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Topic: Workplace bullying. What is your experience?

19 posts, 0 answered
  1. Succulent Queen
    Succulent Queen avatar
    39 posts
    27 February 2021

    Hi BB friends,

    Just wondering...what is your experience of workplace bullying (or bullying in any environment) and how do you get back up? How do you stay resilient in the face of stigma, derogatory judgement, gossip and rumour? How do you not feel the shame due to believing what they say.

    I experience a mild/low level of workplace bullying. It is chronic and wears me down. It takes me to damaging depths. I question my personality everyday and reflect on what I can do better. People pleasing is not the answer. I have learnt to really hate myself.

    I'm not a malicious person and never stir up trouble. I have social anxiety and can come across as unfriendly rather than shy. I think this could be one of the causes of the bullying. I try so hard to counteract this with varying success. It's a great day when it works.

    Internally I cry, I rage, I disengage, I withdraw, I partially checkout of reality and the inner critic curls my brain into the foetal position. I'll just be honest here and admit I think of suicide. The brain just wants relief, is that so bad? Just to be clear, I have no intention of taking my life. I know I can ring Lifeline etc. I think suicidal curiosity goes hand in hand with being chronically unhappy or to use a term that is thrown around so much it virtually means nothing - Depression. Again, the brain just wants relief. Doesn't mean it's going to get it, via suicide that is.

    I called Lifeline today after work and it helped. Lifeline can be hit or miss and luckily today was a hit.

    For the record I'm looking for another job where I can be alone more. The bullying seems to occur in every workplace I enter so I'm the common denominator as they say.

    How do you stay resilient or content or even happy at work in the face of bullying?

    Tx

    SQ

  2. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    5944 posts
    27 February 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen
    Hey Succulent Queen, 

    Thank you so much for reaching out to the community and sharing your journey here with us. We really appreciate your courage in being so open and honest with what you're going through, and we're really sorry to hear that you're experiencing this at work. We can hear that this is having a big impact on your mental health, but please know that support is always here for you. We're sure that a lot of our community members will relate to these feelings and experiences, and hopefully some of them will pop by soon to offer you words of advice.

    You might also be interested in reading more about advice and steps that can be taken for employees in your situation that you may find beneficial: https://www.headsup.org.au/your-mental-health/bullying-information-for-employees

    It sounds like you're already taking some important steps to help during overwhelming moments, and we are really glad to hear that you found talking these feelings through with the counsellors at Lifeline today helpful. We hope that you also always feel welcome to reach out to our Support Service, anytime- day or night- on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST here: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport and a friendly counsellor may be able to offer some extra support and advice to help you through this.

    We hope that you can find some comfort here in the forums, and please feel free to keep checking back in and let us know how you are going when you feel up to it. We're all here for you.
     
  3. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9216 posts
    27 February 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen
    Hi SQ,

    Can you Google

    Beyondblue topic fortress of survival (workplace)

    Beyondblue topic bullying

    reply here if you wish
    TonyWK
    1 person found this helpful
  4. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    4159 posts
    27 February 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen

    Hello SQ

    I have experienced pretty severe workplace bullying.

    I didn't survive it so well, it really affected me and I didn't know who to open-up to safely about it. It's very very important to talk about what's happening and have someone support you.
    There was a senior staff member who protected me and stood with me, but then that person was fired.

    I was at the time really afraid of the bullies but over time I've become quite confident and I wouldn't care too much about them. I also think it's important to really call a spade a spade - if they are behaving in horrible, unprofessional behaviour, that's on them. The more I say/write/remember things according to the truth of how bad they were the more I remember that I am ok. The bullying started on the premise that I wasn't ok. They made me feel that way. But I was able to leave that workplace and survive well in other workplaces.... so I am ok. They can't keep employees for 5 minutes lol. So whatever you can bare in mind to keep perspective. It wasn't your fault.

    3 people found this helpful
  5. ReachOut83
    ReachOut83 avatar
    9 posts
    2 March 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen

    Hi there.
    I’ve experienced workplace bullying to the extent that three years on, I experience spouts of anger, and even suicide. I to have social anxiety and am a people pleaser.

    In the end I quit that job, because management weren’t interested in helping me. They’re response was that the bully was the leading hand and they needed him.

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    4159 posts
    2 March 2021 in reply to ReachOut83
    Hey ReachOut - same here. My role was pretty replacable wheras they needed the bully more. They could care less about the fact that it affected me.
    I have learnt to protect myself going forward. Sorry you went through that, Reach Out. Take care
    2 people found this helpful
  7. Succulent Queen
    Succulent Queen avatar
    39 posts
    3 March 2021 in reply to ReachOut83
    Hi ReachOut83,

    Its so maddening to know employers are still effectively telling those who report it that its too bad and see you later. In my experience bullying not only messes with the victims thoughts and nervous system but livelihoods are compromised too.
    I knew it must be happening to others but it seems like a topic no-one wants to touch. Sharing stories seems to help normalise it so thankyou for sharing yours.

