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Last week at work, I was bullied.  I've been working in some sort of job since I was 19 and I'm now 50 and somehow I've made it this far without being bullied.  The bully was a colleague, not a boss.  We share supervision of some of the staff on my team and I was trying to set a boundary about something that the person on my team didn't like.  The staff member and the bully have PhDs, and I have a Masters.  I mention that, because I suspect it is relevant.  I needed to be put in my place.  The details leading up to the bullying incident probably aren't relevant.  Suffice to say, I made some mistakes, i certainly wasn't perfect, but I was trying to do what I believed was the right thing for the program I run in a challenging system and a challenging situation.  I'm pretty sure the person on my team was an inciter.  She wanted something, I said no, she turned him against me and pulled everything she could to fuel the fire.  I don't know that and I suppose it doesn't matter.  None of it gave him a right to bully me. I know that in my head.  

But my head doesn't seem to be in charge at the moment.  Here's the thing about bullying - it isn't the same as critical feedback about how you're doing your job and what you could be doing better.  it might seem that way, all that criticism coming at me sure did - I was accused of getting in power struggles and being a gossip (I shared one bit of gossip with him once, just to put it in perspective), and not wanting people on my team to thrive (this one I can challenge too, as most of my team members frequently express the opposite to me), he repeatedly shouted that I was "drawing a line in the sand, drawing a line in the sand."  He never said it just once. Always at least twice. I can still hear it in my head in a voice full of venom.  He brought up every thing he'd ever thought I did wrong and after throwing it in my face said, "What kind of person does that, what kind of person does that."  His face was a twisted up mask of rage. He was in my face.  I tried to defend myself when I disagreed with what he said, I tried to reason with him, he said, "You can't draw a line in the sand and expect people not to be angry," and I said I didn't expect people not to be angry, but I didn't expect to be attacked.  Then I tried to back down.  I tried owning everything he said. .   Finally, he said, "This can't go on. I can't keep working with you. One of us will have to go and you may be confident of your position here, but I'm not so sure."   When i assured him I wasn't confident about my position here, for some reason that seemed to calm him down.  Now, mind you, we both work in government jobs.  Being a gossip or getting in power struggles or not wanting people to thrive on my team, even if they are all 100% true, will probably not get me fired.  My head knows that.  But I still keep waiting for the axe to drop.  I'm a wreck.  I'm 50 years old. i'm a professional.  I haven't been able to stop crying since this happened. I have begun to doubt myself. I feel ashamed and full of self hate and afraid to stand up for things or take action at work for fear of being seen as getting in power struggles and "drawing a line in the sand."  The night after it happened, I curled up in a ball and sobbed and sobbed and prayed to die. And I didn't even know I'd been bulllied. I thought I'd been given some hard feedback that I needed to hear.  I still feel that way, even though I know it isn't true in my head.  You see, I was also bullied as a child.

Fifth and sixth grade, I was a small girl, nothing but eyes, thin and one of the only Jewish kids in my school.  I was put in a class of underachievers and I was not an underachiever.  I was excited about school.  Even the fifth grade teacher hated me and mocked me in front of the other kids.  The worst thing that happened was getting the same damn teacher again for sixth grade and the same classroom full of the same kids.  A group of boys bullied me and my one friend.  They surrounded us at recess and taunted us. She was fat and I was skinny so we were called Laurel and Hardy.  They chanted, "Don't be wise bubble eyes, cut you down to midget size" at me over and over and over.  I wore my coat zipped up and tried to pretend I was yawning so they wouldn't see me cry.  They threw rocks at me and I told the teacher on playground duty and she said, "I don't see any bruises, so that means it didn't happen."  This was before anyone wanted to deal with bullying.  It happened EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I think about that now - every single day for two entire academic years, I was ruthlessly bullied and nobody ever did anything.  By the end of sixth grade, I was beaten down and full of shame.  I was told they did it because they liked me.  I had no tools to know how to fight back.  If that's what being liked felt like, i hoped nobody ever liked me again.

Imagine my surprise when one of those boys approached me and said his friend wanted to "go steady."  I don't think any of us really knew what that meant in sixth grade, but it was a good thing, a popular thing. I was going to be given a ring.  A ring that would symbolize my popularity.  I was to meet this boy in an empty classroom after school on the last day.  I went to that classroom. I smoothed my hair. I tried to look pretty.  Of course, you dear reader probably already know what's coming - it was a set up.  I actually have never remembered walking into that classroom or what exactly happened other than that there was not just the one boy there to give me a ring.  I remember the excitement of getting ready to go in and the shame and despair as I ran out.  I remember deciding not to tell my mother when she asked how my day was and saying it was, "fine."  I remember forgetting it ever happened and I remember remembering the bits I do when I was about 22, all in a flood after a creative writing class one day.  I also remember how the bullying affected my life.

I was frightened of men, I hated myself, I couldn't get in a real relationship for years and years and years.  I have anxiety. I get depressed too easily.  I have good friends now, yet I still frequently feel very alone and I think I'm not very good at the friendship thing. I often wonder if I'd really be missed that much by any of my friends. It's probably irrational, but I fear I don't give enough.  I have had years and years and years of therapy with a variety of different therapists and different therapeutic modalities. Hell, i became a therapist - how many more hours of therapy can a person give themselves?  And here I am, fifty years old and I was bullied and it has thrown me right back there. Right back to sixth grade.  Today in a meeting the bully and another colleague - one he accused me of getting in power struggles with - were all chatty with each other and went to his office together after the meeting.  I immediately felt devastated. I had to close my office door because I couldn't stop crying.  It was like I was 10 years old again. What were they plotting against me?  What were they saying?  I just desperately want to get out of that job.  I did file a report of action, but it's just going to sit there in the human resources office, because I was too afraid to bring it to my supervisors who are acting in their role and are pretty much children with very little real skill or experience in handling this sort of thing. I fear it would lead to more, not less bullying.  I just want out.  

Part of me is asking questions like, "how does one run a program without sometimes drawing lines in the sand?"  "How can any gossip I share be ruining the organization when the place is a cesspool of gossip?"  "Doesn't it take two people to have a power struggle?"   I know this is the healthy place I need to be.  I know that nothing he accused me of qualifies me for any worst person of the year award.  I know anyone who sees me in such black and white terms doesn't see me clearly. I know all this. But I'm crying as i write this.  I feel like I need to fix myself. If only I can fix myself enough, then I can protect myself and maybe be liked.  

I know this diary probably won't actually go anywhere.  It isn't really political and it isn't breaking news and it doesn't make anybody important look bad.  It's just, well, personal and I needed to write it, so for anyone who came along on the journey, thanks for listening.  Maybe some of you have your own bullying stories.  Maybe we can share and support each other.  

Originally posted to Ramelle on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 06:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's happened to me as well (28+ / 0-)

    And I'm close to your age and have two masters degrees.  Which may be part of the problem - I'm a threat because I'm intelligent and capable.

    It was not a good time for me and I'm not over it - I had a hard time reading your diary and skimmed some of it.  But here is something you may find helpful:

    •  Thank you (21+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry it happened to you too. I'm stunned how upsetting it was and how triggering of old stuff.  The hardest part is realizing you've been bullied.  While I am sorry it happened to you, it's kind of nice to feel a little less alone with it, so thanks for chiming in.  And yes, many people in my organization comment that my team is the best functioning team there and I think that's part of the problem.  I expect people to work and function and I  fight to keep my team as highly effective as possible.  Not appreciated in that system.

