How Can I Stop A Workplace Bully? ABC Answers Your Questions.

ABC Answers Your Questions

How Can I Stop A Workplace Bully?

Anonymous, on October 20, 2010 at 3:43 AM Said:Quantcast

Hi I am being bullied by my area manager , I am so stresses idont know what to do or who to go to for help .I cant really pin point what it is that she is doing but she makes me uncomfortable and I am constantely waiting for something to expload .My co worker and myself used to enjoy going to work , work was our second home ,the people their are our family ,we have worked there together for the past 13 yrs and this is the first time we feel stressed to go to work not knowing what is going to happen.we fee lshe wants to get rid of us as we have been there for too long, infact this is what I am hearing from other can Istop this.

ABC’S Reply

Dear anonymous,

In answer to your question –  By the time a person begins to realize that they have become the target of a real workplace bully, it is already, almost impossible to stop it!

When I first learned that I was a target of  a  “workplace serial bully boss”, the literature I came across, only gave targets like me, a 20% chance of keeping their jobs, while an estimated 80%, lost their jobs within two years.  Now, after reading hundreds, perhaps even thousands of articles, target and observers accounts, together with my own observations including the loss of my own job to bullying, I find these estimates to be optimistic at best.

I was devastated by these dismal statistics but was determined to keep the  job that I both loved and excelled in for over 25 years.  Knowledge is power as they say, which led to an almost obsessive desire to find, read and understand everything I could find on the bullying/mobbing phenomenon, fully believing, that once I understood it, I could beat it.

I learned that Real Bullies, are literally compelled to destroy their targets, due to a level of psychopathy (also called sociopathy).  They are not just arrogant and rude, but are hateful,  incapable of empathy and  normal caring emotions for others.


Dear ABC. ABC Answers Your Questions.

  1. Linda, on July 6th, 2008 at 2:14 pm Said: Edit Comment

Dear ABC,

Recently I was let go from a per-diem physical therapist assistant position at a nursing home. There where contrived complaints against me like I walk around too much and then I need to speed it up. I was blamed for things that other people did like changing the parameters on a range of motion machine and making more work for other people because i asked them to show me something. I did not recognize the signs and I should have. It leaves me feeling very helpless and not wanting to go out and look for another job because i have the attitude that it is just going to happen again. My boyfriend tells me to buck it up and move on making me feel worse. I noticed that you are a nurse doing home care. Do you think this kind of thing is prevalent in health care? it is terrible, it makes it more difficult to do a good job for the patient because it makes one so paranoid about being attacked verbaly and dragged into the office for the inquisition about supposed shortcomings.Lin


Dear Lin,

Yes, workplace bullying and mobbing is more prevalent in health care and with many of the “helping professions”. Education is another high-risk job category. It is thought that these professions have a higher incidence, because people who choose these professions, are good bait for bullies. “Targets” often have a non-confrontational personality style in which they share a higher than average concern for fairness, justice, and integrity. All of these qualities which bullies detest. Homecare probably has a lower average of bullying and mobbing than other healthcare professions because the majority of the work is done one on one, in individual patient homes, which isn’t as conducive to the dynamics needed, in the building of a bullying and mobbing campaign.

You need to “move on” as your boyfriend suggests but while keeping in mind that your mind also needs time to heal from the emotional abuse you have been sustaining at the hands of your employer. It may seem immature to some, to be upset about the petty complaints your employer lodged against you, but the truth is, trivial fault finding and nit-picking are emotional abuse, and like any abuse, it takes its toll on both your emotional and physical health.

It is true that no matter where you work, or what profession you choose, you’re likely to come across workplace bullying and mobbing. That is a fact of life that every working person needs to know about. We should all know how to recognize it when we see it, then have the courage to name it, “workplace bullying and mobbing”, then together with others, we need to end workplace bullying and mobbing together! ABC

Dear ABC. ABC Answers Your Questions.

Subject: Rude Supervisor

Dear ABC,
I am just curious. I seem to be having all of these problems with a supervisor and know that I am not the one at fault. But how do I get anyone to listen to my side of the story as it is never heard.

Every time management comes to me I am told a story that is only a little piece of the truth and find that the rest has been twisted or made up, even when they say I said things. What do I do?

