Monday, 9 November 2015

Acknowledgement and validation! Yes you are being bullied!

The book, Bully In sight by Tim Field, the authority and probably the greatest anti-bullying advocate the world has seen, is No 10 most popular book in Occupational and Industrial Psychology on Amazon.

Yes, a book that was written in 1996 is still tipping the charts. This single fact brings home the scourge that work-place bullying is on our society. That a book, written nearly 20 years ago, is still charting on Amazon in the UK is testament to the horrors suffered by staff working in the UK.

Tim's famous site bullyonline.org, was what first enabled me to see what was happening to me and prevented me from having a complete nervous breakdown.  I realised I was not alone. The worst part of trying to survive bullying is that it is isolating. Friends and,family are apt to misunderstand the level of pain and anguish it causes. How many times can they listen to versions of the same story without switching off. You need back-up.

Many people suffer in silence and certainly do not want to mention it in the workplace for fear of further isolation. Those of us who put our heads over the parapet are liable to get it shot off. 'Whistleblowing is not for the faint hearted, work-places can be a powerful enemy. Worse still if you become the subject of a disciplinary investigation or are suspended you will not be permitted to discuss the matter with colleagues at all. But David can overcome Goliath when there are lots more David's out there.

I was touched by the sentiment in Tim's website that one of the worst factors of bullying is that the sufferer begins to doubt their own sanity when all around them fail to even notice what is going on.

But you are not imagining it. The sick feeling of dread in the morning. The worry of what another day is going to bring is not your imagination. It is founded on the the very real trauma and horror of being bullied. Being the focus of a bully is, in my view, akin to being stalked. You are constantly lookimg over your shoulder wondering where the next brick-bat is coming from. You know it is coming, you just do not know when.

Fear not, here, you are believed, validated and acknowledged. Those who have not experienced bullying may sit with jawdropping disbelief at the tales you recount. That is if you can find the words to recount them at all.

The greatest moment in recovery for me came when I went to a counsellor via my workplace. The woman sat in the room and listened to my tale. As I blurted out the story I realised that a lot of the issues sounded as if I was talking about a series of trivial events. Emails missed or ignored, the slight adaptions of the truth to others by the bully when challenged, the narrow interpretations of custom.
and practice. (Word of caution only workplace service if you're feel you can trust them and that they will be truly confidential, there are stories of this not always being the case)

The counsellor simple said this "You are experiencing the trauma of being bullied." It was such a relief to have someone acknowledge what I knew to be the truth that being bullied felt like someone had put me through ten rounds with a prize fighter. She went onto see the pattern that had emerged of the 'drip drip' of treating me differently to other members of staff, singling me out, making my life difficult, being hyper critical and so on..... These were the early days before the bully went to town, but even the early days were disconcerting.

Bullies usually follow a pattern which is what makes keeping notes and email trails so important. The picture begins to emerge of what is happening.

However, the point is that it was the acknowledgement by someone of my pain of the humiliation and ripped dignity that helped me begin to heal.

This is the purpose of this site. To acknowledge and name it. BULLYING! Not to hide from it, ignore it or disbelieve it.

To be believed and acknowledge is the beginning of trusting in human nature again. I thought I was teflon coated when I had gone back to work having had cancer. I was not, it shook my faith in human nature, but I am learning to  trust again.


When you are bullied the biggest frustration may be that no one understands. We do!