What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Mobbed in Health Care (Part 2)

by Silenced

At this point, I had started a small diary of the daily co-worker abuse I kept hidden in a zippered compartment in my bag. Their abuse was escalating: the RN whipped water from a j-peg tube in my face as I passed it to her; I found my pen broken in half with my diary (they snooped in my bag); I found a large pair of sharp scissors in the bottom of my bag (the "casual" stated she had "hidden" them the day before under kleenex boxes in the same room); the rec therapist would snarl at me before a big smile, and they would openly complain about how incompetent and stupid I was, and make jokes about me to others. In December, the casual approached me and asked how I wanted this resolved. I said I would love to have it all stop/work out, but at this point, if it doesn't, I'd have to report it.

In January, I was called aside by the unit manager who explained that over Christmas while he was away, a group of six of them had bypassed him and normal protocol, and launched a huge complaint with the facility leader above him. He then said he had to appease everyone. He handed me a "non-disciplinary expectation letter" warning me about my inability to get along with the group, sarcastic behavior, not listening to my superiors, etc., with a threat of removal if it wasn't corrected. He hinted that the rec therapist was away at the time, and it was another RN (the male best friend of the evening manipulator) who had joined the complaint. This paper was put on my union record for 2 years. I was in shock when he handed it to me, and the rec therapist smirked at me in passing. Now they had me in a position to be fired.

Their daily complaints about me came to a head at this time and the unit manager called an immediate open meeting. He said "let's just all get along" while the group of them shook their heads. The female RN said loudly (and falsely) that I don't help her, and when I specified that I do, she said I just turn in a huff and that she'd report me. The rec therapist said I was "throwing utensils" (I hadn't and for once Silent Joe said "no, she didn't"), and admonished me for not working the floor, instead writing diaries (I just whimpered out it was all that I had). I addressed the triad (2 were present) as not helping me, and just teaming together. The silent aggressive (falsely) said they don't work together, and that I will only work with "Silent Joe". The evening manipulator loudly called me a "liar" and that I want everybody to "bow" to me. I stood as strong as I could in this attack, and said that they were "ganging" against me. That's when the unit manager cut in with "there is no conspiracy", implying that I was a paranoid. I left at this and sat in the office in shock. The unit manager joined me, and once again stated I was the nicest person he ever met, and asked if I was paranoid. He also said Silent Joe "would not go to bat" for me and say anything, only that he was caught in the middle (Silent Joe was buddies with the male RN, going out privately together). He then said that Silent Joe was not to be trusted as he was only out for himself.

I then left the unit to quit. I went down to an RN who knew me and asked for her reference (she said "I heard the meeting didn't go so well for you"... she was already told in the gossip grapevine within a half-hour, as well as another. The unit manager also said he would give me an excellent reference, although I didn't ask for it. The economy was at a standstill and work was hard to come by. I had stood up for the truth and my right to work in a proper environment for over a year, but at this point wanted out. I applied for a 911 operator position and made it through to the final cut, but did not make it (did not give strong enough personal interview answers). No nursing assistant jobs were available on anything but a casual basis. At the same time I addressed the false complaints to the facility leader and handed in lengthly material outlining the abuse and the failed handling of it. I approached the union and human resources. The female employee there stated I was against a gang, and urged me not to quit. The boss's son phone conferenced with me, and at first intimated that I shouldn't bring stress from home into the workplace and that I was just taking their comments wrong. I laid out openly what was happening on the unit, and that for 6 years I had had no problems such as this. He wanted to talk privately with all staff to bond the team and resolve the issues. On unit, the facility leader ordered teaming. I got the call from my unit manager asking which of the two male co-workers I wanted to team with as the others said "why force us to work with someone we don't like?" I said this was ridiculous, but picked Silent Joe (we got along better - the other was a dogmatic enabler of the same ethnicity as the triad).

For a while, my six attackers backed off their aggression (became more covert). They only teamed together, and continued never to address me or offer assistance. If I offered, the manipulator would say "no thanks, I'll wait for x), and if I asked for help, she'd say "wait for x). A couple of times I assisted their side with my co-worker, and they shook in anger at the door, saying to go look after our residents. Of course, they would turn it around to say I would not help them out. The dogmatic male co-worker hated forced teaming, and they falsely told him it was all my idea/doing. Silent Joe remained silent.

Physically, the stress was getting to me. I was stoic in my anger and proper behavior, and my chest muscles hurt all the time. I barely slept, and woke up one night feeling as if my stomach had opened (it went away). I could no longer stomach eating, and forced myself, but lost about 25 pounds (which the manipulator would make fun of). The rec therapist continued complaining and making a big drama about me (with assistance of the casual) almost daily. The rest just looked miserable about having to work with me on the floor.

At this time, I sought outside help (my husband works with retired cops)about what to do (was told to let every manager know what is going on and keep documenting if I couldn't leave). I tried moving within the company but was not picked or even given an interview. The six aggressors would fluctuate their behavior and keep me confused (were they backing off or not?). The rec therapist continued to glare at me privately, almost choked a resident with food she serve, then blame me for not watching her, and control every move I made. One day when they were openly bizarre/manipulative, Silent Joe agreed to meet together with the unit manager to address their ongoing hostility. Silent Joe sat in total silence while the unit manager berated me for not getting along, that he wouldn't give me what I wanted (implying that he would not discipline them, as I had only asked for them to stop), and that I was "paranoid" and that they are understandably upset with me. Silent Joe just said "he has made up his mind" and that he was "caught in the middle". The two of them said they would "have my back" should I need it. I then ended the meeting and noted the pain had suddenly left my chest. I suddenly felt NOTHING. However, I cried the entirety of that night.

{continued in another post}

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