What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

The Bullies Won

by Trinity
(Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

While working for the Australian government I witnessed a gay guy being bullied. After submitting my version of events I was repeatedly victimised by management and executive. Traumatised I went on anti-depressants but they failed me.

When I left the job I cautiously changed my name so the bullies wouldn't find me. The constant fear of being rebullied undermined my cognitive functions and marked me out as a target by predatory bullies in other work environments. Now my career is over because of liars and inadequate anti-bullying laws, pathetic caps on exemplary damages for defamation cases, and I have no legal recourse for unfair dismissal because of the shameful labour laws in Australia.

After being re-traumatised over and over again, under constant extreme stress in the last few years, no income for 6 months I am physically, emotionally, neurologically, socially and vocationally destroyed and I had no power to prevent it from happening to me.

The doctors wont diagnose me with PTSD because my life wasn't at risk, I cant get welfare in this dreadful country because they discriminate against NZ citizens, I cant leave the country because 1. I cant afford to and 2. My entire family live here. What's more I haven't even finished paying for my degree that got me so destroyed in the first place.

Comments for The Bullies Won

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Your Life is Not Over
by: Anonymous

Trinity,
I know it feels like your life is over and there is no hope for your future, but trust me. You can rebuild your life and regain hope. Bullying is a horrible disease of our world. It destroys much.

I became a victim of targeting and bullying more than 40 years ago when no one knew what it was. And once it started, it was like a snow ball and propagated more and more until I was totally suicidal and ready to give up, too. But somehow, my fighting spirit prevailed and I was able to rally time and again. I had a good therapist but even he did yet know how to identify bullying. He just knew I had been a "victim" of "a cancer,' as he called it, by an entire community of people I knew and once trusted. It took forty long years but the pieces began to fit Imagine my horror to finally learn that organized crime had been behind all of my bullying attacks, using me as a diversion while they committed many illegal deeds such a money laundering, drug trafficking, murders,etc.

When I read these stories I often wonder how many times organized crime may behind the bullying attacks, using good and innocent people for the diversion to draw attention away from the vile deeds they are doing behind the scenes. Nothing surprises me any more.

Please don't give up.....find that five percent of good people who won't let you down and stick with them. I am finally writing a memoir about my four decade ordeal and it is very healing. Maybe you can do something similar to help you heal and rebuild. It isn't easy but it can be done. I wish you the very best.

The Bullies never win - it just seems like it.
by: Linda Guirey - The Marbles Expert

I agree, I think you need to write down your story - it is such a great healer to write down all your emotions and what happened. You may not ever decide to publish it, but it's more about the process than the end result.

I am surprised, being a NZer myself, because parts of Australia do have anti-bullying legislation, but clearly it was not the part you were in.

I know you are feeling defeated and lost, but you need to give yourself time to heal and then you need to say to yourself that you are not going to give control of your life over to someone else. You will find good employment, but you need to leave the bad stuff around and not carry it with you. There are good people out there, and when you are ready to start again, you will find them.

Take time for yourself, time to heal and then go back out there and never ever let them control your life and how you feel about your life. You are the most important person in your world and you must never forget that.

I am a Professional Speaker and trainer on the issue of workplace bullying and conflict and even in NZ we have one of the worst rates of workplace bullying - 1 in 5 people in the workforce and I think Australia is 1 in 6.

Keep your head up. The Bullies never win - it just seems like it.

Linda Guirey
www.lindaguirey.co.nz

Thank you
by: Trinity

Dear Anon and Linda, your words of encouragement and knowing that I'm not alone has empowered me to seek advice from a nationally acclaimed solicitor who has been publically endorsed by Erin Brockovich, she is investigating my case. While preparing my claim for Workers Comp last night I found emailed documents that prove my case against that multi billion dollar conglomerate that relies on donations from the public to build their empire. They won't like the publicity that goes with a federal legal case of bullying from very senior management and collusion from HR. Thank you for giving me strength to open my eyes. Cheers, Trinity

Good on you
by: Anonymous

Good on you for supporting your coworker who was originally being bullied/victimised. And always remember you were bullied BECAUSE of your strength and integrity. Bullies are scared, lonely, insecure people. I share you disappointment with the Aust IR laws.

