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Topic : Workplace Bullies

Number of Replies: 245
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Created on : Thursday, July 07, 2005, 09:25:23 am
Author : dataimport
Bullying is not just a schoolyard pastime anymore, it has spread to the workplace as well. Share your stories, support and advice with others dealing with a bully at work.

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December 27, 2007, 1:26 pm CST

Bullies at work

I quit my job of 24 years a few months ago in part because of a hostile work environment or more accurately bullying. Key people I worked with in the firm were the owners, some outside financial consultants and several upper level employees. Over the past 8 years I was repeatedly asked when I was leaving and the owner would verbally state in administrative meetings that she wished all the “old” employees would leave. I told her that if she didn’t want me to work there to just let me know and I would help her train and transition replacements. The final straw came when I was ambushed in an administrative meeting. I had met at length with one of the key financial consultants prior to the meeting and he indicated that everything I had done for the meeting was in order. Once the meeting was in play he proceeded to berate me for not doing my job etc. etc. He was joined in by one of the principals. I was so upset that I went back to my desk, pulled up all the emails and looked at what I had done for the guys. It was all in order. After a few drinks and many tears that evening I decided that I should just throw in the towel. I am really glad I did too. The nagging depression I have felt for years has lifted. No one should tolerate jerks at work. I am currently in the process of starting my own business. I would encourage anyone out there dealing with bullies to take action. Find work elsewhere. Don't tolerate them as I did.

 
January 12, 2008, 11:33 am CST

I need to vent

I will admit, I am a hothead.Back in August of '07 I was unloading a semi-trailer.In the process of unloading skids on the shop floor a co-worker asked me why I was placing the skids by his work area. I told him I didn't have anyplace else to put them. I wanted to focus on getting the truck unloaded. He preceded to tell me if I was doing my job-I would have a place to put them. I told him to get off his lazy butt(not the exact terms I used) and help me or shut the f**k up.Long story short-A month later I was wrote up for using profanity. This is company policy-However there is nothing in the policy about instigating or trying to get me upset so I would lose my cool. I am female, the coworker is male

I have avoided any contact with this worker as much as possible-but if he sees me doing anything he feels is not work related-he makes a point to say so

I have been told by my boss and others that he will go out of his way to get me upset again, so I will either be suspended or fired. They know this-everyone thinks it is because I told him off in August and it hurt his ego. I feel like I have no back-up. The union rep is a friend of his, and thinks that i shouldn't have cursed at him. Well, I think I paid for that, by being wrote up-this will be in my file for 2 years. I cannot do anything-I'm told because he is not doing anything wrong. He made a vendor wait 25 minutes to unload him-hoping that I would do the unloading. I was talking to the delivery driver and he complained that if I had time to talk to the driver ,I had time to unload. To me--this is not concern--he is not a supervisor. What I do is not his business. But I feel his watchful eyes on my constantly when i leave the building.

We are having a company meeting Monday--do you feel that he is just being a bully or does this not feel like a hostile work environment. I am 1 of 2  women  on the shop floor

Any suggestions??

 
January 28, 2008, 10:13 am CST

mobbing and abuse

My daughter lives in Connecticut and she is abused and bullied by a lot of people, including employers, coworkers, postal workers, clerks, nurses, doctors, etc. She was in the hospital and just coming out of a coma and the nurse slapped her hard in the face. Later in her room, she was trying to recover from being in a coma and the nurse came in her room and threw her clean sheets and gown across the room and told her she had to change her own sheets and her own gown and my daugher had three i.v. needles in her arms. She gets abused by the police, postal workers, everywhere she goes. Utility trucks park outside her house and are not there to do any work, the guy just sits in the truck, then to look busy, he gets out, sets a cone down, gets back in the truck, sits there doing nothing, then gets out again, lifts up one of the plates in the ground, looks in the hole, does nothing, puts it back down, gets back in the truck, sits there doing nothing, gets out, puts another cone down, gets back in the truck, sits there doing nothing. This goes on for hours.  Why are these idiots allowed or told to do these things instead of really doing their jobs. The people pay taxes, etc. to pay for services from these idiots and this is all they do. The public should be outraged.  if you think just because no one is bullying you, you are immune to any of this, you can think again.  This causes your taxes to go up, and what if someone wanted to put glue on a toilet seat to get even and you sat on it.  Would you think it didn't affect you? Think about the frustration we go through and maybe it isn't right to do something to get back and get even and take out our frustration but that doesn't mean there aren't victims of this out there doing these sorts of things.  Look how some employees go back to their former workplace with guns an kill the other employees and the boss and then sometimes themselves. It they hadn't been abused and bullied they wouldn't have done this. What if your wife or husband or child or brother or sister, etc, happened to work at such a place and was a victim of the shooting rampage that goes on there when a victim comes back and does this. Would you think you are not a victim then? If the people who saw this going on there and did nothing to stop it got shot or witnessed the shooting and lost their lives or saw their friends and coworkers shot and killed, they would wish they would have spoken up and done something and tried to help that person before it got so far out of hand and out of control.  Think of all these things and then say this bullying does not affect you because you are not a victim of it. You could be a future victim of something that happens because of it. Maybe because you, yourself, work there and will not speak up for someone who is being bullied and abused and will then suffer the consequences. What is that phrase about how they came for so and so and I was not in that group, so I did nothing, then they came for another such and such group and I was not part of that group so I did nothing and now they are coming for me and there is no one left to help me.
 
