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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Currently: The Most Hated Person In Our Team

by No-Name Girl
(Vancouver, BC)

I hardly know where to start. I've sunk so low I'm not even sure I can remember a day I have not cried 'til I thought I would die from it. I often wish I would. I work for one of the "best places to work" in Canada and it's all a lie. It's as fake as the shiny sheen they put on their cute and folksey ads. We are a company of expert public relations liars. For the most part - cruel, passive aggressive, cliquey and vicious behaviour is the NORM. Our employee workplace ratings are in free fall - so now we are not going to survey staff every year, only every other (??) year - and we are going to rework the questions.

Most people hide and tell lies (like me) to sound happy and try to stay under the radar. I have seen and continue to see others being bullied - but I'm in such a state of hell it's all I can do to "keep my job" - which means - pay my mortgage.

I have lost my self esteem and most of the fabric of my life around me - I'll be damed if I will loose my home as well.

I have won awards and have always functioned at a high level. I love my job and for about 5 - 7 years I was really good at it. Over the past 3 years that's all changed. Now when ever something is going to change I know - LONG before the "announcement" is made exactly how things will unfold. While others around me benefit - my world is eroded below me and I'm publicly picked on. I've been demoted - I still do the same work (and more of it) we just call it something else. Where I was respected and managed my own projects - now I am expected to do it for somebody else - they take the bow and get the kudos for my work. I don't own my work - I just "co-ordinate" on behalf of the pretty people - the good people, the wonderful people.

I will soon be moved out of my workspace and into a dark corner of a passage to make space for a co-worker (who doesn't want to take my space but is being forced to) while an identical space is going to sit vacant for a year or more ... why? Why not? It's a nice way to add tension to my work life - force me to move (with all the disruption that goes with it) and try to force an unhappy relationship between me an a co-worker who I like and who currently likes me and feels bad about what's going on. Not bad enough though - as she admitted to me just on Friday - I have kids and a mortgage. I have to be "yes man".

I'm going crazy and I'm so depressed. I don't know where to turn. I'm confused and broken and angry. I have not changed. I am still the same person and I work as hard - if not harder. Yet - I am continually set up to fail. My performance plan with my manager is a joke. When I asked for a meeting to discuss - she forced me to listen to her and another manager (also a bully) tell me that I was just too stupid to understand the scope of the work and probably (insinuated this) on the lazy side for not wanting to be the catch all for everything in the team. Why would I pass up the opportunity when I could do everybody's dirty work? Oh lucky, lucky me ...

Everyday new insults. I'm excluded - laughed at - degraded and talked about behind my back - or in "code" and even openly picked on at social functions - which I no longer bother to attend.

Sorry - this is not much of a story - I'm confused and exhausted after yet another long night of sleeplessness - quiet tears and a burning tearing in my chest that feels like lava.

Perhaps next time ...

Comments for Currently: The Most Hated Person In Our Team

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You Are Not Alone!
by: Bea

I was seriously thinking of posting my story but after reading what you wrote my story would sound much the same confusing.

Its been ten long years. It took six years and an emotional breakdown and another three years in a lesser position a slip and fall on the ice at work which resulted in me having two herniated disks in my neck and after surgery and three months off and returning to hell and yet another demotion and everyone snickering and whispering behind my back.

I now know that I'm being mobbed. All I have learned is get help from anywhere you can. I paid a counselor $90.00 an hour and all it turned out to be was a 1 hour let it all out session, but it was well worth the money.

Once you know what they are trying to do to you all you can do each day is to get help and keep reminding yourself that you deserve to work and the paycheck and you are not there to make friends just to pay the mortgage. In the end you will know that no matter what they do to you your work was still the most important thing to you no matter what they say. Believe in yourself and the situation will not reflect on your work.

When you wake up in the morning and dread going to work keep reminding yourself it is for you and your mortgage and you don't go to work to make friends you go there to make money and fight for your job. We as individuals are our own worst critics. The most important thing is to focus on what is important to you and what you have to do to keep it.

It is also important to get help and I find telling someone out of the picture who does not know you so you feel free to say what ever will make you feel better and keep your sanity will help more that you realize. When I started seeing the counselor all I was doing was crying all the time waking up or not being able to sleep due to thinking what I had did to cause this and how I could fix it. I would go to work with tears just ready to fall and everyone pushing for it to happen.

I refused medication and payed a counselor and with no regrets although the company is determined to eliminate me I feel that I will not loose what little dignity I have left and I don't go there to make friends only to make money.

I stared ten years ago as supervisor and trained the employees they have and I am now and ran the company while the owner and his brother went on vacation together for 6 yrs. I had a company car and had a good salary. I now make 20,000 less a year and I am shipper receiver. The employee that I trained for six years is now the supervisor and has told me go home no one wants me or needs me there.

I am the only women and the oldest person including the owner. Have faith in yourself and do what ever it takes to make it through the day. Best of luck and don't keep fighting on your own seek help.