Victimisation Continues
by: Trinity

I applied to WorkCover (Workers Comp), they said that I don't have a workplace injury, yet they didn't send me to their own doctor and my psychiatrist and psychologist say my injury is consistant with workplace bullying and I am unlikely to ever work again. Why didn't they take the medical evidence into account? Because they want to victimise the victim.

I applied to Centrelink (Welfare) and they said that my injury isn't serious, stabilised or permanent enough to qualify for an invalids pension. My psychiatrist said I have permanent chronic major depression, permaent severe anxiety, moderately severe poor stress tolerance, so why Centrelink not listen to the doctors? Because everyone likes to victimise a victim.

I haven't worked since February because of these injuries. No income. No partner. I'm on my own against a wall of bullies. It makes my brain scream at night, every night until the medications let me sleep.

Victimisation from every angle
by: Trinity

I kept appealing Welfare's decision to deny me the invalids benefit, in the end I had to take them to court because Welfare refused to believe the very strong written medical evidence about my illness. Welfare in my home country recognises it and there is a mutual agreement between the country's however Welfare in Australia and the courts continue to deny me the invalids benefit. I get more solid written medical evidence proving my total and permanent incapacity and next stop is the Federal Court of Australia. Don't you worry, I'll be asking for compensation. Then I will give WorkCover another crack because they continue to refuse to release documentation that they relied upon for their decision to reject my claim of workplace bullying. They won't even reply to my correspondence.

Trinity
by: John Elliott

I think that you did a courageous thing in supporting the gay guy, as you mentioned in your grievance. Be pleased that you alone had some integrity. When I was being ridiculed,for similar reasons, it helped when one person (female) had some presence of mind, and supported me morally. Others turned their heads away, and pretended it hadn't happened. It sounds like those in authority took their anger out on you, which was wholly wrong. Their attitude sounds very cavalier. Don't get too worried about the gay guy either, you did well, and have to think of your own well being. Anti depressants can or can't work, depending on the individual. Small doses are best, for a limited time, with vitamin/mineral supplements. Sometimes AD's can over-stimulate and exacerbate the mind,creating nervous tension, so care is needed for slow recovery. I'm sure you are not alone. John.

John
by: Trinity

Hi John, blowing the whistle was the easy bit, that is what I was brought up to do, to do what is in my heart. It eventually went to the Minister for that Australian government department, but I never thought I would be targetted for career assassination the way I was, and that even the Minister was complicit with sweeping things under the carpet. I stood no chance because I did not know what I was up against. I think it's still following me because I am still fighting government departments for my livlihood: Welfare and Workers Comp. I've even had to involve the Minister of welfare from my home country (NZ) with the welfare bit, they have stood behind me 100%. It's complicated. But I find out next week whether the "impartial" legal system is colluding with that Australian government department. It's all very exciting, as long as I'm on Valium, otherwise I'm cocooned in my bed, sheltering myself from the big bad world.

To Trinity
by: John Elliott

Well, I give you my support for what sounds like quite a big case, Trinity. I'm not sure of the law in NZ or Australia, but as regards being gay/lesbian in England, nobody at the present time is allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. (This is for the record, perhaps this will have a bearing on your case involving a gay male). Homosexuality per se has been legal in Britain (21 years)since 1967. 2004 it became 16 yrs, equal to heterosexual relationships. That is law. I currently work for the Government Department (DWP) in UK that deals with benefits for people claiming sickness. The doctor has to make the decision about health etc, which we then grant: it gets complex.
I understand the frustration, in that I hit a brick wall on making my complaint, where Uni. outrightly refused to admit anything, saying I had no evidence. This increased my upset, but I have applied for free psychotherapy sessions/ Sertraline Hydro. AD through NHS, as I was suffering upset.
I find doing Artwork is good therapy. Don't get downhearted, depression etc is very common, Trinity. Take Care.

To John
by: Trinity

Hi John, my psychologist suggested that we begin art therapy because of my PTSD nightmares, they have been more vivid and detailed lately. Today I got the decision from the Social Security Appeals Tribunal that said that the job capacity assessor back in June has more expertise than my current psychiatrist or psychologist in determining my ability to work. The JCA was graduate in psychology, not clinical psyc yet, contracted by welfare, didn't know about my PTSD related to workplace bullying and less than a month after she assessed me my medication more than doubled and I was put on very sedating stuff for the anxiety. I'm pulling pin's, I've requested free legal council and representation from the Welfare Rights Centre and asked my case manager at the NZ Ministry of Social Development to take the matter to the minister who should liaise with Australian's equiv minister. Who knows.