February 3, 2008, 6:18 am CST

Workplace Bullies

     "Work place bullying and mobbing" is a little known phenomenon in the United States but is well known and addressed on many levels in several other countries, primarily The United Kingdom. Although most people in the United States are unfamiliar with the terms "work place bullying and mobbing" many of our work places are fully entrenched in a culture that permits,and even encourages these behaviors. Workplace bullying is defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment in the form of verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and work sabotage that undermines legitimate business and services. This not only affects the targeted worker, but also prevents the employer from conducting business as usual. Employers have no legal recourse to address the bully perpetrator employee either".

      Work place bullies use many tactics to emotionally abuse their targets. Isolation being a bully's Most Harmful Weapon of all. Targets are often chosen by their bullies because of their better than average work performance. Bullies often feel threatened by good performers, because it increases their own feelings of inadequacy and shame. While mentally healthy people applaud and enjoy working and learning from those who excel, bullies can’t stand to see someone other then themselves shine.

Those whose good performance wins the attention of a bully, suddenly finds their successes minimized. Their once valued opinion is no longer asked. Their responsibility for unimportant matters often increases, while their authority is taken from them, often replaced by a bully’s friend. Targets are no longer asked to participate in planning meetings, special projects, or even social events. Important information is no longer communicated to them, as they are intentionally “taken out of the loop”, causing embarrassment and/or some kind of failure due to their lack of what coworkers perceive to be common knowledge. The bully begins a campaign of nit picking, criticism, and personal insults usually done behind closed doors and in subtle ways. The bully often targets one person at a time, making it hard for coworkers to believe the abuse is real as reported by the target. Often, only the target and the bully themselves, know the true nature of the bully.

      The target begins to react emotionally to these abusive changes, which they don’t understand, because there is no real reason other than the bully’s whim, even amusement at the targets distress. Targets often become obsessed by the bully searching for the reason for the abuse, that doesn’t exist. The bully points out the targets emotional distress to coworkers, often feigning concern, along with rumors, gossip and half or twisted truths about the target, in order to manipulate others into questioning the target’s competency and mental health..

     Most coworkers believe the bully, not understanding that the target is displaying symptoms of an emotional injury, perpetrated by the bully, rather than mental illness as often alleged by the bully. Coworkers then unwittingly participate in the bullying, which is called mobbing. The few coworkers, who may know the truth, usually won’t stick up for the target, to avoid becoming a target themselves.

     Isolation is the most emotionally painful experience a mentally healthy person can endure. That is why isolation is a primary tactic used to punish or torture. It is the bully’s most harmful weapon. I remember a Nun teaching in grade school that no one knows what Hell is like. We can only be sure of one thing. If you go to Hell, you will be ALONE.

     The prevalence of work place bullying and mobbing in the United States is made evident by our common knowledge of the term "going postal" the most devastating affect of work place bullying of all. Adult suicides being the second most devastating affect. It is an important public health message that all working Americans learn about work place bullying and mobbing to literally save lives. It's my mission to educate others about this menace in our work places, the largest hidden expense in business today. Let's recognize it, name it, and end work place bullying and mobbing together!!   To read more about this subject visit my websites: 

http://360.yahoo.com/antibullyingcrusador

The blog above is continued at this website:

http://journals.aol.com/abcbullynomore/ABC-AntiBullyingCrusador/

                        Sincerely,   ABC

 
February 8, 2008, 8:58 pm CST

Bosses

Hi all,

A question regarding bosses......I work for a few that can be quite demanding and sometimes, down right rude.  Any suggestions on how to teach them how to treat us, or how to stand up for ourselves?  How to achieve this in a professional manner without them walking over us with their egos and power trips? 