Please Leave That Hell Hole
by: Anonymous

You broke my heart when I read your story. The fact is, I know exactly how you feel. I’m in the same situation and feel the same way. I've tried the route of past writers; went to the bully's supervisor, reported the bullying to HR. They said what he was doing “wasn’t that bad.†I even told the bully how he made feel. He actually turned the tables and said I disrespected him. The Human Rights and Equity office said my problems were beyond internal remedy and that I needed a lawyer.

I retained a lawyer and when I report incidents of harassment, humiliation, and degradation and dishonesty by the bully, my lawyer says he fails to see its significance. I always thought I could "fix it,†but the bully can't be fixed. So PLEASE MOVE ON TO ANOTHER JOB. You're not weak for leaving, the bully is weak for treating you as they do. They have no compassion or conscience. You cannot reason with someone devoid of these essential values.

You sound like a very intuitive individual. You can definitely be appreciated by other employers or start your own business. Concentrate on what you love and what you're good at. Make an assessment of all your attributes and find somewhere or something to apply them to. Let's hold our heads up high. I personally am going to finally quit and they are losing a valuable resource. PLEASE LEAVE TOO. LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO BE THIS UNHAPPY.

Contact an old friend or engage in an activity you've been putting off. Don't worry, I know why you haven't done these things. You've been consumed by thoughts of the bully, worrying about what they’re going to do next. A friend once told me someone can't hurt you unless you let them. We could try and affect change from the outside. Imagine being able to help people like us. We could form an organization or even develop a business to address this very issue in our communities and work places.

If you need to rebuild your confidence, do some motivational reading, join a club, start a new hobby or resurrect an old one. Or, since you have compassion and other great attributes lacking in your employer, that means you have an abundance yourself. Make time for yourself. We've got to relieve our stress. We can't let the bully control our lives and affect our health.

Remember, there's a whole other world out there we're robbing ourselves from exploring. We'll be able to appreciate it and others even more now. It's very exciting to look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead. Let's change our course and reclaim our dignity. We'll have our set-backs of course, but we are now more resilient having been through adversity. The bullies of the world miss out on all this. Don't worry, they'll get their’s.

Please let me know what you have done for yourself. I'll be thinking about you and saying a prayer for you. From my heart I say, you're not alone. Let's break out of our silent prison and give ourselves a new lease on life.

Your friend in the same shoes putting on a whole new pair

U.S. - Washington
by: Sandra

I also was going to write my story, but you beat me to it. So much of mine is the same except I didn't start as a manager. I worked my way up from a student, but was "demoted" when I brought up bullying in my work area one too many times. I was also accused of being the bully by one of the bullies. Management helped in perpetuating the problem.

I work at a different location of the same company, but it's just the same. I don't know what the laws are like in Canada, so I can't tell you what you could possibly do. If a lawyer is saying you have no case, then he's not a good lawyer. I would suggest you get out of there as quickly as possible, because you don't seem to have a group that can get together to do something about the overall problem. I work for the State and have a group of people pushing for anti-bullying policy.

Please save your sanity and health and just get out. I've already lost my health. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't have stayed to that point.

Thank You and Updates ... Part 1
by: The Most Hated Person In Our Team

Hello again and thank you all so much for your responses, encouragement and support. Reading it I finally felt that I was not alone. I was not crazy and what was happening was NOT my fault. I was not a bad, stupid, worthless person. I saw myself through your eyes - for what and who I am. Compassionate, generous, committed to the common good of all - and somebody who once loved her work, her life and the feeling of belonging.

So - I promised you updates. First - I sought out professional help and after a few very painful sessions (with LOTS of tears) the Dr. diagnosed post traumatic stress disorder. What finally prompted me into going to see somebody was a full blown, completely scary, panic attack that hit me with the force of a Mac Truck as my husband pulled up outside my office bld. one morning to drop me off. I felt as if every gasp of air was sucked out of my chest - while my brain exploded and a wail like the sound of a wild animal came howling out of me. I couldn't breath - I couldn't stop the obscene (howling) cries I seemed to be making and somehow - as completely strange as this sounds even to me - I swear I left my body. It seemed for a while I was watching something happen to someone else. It scared me beyond any fear I have ever felt and swallowed down.

I did try seeking help at first with our own "company appointed" support - but soon discovered that they are on the company payroll after all. So I bet you can figure out how that went. I left feeling guilty and patronized. Thereafter I went to see somebody completely on the outside, and paid for it myself. Overall a completely different experience and a shocking diagnosis. Shocking in that I kept saying I was never in the military (since that's who I thought would suffer from PTSD) and shocking in that is completely fit - every symptom and every reaction I had. Like glass slippers made to order. Yes, brittle glass that will, in truth, shatter and cut my feet at my very first step.

Because of the limit of number of words - I've chosen to post this in two parts ... so here ends part one. I hope you read part 2 as well .. if not - thank you for your support and for reading this far.