I seem to have no one backing me in this store and I am not the only one having problems with this supervisor.

The only other associate that was willing to speak up is one of my best friends and yet management has said that we are just ganging up on this supervisor.

It makes me sick to my stomach as my job is being jeopardized every day and I have 3 children and a household to support. I cannot lose my job as where I live it is very hard to find a new one.

I am lost and confused and have no where and no one to turn to.

Dear Curious,

You are in a very difficult, but typical workplace bullying situation, when it is a “closet bully” that you are dealing with. A “closet bully”, is a type of bully, whose need to hide their compulsion to emotionally abuse others, is as great as their psychological need to do so in the first place. In the workplace their compulsion to abuse others is accomplished through the misuse of their position of power which they hold within the company. At this stage of the game, the bully is emotionally abusing you by using half and/or twisted lies against you. When you react emotionally, the bully uses this against you as well, putting your mental health, competency and loyalty into question.

The “closet bully” is highly skilled in using their emotional intelligence and charm to manipulate others against the target. It is often very surprising to everyone, especially the target, when the closet bully’s true nature is revealed. The term “Jekyll and Hyde like” has been used a number of times in anti-bullying literature when authors try to drive home this very important aspect of this type of bully’s behavior. It is nearly impossible for targets to get others to see their perspective and to believe that the bullying is really taking place, because it’s so unbelievable. Much of the bullying is done behind closed doors, and in covert ways, such as the liberal use of innuendo, nit-picking and trivial fault finding. MOST of the time, trying to get others “to listen to your side of the story” by using the following methods, are a wasted effort, here’s why:

  • Trying to talk it out with the bully or to reason with the bully. Why? You can not reason with a bully because a bully’s complaints are not valid nor based on reason.
  • Talking to the bully’s direct supervisor. Why? Often the bully’s direct supervisor hired the bully and therefore, and/or by level of responsibility, is responsible for the bully’s behavior. An upper manager who acknowledges the existence of their middle manager’s negative behaviors is admitting their own failure and inability to control their subordinates behaviors.
  • Going to Human Resources. Why? Human Resources primary function is to protect the employer, not the employee. It is easier and the path of least resistance, to follow the directives of upper management than to stick up for a low level employee.
  • Asking coworkers to become involved. Why? Coworkers who believe the target, and talk to the bully, the bully’s manager or the company’s Human Resource Department, often find themselves to be a target of workplace bullying. Studies and target’s testimonies, have revealed that bullies will sometimes back-off the original target, to intensely victimize and take down a supporter, usually a supporter who is weaker and easier to take down than the original target.

For all of these reasons a bullying campaign, which often develops into a bullying and mobbing campaign, is a very complex phenomenon to first understand, believe, and then to overcome, many times impossible.

What do you do if the usual means of understanding one another in the workplace are thwarted as in the above mentioned ways? You find yourself “lost and confused” with a job “you cannot lose” and “3 children and a household to support with no where and no one to turn to?” When talking doesn’t work, what’s left? STOP TALKING!

I have found that the best way to deal with a bully boss and any little mob that they’re able to manage to pull together, is to NOT REACT to anything they do or say. It must always be kept in mind that THE TRUTH REMAINS THE SAME regardless of what is said or done to make you and others feel or think otherwise. It is important to know that the bully’s primary objective is to engage you in battle, to manipulate, subjugate and control you. Bullying attacks are premeditated with the intention of not just hurting, but destroying, to take their target down.

If you deny your bully the gratification of a reaction, the bully will probably move on to someone else. It can sometimes be that simple. Don’t give the bully what he/she wants, a reaction. The following points are all based on the primary objective which is: DO NOT REACT! and…..