      •  the real task is to react INSTANTLY to shut him (23+ / 0-)

        down BEFORE he can trigger you.

        i've had the experience recently with a little jerk who feels challenged in a voluntary organization we are both "equals" in the structure.  twice, publically, at a wildland demonstration, he tried to "take me down a peg" in front of the firefighters (we were there observing).  it did NOT work - he got his head taken off in a very calm manner.  then, when we were in the shuttle to the next event, i growled that he was to never speak that manner again and he needed to remain professional.  he had the audacity to actually tell me "i accept your apology".  HA!

        end result, the last meeting after telling the two in charge that if another incident occurred, i was out of there (they were desperate for someone to fill this slot), they are suddenly invoking roberts rules of order.  of course, i called off that meeting - and if it happens again, the group is on its on.

        i know that you can't do that with a job - but you CAN set groupd rules and document any future incidents and file reports.  the issue to document is harrassment based on your gender.  document, meet with human resources in a calm manner to ask how THEY intend to resolve the issue - build a file.  companies don't like "files" - government agencies don't like "files" - they are precursors to lawsuits.

        stay calm, walk away and immediately report any incident.  i think he'll soon find another department suits him better.

        •  Is it harassment (13+ / 0-)

          if it's only happened once so far?  If it continues to happen, the HR person did say he would take action.  All it would take is one more person filing a report of action on him and the HR people would move on it.  I have concluded that next time it happens, if it happens again, I won't stand there and take it.  I'll tell him his behavior toward me is unacceptable and I'll walk away.  So far, i've just avoided interactions with him, but that could be a problem since we have shared supervision of three people on my team and have to go to lots of meetings together.  

          It's funny I have more longevity in the organization than him or any of the three people who I have to answer to right now, yet somehow that makes me feel more vulnerable instead of less.  I am looking for another job in a different city and I look forward to the day when I can say I'm out of here and here's why.    

          •  You have already done what you can so far (16+ / 0-)

            If you involved HR, you did the right thing.  I suspect he is a bully in his personal life as well.  One thing I can tell you as someone who, as a diminutive boy, was bullied, is that bullies are cowards.  You stand up, they back off.  Or they escalate in a way that harms them.

            I know that doesn't help with the feelings.  I can remember being 9 years old and, after physically backing down a bully, walking home in tears.  But that guy never tried to bully me again; neither did anyone else in that school.

            Just know that, however it made you feel in the moment, you are the winner.  Because, at the end of the day, you are you, and he is him.  And I would rather be in your skin than his.

            Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

            by aravir on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 05:36:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Talk to an outside counselor (11+ / 0-)

            Your health insurance will cover it. It's justified by job related stress.  Not only will it allow you to talk things out, it will also document the situation. No-one should have to put up with abusive co-workers.

            The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

            by orson on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:54:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  amen to this suggestion! nt (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              home solar, JVolvo
            •  have been thinking of going back (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              To my old therapist to talk this out. I'd like to think I don't need that but I think I do. Just I've had so many many years of therapy I'm tired of going back.  

              •  that therapist is YOUR employee - he/she is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                there to allow YOU to sort this out - friends can't do that - they bring their own experiences and clutter yours.

                i've just started back after 40 years because i am stuck on one issue - and, oddly enough, it was the same issue i went in the first place.  thought i'd gotten through it, but it raised its ugly head once again.

                use therapy as YOUR tool - not as something to think you've "gotten over".  our lives change through the years - an outside professional ear who actually LISTENS so that we can also hear ourselves is worth it's weight in gold!

                •  The relationship isn't voluntary for trans people (0+ / 0-)

                  As children we are forced by parents to see shrinks to "cure" us. As adults we are forced to see shrinks to get access to hormones (though the Internet has freed us from their monopoly on this). We are still forced to see shrinks for surgical referrals.

                  Shrinks defined who we were -- a fringe pathology -- until the Internet enabled us to find each other, organize, and become a political identity.

                  It may shock you, but it is pretty hard to find a trans person who doesn't hate shrinks. And most of those who say they don't are still in transition, and have to play along with the shrinks' pathologization and mental abuse to get medical access they need.

                  At least we no longer have to suck their dicks to get hormones. I suppose that is big "progress" for shrinkdom.

        •  Files, contemporaneous notes & memos (13+ / 0-)

          Write!  You are good at that, and it helps process your thoughts.  Make a file, keep a notebook, and issue memos - lots of memos.  It is the equivalent of the counter punch to a 6th grade bully.  Deal authoritatively with your subordinate, which may involve discipline or reassignment.  There may not be a happy ending, but a truce is better than surrender.  My guess is that this is not the first incident involving your bully.  You are likely to discover allies you did not know you have.

        •  Yes, good advice about ground rules (7+ / 0-)

          for how people treat each other?

          But I'm thinking also, for yourself, for the way you deal with the situation. Have a protocol for your behavior in mind. I'm thinking if you can structure it and react rationally rather than emotionally it could help. If that's possible. Stay calm, yes, by all means.

          Documenting is certainly important. When a boss I had started to harass me and I ended up quitting due to the effect on my health, I wrote down all of the things she had done and why they were unreasonable, how she had always praised my work before, etc. I was able to get unemployment insurance, they ruled in my favor and she did not even show up for the hearing, presumably because she did not want to be embarrassed by the truth.

          "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

          by Gorette on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:03:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ah, the staying calm ... many a time i've stood (4+ / 0-)

            very softly, quietly in front of some freakazoid who was throwing a two year old tantrum - looking quietly at him (takes a WHOLE lot of willpower) and when he finally stops to catch his breath, i smile and ask "are you done now? i've got work to do."  and walk off.

            drives them nuts.  especially when your smile is really laughing at them.

          •  Good to know (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Im glad I went to HR and he was actually really compassionate and clearly believed me. I think the fact that I didn't want to act on it may have helped lend credibility. It clearly was not an irrational revenge thing.

    •  and thanks (9+ / 0-)

      that link was well worth a read.  Half tempted to circulate it at work...

      •  oh, and don't make the mistake of calling this (17+ / 0-)

        "bullying" - it is harassment.  and harassment is illegal.  it is covered under the e.e.o.c. - sexual harassment doesn't have to be about body parts - it is gender based discrimination.

        also, if he is younger than you, you can get him on age discrimination.

        when a manager (in this case, hr) is informed and does nothing to stop a colleague from this type of harassment, they are then putting the company/agency at risk for further action.

        build a record.  and don't get into any verbal altercation.  shut him down and head to hr... then ask them what they intend to do to remedy the situation.

        it works.  believe me... it WORKS!

        •  He's older than me (12+ / 0-)

          Only started at his job there about three years ago, but I suspect he took it so he'd get a pension when he retires.  Someone told me he plans to work there another 2-5 years.  I've not heard stories about him doing this before, although it's hard to believe someone who did that has never done it before. Chances are people don't come forward.  I suspect it's less gender harassment than qualification harassment if there is such a thing. I'm an MSW, he's a PHD psychologist - the person the altercation occurred over is a psychologist. How dare I, a mere masters level person, try to have anything to say about what happens with a psychologist.  That's the feeling I get about it.  

          •  Oh wow--you have run into a Sheldon. (9+ / 0-)

            It's cute on television sitcoms, but it stinks having to deal with an arrogant bastard like that in real life.

