am doing something wrong. Unbelievable to go through this at 49 years - you'd think I was 5.

Anyway should I call this bullying or am I on the wrong track here ?... I have read other people's stories and a lot of what others have gone through sounds worse - like overt and aggressive bosses threatening office workers or direct confrontational belittling - that didn't happen to me.

Thanks for any input.

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