  • Continue to be the good, loyal, hardworking employee that you have always been.
  • Continue to be the reliable “go to person”, that is always easy for coworkers to approach and get help from.
  • When a bully attacks, defend, do not attack back. Always respond calmly with statements that succinctly demonstrate the truth. For example, when confronted with a lie, state the truth and when ever possible back the truth up with objective evidence. For example, if your bully says that your productivity is down. Show the statistical reports that prove otherwise.
  • Keep a journal of your bullying experience. Record even minor incidents or incidents that you’re not sure about. Keeping a journal makes this experience real and is self validating while clarifying these events for future reference. While writing and reflecting about the details of various events, you may gain insight in retrospect that didn’t occur to you at the time it took place.
  • After a bullying attack, never discuss the incident with coworkers. Behave as though nothing at all is wrong.
  • Never say negative things against your bully. Instead, act concerned and/or perplexed when others question the bully’s behavior.
  • Start looking for a new job. Having insight and information about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing will make this experience easier for you but may not be able to save you from the ultimate likely outcome which is suddenly being fired by your bully. One way or another 80% of targets lose their job within two years, once chosen as a target. It could be physical or emotional illness, suicide or going postal in extreme cases, that causes you to lose your job. It’s best to go about finding a better job while you’re still employed. You will be more likely to find the job of your dreams, if you have adequate time, rather than being forced to take any job because of a sudden loss of income.
  • Find support for yourself outside of your workplace. Contact your state’s BullyBuster group which are affiliates of the Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Washington state and founded by Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie. Here’s a link to their site:

I wish there was more hopeful information I could share with you, but the bottom line is that being a target of a workplace bully and his or her little mob, is probably the most difficult situation you’ll ever find yourself in. Isolation caused by the bully, denial by everyone involved, and a general lack of information in the United States about the phenomenon makes being a target a very lonely place to be, for sure, but nothing important is easy. The saving grace being two things, one being this experience may motivate you to get out there and find the job of your dreams! Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants? Just think of it – someday you may be at a new job in which you couldn’t be happier, with a wage to match, and you would have never found this opportunity if you weren’t forced to by your bully. More importantly, you learned first hand, one of the most important lessons of human nature that exists. In grade school we were shown real footage from the atrocities of World War 2. One movie showed emaciated dead bodies being thrown down shoots from second and third floor windows, into open trucks on the street below, to be taken away for burial into mass graves. The teachers justified showing such horrific footage to young children by saying it was important that we know what happened so that our generation could stop it from happening again. This continued to haunt me as an adult because although I knew what happened, and even studied it further, I still didn’t understand how Adolf Hitler was able to get so many people, to do such atrocious things, things that they would normally be incapable of. I then learned about workplace bullying and mobbing, now I know, and you do too. ABC

Dear ABC. ABC Answers Your Questions.

I am the victim of workplace bullying and mobbing and I was just fired from my job of 9 years. Continue reading

ABC – AntiBullyingCrusador, Why The Alias?

ABC-AntiBullyingCrusador, Why the Alias?

I consider myself to be an Internet Anti-bullying activist. I go by the alias “ABC” for short, or “AntiBullyingCrusador”. I know the correct spelling is “crusader” but I spell it “crusador” to indicate that it’s a name, as opposed to a thing. I use this alias whenever I write about “work place bullying and mobbing”. I live in the United States where the phenomena of “work place bullying” is little known, although many of our work places are fully entrenched in a bullying culture.

I didn’t choose this mission of fighting workplace bullying and mobbing. I would have been perfectly happy if I had gone through my career never having experienced or observed the behaviors of those we refer to as “work place bullies” and those who support them, their behaviors referred to as “mobbing”. But, since I was chosen as a workplace target more than once, and observed the devastating effects on others that were also chosen as targets, it has become a moral obligation to do all that I can do to stop this terrible evil in our work places. I have always agreed with the statement that if you don’t try to stop something that is wrong, than you are a part of it. It’s not as simple as just walking away, at least not for me. Walking away may end workplace bullying and mobbing for me, but I worry about the unknown numbers of targets on the brink of suicide or “going postal”, only because of their lack of understanding, of the phenomenon referred to as “workplace bullying and mobbing.”

My first and primary mission is home care nursing. I am a nurse who loves her job and believes in the mission of the home care agency that I have worked for, for almost 30 years. I resent the fact that bullying and mobbing wastes valuable time that would be better served on our shared mission of providing quality home care services.