          •  Wondering if you know where he used to work? (8+ / 0-)

            Perhaps, if that info comes your way without too much effort on your part, you might get a clue from former coworkers.

            Husband got a new bullying type manager - just as I learned from others in the same industry that former coworkers had TWO PARTIES - not just one - TO CELEBRATE ...her departure.  

            I explained that she was trouble, would bring her minions with her... and she did.  Lasted a year and a half, then her and her minions were GONE.

            This type of thing follows folks around as they just can't help being who they are...

            Best to you with your efforts.  Stay strong!

            •  This is great advice (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Russgirl, Tonedevil, Gorette

              and it's also amazing how much information some people disclose on their "public" LinkedIn profiles. I have used this to learn about clients of mine. Perhaps your bully has done this too BUT... just to be on the safe side, have someone else do the searching. It's my understanding that someone on LinkedIn can see who's looked at their profile.

              Also, if he's a PhD, he may have information listed about himself in other places.

              My husband also got a crazy person as the new department manager. He made some inquiries into her previous situation, and her colleagues were thrilled that she left, as she was about to be fired for incompetence.

              Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

              by cassandracarolina on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:58:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  we had a bully boss (5+ / 0-)

              for 2 years before she was pushed out. The damage she inflicted was very broad and deep, so although she is gone, the things she wrecked remain wrecked.

              One cheering thing is seeing her henchman, who applied for her position and was passed over for an external candidate, have to listen to the new boss talk about how f*cked up everything is. Still, jobs were lost, relationships were irretrievably broken, money was wasted, and services were not provided.

            •  great idea (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I think I will try to find out where he worked and see if I can find someone who knew him there. It's a small community where I live and I know lots of psychologists. Thanks for the idea. It would help me take it less personally if I could establish a pattern.

        •  There is nothing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          wrong with calling it bullying.  Bullying encompasses harassment, and harassment encompasses bullying.   They are the same thing.

          The problem is that people tend to dismiss the word 'bullying;'  I prefer the word 'workplace abuse' myself, but I contacted the Workplace Bullying Institute, and they want to continue to use the word 'bully.'

          People just need to be educated on what bullying is.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:50:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  legally, to take any action that is enforceable, (0+ / 0-)

            it needs to fit the definition listed in the law - that word is harassment.

            bullying is subjective and is not as powerful legally as harassment... and what ramelle is experiencing is harassment - an illegal act.

            •  Bullying is legal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              as is harassment that isn't specifically based on some protected class.

              That's why I'm an advocate for the passage of the Healthy Workplace Bill--it provides for a cause of action against the employer and the bully for all targets, not just those that are already in protected classes [women, over age 40, racial minorities, etc.]

              Further, to take legal action against harassment based upon protected classes, the complainant has to demonstrate that the perpetrator's intent is based upon the protected class--and demonstrating intent is very difficult.

              Why shouldn't everyone be protected from bullying or workplace abuse?

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 05:28:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bravo to that question (0+ / 0-)

                It should be illegal period. And you'd think most employers would prefer not to have it around but it seems that's who rises to the top in many cases.

              •  i disagree. and i have successfully brought (0+ / 0-)

                multiple cases - and where i haven't actually gone the distance, the hr dept was very quick to change the situation to PREVENT a case from being brought.

                you are totally wrong.  i know this firsthand.  you don't.

                my first e.e.o.c. incident was where i had a chauvenistic lawyer tell me i had no case - i ignored him. HE ws lazy and wrong and biased.

                know the friggin law.  it is NOT difficult to bring an action - it is only when people begin with defeatest actions such as yours that no change ever happens.

                listen, kiddo, it was MY generation that got these laws passed and it is MY generation has been very successful when the cases are brought.

                document. document. document!  dates, time, comments, attitudes, discriminatory treatment, different wages for the same job, comments that would seem "innocuous" outside the workplace are far from it when it is a working situation.

                you don't know jack about what you're talking about.

                if i seem harsh to you it is because of your type of discouragement that people DON'T file actions and these kinds of behaviors continue  the laws are ALREADY on the books and it just takes people with the determination to force them to be followed that make the difference.

                that goes for wimpy lazy lawyers, too - and i've encountered quite a few of them along these travels.  i've fired a few, too.

                one sucker i fired and less than six months later, the case was settled "to the mutual satisfaction of all parties".

                negative nabobs ... yep, that's the excuses given for not taking on the hard tasks.  it is NOT fun - it is NOT essy - but it is about damned PRINCIPLES - and you've either got them or you don't.


                i'm done dealing with you - as you can tell, you have really p*ssed me off with your attitude.  if people listened to your "opinion", we would STILL be barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen.

                •  just to be PERFECTLY clear.... (0+ / 0-)

                  from the E.E.O.C. website - as in - federal government website:

                  Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).

                  Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

                  Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.

                  Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

                  The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
                  The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
                  Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.
                  Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment. They should clearly communicate to employees that unwelcome harassing conduct will not be tolerated. They can do this by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process, providing anti-harassment training to their managers and employees, and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. Employers should strive to create an environment in which employees feel free to raise concerns and are confident that those concerns will be addressed.

                  Employees are encouraged to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. Employees should also report harassment to management at an early stage to prevent its escalation.

                  Employer Liability for Harassment
                  The employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If the supervisor's harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that: 1) it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

                  The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.

                  When investigating allegations of harassment, the EEOC looks at the entire record: including the nature of the conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination of whether harassment is severe or pervasive enough to be illegal is made on a case-by-case basis.

                  If you believe that the harassment you are experiencing or witnessing is of a specifically sexual nature, you may want to see EEOC's information on sexual harassment.

                  ramelle fits several categories listed here...

                  so there....ppfffbbbpppttthhhbbbhhhtttffbbbbtttt!!!!!

    •  I checked the article--and it's spot on. (5+ / 0-)

      BTW, Ramelle  was a target because she is smarter than he is.

      I've seen this often in men, because I'm smarter than a lot of the men I know. Even when I say nothing, I can see through them--and they realize that. So they become afraid that I'll make them look foolish.

      Women rarely get upset by another woman with brains--we tend to factor in lots of things when evaluating the worth of another person, and body size (or household neatness) tends to upset most of us more than brains.

      But some guys grow up thinking that they have to be smarter than everyone else or they're no good--and these guys can be a real pain.  They're smart enough to recognize brains in someone else--but they are threatened by this, rather than challenged to grow.

      You might want to read The Gifted Adult by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen.

      •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Im the opposite of getting bothered by women with brains. My struggle as a leader is to not feel impatient with the people who aren't as bright. I don't feel threatened by intelligence. I want people who are at least as smart if not smarter than me working me, so it hadn't occurred to me that others would be bothered by my intelligence and high functioning until i read that article. I'm bothered when people under function and it's part of what may have provoked him as I think about it.  The person I was accused of driving out of my team was a terrible under functioner.

        •  If I weren't retired (0+ / 0-)

          I'd be asking you for a job--or to recommend a good place to look.

          I had one boss who basically laid out my assignment and turned me loose--and was always very quick with information when I had questions!

          I loved that job! It ended Sept 1 2001.  I was a MS office specialty programmer.  I was 54.

          These days I find my own set of interesting things to do.