 

Thanks!

Me

 
February 10, 2008, 5:36 pm CST

Dealing With Demanding and Rude Bosses

Quote From: jr1964

Hi all,

A question regarding bosses......I work for a few that can be quite demanding and sometimes, down right rude.  Any suggestions on how to teach them how to treat us, or how to stand up for ourselves?  How to achieve this in a professional manner without them walking over us with their egos and power trips? 

 

Thanks!

Me

  After extensive study of the phenomenon of "work place bullying and mobbing" I have learned that there are ways to minimize demanding, rude behaviors of managers. There are two general types of demanding, rude managers that you're likely to come across and they need to be dealt with differently.

  The first is a true "bully". A true bully has emotional or mental health problems which robs them of their empathy and compels them to emotionally assault subordinates. These predators use premeditated tactics intended to control, subjugate or eliminate their "target". They enjoy watching their target's distress, that their abuse of power causes. True bullies think in ways that are inconceivable to most people, but they are skilled at mimicking normal emotions which makes them seem quite normal. These bullies use subtle tactics or abuse behind closed doors. They choose one target at a time. These factors make it hard for others to believe that the target's reported abuse is real. This helps the bully turn coworkers against the target. By using lies, twisted or half truths, together with feigned concern for the emotional distress the target begins to display, the bully manipulates coworkers into participating in the abuse. This is called "mobbing". Once chosen as a target, there is an 80% chance that the target will be forced out of their position within two years. These bullies then choose another target within two weeks after elimination of a current target.

  The second type of demanding, rude manager is simply arrogant, believing the importance of their position entitles them to treat subordinates as hand-maidens. Their rudeness is not premeditated and is often intensified by their stress level. They do not intend to hurt others and often don't realize that they are.

   Arrogant bosses often respond to honesty and flattery. Tell your boss you would like to meet with them to discuss a "problem". Start the meeting by acknowledging the importance of the boss's role in the company and state your commitment to supporting them in their role. Give examples of positives things you do that supports them. Then tell the boss that sometimes you are spoken to or treated in a ways that you don't deserve. Describe what you mean and how certain behaviors make you feel. For example, "When you yell at me it makes me nervous and less able to understand your directions". Give examples of positive behaviors that help you help them. For example, "When you demonstrate the way you want me to do it, I can do it the way you want, correctly, the first time". After the meeting, make positive comments whenever the boss behaves in the positive ways you suggested. For example, "Thank you for taking the time to show me how to do this, I know I'll do it correctly now". If the boss lapses back to old behaviors, give reminders. For example, "Remember, it makes me nervous when you yell, lets continue when you can speak to me calmly".

   The first type, the true "bully", is obviously more difficult to deal with. These people are dangerous to a "target's" emotional and physical health. It's best, whenever there is a way possible, to just leave a job in which you have become a target of a true bully. There are many reasons why people can't leave their jobs, if that is the case, as it is for me, there are ways to minimize the bullying.

   First, reduce your exposure and interaction with the bully as much as possible. Do not get into an elevator with a bully, take the stairs. Do not enter the restroom, if you see the bully enter first. Do not sit near the bully during a meeting or at lunch. Do not try to reason with the bully or engage the bully in a discussion to try to find out the reasons for the abuse. Remember, this type of bully thinks in ways that are inconceivable to you. You cannot reason with this type of bully and there is no valid reason that they are treating you this way, other than their whim or amusement. If a bully goes into a tirade, simply state that you will talk with them when they can talk to you calmly. Then hangup the phone or walk away. When you can't avoid the bully, be polite but brief, such as saying "good morning" and interact as minimally as possible in the course of your job.

  DO NOT REACT to anything this bully says or does. This type of bully is motivated and is entertained by your distressed reaction. If you don't react, they may choose a more entertaining target.   No matter how distraught you may feel, NEVER show these emotions on the job. Cry at home. At work be a pillar of emotional strength and stability.  Bullies will use any sign of weakness against you. 

  Build strong relationship with coworkers. Be supportive and go the extra mile to help coworkers whenever possible. Give no one a reason to complain about you. Then, tell select coworkers when you are treated badly by the bully, but do so carefully and calmly, not excessively or distressfully. Don't seem angry or distraught, instead seem perplexed and concerned for the bully. Make coworkers your allies by showing them the nasty e.mails or telling them the exact words the bully used, then ask their opinion. Also, be sure to show them articles about work place bullying and mobbing.