    On Monday I asked my bully if I could have a quick chat and he reluctantly agreed. He came into the conversation closed off, denied and dismissed everything I said and was aggressive in manner and tone. At least I think he was all those things. He had me second guessing myself and speaking like a scared mouse. I have decided to observe him and see if there is a change in his behaviour towards me. Im not really one to go to the boss as am worried it could be minimised and waved away as your case was.
    Am looking for a new job however as you mentioned, am dreading the regret and anger to come down the track as a result of not mentioning it.
    Thanks again for your reply and I hope the people in your new workace have higher emotional quotients.
    2 people found this helpful
  8. Gambit87
    Gambit87 avatar
    703 posts
    3 March 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen

    Succulent Queen said:


    How do you stay resilient or content or even happy at work in the face of bullying?

    Hi SQ! Great question.

    My Answer - Knowing that I can walk out the door at 4:30 and not have to worry about work until the next day.

    Thankfully I work in a work place where theres very little office politics and everyone gets along fairly well. I simply don't care enough in the gossip rumours etc etc.

    I've never been bullied as such, I've had people with a superiority complex try to have it over me though and the trick ive learnt to deal with them is to dismiss them. Look them sternly in the eye and say something like ok, and? after they spewed their toxic opinions or mm hmmm and dont be afraid to call them out.

    Building resilience takes time and is easier said than done, I was a people pleaser but ive realised over the years that when dealing with people you need to stand on your own 2 feet, stand up for yourself and stand your ground and dont be afraid to seek help and advice from colleagues.

    were here for you!

    2 people found this helpful
  9. amberlite
    amberlite avatar
    415 posts
    13 March 2021 in reply to Gambit87
    Bullies are jealous punitive petty people, when you really see them as they are, then they loss all their power. The thing they hate most is your confidence , that's why they try to erode it , it's their kryptonite. bye
    3 people found this helpful
  10. Cee123
    Cee123 avatar
    119 posts
    15 March 2021 in reply to ReachOut83
    I just want to say I went through the same thing at my old job. It destroyed me and what little self esteem I had in life. I haven't worked in over 10 years because of the ongoing mental health issues I have. Like you, I've got severe social anxiety disorder and quite bad depression. And now after years of living on my savings I've got no money left, I'm 35, I don't know how I'm going to get another job. I feel so depressed and alone.
    1 person found this helpful
  11. Cee123
    Cee123 avatar
    119 posts
    17 March 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen
    My experience was that i was working in the housekeeping department at a hotel and most of my bullying came from the security department. This included having my voice mocked over the two way radio, being lied to and denied use of the two way radio - they'd tell me it was lost or stolen and giving me this stupid paging device and then I'd find out weeks later that wasn't the case as all the other people on the shift on the days that i wasnt there were regularly using the two way radio. I had another experience where i was new at the job and someone had dumped rubbish in the linen trolley for me and it took me literally half an hour to sort out the rubbish from the linen. Another where i was in the canteen getting my food during the break and the security guys were laughing at me and making fun of me. I said to one of them "if you've got something to say say it to my ****ing face" he later came into the office and started yelling at me and denying that it was about me and threatening to "kick my ****ing head in" if i ever spoke to him like that again. A workmate witnessed the whole thing and reported it to head office of course nothing was done. I also went back to a workmates appartment one night for drinks and he stated something about that he had defended me and i said about what? He wouldn't tell me. I keep insisting that he tell me. And he told me that people were calling me a retard. I just broke down into tears and left the apartment, went home and cried. The next day i was so upset about it i told it to the guy who works on the reception and he said to me "your brain works slower than other people's. You're not a retard you're special". That's when i literally got fed up and left the place and i had a breakdown. I haven't worked since... it's been 10 years.
    1 person found this helpful
  12. dReM
    dReM avatar
    6 posts
    17 March 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen
    Wow. Reading some of your experiences makes me wonder if I am just a delicate little butterfly.

    I have called out my bosses - business owners generally - in several jobs that I've had in the past, mostly for unreasonable workplace demands (generally including ethical or moral concerns). I've found that they have generally not been receptive to it and are quite happy with what they expect of me, and even to perform the role themselves... And that is how most of my jobs have ended.