          •  The last time I interviewed (0+ / 0-)

            people for an open position on my team - we have to write very specific performance based questions - I tried to write questions designed to assess whether someone needed a lot of direction and being told what to do or was self directed and liked to independently learn new things. I had learned from the person I "drove out of my clinic" or, I think more accurately, set boundaries and pushed to do her job which she didn't like, that I'd be happiest with a type A, independent eager to learn new stuff type person.  It occurred to me last night that the subordinate who is an instigator in this issue and who has apparently encouraged the other supervisor to have decided I don't want people to thrive, has been given tons of opportunities.  Last year, I could send one person to a big national conference and I really wanted to go, but I didn't - i sent that person instead, because it was clear she really wanted to go.  But when she overextends herself, she drops the ball and doesn't keep up with things and she's quick to ignore my requests/directions if they aren't things that interest her.  A couple months ago, I asked for data from everyone in preparation for a big meeting, and she finally gave me that data last week - nearly two months after I needed it.  So, when I think about it, I really don't think trying to set one boundary with her once was so horribly unreasonable.  

  •  Oh, Ramelle (25+ / 0-)

    Your story really resonated with me. I have been bullied in the workplace and as a girl in school. While many people consider me a resilient person who takes no crap from anyone, bullies know that they can overcome your defenses and keep you on the run. They make you question everything you know to be true.

    As I am sure you will see through the words of other commenters, many of us have been there. Sometimes we prevail, and the bully is plucked from our midst when enough people speak up. Sometimes we remove ourselves. Sometimes the bully directs their attention to new victims, leaving us alone. Sadly, "human resources" people often lack the courage to intervene, and we become our own rescuers.

    I don't have any easy answers for you, but here is a big hug for you and for your dear inner child. You are safe with us here.

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 06:35:10 PM PDT

    •  And here i'd finally managed to stop crying (16+ / 0-)

      thank you for the kind hug that brought tears to my eyes.  It seems a common experience that is given lip service, but not really addressed.  though in my case, i think the HR person was actually kind of upset I didn't want to go further with it.  The problem is, our agency is in a time of transition - our manager was detailed to an interim position and inexplicably appointed two green immature people (one is not even 30 yet) to run things in her absence and one of them has a tendency toward bullying himself and they're the people i'd have to go to if I chose to take action. She's now been permanently hired, so now the two running things are amping up their own behaviors in hopes of getting the job permanently, so it's just a bad situation over all.   So, for now, the HR guy and I agreed that he would sit on the report and if someone else files one, then he'll take action. Sadly, people mostly don't think to file those things and it's scary to do.  I had a very hard time getting myself to do it.  

      •  since you filed the first one, the second will (10+ / 0-)

        carry more weight.  and DO let them go forward with this.  if nothing else, it puts him on notice to back the eff off.

        once you do it, it really isn't so scary - it is empowering.  feeling helpless is what causes the depression and sadness.

        filing and fighting for respect isn't sitting back and doing nothing - it is doing something very important for your own self-worth AND for others around you.

        •  the problem is (8+ / 0-)

          the chaos in the whole system.  When my boss got detailed to a different job (now hired), she appointed a 29 year old I used to supervise to cover her position.  That person was in way over her head, which became evident rather quickly, so my ex boss then appointed someone to help her. The person appointed to help her likes to shout - when he's mad, when he's wound up, whenever.  He likes to go out drinking with work people and he gets belligerently drunk when he does.  I made the mistake of going out with him once, at a conference, and he started yelling at me for not drinking enough, took my water glass away from me and ordered me another drink then stormed off in a huff.  So, the people I'm supposed to go to for help are a 28 year old kid with no real experience and a belligerent drunk who borders on being a bully himself (I should have filed a report of contact on that drinking incident, but tried to tell my boss about it and she said, "He's under a lot of stress right now.")  And both of them are temporary in this position, which should be posted soon, and are trying desperately to prove themselves and make it look like they're handling things beautifully to anyone above them.  

          The point being, that I think the bury your head in the sand and ignore inappropriate behavior and promote incompetent people is rampant in this system right now.  It says something that many many people in the system are very upset about the direction things have taken in terms of leadership, yet nobody has felt safe enough to go forward and say anything to anybody higher up.  I think I understand more every day how rape in the military is allowed to happen and goes unreported.  Same kind of structure and system.  That's why I haven't brought this to my supervisors.  In some ways, they contributed to the problem already by ordering me to give him and the staff person what they wanted without asking me anything about why i was trying to set the boundary.  Then they called a meeting with the two of us and witnessed his hostility toward me and did nothing - just made the meeting as quick as they could (it was over in 15 minutes). Admittedly, I didn't call him out on it either, but more experienced leadership would have stepped in right then and there.    

  •  thank you (18+ / 0-)

    to anyone who read or reads this diary and replies. I need to go to bed now, but please please feel free to post a comment.  Tomorrow morning I will wake up and i will make coffee and i will come back to read any responses that came in the night and I think maybe it will help me feel a little less like throwing up when I leave for work tomorrow.  

  •  I got bullied a lot as a kid... (26+ / 0-)

    I graduated, left town for a military career, and never looked back on the bullying.  Or so I thought.

    A couple days ago a colleague tried to humiliate me in front of about a dozen people during a weekly production meeting.  He got about two sentences into it when I verbally ripped his head off and shit down his neck.  He promptly shut up, and he was really, really nice today.

    I feel pretty lousy about standing up for myself.  I know I have one hell of a sharp tongue and I try hard to keep it in check.  But my days of being picked on are over.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 08:32:32 PM PDT

    •  don't you DARE feel guilty for stopping a bully! (10+ / 0-)

      you did a service to every other person he has ever tried that with.

      people who know me know very well that this is NOT a good thing to try - it gets very expensive and it is not something that profits them at all.

      i have never bullied and only a very few have tried it with me - why? because i lived it in my own family until i left as far away as i could get without having a very powerful breaststroke - ao anyone  else who tries is in a very bad position to be standing.

      if YOU don't stand up for yourself - who will?

      now, go have a good cup of coffee, glass of wine, imported beer, nice glass of bourbon or whatever you use to celebrate - you deserve it!  (me? it's always a fine coffee! - makes me more alert and even sharper tongued!)

    •  Don't feel lousy about standing up for yourself (6+ / 0-)

      it's what I wish i'd done and hope I'll be able to do next time.  He thinks he's won and i've been letting him.  

    •  I feel pretty lousy about standing up for myself. (8+ / 0-)

      Because you broke a social contract. You were mean. Bullies thrive because they are very good at threading the needle. They rarely themselves break the social constructs that prevent people from defending themselves. To be a truly effective counter to a bully, you have to run the risk that other people will think you're mean or not nice; "you're inappropriate" or "out of line."

      Once you do it a few times, you'll realize that's no one's watching you or judging you as closely as you fear, and even if they are, they forget it after only a few days.

      "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

      by CFAmick on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:54:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You DOCUMENT objectively: "He yelled .... at (15+ / 0-)

    me in a loud volume".   "He stepped into my personal space aggressively"  and you take it to HR NOW.

    You NEVER ignore a bully.

    I believe we help each other in times of need. I want all our children to get an excellent education. Every American deserves health care. I love my country. I am a patriot. I am a voter. I am a Democrat.

    by mumtaznepal on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 11:41:18 PM PDT

    •  thank you (7+ / 0-)

      I should have written this diary before I wrote the report of action. The wording suggestions would have been helpful.  Well, I'll definitely keep that in mind for next time. Though my hope is the next time is with someone else, so more of a pattern can be established.