  If the bully states that someone else made a complaint against you, go to that person and apologize. Every time I took this approach, the person I apologized to, denied ever making the complaint against me. Respond in a perplexed way and if your bully e.mailed or otherwise documented the complaint, show them the documentation. This person not knowing the true nature of the bully, like you the target does, will want to straighten things out with the bully boss. The bully boss will be taken by surprise and will seem really foolish trying to explain why they made a complaint, on behalf of someone who never make a complaint.

  Know this - bullies often choose a target because they are threatened by the target's good performance and/or popularity which increases the bully's feeling of shame or makes their feelings of incompetence seem more evident by comparison. Don't point out your successes to your bully boss thinking this will gain your boss's approval. Instead, keep successes to yourself and congratulate yourself, knowing that each compliment and/or positive outcome for your company validates your true value to the company as opposed to your bully's lies. Know that positive observations by others in the company may win you a transfer to a better position and will make your bully boss seem foolish to others when he makes invalid negative comments about you.

   The bully's biggest weakness is fear that their true nature will be exposed to others. If you can muster the emotional strength, subtly and with confidence and courage, let the bully know that you have a knowledge of the phenomenon of "work place bully and mobbing" and that you perceive the bully's behavior as that which the literature on the Internet describes as that of a "work place bully". Like most people, the bully probably never heard of the phenomenon. When the bully sees themselves accurately described on the Internet, and learns that there is a growing momentum to spread the word about it, the bully will be filled with fear of exposure and hopefully will steer clear away from you and any mention of "work place bullying". 

  Most of all, live well and be happy. No one will believe the bully's lies if your performance, demeanor, productivity and emotional stability prove otherwise.

  I know this was a long answer to a seemingly simple question, but work place bullying is really a very complex thing.  Hope this helps some folks out there.  Stop by my websites @

http://360.yahoo.com/antibullyingcrusador

and

http://journals.aol.com/abcbullynomore/ABC-AntiBullyingCrusador/

                                                                                                        Sincerely,  ABC

 
February 24, 2008, 12:01 pm CST

I'm starting to feel paranoid

Quote From: jonipeay

I will admit, I am a hothead.Back in August of '07 I was unloading a semi-trailer.In the process of unloading skids on the shop floor a co-worker asked me why I was placing the skids by his work area. I told him I didn't have anyplace else to put them. I wanted to focus on getting the truck unloaded. He preceded to tell me if I was doing my job-I would have a place to put them. I told him to get off his lazy butt(not the exact terms I used) and help me or shut the f**k up.Long story short-A month later I was wrote up for using profanity. This is company policy-However there is nothing in the policy about instigating or trying to get me upset so I would lose my cool. I am female, the coworker is male

I have avoided any contact with this worker as much as possible-but if he sees me doing anything he feels is not work related-he makes a point to say so

I have been told by my boss and others that he will go out of his way to get me upset again, so I will either be suspended or fired. They know this-everyone thinks it is because I told him off in August and it hurt his ego. I feel like I have no back-up. The union rep is a friend of his, and thinks that i shouldn't have cursed at him. Well, I think I paid for that, by being wrote up-this will be in my file for 2 years. I cannot do anything-I'm told because he is not doing anything wrong. He made a vendor wait 25 minutes to unload him-hoping that I would do the unloading. I was talking to the delivery driver and he complained that if I had time to talk to the driver ,I had time to unload. To me--this is not concern--he is not a supervisor. What I do is not his business. But I feel his watchful eyes on my constantly when i leave the building.

We are having a company meeting Monday--do you feel that he is just being a bully or does this not feel like a hostile work environment. I am 1 of 2  women  on the shop floor

Any suggestions??

After having this meeting with upper management(went over my boss,his boss's head) which nothing was rectified. Almost 2 weeks to the day-there was a new safety issue implemented. that trash dumpsters would be dumped on a schedule. Being since I've been working by myself, since the first of the year)co-worker on medical leave) I feel sorta overloaded-My boss asked me to take out the trash-I did not refuse I told him I had alot of stuff to check in-I told him 1st thing the next morning I would take out the trash.He came back from lunch and after about 15 min. he called me and the union steward in the office. He wanted to know why I hadn't taken out the trash[I told him that right after lunch I had a truck waiting to be unloaded and that I had been taking care of that.He proceede to pull out a paper)what they like to call a counseling report) aa write up- I walked out of the office, because I was so upset. He told the union steward that he had told me 3 times.This was not true- he was within his rights to write me up-but sorta over the top, for not taking out the trash-how ironic, being since I am the only person in that department that takes out the trash.I don't know I feel like this is retaliation for going over their heads.