It's illegal to discriminate against all sorts of things, except physical attractiveness in Australia but everyone get's away with it. Last month two cops were caught emailing each other photo's of an Indian man being electrocuted and said 'this is how we can solve the problem of the Indian Students'. Indian Students get bashed a lot in Australia, lots of racial violence in Melbourne.

I do feel down about the decision from the SSAT but it's appealable, hopefully. I've emailed the solicitor at Welfare Rights who has been managing my case and she will get all the hard copy evidence tomorrow. I hope we can draw blood. Up until now she has taken a distance approach, letting me represent myself, but it seems like I'm dealing with tricky people and need a help from someone with 14 hole steel-capped Doc Martins.
Cheers, Trinity

Update
by: John Elliott

It would be nice if you have some resolution to your case, Trinity.
I am now seeing a female counsellor once a week, which is a discussion therapy. This is part of what I've arranged through the NHS. It helped to discuss some of my issues, and she is encouraging me, in my case, to try to minimise retrauma or OCD (obsessive compulsive thoughts). I have to try to filter fresh information, and lay certain things to the past. I've come a long way, as I would suffer flashes of anger, which turn to depression, for a long time.

Hi John
by: Trinity

Hi John, I'm a long way from there. I'm not in a safe place yet, where I can process the trauma's. Indeed I feel further victimised by Australian Welfare and legal system that refuse to give me any income because they don't believe my consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and GP when they say I cant work, and wont be able to work for several years at least. The last courtroom judge said that he prefers the opinion of Welfare officers to medical opinion. On another note I have found a solicitor to deal with the insurance company of the previous employe, and Workers Comp (gvt dpt) are paying for her to fight the insurance company. Meanwhile I feel as if I am still fighting and the anxiety of being helpless and at the mercy of unscrupulous people is feeding into my depression. I'm 'safe' as in I am medicated enough that suicide isnt so tempting anymore. I'm also learning how to protect myself from further trauma. I'm at the baby beginnings of my long struggle to end the chaotic and stressful life. My first little job is to be safe, and I know that this is going to be a long and unhappy struggle in itself. But I am doing the best that I can, and so is my treating team. My family find it too stressful for them so I'm not allowed to talk about it and I have to find a place of my own so that my elderly mother can sleep at night without worrying about my future. One step at a time. Cheers, Trinity

Trinity- The Bullies Won grievance
by: John.

It sounds that at least you have certain things under control. In my work experience, even if people have perfectly valid request for monetary benefits, as everything is to do with money, they have to fight for it. This is where Doctor's letters are needed, or a special case granted with medical back up of genuine incapacity. If the crux of your grievance is about homophobic bullying, initially, than I think you should have support. It is clearly wrong in this day and age to bully and discriminate a male or female as regards their orientation. (However, more difficult to prove.)I think you owe it to yourself to keep fighting, and not get low enough to consider self-harm, that's the easy way out. It was sad that the gay guy hurt himself,when he'd been bullied. Keep going, Trinity.

Hi John
by: Trinity

Hi John,
the bullying that went on with the homophobia was 3 years ago and I am unable to legally revisit this. When I changed workplaces, and kept changing workplaces after this, certain elements followed me and I suppose it only takes one phone call to destroy a persons career, but there is no way of proving this.

In my last job I was working for a charity organisation where I was constantly bullied since week 1. There were a lot of lies by my manager so I was confused and unable to work out exactly what was going on. When I asked my manager for more frequent (fortnightly) contact so we could work out together what was happening and our preferred methods of communication (me direct and her indirect), so therefore learn to work with each other, I was fired. After all the stress that went on before this I had a 'breakdown'. I have letters from my senior consultant psychiatrist that states that because of the bullying I am now severely, permanently and totally disabled with chronic major depression with PTSD aspects. My clinical psychologist has written a letter saying that because of the bullying I have severe PTSD and it would be years (if ever) that I could even cope with a job interview. I am on a disability pension for the severly disabled, not just 'disability pension'. I have a lawyer but she is in the state where the injury occured and she is having difficulty getting documents out of the governments workers comp and the employers insurance company. It seems to me that some people are prepared to break the law and even cover up for other civil-criminals in my case. I don't know where I stand, but at least I have an income and it has taken almost a year to get a pension.

