Being Bullied—Does It Mean I'm Weak?
I am 44 and have been in my workplace for about 17 years. I moved into a new department about 11 months ago, following long term absence after a major operation. The office I am in was already established, the staff consists of civilian and public sector staff so the mix of disciplines can, and has, clashed. They have been in the department for many years so you could say that things are entrenched.
I first became aware there was a problem when I clashed with one of the girls. One of the older women (51 yrs) got talking to me about it and would also agree with me on some of the things I was saying. Thinking I had someone on the same wave length as me, how wrong was I. I quickly realised that she used this to her advantage. I went on holiday and then a course so I was away for about 6 weeks. When I returned back to the office they had changed things, this in itself didn't bother me, but when I previously tried to introduce the same thing, it wasn't accepted. This older woman told me one morning not to touch the paper work as they had already sorted it and it wasn't urgent so just to leave it. I then tried to look at other work to be told the same thing.
I have caught her listening in to my telephone conversations and also monitoring the work I am doing on the computer, I have also realised that she is sending incomplete work with my name on it. I spoke to her about this, and she apologised but I know what's she is trying to do. She is very sneaky. One morning I asked her about something and because she didn't know the answer she got all flustered and told me to 'shush' she did this in front of other staff and made me feel so small. She talks over me and interrupts when I try and join in on the conversation, so much so I have stopped getting involved and they now don't include me in the conversation.
One of the guys in the office told me it was national smile day one day, I know he said this as I must look miserable. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if this woman as spoke about me to him also. I am very competent in the job I do, and take great pride in doing it well or at least to the best of my ability so there isn't any issues regarding that. I tried to speak to my boss about it but I got emotional and she didn't take me seriously, in fact she told me that I maybe like my own company she did offer to move me, but a couple of months have passed and nothing. She took me in one day and told me that I wasn't being moved as I wasn't there long enough.
Things have got so bad that I have taken a recorder in to tape the conversations. I did this because I thought I was going out my mind and being paranoid and over sensitive. Sadly I'm not. This woman has involved others in this I have a taped conversation of her talking about me (I only left the room about 1 minute and she started). She is really sneaky about it and she tries to be nice and laugh and joke with me but I don't trust her. I know I'm not there to make pals but all I want is to go in and do my job and then go home. I have noticed that she is very lazy and does a good job at making herself look good and busy to others. I did pick up that she doesn't like to volunteer for things as it may make her look bad.
She has 2 years more service than me but treats me as a junior staff member. I am so down about all of this, I find myself most days crying in the ladies toilet. I am so anxious I have very little confidence now, this is not me... I am so stuck, I feel I am weak as I have allowed this to happen despite efforts to 'fit in'. I don't want to allow this to take over my life but it has, I have made an appointment with my occupational health department I don't know if this is the right thing to do. I have no one to speak to about this to guide me or even tell me that I am wrong. I feel rubbish, weak and so down.
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