Thank You and Updates ... Part2
by: No Name Girl Vancouver

Part 2 ...
I also approached HR - but - again they are on the payroll of the company and the person I talked to tried her VERY best to help, but in the end, she has a job, a life and probably a mortgage too. She could help only so far, and the rest was just to give advice on how to navigate the toxic waters of my mid year review.

That was interesting. Every success was dismissively and grudgingly accepted – but swiftly backed up with a way I could have made it better. The one “well done†was so patronizing and felt like I was being patted on the head like a petulant child! I had also (once again raised the issue of the work load and the scope of the work) only to be told by one of the 3 managers (required to access my work at the half year point) that I had a problem with time management. Perhaps all these years previously I must have just managed it by fluke?

Next I took some holiday time and magically my blood pressure dropped into the “really healthy people†range, and after a few days I found myself sleeping deeply and peacefully. Sadly,I was back no more than a day before I was crying in my bath with the familar feeling of tightness in my chest.

I’ve heard that there are going to be layoffs. I can only hope and pray I’m one of them. A severance would be a God send! But – just incase – I’m exploring the possibility of job sharing with somebody. She’s a tough cookie and we not only get along well – but have equal but opposite talents and strengths. It could work.

I will work 3 days, and there'll be somebody to share the workload. Also the bullying will no longer be just my worthless word. And incase you are wondering, I have been 100% honest with her and have said she can take her time deciding if she wants to go ahead. We can also have a short term trial so she can try out my glass slippers, before committing to sharing them full time.

Time will tell. I may job share with somebody – or I may get a package. Or, knowing the cruelty of my multiple managers, they just may refuse these options and force me to remain in the corner they’ve backed me into. What then? I’m not sure, but a legal route may be my next step. Others before me have tred this path.

So, thank you again for your support. Your comments made me feel less alone. I felt I finally had friends who were unbiased by circumstances (like those at work who have to tread carefully for their own workplace security) or my husband (who fears for our loss of income and is in no way interested in seeing me as anything less than strong and in control) or my family (who comes from the old school were people NEVER leave their jobs, the boss is always right and harassment is OK as long as it top down …) It was also great to know that you understood from personal experience. I hope you stay with me on this journey as I will with you and your stories.

Till next time …

You're Not Alone
by: Anonymous

Your not alone mate! But I would advise to just leave the job for your own health. I went to senior manager/HR to resolve our "personality clash", the only thing that happened was Dr Jekyll (the aggressive one) and Mr Hyde (the quiet serial bully - deadly) changed tactics/ among other things - sabotaging my work. HR tried to dismiss me but I got it changed to redundancy because of hard evidence on sabotaging.

Should have brought it to court but too emotionally exhausted. I think the hard thing to get your head wrapped round is how they manage to turn other staff against a target even though it tends to be done very subtly over a period of time, they just seem to be able to hood-wink everybody into believing them or is it that others are scared of being next and tend to keep their heads down. So anyway now Mr Hyde has my job and Dr Jekyll has job security as he is the only other person who knew how to do certain designs... and I am left with post traumatic stress (this bullying was going on for over a year) and pale discolouration down one side of my back because of shingles (didn't know Irish skin could get any paler but it can. :-(

Keep your chin up because - I know this may not be any consultation at the moment but the majority of times the reason bullies pick a target because that person is a threat to them. They are usually good at their job (excel), have a good rapport with staff... well at least before the bullying started and have a high level of integrity, show independence of thought. All the stories I have read on this site seem to prove this statistic right.

Same thing different person....
by: Anonymous

I have read all of these stories with the hopes I would find an answer to my current situation. For the past five months I have been a stock controller for a pharmacy (I have been a Stock controller for one and a half years and have been in pharmacy for almost four years. In this job just after I started the company asked me to order all stock for the other four stores in the chain. I have been doing it and in my opinion it has been going well I have not had one complaint about what stock the other stores have been receiving. Two months ago I was asked to place a six month order (which is huge) just for my store and the other stores would draw from me. The reason I was asked to place such a large order was because we had a new contract for a six month forward charge with better discounts. The order arrived we did not receive the discounts. I have done everything in my power to get this refunded and have been discussing this with the owners and the HR manager (who also supervises all stores) since the day we received the order but it really comes down to the contract which I am not privy to. Three months ago we hired a retail manager to watch the front of store as I don't have time. She is in her fourties as is the HR manager they have become quite good friends. On Monday out of no where I was told in a meeting with the HR manager and the Retail manager that I would not be doing my job anymore that they would, I am only allowed to transfer stock to other stores. My desk is not my desk now I have to be on the floor and have lost all authority. When I asked why and what I had done to be demoted I was told things change and that's life. I don't know what to do there are no jobs available right now and I never really thought such a thing could happen out of the blue. I am 21 so I understand I am very young to have this position but I am very competent in my abilities. I feel I am being used as a scape goat for the HR managers lack of securing a good contract. Can anyone tell me are there laws to protect me? I feel very lost I enjoyed my job and took alot of pride in my work but I don't really want to have to fight for a job that doesn't want me.

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