Bullying update.
by: John Elliott

Dear Trinity,

Thank you so much for your update, sorry about the slight delay in reply.
From what I have read, you suffered a kind of psychological 'breakdown'due to repeated bad experiences, that obviously would key into anyone's insecurity after the trauma of the first incident. We would all wish for stasis after one bad event,so the latest increased your anxiety into crisis,making you feel jinxed. I too faced up to the reality that my tormentor had 'played the system' and took advantage of everybody else's fairness.
I can only say that I also had a breakdown at University in 1991, which necessitated a short stay in a psychiatric ward. I was young, and had left home. I didn't mention, but the main sexual bullying I experienced by certain nasty male students knocked me for six. Even yesterday I shuddered, it was undescribable. Many gay youngsters are often targeted and ridiculed,automatically . I'd underestimated its damage. The actions of the Lecturer, and what she said were nothing short of devious psychological rape, like a final nail in the coffin. Well, I sat down and composed Emails to the Vice Chancellor, and another member of staff. The anger I felt just blew out. Then, next step I finally answered the said Lecturer in a long Email. Done. I can't alter being gay, but it helped me prove to myself that I could finally articulate in writing. I isn't a magic wand, but it helped. I would say forgive yourself, at least you've been granted monetary assistance. So many people go through bad things, you are not alone, Trinity.

Hi John
by: Trinity

Hi John, I am shocked that you were bullied by homophobes at a university. When I was at university lots of people 'outed' and had massive parties to celebrate and those parties were very memorable and lots of fun. I think I was amongst a minority of straights in my friendship circle, but I don't remember people being labelled as straight or gay, it was just a normal part of all of our humanity. When I left university, which had become my sheltered workshop, I realised with utter disgust how backward the rest of the world was. A supervisor who had just submitted her PhD told me that the rest of my team was so tolerant of me because I was so fat, everyone in the team thought my size worth mentioning. Anybody that was different had their head above the radar, singled out for extermination.

Yes, I think I had one massive breakdown, I never thought it possible. I have travelled the world three times, worked in war zones, raised a child by myself from the age of 17, in poverty, and was completely resilient. I'm still on the maximum dosage of anti-depressants with Valium and Seroquel to help me sleep, I would probably be dead without those medications, and the psychiatrist has said that I am permanently damaged and there is nothing further that can be done for me, and I am so happy about that because it means no more bullying!

So where I am at now is on the one hand I have my lawyer doing some paperwork for compensation that I probably wont get because it's a he said/she said case, my word against hers.

Meanwhile I get just enough money to live and that is all i need.

I am comfortable on the medication, as long as there is no risk that I may have to re-enter the workforce then I will stay that way, I hope.

My grey-matter is starting to work again because I have found a hobby-horse called Wikileaks, and it keeps me going. All of what WL stands for is all that I have always stood for and I never knew there were other like minds in this universe. So I have a purpose.

I am careing more about my appearance. While this may seem like a functional imporovement, it is really only because I now have the money to do it and while I'm still a mess inside it doesn't have to show on the outside.

So all is happy in my wee world, the memories, flashbacks and nighmares are medically catered for and I have my family around me. And I never have to be bullied again! This is a huge improvement, I used to dread my first day in any job, knowing that those days would be numbered but hopeing for the best but every time my fears were confirmed so now it is good that I can leave it all behind me now and adapt to my new way of being.

