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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Unemployed Government Worker Suffers From PTSD

by Lynn

I worked for an elected official, several in fact for many years. My former boss was very nice personable man. He was also ineffective, a boss in name only; a figurehead that has delegated away his power. He didn’t know many of his own policies. He put his faith in what his administrators told him. Employees reported feeling disenfranchised and alienated.

My former boss has been disconnected from the needs of our taxpayers for a long time. I have seen the word "autopilot" used in reference to my former boss's approach. He did indeed have things on autopilot with one particular administrator and her posse in charge.

She has made a lot of enemies due to her treatment of others. I have observed the administrator’s tacit approval and in many cases, active participation in what can only be described as workplace mobbing. I have read that one of the side-effects of this type of prolonged treatment is post-traumatic-stress-disorder and is frequently misdiagnosed. This type of treatment is costly in terms of usage of sick time (for anxiety, insomnia, headaches, depression, substance abuse, etc.), apathetic and dysfunctional workers as well as the turnover associated with this administration.

I have also observed an air of desperation from colleagues because they have no recourse. Who are they going to complain to? They need their jobs. They stay as long as they can. Many do not leave with good feelings for this department. This is not good business. During the primary election, my former boss publicly claimed that there weren't any morale issues. He told the public he has an open-door policy and has never heard a single complaint. The problem with this is there is also a policy in place that requires going up the chain of command before taking advantage of his "open door policy". Nobody in their right mind would have done this as the issue would have been given back to the offending party to deal with.

The turnover associated with this department is unreal. It appeared to me and others that the objective was to take a person's pride and this was usually accomplished because of the target's systematic isolation and victim's integrity and loyalty to the department.

These behaviors are hard to prove. I had even thought about carrying a pocket recorder. I have seen many abuses of power, large and small. Out of fear of retaliation, I have kept my mouth shut. This administrator has had complete power for so long that she is completely corrupted. She doesn't have to conduct herself in a reasonable manner as she answers to no one. She has caused a lot of problems for her staff, past and present.

This administrator’s demeanor can be cold, disinterested, with a flat affect. She will give eye contact to everyone in her vicinity except the person who has fallen out of favor. She has often denied giving instructions to her supervisors if negative results are obtained. She has disciplined officers for following these same instructions. She is very often unavailable due to personal business. She disciplines for behavior that she herself indulges in. She would "hold court" with her favorites while the rest of us were hard at work. I was told by an employee in the "inner circle" that from the beginning of this administrators reign I "never had a chance".

This administrator arranged it to where many times I had to work unreasonable hours, double shifts, or 16 hour days. She would withhold vital information from me resulting in reprimands when things went wrong as a result. I have seen her avoid or even run from employees and the public if she found them distasteful or didn't want to deal with them. She left a written reprimand for me in a common area in an unsealed intra office mailer. Anyone could have read it and probably did. Normally our supervisors would sit down with the employee and go over the reprimand face to face. However, I was working late hours at that time and she did not want to have a late meeting with me nor did she schedule a face to face meeting at her convenience. I know for a fact she would given me a reprimand for doing what she did.

I could go on and on. I loved my job and sometimes yearn to go back and restore my reputation. However, I believe I suffer from PTSD. I cannot bear to even drive by my former place of work. I've had panic attacks the few times I've run into this lady. Even though I resigned in 2002, I still grieve and just can't seem to get over it. I have been unable to even try to work again due to trust issues.

Comments for Unemployed Government Worker Suffers From PTSD

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I Know What You Feel
by: Anonymous

I feel really sad when I read such horror stories in the workplace but I do know they are real. And I know how you feel when you can't even drive by the building...

I have been horribly mobbed by officials in two small Kansas towns close to each other and after they did so many violent, bad mobbing things to our nonprofit, put me in jail at age 68 years old (female) and demolished our beautiful historic building, I, too, cannot drive by, nor can I even go to that town any more. It is the county seat, and I have to take a friend along just to endure going to the courthouse -- coming in the back way.

I do use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and it helps some at the moment but it does not seem to last. Perhaps it would give you relief -- it does help many others.

I feel like the scars will be on my soul the rest of my life. I expect you know what I mean. I wish we could just erase the pain and walk away but it doesn't work that way.

I hope you will heal eventually
by: Anonymous

Please hang on in there! You sound like you have gone through a similar hell like I did. I had one good psychologist (the rest was crap, rather intimidating or more following their own agenda of success) but I had to give him up for cost-reasons when being fired by the bully. But I did not give in. I read everything possible on the topic and related things. The best sources I can recommend for insight are: books - Marie-France Hirigoyen (very soothing for the victim´s soul!), Hare and Babiak on Snakes in Suits (Psychopaths at work), Stout´s Sociopath next door, a dreadful manipulation text by Gloria Beck (not ethical but good to spot and understand systematic manipulation) and please check Wikipedia for the topic "mind control", check there especially for the book from Margaret Singer (I ignored the lawsuit with the APA body, the book is tremendously helpful on how fragile our identity is, try to avoid getting overly exhausted and uncritical it is VERY, very dangerous for your critical judgment ability). Also check the late Tim Field´s website bullyonline.org, he has created and left behind a tremendous ressource center for anyone dealing with this sad issue. And best is his advice for healing: instead of a breakDOWN he defined it for himself as a breakTHROUGH :o) I love that!
Insight into all this information has given me back the feeling that I am not crazy, it has also given me back "words" because all of a sudden I could describe what has happened. I have found peace of mind and am a much stronger person today. I read everything I could on manipulative tactics and how to oppose them.

But most importantly: this information will help you to forgive yourself. It is important to remember that it HAPPENED to you, most likely you weren´t at fault. THEY / HE / SHE were at fault. Learning to forgive myself (my own naivety of not believing in evil but to believe only in good) was the greatest gift I could make to myself.

I´m not religious but...
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

All the best for your healing,
*just me*

heartfelt response to unemployed gov worker suffering from ptsd
by: cathy

I have just wept reading your story and the comments. The person who commented is so correct. My 17yr old daughter said to me the day before yesterday "Mom, you have GOT to find a way to forgive yourself firstly and then forgive them for what they did to you. Otherwise you will never live beyond this" Out of the mouths of babes as they say. Sometimes our kids can show us the way. Take heart babe, stand tall, be proud. You did nothing wrong. You are simply a beautiful person in a not so beautiful world. I am new to this website. I hope you have found some peace. I am saying a prayer for you before I go to bed tonight. God Bless and may flights of angels sing thee to the rest as the bold William Shakespeare would have said in Camelot xxxx

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