      •  I am sorry you are suffering this. It's easy, (0+ / 0-)

        when it's not "my" job at stake, to advise you to be aggressive in standing up to him.  I understand concerns about creating trouble at work, etc ... I hope it works out well for you, you do not deserve this abusive treatment.

        It angers me to see people mistreated like this, I wish I was there to stand up to him for you!

        I believe we help each other in times of need. I want all our children to get an excellent education. Every American deserves health care. I love my country. I am a patriot. I am a voter. I am a Democrat.

        by mumtaznepal on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:06:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been there (14+ / 0-)

    I survived my share of bullying in school (mostly in 6th grade, but in varying degrees through 10th; luckily my family moved the summer after that and the second half of high school was blissfully free of it all), and naively believed all that was behind me by the time I got my dream job at 24.

    It wasn't to be: that job was to replace a woman who had been promoted to a higher job in the same office. Although she had been promoted, she was not in the management and was therefore not my boss. However, she never had the slightest of reservations in treating me as if she was. Barking orders at me, snapping at me if I didn't get something right, sometimes outright yelling at name it, she did it. Like you, I wasn't completely blameless; I did make some dumb mistakes. But I honestly believe a lot of those mistakes were because of the constant tension I had to live with thanks to her. The near-certainty that I would be screamed at any time now made me nervous, and I made mistakes that I otherwise wouldn't make.

    I did try, on one occasion, to reach out and smooth things over by buying her something from the supply shop that I thought she had said she wanted. It turned out that was a mistake on my part: she had really said I should buy the item for myself. A minor error, and at least one might expect to see that I was only trying to be friendly and helpful. You might, but you'd be mistaken. Although she knew exactly the mistake I had made, she couldn't be bothered to explain it until she had used it as an excuse to snap at me twice in rapid succession. And then I was the bad guy for rolling my eyes a bit when she first rejected the offer.

    Now, I have always believed that a decent office director could have put a stop to all this - just sit her down and remind her that she was not the boss, and to give me a fair chance to settle into the office community and find my footing. Regrettably, we didn't have a decent office director. The director's heart was in the right place - she just wanted everyone to get along - but she blamed the tension entirely on me. Why? Because "this never happened before you came here." (That, by the way, is probably not even true; there was a former staffer who had left by the time I joined, who was notorious for having been "mean as hell" - I heard her described as such more than once. But even if it were true, any idiot could see that didn't necessarily make it my fault. Any idiot except our boss, that is.)

    To make a long story short, I was ultimately asked to resign. After just five months on the job. A job I had been working towards for five years by the time I got it. Now, my wounds healed fairly quickly: within two months I had a new job I liked a lot more, and then a year and a half later I was off to grad school. But there is a rather nasty epilogue to my story all the same. The job I lost was on Capitol Hill, at a Democratic representative's office, and the bully who destroyed it for me continued to climb the Hill ladder after I left. She has gone on to an illustrious career with a number of very high ranking members and with the DCCC, and occasionally her name comes up here on Daily Kos (usually not in a nice way, since typically she's toeing the Dem establilshment line, so at least there is that). That hurts, but I can't say it has ever surprised me. In politics as in any other business, being an asshole isn't an absolute prerequisite to success, but it sure does help.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:27:42 AM PDT

    •  Wow (12+ / 0-)

      Someone who was that focused on achieving power is a hard person to take on and she was clearly a climber.  It's funny how easy it is to see in someone else - the efforts to fix it by pleasing the harasser instead of standing up to them, but I totally get doing that.  I've been trying hard to prove I'm not interested in power struggles and, even though the person on my team who provoked all of this has made a lot of trouble for me, I've gone out of my way to give her extra interesting things to do just to prove I "want her to thrive."  I need to stop, because my effectiveness as a leader will go away completely if I continue down this road.

      •  That's because bullies often project their foibles (10+ / 0-)

        onto others--esp their targets.

        You see they are interested in power struggles. And anyone who has an independent thought or opinion is a potential danger, anyone who acts on such independent thoughts are clear and present--dangers to the attempts at being *King of the Hill.

        You think you are just doing your job, but in bully land, a do-gooder like you, is thwarting their "master plan".

        •  projection (0+ / 0-)

          Definitely some of that. If I look at the email exchange we had that he said was "amazing" because of the power struggle I supposedly got into, he's the one who broke my email down and responded to each sentence line by line.

          •  I have used that tactic on bullies. (0+ / 0-)

            Breaking their posts down line by line. But by the time I get to that point, I am beyond a bit pissed.

            I hope you get your situation resolved soon. Conflict sucks and so does having to operate in a constant state of suspicion.

      •  Your job is not to help another to thrive, (8+ / 0-)

        it's to make sure the company or department thrives. That is actually showing a lack of respect for that person, as though she is incapable of thriving on her own. Perhaps that is part of your problem with this person, causing her to lash out. Unfortunately, it's triggered bullying behavior by another too, as he takes on his version of a protector. Further, it is triggering your past victim persona too. All three of you are losing your work identities and the ability to communicate. I do not know the details, only your choice of words. There is an imbalance here, and everyone needs to get back to equal footing and away from power struggles. Deep breathes, and a phrase I have to practice so it comes out naturally, "I need to think about what you said. I'll discuss it with you later," then walk away (you can add "I'll get back to you" if it feels too abrupt). Very useful, and I often forget it when I most need it.

        "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

        by cv lurking gf on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 06:52:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Role playing, (5+ / 0-)

          or practice in front of a mirror, is most helpful when anticipating a stressful encounter.

        •  Great comment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cv lurking gf

          That really resonates. I've become cast as the perpetrator even though I feel like the victim and it's all old stuff probably for all of us. I'll be pondering your comment for awhile I think. Thank you.

          •  I hope it is helpful. I'm still learning it myself (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I read your comment after spending an hour with one brother discussing his problems with another brother and advising him (again) to ingrain those phrases, as I silently repeated it to myself.

            Then we talked about the other siblings.

            "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

            by cv lurking gf on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:49:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  IMO, you shouldn't (0+ / 0-)

          be blaming the diarist for "causing" the subordinate bully to lash out.

          The diarist is being mobbed by her co-worker and the subordinate.  Mobbing is the term for when a group gets together to attack a co-worker.

          The diarist, unfortunately, tried to accommodate the mobsters' demands.

          Bullies are never, ever satisfied.  

          Say that over and over again until it sinks in.  

          There was/is nothing the diarist can do to please bullies.  The bullies will continue to attack her until she leaves or until they get her fired.

          The diarist needs to go all out to get these mobsters fired, and their behavior is enough justification.  

          Bottom line?  It's either them or her.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:04:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately what occurs too often... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, Tonedevil, Ramelle

      is that it takes a number of very good people leaving an organization for them to FINALLY take notice - as talent leaving a company costs them $$$$.

      After a while, management excuses just won't cut it anymore.

