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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

HR Director Bullied For 12 Years

by Brenda

I'm the Director of Administration and Human Resources for a nonprofit corporation. I have been bullied for 12 years; the last 7 very intensely. By accident I came across a workplace bullying article last year, and it wasn't until then that I realized the article described me to a tee.

I'm a member of a 4 person executive team. I work extremely hard, and am well liked and respected, and genuinely care about everyone I work with, except my bully. When something goes wrong, I'm the one others rely on to fix it. I strive to help employees whether the situation is work-related or they are having trouble outside work. Funny that I can't help myself.

The bullying started when I was promoted to HR Director, and then became intense when I was promoted onto the executive team. A peer in finance, also on the executive team, has done everything in her power to discredit me. She withholds necessary information, rolls her eyes and laughs or gives me the "death stare" when I'm talking, has started several rumors about me, including one that I'm having an affair with a vendor. Her campaign to discredit me eventually led to an entire department being removed from my supervision.

The incredible thing is she is the most incompetent person I've ever had the displeasure of knowing. She is the head of finance but couldn't count her way out of a paper bag! She has made so many mistakes that have cost my company thousands and thousands of dollars, but nothing happens.

She has lied, given me the silent treatment for weeks on end only to suddenly one day be my best friend (that's when I know real damage is being done), and has told my supervisor, also her supervisor and the president of the company, I'm untrustworthy and incompetent. Thankfully, he knows this is not true.

In group settings she belittles me and makes snide comments about me to my co-workers. She has told one person I supervise I'm a b*tch who is insanely jealous of her, I'm stupid, and the company is lucky to have her to keep things running.

After doing some research I mistakenly approached my boss with what I thought was happening. He listened, agreed to some of my points, but has done nothing. I received an excellent review last month; hers was so-so. We both received the same pay increase and make the same salary. This makes me incredibly angry and sick.

My bully never blinks and her eyes are black. I honestly believe that if given the chance, she would physically hurt me. She smiles one minute and goes cold the next. It scares me how evil she is. She has stalked vendors, inappropriately approached them sexually, then threatened to fire them when they didn't reciprocate.

Now this person is bullying those I supervise in an effort to get to me. I'm watching, helplessly, as people I've worked with for 22 years are being targeted because of their relationships with me. I've withdrawn, don't attend luncheons, don't participate in the "fun" activities for fear she will target others. One target has suffered serious stress-related heart problems, having already had one heart attack. How can an employer watch as this happens and do nothing?

I love my job and have worked very hard to get to the place I now am. Unfortunately, this evil person is destroying my confidence, my marriage, and my relationship with my adult daughter. I no longer seek out family, and no longer attend church, both things that previously were important to me. I no longer help in the community, which I loved to do.

I don't know what to do next, except seek therapy by a professional trained in workplace bullying. I am proud of the fact that I stand up to her now, and no longer allow her to run me over. Unfortunately, that means the bullying intensifies, but I refuse to lie down and take it.

I have been looking for another job for 3 years, and plan to leave as soon as I can. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Comments for HR Director Bullied For 12 Years

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You can't fix it
by: Lynn


You must leave for your own sanity and well being. It is not your job to put up with this person or to fix her. We have been given such a short time on ths earth. I suffered 7+ years of the hell you described. I do understand and my heart goes out to you. Don't let this evil person have any more of your soul. She doesn't deserve it. Nor does the company that tolerates or facilitates this kind of abuse. We need to stand up and champion each other as no one else is going to do it. I have made a personal commitment to help the public see this for what it really is. We need laws in place like some other countries to give victims a recourse. I will keep you in my prayers. Remember, you are not alone.


Don't let her ruin your personal life
by: Susan

Long after your job is over - either because you find another one , or retire eventually, etc. - all you will have left is your marriage, your daughter, your church,etc. Don't let that evil bitch ruin what is yours - your personal life. Its one thing that she wants to destroy you at work - do not give her the power to destroy your home life and your trust in other people.

She is evil, because she hates anyone who makes her feel insecure about herself - she is damaged. One of the best ways to fight back is to be determined that she does not infect the rest of your life with her filth and hate. Do your best to keep the personal, separate part of your life away from her and work. This is not always easy - I know - I've been there.

I have been in bully situations at work and it is hard to not dwell on it at home. Being preoccupied with the pain at work is hard on your family and saps the joy out of living - and you need all the joy you can get when you are away from work!

You sound like such a competent and very capable person. I am sure you could continue your career many other places, although i know from personal experience how maddening it is to change jobs, especially when its not your fault. But i get the sense that you have been subjected to this evilness too long because it is effecting you and your family. When you stop seeking out your loved ones or your faith for help and solace, then it is time to get away from this source of evil if at all possible. If you were "fresher" , not so worn down, then staying and fighting her might be more an option. But I am sure you have already considered what the chances are that she will be caught out and fired.

