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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Working in Health Care Industry is Not Always Healthy

by Judith Munson
(Magalia, CA, USA)

Years ago I worked for a major health care provider in So. California. I worked in the admissions department and loved my job. The people I worked with were fun to be around and very helpful, including my supervisor.

After about a year and a half, I suddenly became ill and required open heart surgery to repair a mitral valve in my heart. When I left to have this procedure done, I was assured by the controller that I would have a job when I returned and for me not to worry.

When I returned after 8 weeks, I got myself re-oriented to my work again. Within a few days, my boss started calling me into her office and said I was making some mistakes and that I should be more careful. I noticed that my co-workers were a bit distant with me also. As time went on, this routine continued daily and I was ridiculed and brow-beaten continuously. I thought something was wrong with me so I started seeing a psychologist. The heat was turned up on me and soon my co-workers were ignoring me, my boss was riding me harder and harder and my self-confidence went right out of the window.

During the next three months of being mobbed, my stress levels were through the roof, I was physically sick everyday before I went to work and I cried at the drop of the hat.

The day came when I was given the choice of going back on a 90 day probationary period or I could just leave right then and there. I chose to leave. I could not take it anymore.

What I learned almost a year later is that I was set up on purpose in order for me to leave. They had no legal stand to fire me as it was, but if I went back on 90-days probation, they could fire me with no cause. I was not strong enough emotionally to fight for myself so leaving was the only option I could see. I learned later there was an unwritten policy that if someone presented to be a health care risk to the facility, the employee was to be gotten rid of at all costs. By the time I found this out, it was too late for me to take legal action as the statue of limitations was past due. I found out also, that I did not make any of the mistakes I was accused of making.

This experience created such deep seeded emotional problems that it took me years to overcome. I became housebound, couldn't work at all for years and was dependent upon my husband and children to take me places as I was so afraid I'd make a mistake.

It took me years to overcome these fears and I eventually started taking small steps to regain my confidence in working and going places. I now own my own business, have authored many articles on the subject of bullying in the workplace and am currently writing a book called "Alligators in the Water Cooler; Defining and Surviving Bullies in the Workplace", release date, November 2008.

I think it's important for those who are experiencing being bullied or mobbed to know that it's not their fault. And believe it or not, it's not personal. A bully bullies to fulfill his/her need for being in control or to make up for their own inadequacies.

Comments for Working in Health Care Industry is Not Always Healthy

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Health Care Industry Notorious for Workplace Bullying
by: Anton Hout

Ironically, the Health Care Industry is notoriously bad for workplace bullying.

This case is particularly shocking considering that you were suffering from a heart condition. The stress inflicted on targets of mobbing is severe enough to result in high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. Those involved in this mobbing demonstrated depraved indifference to your health and life.

Legal protections are nowhere near what they should be. Often those most severely affected are the least able to fight back.

I'm glad to hear you have been able to overcome bullying and reclaim your life. I look forward to reading your new book when it is released.

You Are a Good Person
by: Anonymous

I am also feeling your pain. I work in a health care facility which is supposed to be religious but is more like a bully trap for the good weak staff. Bullies prey on the weak and I refuse to be pushed around -- I am fighting back the right way -- If nobody ever talks to me again in the workplace who cares!!! Keep strong.

Washington, US
by: Sandra

And all that hard work is paying off. I understand by next year the health care field must have an anti-bullying policy in place.

What is in Your Heart
by: Solange

I have been subjected to bullying on several jobs. Bullying came back to me because I had unhealed issues, wounds, buttons that needed to be attended to. When I was growing up, my older sister was very critical toward me. She would always pick on me. I wanted to "get even" but could never seem to because Dad would yell at us to stop before I could say anything. And if I did say anything, the bullying would become my fault because I was now the one making the noise that needed to be shut down. My sister was actually (and still is) very critical of a lot of things. My mother always thought she was smarter than me and her ability to criticize every little thing (even her little sister) was proof. People who did not criticize were dummies.

So, what did I learn growing up? That bullies are always right because they are smarter and better, AND that if you speak up, you will get shot down in a very hurtful way. Bullies have the right to bully others. The bullied have no rights.

What a shock it was to find out that I actually had internalized these beliefs! Now, my pattern of being bullied makes sense. When bullies force themselves on you and you get flustered, you immediately lose. Identifying bullying as it happens has to be done with clarity. Bullies are cowards who commit emotional violence against others because they are afraid of not getting what they want, of not being good enough or whatever. Unless you can see that and call it out, you are then blamed. Anyone ever experienced that?

In your case, you were in a vulnerable position. Just as you needed the support of your co-workers the most, they abandoned you. But, it was not personal. It was due to a fear instilled in them by the institution you worked for -- a cruel cultural rule that turned nice people into cowards.

This may not fit so well into my comments on your story but I offered some details of my story that may be helpful for you as your share your writings with others.

You were vulnerable because you had been seriously ill. I was vulnerable because of childhood wounds that I was unaware of.

I think if there is a key to stopping workplace bullying on the part of targets, it may be in looking at our lives and our inner beings to see where our wounds are that others may take advantage of. When we can heal these, we can stand up to anything. What a blessing!

I am so grateful that you are healed, standing up to the cowards, and being of service through your writings to others who may be hurting but are unaware of why.

Thanks for your post, and I look forward to your book!

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