Thanks for listening John,
Best Wishes, Shona xox

Response.
by: John

Always have hope, Trinity, and take one step at a time with the healing process, which you should aim for. If you're meant to be off work, this is the way it is. It gives you a chance to recuperate. I find the Internet and this website, an excellent resource for lots of things about types of psychological bullying, so that is better than the past. My Lecturer was being manipulative, and destructive. It sounds that you dealt with someone who fitted a similar, unpleasant profile. Quite why such people feel they have the right to be studying at a high level, and then use insidious attacks on a fellow human being, invalidates the whole ethos of intelligent, fruitful research. But unfortunately, these things happen.
You have done great things in raising a child, Trinity, and it is so disappointing when the offices we're in produce nastiness. Where I work now is much better, there is more focus on wellbeing, and there are always a lot of nice people. So, count your blessings, and try to be optimistic. This produces a sense of worth. No one has the right to bully a person for being overweight, and taunt them. Keep going with your studies, I'm sure you'll feel much better for it, and treat it as a new beginning.
Kind Regards, John.

You are not the only 1
by: Anonymous

I was sexually harassed by my assistant manager and virtually the whole office, including senior management, on her behalf. It lasted for months. In refusing to comply, the company decided to make an example of me, inverted the culture and spent 9 months trying to force me out. I had to leave, lost my professional reputation, income, savings and health. I tried to take things to court but was treated with disdain and the court sided with the bully pack, which cost me more money. My former employer finds out where I am and destroys any attempt I make to do anything. They caused a room full of people to mock and deride me at a careers event. They found out who my landlord was and caused her to serve notice on everyone in the flat under the false pretext that it was being sold, just to force me to leave. They found out which car hire firm I used to move away and got them to transfer me to a different car and have a book that made implied references back to my assistant manager left in the car. They found out which university I went to and get every piece of information they can on me. They placed me under private investigation after I left and told everyone in my past to warn them away from me. Even 1 of my bank accounts was infiltrated with monies being mucked about by someone they knew. I get calls from third parties they use to violate my private space. I get survey requests in my email account all the time now when I never used to and know it was them. Every job I apply for ends up with my not being progressed once they contact my former employer. Those I worked with and who stayed out of the mobbing have left the company now. Rumour has spread about me everywhere and even my own mother is being funny about things now. I only went to work to do my job. I have had to shut my whole life down just to keep my former employer out of my life because they infiltrate everything. I was constructively dismissed and showed the court the documentary evidence to prove it but the court ignored it and struck my claim out. I spent 10 years getting qualified to practise law and was on the verge of applying for training so I could practise the following year but have been cut down and stopped from getting there by my bullies. I cannot get a job in financial services. I cannot get a job in law. I cannot get a job anywhere. Everybody lied and I told the truth - I just cannot believe it. I do not trust anybody now. They all say it did not happen but then stab me in the back all the time. They destroyed my links with my past and are destroying my future. I have not socialised for 2 years because of them. I have not worked for 18 months because of them. I have suffered problems with studying because of them. I have lost alot of weight, do not sleep and have all the rest of the problems you talk about. They stole my life and put me out of action. The only way out I can think of for you is moving back to NZ and/or setting up your own company so you can earn an income.

The Bullies Won Reply
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your story. You should be proud of yourself. You stood up for what you believed in. That takes courage and integrity. Congratulations on that.
I had a similar experience in a child welfare department in Australia. I was the Victim. I was asked to commit an offence - perjury - so that could remove a child who was at risk. The child was happy and I had no knowledge of the supposed abuse.
I got sick and ended up in a psychiatric facility. It took a long time to get well again. Without my family, I'm not sure I would have recovered my health.
What I did discover is that I was black balled. I could not get a job in the public service. The defammation and bad work reports sabotaged all my job hunting efforts.
I was determined to regain my life. I went to Law School. I now have my own successful practice.
The greatest revenge you can have is to regain your life. It will be a slow process, but with people around you who care; it is possible.
Retrain in another profession; or start your own business. You have many talents. Focus your energy on getting on with your life.
I took my department to Court. I won; but it was a hollow victory. The cost to my health and waste of energy fighting them in my opinion was not worth it.
If you want to go to Court, you should; but it is costly and stressful. If I could turn back the clock, I would not sue. I would retrain in a profession that would allow me in time to be self employed, or start my own business.
If you do go down the path of legal proceedings; the question you need to ask your Lawyer, is 'how much experience do you have in dealing with my problem?' If the answer is yes; the Lawyer is probably the right one, because they know that area of law. If you don't feel comfortable with the Lawyer; keep looking until you find one; that you are comfortable with.
I sincerely wish you all the best.

Anonymous

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