    Currently at this point in my employment again and am seeking help, here and elsewhere. Trying to work out if I am my own worst enemy...
    1 person found this helpful
  13. ypla
    ypla avatar
    35 posts
    17 March 2021
    I had this experience where a senior engineer would make me repeat my task after him word by word. If I got it wrong, he would make me repeat again, word by word.
    1 person found this helpful
  14. Cee123
    Cee123 avatar
    119 posts
    18 March 2021 in reply to Cee123
    After everything I went through all those years ago, it still affects me today. I feel like it's contributed to my low self esteem, social anxiety and depression. And just the thought of getting another job is bringing me into a deeper state of depression and giving me panic attacks. I'm worried it's going to be a repeat of everything I went through. I think I developed some kind of PTSD both from that and the bullying at high school. For a long, long time, I was getting flashbacks and nightmares. I spoke to a therapist about it years ago, and she kept brushing it off, saying "ah you'll be fine". All she said was that I needed to move past it. Are you serious? Kind of hard to move past something when there's so much unresolved trauma and pain. I was also getting extreme anger as a result of my experiences. Nobody understands if they haven't gone through it themselves.
    2 people found this helpful
  15. CalmCat
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
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    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    CalmCat avatar
    354 posts
    18 March 2021 in reply to Cee123

    Hi Cee123,

    Thank you for such a personal post!

    I hear you, I too were bullied and the lasting effects still hinder today. But they have diminished over the years, I can recommend to keeping talking about it with your mental health support! The more you talk about it, the more you release it!

    And as cheesy as it sounds, time does heal all thing!

    Stay strong and let us know your thoughts.

    Regards,

    CC

    2 people found this helpful
  16. Cee123
    Cee123 avatar
    119 posts
    18 March 2021 in reply to CalmCat
    CalmCat, thank you!

    I really appreciate your kind words. I'm sorry to hear that happened to you too. Hope the experience for you wasn't on that level. Good to know the effects have diminished for you. It's hard I hope you get through it too. I tried to push it to the back of my mind as much as I could. But now thinking about the possibility of having to get a job again is bringing it all back again. I don't really have any mental health support, apart my doctor. Saw a therapist years ago but that was expensive and didn't help that much.

    But talking to you guys has helped. Talking to my family has helped. They have been the biggest support for me and my dog. What helped you get through it? Nothing happened to those guys, while I suffered over the years because of the things they did and said to me. Things aren't fair but hopefully there's karma just around the corner.

    Thank you CalmCat.
    You stay strong as well.
    Thank you for your kind words and support.
    2 people found this helpful
  17. Succulent Queen
    Succulent Queen avatar
    39 posts
    24 April 2021 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for recommending this thread in response to my post on workplace bullying.
    I did like your idea in Part 1 of creating a protective wall where you either let people in or turf them out. Part 2 however allows for a nice compromise on the black or white action of either keeping people in your life or turfing them back over the wall. In my own experience, when feeling alone/lonely and craving connection, it can be too easy to let the wrong types in and too hard to turf them once they've revealed themselves. At times, my need for company has been so great that I've put up with flimsy characters rather than respectfully moving on. There is what I call a half-bully in my workplace. Someone who quietly sides with me at times and then sides with the bullies at other times. This person really shouldn't be getting further than the foyer yet makes it into the lounge room because I'm so alone at work. Importantly, you mentioned dignity as this is what I lose every time I let this person in. Self dislike and shame is what I feel every time this person leaves to join the toxic group. There was also another good point where you mentioned snooker with your FIL in order to remove yourself from a foreseeable toxic encounter with your wife's auntie. I will be practicing this method of gracefully removing myself from toxic social environments in order to retain my dignity. It is something to do in all areas of life.
    I hope a couple of good characters make it to the loft.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Succulent Queen
    Succulent Queen avatar
    39 posts
    17 September 2021 in reply to Succulent Queen

    Hi All,

    I just wanted to update this post for anyone who comes across it and finds it useful to know what happened.

    Like most people here who've responded, I also had to leave my workplace. My manager didnt make any genuine moves to correct the bullying and subtely but surely chose to replace me via her inaction. I had been a casual worker there for three years and performed well and although she recognised this, she did not take steps to help me. Being a casual I had no proper ground to go up against bullying behaviour and people were lining up for my job. It was easier to replace me than deal with the source of the toxic behaviour. Months later my work situation has not recovered and Ive lost a fair amount of confidence. I really didnt think that what I was reading in the replies would happen to me. I thought I would keep my job and be treated fairly and respectfully by my manager. It's been a huge learning curve for me to learn that employees (casuals) can be so easily disposed of regardless of the results we achieve for the company. In the end it was my decision to leave in order to retain some emotional sanity. I was never officially sacked but certainly pushed until I couldnt take anymore.

    I want to add that I'm grateful to everyone who replied to my post. I've read you stories many times over these past months and the similarities and honesty has brought me alot of comfort. So thanks all.

    1 person found this helpful
  19. Anonanon
    Anonanon  avatar
    5 posts
    5 November 2021 in reply to Gambit87
    I currently work with someone like that. She's really the same as me but for some reason she thinks she's the boss of me. Doesn't help when the actual boss gets her to do her dirty work. I've stood up for myself and questioned their work practices, and I found out today she's been gossiping behind my back. (I've resigned now because of the toxicity).
    1 person found this helpful

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