Last week he brought it to my attention that on 2-3 different occasions that I'v e gotten in too big of a hurry, and not posted the purchase order into the company's AS400. I am coming up on a 30-yr anniversay at my job. I feel like I'm a new person. I made a comment the other day, when my boss brought a shipment that had to be out UPS/NDA I was already in the middle of a UPS shipment and turned to him and said, when am I going to have time, he turned to me and said It's your Job!!! Like how dare I complain. I guess I should keep all comments to myself, from now on. I really don't want to be a victim-but I do feel like the watchful eye of this company is on me, if I dare screw up.

My family feels like I should at least go to the NLRB and talk to somebody and get some feedback.What does anybody think about this?? Is it just me being paranoid???   

 
February 24, 2008, 5:37 pm CST

I Hope You Still Read This Board

Quote From: squid_ling

Well done for speaking out. I have been in similar situations and spoke out too which is so difficult. It seems this kind of behaviour happens in the workplace wherever in the world you are. I worked in the UK and it happened there and it seems crazy to let it slide.

 

Of course the best thing I ever did was to get a much better nicer job with wonderful people who have integrity and are considerate and fun loving. My new job is working for ( would you believe it ) an investment bank which is the most supportive and wonderful environment for me. I have learnt so much more in this role and it is because I am not constantly worried about being beaten up emotionally. I find people can't believe that I would ever have been bullied and make a point of explaining to others who might be looking for work not to work for company X which I found so terrible.  Word of mouth spreads, there is another girl who works for my new company who also quit under similar circumstances at the same place because of bullying. These things do eventually get found out.

 

I hope everyone else on the site finds a good role and a culture where tolerance and diversity are evident. Some people might want to take legal action but I just wanted to walk away and get my life back which I now have, I know now when I interview with someone that I need to ask lots more questions and DO! Good luck everyone and stay strong. Everyone has individual talents and skills which can be brought out if they work in the right place.

I have lost the last two jobs I had because I "did not fit in to the corporate culture." Those are not my words, they are the words of the employment counselor at my college. What in the world do you do about something like that? The kinds of stuff I'm reading about on these boards - I'm scared to death to get close to anyone on the job. Then, no one is on your side, and you're not seen as part of the team.

 

I'm dying to know - what are the questions that you ask when you're interviewing? All I want is to be left alone to do my job, which I always do well; in fact, I'm almost always the hardest working person at whatever job I'm at. I just don't get it. Don't these managers need people who work hard, who take pride in their work, who don't want to get involved in gossip and office drama? I'm so discouraged. Now I'm 44 and starting a new career, and I just can't get enthusicastic about it anymore. It is SO HEARTBREAKING to try so hard over and over, and it just is not enough.

 
March 3, 2008, 1:02 pm CST

WE SHOULD NOT BE STRESSED AT WORK!

I started working at my job in August.  I waitress and waitressing is stressful without co workers.  My co workers stress me out so much because they all think they need to pick at each other and know everything about you.  I don't feel close enough to my bosses to talk to them about others I don't know what to do..... Any suggestions?

 
March 7, 2008, 8:43 pm CST

Health Consequences to Bullying

Over time there are severe and life-threatening health consequences that can result from bullying.  This is especially important because bullying/mobbing has increased exponentially with the dearth of decent jobs.  People take out their frustration laterally. 

 

I am living those health consequences and I am disabled from it.  My whole endocrine system is messed up thanks to stifling the bad chemistry all those years and not being able to find resolution or release enough to deal with the onslaught.  The normal natural reaction to bullying does create negative chemistry in the body but there does not seem to be any therapies or anything at all available to help victims overcome and so the cumulative effect is greater than any effort the victim can make in many cases.

 

Our culture has devolved so much and this is one extremely common and very detrimental result of that devolution.  Education towards a cultural change is necessary.  In my case as I became more ill my mental function deteriorated and then I was publicly ridiculed for that on top of everything else.  Supervisors and other management need to be trained about health conditions that can affect performance.  (co-workers too.)  I would hope that with that education people would not be so quick to add fuel to the fire because the negativity does not help one perform better, nor does it help one regain help.  I would have dearly loved for someone at work to validate my deteriorated mental function for my doctor rather than ridicule me because maybe with that validation I could have gotten medical help sooner and could possibly still be working.  But the environment was far from a kind one.

 
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