I felt compelled to reply to you, because in the past I too have been there and I stayed too long, and lost my trust in others and it affected my marriage. Our family, our faith, our friends and our marriages and most of all , our trust in our fellow man is precious and sacred. We must not let bullies and their evil, childish ways ruin these precious things. Good luck to you and Godspeed.

You too have a responsibility
by: Anonymous

Workplace bullying is a serious matter. One bully can do a lot of damage to an organization and the personal lives of the people in the organization. We are often baffled that companies would keep known bullies employed, but many managers are not sensitive to the damage bullies are doing and bullies are usually good at pandering to the people with the authority to fire them.

What is most disheartening in this story about the bullied HR director is that it illustrates a company who's employees have nowhere to turn to battle issues like bullying. We see here, a Director of Human Resources who cannot manage a bully situation herself. How in the world can others in her organization turn to her for help if they are suffering the same?? We get the feeling that this HR Director would invite other victims to join her outside for a smoke and some tears about how bad things are rather than actually combating the problem.

Part of the problem, obviously, is the corporate culture at that organization which has allowed, and may even foster bullying.

The other part of the problem is that the HR director does not have the skills to manage the situation - which, in fairness may be beyond her control.

HOWEVER, no matter what the corporate structure, once the bully started picking on the other people in the HR director's department, it wasn't personal anymore. At that point, the victimized HR director had an obligation to stand up to her tormentor and protect the people in her department. The situation presented a unique opportunity for the victimized HR Director to stand down the bully as a champion for those in her department.

Ideally, the victimized HR Director would stand down the bully and get skills to manage it. Otherwise, she may go on to another employer and be sought out by the bully in waiting there. Until one learns how to manage bullies, victims tend to be victims and bullies tend to be bullies wherever they go.

I feel sorry for the employees at this organization that work in an environment where bullying is tolerated and where the even the director of HR doesn't have control over it.

Agreeing with previous commentors
by: Cathy

Hi, I would just like to say I wholeheartedly support the people who have left messages for you up to this point Brenda. I went through ten years of this torture, intense pain and suffering, and it seeped into every area of my life. It affected my relationship with my kids and as I am a single parent this was very difficult. I can honestly say that many of their special ceremonies were a blur to me, like communions, confirmations, graduations etc, all days which should have been really special but just added to the pressure of my life at the time. I too got turned off going to church and to be honest I lost my faith in humanity as well as everything else. There were days when it was almost too much to go shopping. I would advise you to leave sweetheart, life is for living and until the laws are changed and are specifically formulated to anti bullying laws as opposed to some wishy-washy Health and Safety claptrap, these people will continue to terrorise in the corridors and at the water font and coffee machine, on factory floors and garages and in all manner of workplaces. It is so insidious this form of behaviour, it is like a virus because it spreads and spreads and affects your every waking moment and thought. So go baby while you still have the health to go, that would be my advice, leave that toxic environment and live your life while you still have the health to do so. May God Bless and watch over you and yours -- Cathy

At least this is ...``
by: Isobel, west australia

W e l l...

Well, at least this is clear cut, confirmable bullying. After that, i don't know anything.

Whatever your true options are you presently are alert and fighting back. This is good for you.

How come the boss is so laid-back about it all?

Thank you for your responses
by: Brenda

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your support and responses. I truly appreciate them. It is comforting to know I am not alone, though that fact is very sad. To think so many others have gone through this is just terrible! I am resigning my position at the end of summer and am relocating. I need to put as much distance between myself and my employer as possible. What's so devastating is that 5 years ago, there wasn't anything I wouldn't have done for my employer. Now, I just want to get the he** out.

Anonymous, I fight the bully on behalf of those I supervise on an almost daily basis. I have in-depth understanding of my responsibilities as HR and senior management, which is why I alerted my boss to the situation. I took it a couple steps further and purchased a book on the subject for him, wrote an anti-bullying policy, and gave specific, documented examples of what has happened to not only myself, but others. I can't get my boss to take action, which makes me feel helpless. I can't force him to distribute and enforce the policy. Even after relaying the business costs of the bully, which are hundreds of thousands of dollars! I don't take my co-workers out for smoke breaks and cry to or with them because that does no good. I do, however, spend a great deal of time counseling them on how to cope and how to get their work done despite the bully's attempts to derail that work. It amazes me that one person has such a stranglehold on an entire organization.

Isobel, the only thing I can think of is that my boss is afraid of the bully. He also is a target, and subjected to her up/down behavior of tirades one minute and boo hoo/poor me tears the next. She also has tried to undermine him, told others he engages in unethical behavior, etc., but he still does nothing. It's a very toxic situation.

Hello Brenda,
by: Anonymous

It sounds to me like the bully, may be getting in good with the boss, IF you know what I mean! I think your qualifications will speak on your behalf, for other job prospects. However, as the Good Book says, the evil-doers' reign, will come to an end. Hold on for just a little longer, and you will see the results!


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