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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Bullying: Not Just for Students and Kids Anymore!

by Im A. Survivor
(TX)

The 2012-2013 school year was THE year from HELL... all because I tried to fix a friendship between two friends/coworkers.

Let me first begin by saying that I’m no stranger to being bullied. Throughout my childhood, I was called all kinds of names and made fun of because I was overweight.

Upon transferring to a Catholic school, I was the target of vicious rumors and still got teased - especially because I then had to wear a skirt each day.

In High School and College, life was good.

Then came my first job... and the final year I worked there.

I am going to refer to my bully as "Kelsi" (which isn’t her real name).

Before the school year even OFFICIALLY began, the bullying started.

I was called into the Human Resources office and was severely reprimanded over a picture posted - in which I happened to be tagged - on my fiancé’s social media account. The photo was of us in costume, holding fake artillery. His account was friends only, as was mine - meaning a "friend" had to have reported it (which was later determined to be Kelsi).

The HR Director instructed me to call my fiancé at work and tell him to remove the photo before I was allowed to leave his office.

Throughout the school year, I was completely isolated. The group of friends with whom I had always hung out no longer invited me anywhere because Kelsi was in that same group. They would not even spend one-on-one time with me.

At school, if I tried to speak to them, they acted as though they didn’t hear me; they would brush me off, or they would leave the room. If we were in front of students, and they HAD to interact with me, it was VERY forced; and they kept everything very short and to the point.

During staff meetings, I was alienated and forced to sit alone much of the time. The grade-level teachers always sat together, as did Kelsi with her group of friends. She very often smiled at me during those meetings, too.

I invited several teachers who were/had been my friends to my Bridal Shower, which I held in the Spring. I sent out many invitations.

Not a single person showed up outside of my family.

I cannot BEGIN to describe how much that HURT.

THOUGH, one friend DID send a gift card with a note of regret that she couldn’t be there.
This is the same friend who told me the following....

Somehow, Kelsi had convinced everyone at school that I had invited NOT to show up.

On Monday, it spread like wildfire through the adults at school that no one had attended my Shower. Kelsi could not stop smiling each time she saw me.

I apologized SEVERAL TIMES that year - and even for a year or so after I left that job - to Kelsi. I said it to her face, via e-mail, via voicemail, and via text message.

I also apologized to the other girls in what used to be my friend circle. I tried hard, but they were keen to hold a grudge - except one.

I ran into all of them at a funeral in 2018.

It was JUST LIKE 2012-2013 ALL OVER AGAIN.

As I walked up, in line, to give my condolences to the family of my friend and former colleague who had passed away, I could feel the eyes of Kelsi and her group of friends on me. Their voices hushed, and I knew they were talking about me.

When I turned to find a place to sit, the one girl from my former friend group who had accepted my apology (we’ll call her Pam) called my name and invited me to sit next to her. She conversed with me nicely even though everyone else shot me dirty looks and Kelsi ignored my existence.

Even at the end, Pam walked out to the parking lot with me - and with Kelsi. I said goodbye to Pam, and I made sure to LOUDLY yell, "GOODBYE, KELSI!!!!!"

My biggest problem throughout all of this is that I know my boss saw what was happening and KNEW what was happening; yet she did nothing. I was left to fight this battle alone.

It triggered major anxiety in me, which I have wrestled with ever since.

Adult bullying is real.
It’s heartbreaking, and it’s depressing.
Find support from someone to help you through this.
AND - go to your boss!!!
If they won’t do anything (or it is your boss who IS the bully), go higher up.
Keep going until someone STOPS IT.

No one deserves this!!

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