      At first I looked for
      the pen of fate,
      and the tablet on which it wrote,
      and heaven and hell
      in the skies above.
      Then my teacher
      guided me, saying that
      all four lie within you.
      ~Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat
  •  ramelle - you are much stronger than you realize. (14+ / 0-)

    heck, you could control a 1000 lb horse - this bully is no match for you.

    the next time he starts up, look him in the eye and ask with the same authority you used on horses, "WHAT is YOUR PROBLEM!"

    and walk away from him.

    if he comes back at you, tell him that when he can address you professionally and civilly, you will deal with him, but until then, imagine a very nice dressage whip and a stall bolted with him on the inside.

    he only succeeds because he has tapped into your past.  now, kick him the hell OUT of that past.

    as my beautiful sani told me when i was snivielling about my sister's horrid behavior after mom died, he raised his head from grazing and said, quite simply, "get over it".

    this man will only have the power you give him - and as you know from horses, you NEVER show them fear (even if you feel it) - otherwise, you lose the ability to work with them and control them.

    he is the weak one - you are the stronger.  turn and walk off when he starts.  don't give him two words to upset you.  you DON'T have to take this any more - you CAN stop him in his tracks.  just don't listen.  if he keeps up, he will escalate it until  HE becomes the issue with hr - you just walk away.

    do you remember how, when an errant horse would start to act up on the ground and a simple strong "ENOUGH!" would stop them?  well, it works on humans, too. tone of voice, strength of meaning AND remembering you can kick 1000 lbs of horseflesh into submission if necessary.  this horse's ass should be a piece of cake!

    •  He is the weak one - you are the stronger. (5+ / 0-)

      The fact that he thinks he's the strong one and you're the weak one should light a fire in your belly. Use it to your advantage. Show him that he's wrong.

      Once or twice, when people that to get aggressive with me, I've said, "You're confusing me with someone else" or "You're confusing me with someone nicer."

      "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

      by CFAmick on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:58:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, something wrong here (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53, Tonedevil, Ramelle, dfarrah

        He will only have the power you give him - She made it clear he has seniority and more degrees - do not blame Ramelle! This is just another variant of "no one can humiliate you without your permission" and it IS victim blaming.

        I've been there, my whole young life was nonstop abuse every school day. Teachers often joined in.

        And I was in a work situation. An odd place, nearly everyone was related or personal friends, they only hired an "outsider" as we were called when they could not find a friend or relative. I was hired to put the quality system in place, after I did so, they hired a quality manager with zero experience in quality, in the industry, in management, no writing skills (important in that job), etc. They never interviewed anyone else. I was told it didn't matter since my job was to do all the quality and his was to "manage". He hated that I knew the job and when people had questions they came to me. He called me into his office for what he called career coaching, what I call insult sessions in which I was told I was hysterical, irrational, childish, (in other words, female) did not complete projects, had no writing skills, had no computer skills, couldn't manage my time and besides everyone hated me. Actually he was describing his own lack of skills - all these things were him, not me, he never started a single project that was not handed over to me to fix or finish! When I reported him, the management, all his personal friends, used the "nut and slut", I was making it up and besides it was my fault, while he sat there smirking. Eventually he moved to a company that paid better by citing all my work as his accomplishments. I was laid off immediately after because they figured they no longer needed me to fix all his errors and screwups and to rewrite everything he did (guy couldn't write a coherent email, let alone procedure). After a year I got a better job and I'm still here.

        But it still rankles.

        So don't say I gave him the fucking power over me.

        •  i didn't say you gave him "fucking power" over you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          home solar, Ramelle

          OR ramelle.  what i DID say is that you have a choice in how you react - either on the job or by walking away from it.

          and, yes, i have actually walked away from jobs before when the abuse didn't stop (straight to a lawyer to their dismay).

          if someone doesn't have the ability to fire you, you can stop the behavior by walking away when it starts.  the old saying that it takes two to tango is true.  if you don't respond or react or engage, that issue becomes more evident as being from the other person, not you.

          in the place you described, your job was doomed from the outset.   had i been in your shoes, i'd have been flooding every business possible with job applications while there.  

          that better job you have shows that you have talent.  and, yes, it does still rankle when these things occur.  at 66, i have a LONG list of rankle - but how you accept or deal with it is your choice.

          my choice is that i will NOT be harassed - i will NOT be spoken to inappropriately, i will stand up to EVERY fuck that tries it, including the owner of the company.

          i don't yell - i just bury them in factual content correcting their abuse that cannot be disputed.  they soon learn to pick on someone else - someone who will not quietly correct their misstatements in front of the entire company.  it makes me disliked but it also puts the fear of god into the bastards.

          AND i keep on doing my job to the best of my abilities because i do that work for ME, not for anyone else.  if i take a job, i take it because i like it - and if i am going to commit my time/life on a project, i give it 150% - until i leave it for something better.

          •  You clearly haven't had (0+ / 0-)

            to deal with a genuine serial bully, or with a bully [or a  mob] that has targeted you for elimination.

            You've dealt with people who bully here and there.

            It is completely different when you are a target of a bullying campaign, either by a boss or mob.  They sabotage you in every way possible, and that alone adds a completely different dimension to the ordinary ugliness that happens here and there.

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:09:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  please don't make sweeping statements like the (0+ / 0-)

              one you just made.  you have NO idea what i have dealt with over the years - none- whatsoever.

              oh, and the MANY "bosses" that tried that - one lost his chair at the dept of the university, one is unemployed and the other i think will be a bit more hesitant to try it on anyone again  - that's just touching the surface.

              you have no clue - none whatsoever - as to my personal experience - NONE.  i'm in my mid sixties and i can assure you, as a woman who was in the working world when women were still considered to be useful only as secretaries, teachers, nurses or housewives - MY generation faced a hell of a lot of bullies as we changed the mold for the women that followed.

              have YOU ever been called in by the "boss" and told you were to "go out" with the out of town clientele (wink wink nod nod  - full meaning - go FUCK them so i can get their business) and then been fired when you refused?

              have you ever had a boss ask talk about his sexual prowess and how he walked out on the woman he was "fucking" when she asked him to say he loved her then turn to YOU in a room full of people and ask what YOU do for sex?  i have.  i told him without commitment, i'd rather be with my horse!  everyone laughed and i knew my days were numbered.  however, as a result of that and the continued worsening harassment, including being called a "c*nt" by a coworker and he laughed about it, i ended up with a new VERY expensive dressage horse!  (sani)

              i can almost quote you the e.e.o.c. regulations, so don't tell ME i kno nothing about bullies or that i've only deat with people who "bully here and there."

              that is very presumptuous and, quite frankly, borders on bullying - so back off, buster!

              you think you own the "bullying" experience?  think again, kid.

  •  Document... (9+ / 0-)

    Everything at this point.  Did you explain your concerns to your manager or supervisor? This is workplace harrassment.  It does not have to involve someone who is a higher grade (harrasser) than you.

    If you are employed by fed gov't this is something your should report.

    Keep a notebook nearby.  Write down anything that may occur.  If it's something that is making you uncomfortable, put it in an email and send to your supervisor or manager.  Explain you need help, guidance, direction, in trying to work something out with a team member... And that your efforts have not worked.  So put the burden on them instead of you carrying on your own.

    You never know.  Maybe he has exhibited this behavior previously with someone else.

