Not workplace exactly but somewhere that I was receiving ongoing training at an educational institution. I was verbally attacked and subjected to a barrage of negative comments about my personality. The bully was the tutor of the group and from the outset had singled me out for her rather pointed personal remarks. I am a very strong woman, I have suffered some terrible losses in my life but have coped with those challenges head on.
I am a widow and was widowed at a very young age and with children to support. I was never bullied before I was widowed but have experienced being bullied several times since having been widowed. It seems that being an attractive, young and capable widow is very threatening to some people, particularly some women.
This tutor encouraged the sharing of information about our personal lives on a weekly basis as part of the group learning, yet whatever I chose to share was turned against me and used as ammunition to fuel her hurtful comments.
The woman who bullied me was obviously disappointed that I didn't fit into the victim role that she would like to have seen me in - you know the type - they want to make themselves feel saintly by 'rescuing' hapless 'victims' (I suspect this was her true motive in delving into the students' personal lives) but if the perceived 'victim' doesn't need their help they proceed to persecute that person instead; which was what I think happened to me.
For instance she translated my comment that I had had a bad week and that I thought that there were some things that I could have handled better that week into a huge 'issue' wherein she said in front of the whole group that I hated myself and repeatedly demanded to know why I hated myself. I was having a bad day already and I found her belligerent insistence that I was a self hating victim of my own lack of self esteem too much to bare in front of a group of people, some of whom I barely knew.
Needless to say, I left the room and left the course. I tried to complain but the management insisted that I should confront her directly before they would be prepared to do anything. As I had already endured enough of this woman's bullying I decided against their suggested course of action as I felt it would only give her another opportunity to abuse me.
I was shocked and disappointed that an educational institution was not prepared to give me a fair hearing or to arbitrate on my behalf - they didn't even offer to discuss what had happened face to face with me and it became very clear that the woman's supervisor was in cahoots with her. All that she would suggest was that I join a different class with a different tutor but as I felt so unsupported by the institution and could see that if I had any further problems they would be unlikely to help me I chose to go elsewhere for my training.
I have moved on but it took a long time to overcome the self doubts I suffered as a result of this woman's vicious bullying. The damage done by bullies is despicably cruel; as I have illustrated these people like to kick you when you are down and feeling vulnerable as normally they wouldn't get a chance to do what they do. I said that I consider myself to be a strong woman but I have my off days, that doesn't make me a self hating misfit, it just makes me human. What it shows me though is that people like this bully are cowards, desperate to make themselves feel better about themselves at the expense of others.
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