Saturday, 19 September 2015

Strong People Can Be Bullied Too



No matter how tough you may seem, strong people get bullied too

Over the last few years there has been a lot more of a spotlight on the issue of bullying in schools. Time and time again you read tragic stories of kids whose lives have been made unbearable and often the consequences are terrible.
Its absolutely right that this issue is being flagged but as we all know you don't have to be a child to be bullied and as an adult you certainly don't have to be meek or mild mannered either.
Bullying doesn't just happen in schools

I experienced a terrible bully years ago when I worked in television. 
Now let the record show I wasn't a wet behind the ears work experience. I was a BBC trained director who had worked for tabloid terror Kelvin McKenzie (and lived to tell the tale) and amongst other things had produced a daily sports show where every shift came with a slice of testosterone as standard.
Sad to say the bully I encountered was another woman who was basically my opposite number when I started a new job for a small regional show. 
From the outset she made it clear she really didn't like me.Welcoming me to the team by arranging a meeting between the two of us where she told me she had been working in broadcast television for years and basically made it clear she was unimpressed by my appointment as she felt I was too young and she assumed arrogant.
What proceeded to happen I now know to be classic bullying tactics but at the time I was left totally bewildered by her increasingly aggressive behaviour.


My bully was a work colleague

Whilst being polite and amiable towards me in front of other colleagues she would seek me out privately wherever possible (and sadly my job meant I was required to have at least  a few meetings on my own with her every week) and proceed to go through written lists of where she thought I was failing in my job. She would gleefully tell me how inept others thought I was and would basically tear me a new one, all with a slightly psychotic smile on her face.
This wasn't in her job description and she had no authority over me. She was just horrible.
Another wonderful weekly meeting

 I wont bore you with the small petty slights that came to make up my working week but it was like death by a thousand paper cuts. This vile creature made my life an absolute misery and it was always on the sly, with no witnesses and my word against hers.
The saddest part of the whole encounter was the fact that when I ultimately complained about her to the companies HR department  I was told that it wasn't really credible that someone as confident and experienced as me could be so deeply affected by what they decided was a "personality clash"
When I started to suffer from insomnia, dreaded going in to work and realised that even trusted colleagues really didn't quite believe my version of events  I decided to leave.Ive always had a great survival instinct. i call it "knowing when to leave the party"
Luckily I was young and had an impressive CV so moved into a great position at another company. My career didn't miss a beat but my trust in human nature was somewhat battered by the experience.
This was 15 years ago and I like to think that were I in a similar position now the company stance would be different but who knows?
I'm self employed so realise I live in a cossetted world of my own making.What I know I would do is make a much bigger fuss. Sod pride or being worried about being seen as a trouble maker I should have banged the drum louder until someone listened because I hate to think who else she did it to.
The reason for this blog is simply to say, never assume strong people can't be bullied or if you are being targeted by a bully that you are week.Social media can be rife with bullying but so too can the workplace, the school gates, even family dynamics can breed behaviour which basically suppresses another.
I will leave it to Barack Obama to sum up.

“Each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness. No one deserves to be bullied.”










 





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8 comments:

  1. Sadly, I think a lot of people at one point or another can relate to this. I know I've experienced in the work place several times, and much the same as you, I surely couldn't have been bullied, strong, witty, bubbly Becky. But yes it happens. As always, I think you're wonderfully marvellous of course. Thanks for sharing doll. X x x

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  2. Thank you for this post, most people think bullying happens at school but it doesn't. I've experienced bullying in my old workplace by my boss who basically told me everyday that 'I don't have a Penis therefore I am not entitled to an opinion.' I also encountered bullying through my website and I've since developed anxiety because of this. It's reassuring to know your not the only one dealing with it x

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  3. Wow - this post was like reading an extract from my diary. I was bullied at my last job by a very nasty woman (who was old enough to know better) who used typical 'bully in the playground' tactics. HR couldn't have cared less and the departmental secretary took the side of the bully (probably because she's one herself) so I got it from her as well. I had a great boss who tried to support me and although many of my colleagues recognised what this woman was doing, nothing was said or done about it. She would burst into my office and scream at me (when there were no witnesses obviously) and make false accusations against me. She put every effort into trying to make my life at work a living hell. Like you, I decided to leave. A few months ago, news reached me that my bully had taken her own life - ultimate proof that anger and hatred do not a happy person make, but a tragic end nonetheless. Thank you for sharing your experiences - it takes courage to talk about such things, but I too am glad that bullying has its own spotlight!

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  4. I've also experienced work place bullying by a female manager. Horrible.

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  5. Absolutely brilliant post.
    I'm sorry you've had to experience it though, and I hate the "personality clash" excuse. There's no excuse for that behaviour at all.

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  6. I had a dreadful experience in a contract post about five years ago with the person I had to work alongside. I was hired to clear her backlog of work which for some reason hadn't been done. She kept extending my contract while giving constant (and I mean constant) criticism, rudeness, downright nastiness, trying to turn colleagues against me (didn't work) . Lists of failings - those too, lies about workload - tick. So many things that when the job became a permanent post I didn't apply. She was taken aback and looked a little furious. This puzzled me until I witnessed her selection process - I wouldn't have met one aspect of her essential criteria (living in the county - I was close to the border) so she wouldn't have shortlisted me. There were many other things but my confidence was shattered by this experience. She'd treated the previous employee exactly the same way too I found out.

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  7. Sorry to hear you've been through this. I was bullied in high school and it has affected me long term sadly. It makes me so sad to hear of other people being bullied because I know how it feels. I wish people were nicer, there's a lot of people on social media, as you say, who seem to enjoy hurting and upsetting other people, so sad.

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  8. Great post. I was bullied by a manager at one job and she made my life very difficult so after about 9 months I left. It was a shit job anyway so she did me a favour. I still wouldn't piss on her if she was on fire though. ;) xx

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