    If you work for the feds, this is workplace harrassment.  A reportable offense.  There are hotlines available.  If you can't find, try the number for eeo to see if they  can direct you to the right number.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:53:20 AM PDT

    •  I reported to HR (7+ / 0-)

      and if it happens again, I'll report again. For reasons I wrote above in a different comment, it doesn't seem like a good time to try to go to my supervisors.  After the two people who got the promotion to the acting leadership role got it, some people asked me why I had "declined the offer" to do that job. They assumed I'd been offered the position and declined and that's why the green people had been promoted instead.  Not the case, but if there's any sense of that sentiment in my supervisors I fear they may feel threatened by me and may just decide to align with the bully.  Because the things he said to me were couched as "feedback" about my leadership style, it would be easy for them to simply agree with him and I think I'm too fragile to hear more of that from more people right now. I need to be clear that it was in fact bullying behavior and not merely feedback and not be taking it on so strongly before I could stand up to him and my bosses.  Also, what would I do if they did align with him?  If I tried to file a report of contact on all of them, it would start looking like I'm the problem instead of him.    

      •  Then if you don't feel comfortable... (6+ / 0-)

        speaking directly toyour supervisor, speak to someone else or skip the chain of command.

        Approach it in a way that they cannot dismiss your concerns.  Speak about your desire to meet commn goals, etc.  

        Truly, if you have fear of retaliation or attack on your reputation, performance or even loss of employment when you have done nothing to earn any of those adverse actions then seek assistance asap.  HR is only as good as they are effective.  To report concerns such as yours, you do NOT have to go through your chain of command.  If you feel threatened in anyway (physical) or if the approach to you is threatening, you have two options to report  ot throughyour chain,  One is eeo, the other is through an administrative internal investigation procedure.  

        If you feel that there are other issues that are pervasive and illegal going on, there is whistleblower.

        Good luck to you.  I know it is not easy to speak up.  And I know it is hard to take that first step to make a complaint, whatever route you take.  

        And finally, the other alternative (especially if you feel your employment may be at risk), if you have a good public representative... Go to their office. That is what they pay their staffers for.  Senator or Congressional reps usually have local offices set up throughout the state.

        All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

        by kishik on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:51:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting thoughts (0+ / 0-)

          I've been trying to think who over my boss' head I could go to and the problem is I can't think of a safe person in the organization who would actually have power to do something about it. The safe people all can't think who to go to either.  Which probably means its time to leave

      •  Bully proof (9+ / 0-)

        I was one of the only women on my own training race horses at a major thoroughbred race track.  I think 50% of the guys on the race track tried to bully me (and 90% hit on me) If I had allowed myself to be bullied, I would have been out of there in weeks.  I got a lot of practice handling these jerks.  You can't let them win.  Winning just makes them worse.

        First off, get rid of the idea that you are dealing with constructive criticism.  You are dealing with name calling.  Deal with the style not the content.  By the way, what in the world is so wrong with drawing a line in the sand?  Never mind.  Back to style.  This person was insulting, rude, and aiming to hurt your feelings.  He was absolutely engaged in taking away your power.   The first thing for you to do is realize for yourself that only you can take away your own power.  He can only try to convince you to do so.  When the bullies at the track would start with their false accusations and insults, unless I thought there would be physical violence, I'd take a couple of steps forward invading their personal space.  I'd look them straight in the eye and say "you are being rude and inappropriate.  Until you can control your behavior we have nothing more to say.  If you can bring your concerns to me in a polite, respectful manner we can talk.  Until then, I'm busy.  Bye."  Don't let him get in a word edgewise.  If he does and you feel the need to say anything more, just repeat yourself again. When he shows up to speak to you later, open by saying "are you in control of your self yet?"  If that sends him into a fit, go back to saying what you said earlier and ask him to leave your office until he can."  He'll stop attempting to bully you.  Heck, sometimes you can even get to be friends.

        •  I love it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The idea of saying " are you in control of yourself yet" actually really appeals to me.  I think I will use that if he does this again. And I've been asking myself that question too. If you're In a leadership role isn't it necessary to draw a line in the sand sometimes?

        •  Were these guys (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          your co-workers or boss?

          Or did you just rent space for training at the track for training and work around others who did the same?

          In other words, what was the power relationship here?  

          If these guys and you are just independent users of a facility, then that's a completely different situation than a co-worker/boss relationship.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:19:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We were equals (0+ / 0-)

            As far as I remember, that was the situation with the diarist here as well -- that it was a coworker and not her boss or superior in the company who was being the bully.

            I find these bullies to be akin to a child who is having a tantrum to try to get what they want.  In effect, I refuse to join in the childish behavior and act like the adult in the room.  The good thing about that is it gives no handle for anyone to claim that I was part of the problem. I don't act mad at the bully and I don't engage with them.  I am simply the adult requiring the one who has regressed to return to their own adult hood.  

            I've had a boss who tried bullying me.  I simply did a slightly more polite version of the same thing and it worked well enough.  The Chairman of the Board was a worse bully and inclined towards violence.  He didn't get violent with me but did with a reporter.  That took care of that problem as then the newspaper did a campaign against him and he was toast.

            I'm now running for office to a board of three commissioners.  One of them has no opposition and is reputed to be a bad bully.  I'm rather looking forward to facing him down.

            •  Then you obviously (0+ / 0-)

              haven't been targeted by a practiced bully.

              What you've dealt with are occasions of bullying, rather than being a target of a determined bully or mob.

              Serial bullies, or narcissists or borderline narcissists, keep attacking and sabotaging the worker until they get rid of the person.

              Your situation at the track is very different from an employment situation--your livelihood was not dependent on the guys, very unlike a work situation where there is interdependence to get work done.

              Your methods won't work with a genuine narcissist bully.


              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 05:20:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Those really bad bullies (0+ / 0-)

                You are right about that.  The really bad bullies are different.  Those aren't so easy to deter.  In fact, mostly when dealing with them, I first determine if I want to devote so much energy to the fight.  I usually just leave the arena to them.  If I do choose to fight it is a fight to ruin them before they can do so to me. I've only had that kind of fight once.  I suppose it was a bit of a draw as we both lost our jobs. He got me but I got him too. And I did get a year's pay for wrongful dismissal.

                The violent types are a whole other deal too.  I don't want anything to do with them.  I see no win there.  I just get away and get safe  -- and have five dogs and a shot gun if needed.

                Fortunately most bullies are the garden variety type.  Standing up and not acting like a victim is all that is needed to have them back down.

                •  Before you blame the target, (0+ / 0-)

                  or try to give advice, you might at least try to determine what type of bully is involved.

                  In the diarist's case, it appears that the guy may be the worse type with the way he threatened her.  Plus he is instigating others against her in a typical mobbing scenario.

                  So, I think she'll need to fight them tooth and nail to save her job from them.

                  But I'm very glad you got a severance and that it wasn't just you who paid the price with your job.  Usually, the workplace bullies are fully supported by top management; so the bully targets worker after worker.

                  The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                  by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 08:04:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  I am so sorry this is happening to you. (8+ / 0-)

    I understand what you are talking about. Both in terms of the teacher bullies and the work place bullies.

    I have met some brilliant PhDs, I have. But I have also met some and wondered what dark arts they must have practiced to get their degree because their attitude sucked and they were as imaginative as a potato spud. I have met a few that rest on their laurels, never bothering to do their homework ever again, wrong on every important technical thing.

    Those people exist. It's not your imagination. And because you are willing to consider the possibility of genuine constructive criticism, taking blows from a colleague like that, really gets under your skin, because it is unprofessional, it is not constructive or even useful. It's just plain mean.

    My advice to you is to start keeping a journal of every interaction with this person. And make sure you journal what you have done and why on the project.

    Normally disagreements are settled by higher ups, or at least the people on opposite sides discuss it like adults giving their evidence as to why their idea would work better.

