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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Not An Isolated Incident, At Several Workplaces

by DeAnna
(Spokane WA)

You should look carefully at the workplace environment, as you may find that the bully has targeted others who keep quiet until privately asked if they had experienced similar antagonistic treatment.

This was exactly the case for me. It didn't have to do with my sex, intelligence or work habits. It had to do with the clique culture. Either you joined in the culture that fed the bully's insecurity complex (and thus were her or his groupie) or you were targeted.

At several workplaces in the same town, the bully as widely despised by a number of workers who disclosed their true feelings privately, away from the workplace. Several were male (I am female). Those of us who were targeted loathed gossiping. These workplaces were broadly characterized by one astute person as clique-ish and were well known locally for bullying tactics.

It's not about you, it's not personal. It's a simple division of those who are self-secure and accomplished and those who are chronically insecure and have learned the tactics of bullies, often from their early social peer groups or from role models.

It's social programming, and it's propagated from generation or generation. You may have learned and adopted passive-aggressive responses as a result of that social conditioning (if you have been bullied chronically). As a result, you may be unconsciously attracting and enabling bully behavior.

I've realized that bosses can easily succumb to bully tactics in order to maintain their place in the pecking order and to control capable and independent-minded underlings (who inadvertently cause their bully bosses to feel insecure).

If you want to stop bullying, you have to recognize that workplace pecking orders exist and will encourage and support bully behaviors rather than deal with them. The only way to stop it is to learn how to neutralize your boss or coworker's insecurity and shield yourself from adverse actions.

That requires you to stop seeing yourself as an isolated victim and to start networking with others who are similarly treated to quietly resist the negativity and, if possible, to bring a Group Case against the bully to management. The latter can only happen if management (and HR) is ambivalent to bullying and is willing to investigate and act on carefully documented examples of this adverse behavior, provided that focus on the detriment of such actions to workplace productivity.

Comments for Not An Isolated Incident, At Several Workplaces

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Gossip as the Vehicle for Bullying
by: Seana Sperling

I have been targeted in a few different workplaces for bullying. Some of mine has been due to cliques, but much of it has been because of the spread of slander and ridicule. I'm no sex offender, thief, racist, pervy, etc. but this has not stopped the bullies from saying that I am. If the message gets out there, then people will start looking for it. "Look at how she looked at you." "Oh, she gave you a compliment. That is sexual harassment." Even though I am straight, I was accused of ogling women and sexually harassing them. These are ridiculous accusations, but when they are out there. people will look for it and misconstrue everything you do an say. Part of it is the social inclusion of the gossip circle. They have a sense of belonging, a cause, which is targeting you. I have also been dealing with E-personation for a very long time and have found my name in conjunction with very provocative sites and postings that I did not even know existed. The Internet is a curse as well as a blessing. Please be smart out there and don't believe everything you see on it or hear from your workplace gossips. If in doubt, ask the person that is accused. You could be saving a life.

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