I have known my bully boss for over 20 years and have worked with the coworkers who support her for several years. I have developed a fondness for my bully boss and her supporters based on the length of our relationships alone, as well as for their many positive attributes. My bully boss is 62 years old and can retire at anytime. She has stopped bullying me and a coworker in recent months. Although I don’t doubt that she is capable of crushing me like a bug, at any time, if she could, I, being of a different nature, would never do anything to destroy her career this late in her game, unless I absolutely had no other moral choice, that being reason to believe, that she again resumed bullying behaviors.

My real name, My bully’s name and my employer’s, and where we reside, can be Any Name, Any City, USA…it could be yours. It is not my intention to expose my bully boss, her supporters whom I refer to as “little mobsters” in my blogs, nor my employer, and the Human Resource Department that represents my employer. They are all unwittingly entangled in the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing. Whether it be a coworker who turned into one of my bully’s “little mobsters” or a Human Resource Rep. who fails to acknowledge the existence of classic bullying and mobbing, they are all playing their roles, almost exactly as predicted on bullying and mobbing articles on the Internet. It’s all very predictable. My “true stories” are true from my perspective, a target of workplace bullying and mobbing. It all sounds unbelievable I’m sure, but that’s what workplace bullying and mobbing is, Unbelievable! There are millions of people just like me, with incredibly similar stories.

Getting the word out about workplace bullying and mobbing is an important public health message, literally saving the lives and emotional and physical health of unknown numbers of targets. This is my only motive, reaching out to those targets whose health and lives are threatened by their lack of understanding of this little understood phenomenon.

It’s my hope that someday, all working Americans will have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing. Let’s recognize it, name it and end workplace bullying and mobbing together! ABC

Is There a Way to Sense a Bully?

Dear ABC,
Is there a way to sense if someone is a bully before they start bullying?
Sensing a Bully

Dear Sensing,
Prior to the past two years of intense bullying my bully had beenvery subtly bullying me for years. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was all about. I thought she just didn’t like me. I remember the day I found out she’s 15 years older than me. I had always thought she was the same age as me. I was so happy that I figured it out, or so I thought. I was convinced that she wasn’t more friendly because I was like a snot nosed kid to her.Then someone told me she was a bully, not in those words of course,as “bully” is not something that anyone would say about an adult in the United States. I didn’t believe it.Then a new manager called me into his office and asked me all kinds of questions about how I get along with people and I replied that there were no problems, or so I thought.Then this new manager gave me an excellent performance evaluation,one of the best I had with just one comment that seemed odd – that I should try to work harder on my relationships with coworkers. I couldn’t think of anyone I was having problems with. This was when
the bully was a coworker, now she’s my bully boss.

It wasn’t until the eve of a horrific performance evaluation that my bully boss gave me, after she was promoted, when I finally got it. I looked up on the Internet “intimidation at work”. Then all this “bully” stuff popped up on the screen. I read as much as I could that night because this time I REALLY figured it out!

The next day I confided in a coworker who suddenly became very angry in defense of the bully. It was a side of this coworker I never saw before. That eve I read that there is often a secondary person who helps the bully. Oh my God! I confided in the bully’s helper.What a mistake that was!

So, I must be horribly naïve as I could not sense that she was a bully for years! AND I had no sense that the coworker I sit directly across from, had a special relationship with her.

I have since learned however, that there are ways to sense a bully but it takes careful observation. Keep in mind that true bullies do not have the mental capacity to feel the emotion empathy. They are very good at mimicking this normal emotion when they remember to. Observing the many bullies I’ve come across in my life, I have found out that if you watch carefully, they do not always give an appropriate emotional response. I recently read an article that stated that when the bully does this, that is, fails to display normal emotional responses, normal people have a tendency to overlook it. Normal people assuming the bully thinks like they do, actually fill-in memories of the bullys’ response as the way they assumed it was, normal, when in fact it wasn’t. So watch for two things; Lack of emotional response when you would normally expect it. An example being bad news about a coworkers health. The second thing to watch for is the “honeymoon phase” . Watch for anyone in a higher position than yours, who takes a special interest in you. Do not share personal problems or talk about your weaknesses to ANYONE who takes a seemingly over interest in you. A common tactic of bullies is to get to know the target’s weaknesses, then turn it against them. So watch your back. Learn to Recognize it, Name it and End Workplace Bullying and Mobbing together! ABC

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