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I was bullied for about 8 years at work. I ended up with a drink problem went into rehab and am now in recovery. It took me a long time to realise that my manager was bullying me (work dumping, spreading dirt, etc), because I am not a victim type of person. I was held to hostage by my old fashioned idea that one should work hard and do as your boss says. A useless lesson my father drummed into me.
Other people in the department always said what a nice guy he was. He was indeed very nice (a 'crawler') to his superiors.
I went back to work after rehab, and ended up working for the same guy. I held him at bay using assertiveness techniques but he hadn't changed. He retired last week. Early in the week I told him that I wanted a word with him and took him to a quiet area. I tried to explain, calmly and assertively that I was unhappy about his behaviour. I fluffed my words a bit, not finding it easy. He said it was my own fault and a sneering mocking expression came over his face. I said (quote):
"You think this is funny? You're lucky we're not discussing this in the car park right now or I'd be kicking your f*****g ass, you c**t!.... Any time you want." I don't know where it came from, deep anger inside I suppose. I left him there pale and shaking. When he came back, he told his boss he didn't feel very well, picked up his coat and walked out sobbing. He was crawling around me all week after that. I gave the sorry loser nothing but contempt and disdain.
However, I had failed to remain assertive, threats like this are technically illegal. It goes against the perceived wisdom, but it did me a lot of good to see him as he really was, a weak and pathetic individual, as they generally are underneath. This is how you regard your bully.
My experience with going through the proper procedures is that the managers/HR like to put it down to say, a personality clash, which I would not accept as it gets them off the hook.
Word got around and now nobody gives me any hassle around the place. You are not necessarily weak if you are bullied, just maybe not as crafty as your colleagues who are generally just relieved that they are not the target. I dare say that I could probably throw my weight around now, but it would give me no pleasure. I am not a bully.