    There is no call for this abusive bullshit.

  •  (((Ramelle))) (5+ / 0-)

    I have to go off to work but I will comment later, because this subject always hits home with me.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 06:06:39 AM PDT

  •  Another thought (7+ / 0-)

    I had a bullying boss who loved attacking subordinates in a group setting. He's say things that would clearly hurt them, assailing their work and their character. These tirades would go on for several minutes as we all sat by stunned. This usually happened in multi-day meetings, which made for some very strained situations. (One on one, he would act like there was nothing wrong, and even that you were his best buddy_

    He once showcased his bullying skills in front of two representatives of a vendor that I had worked with for years. These two gentlemen were "treated" to one of my boss' rampages when they came in to do a presentation. It wasn't directed at them, but their reaction to me later was one of total shock.

    It was only then that I realized the magnitude of this bullying behavior. Sometimes it takes an outside witness to provide that touchstone of reality saying "Wow. I could not believe what just happened! That's completely unacceptable. I can't believe you have to work for that jerk".

    Are there any situations in your work where you can get others to trigger or observe your bully in action? Sometimes the word of outsiders carries more weight than the word of employees.

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:17:02 AM PDT

  •  Bullies attack you by accusing you (8+ / 0-)

    of breaking the social code. "What kind of person does that?" Your bully also seems very practiced: "You might be confident of your position here, but I'm not so sure." He's used that line many times before.

    Unfortunately, you played into his hands by trying to respond. Because that's what a reasonable person would do. Bullies aren't reasonable people, and you can't use reason with them. You have to break it down to the simplest level.

    You can try to ignore them, but that only works if you're 100% not bothered by them. Bullies are predators who can sense fear, and they'll know that you're not truly "ignoring" them.

    Or, you have to throw their bullying back into their face. When he says, "Who does that?" you mock them. Repeat it back to them in a whiny, high pitched voice. Or, you say, in no uncertain terms, "Stop. No one gives a shit."

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:47:56 AM PDT

    •  I've always been so focused (0+ / 0-)

      on trying to improve/fix myself etc. that it's easy to take it on and I'm always ready to take criticism as constructive and assume it might be true.  It may be the lesson I need to learn in the second half of my life is to stop doing that and realize feedback isn't always accurate no matter who says it.  I hadn't thought of the possibility that his choice of words could be practiced or deliberately designed to punch.  And interestingly one of the things that prompted a "what kind of person does that" comment was that I had once wondered allowed if one of the supervisors who had a tendency toward "Machiavellian"(the bully's wordchoice) leadership style might have been abused as a child.  If I'd been less in defensive mode, I might have said "a writer and psychodynamically trained therapist who has treated survivors of childhood abuse for her entire career and wants to understand why people behave the way they do, that's what kind of person."  But I was too much in defend myself against the accusations as if they carried real weight mode to think of that at the time.  

  •  i was abused as a child and now have been (6+ / 0-)

    bullied at work for 12 years.

    worst, the institution is famous in the medical community for abusing its employees to the extent that they fill up the medical offices in our relatively small community.

    when i reported the bullying to the aa officer she said, 'too difficult to prove'

    basically, the entire system is invested in what my physical therapist sarcastically called: tough love.

    they are masters of taking just up to the illegal point and over a smidge, then backing off.

    my doctor 'wants me out of that toxic environment' but i will never work again in the profession if i walk away.

    Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

    by BlueDragon on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:07:50 AM PDT

  •  Ugh. My dad used to do that to me (8+ / 0-)

    It's pure poison.

    There are people who keep tally marks of EVERYTHING you do.  Nevermind their own imperfections, they keep score on you and when you make what they consider an error, they will bring everything up again and again.

    Two books DID help me -- may I recommend THE GENTLE ART OF VERBAL SELF DEFENSE (there's one for the workplace, too) by my friend, Suzette Haden Elgin.  She's kind and the book is kind and her methods do work in many situations.  I also enjoyed the old I'M OKAY, YOU'RE OKAY -- and do google George Lakoff and "framing."  I realize that Lakoff is full of himself nowadays, but there's some interesting approaches in his framing material and it might give you additional ammunition.

    •  Had an insecure coworker who went thru my desk (6+ / 0-)

      when I was not in office.  Always had something negative to say about me (I was always the top sales person there).  One day, I asked my boss to go to a vendor show - she also asked for the day off to "pray".  After the show, I went for a drink with a friend - only to see and HEAR that same co worker who was rudely gossiping to a friend ... about me.  I put on lipstick (my armor) then introduced myself to her friend with a hand out saying... "I'm the person she is talking about" with a SMILE.

      Coworker, quick to regain her composure... said "At least you know how I feel about you"!

      No worries... next day, I spoke to my boss about the incident and her insecure "desk rummaging" - she was FIRED soon after.

      Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
      Stay strong.

      There are good organizations out there... while in the midst of this turmoil - check out other opportunities as your secure backup plan - you don't have to go thru with it, but it WILL help your self esteem.

    •  I bought the (0+ / 0-)

      Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense and thought it was worthless, as did a friend of mine who used it.

      Anyway, that type of instruction is good for ordinary ugliness and simply isn't effective against a bully or mob that has targeted a co-worker for removal.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:15:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps consult an attorney with experience (4+ / 0-)

    in workplace issues to go over what your rights are in your particular office/bureau and what the standards of conduct are to be observed.

    That way should you need to draw HR into the situation, you know what to expect, what documentation/witnesses you need to have.

    You could also let it be know through the office grapevine that you have begun such due diligence and that the bully needs to be on notice of that.

  •  Check out the Workplace Bullying Institute (8+ / 0-)

    I urge you to check out the website for the Workplace Bullying Institute. They have a lot of solid information for bullied workers.

    A few notes:

    HR is not your friend. It's the employer's friend. They CAN be very helpful, but it depends on what will benefit the employer more, standing by you, siding with the bully, or ignoring it.

    Your wellbeing is more important than justice.

    "Standing up for yourself" is a good thing, but it does not always guarantee that you'll be the victor. It's not always about how "strong" you are. It's about the bullies and what kind of institutional camouflage they have going for them.

    Be safe.

  •  All I can say is YES!!!!! (5+ / 0-)

    I completely identify with every word of your diary.  Thank you for being so eloquent in detailing the emotions and the effects, so many years later.  I have been through so many similar twists and turns as you, it's just mind boggling how familiar the long term effects of childhood bullying are whenever someone writes about them.

    I have faced workplace bullying as an adult as well.  In the job before my current job, my boss was a bully, always trying to set me up as the butt of the joke, or the person that screwed up the project.  It made my head spin, I thought I was just CRAP as an employee and dreaded every day like it was the end of the world.  When I left for another position I literally had to relearn how to work, I didn't know how to use my own decision making skills anymore, I was so used to dreading finding how what a poor decision I had inevitably made.  It took time for me to not gasp when my new boss would tell me to just go take care of something, I was so afraid to do it wrong.  I can link that back to the childhood stuff, like so many things.

    I don't know if other adults who were bullied as kids have this, but I am someone who can't be slipped up on by someone I know.  I detect even a slightly familiar figure from a couple of blocks away on the street, at least.  I have begun to think this is leftover from having to constantly be aware of who was around me as a kid, so I could avoid my tormentors whenever possible.

    I wish you the best in dealing with this.  Please don't let them see any negative emotions from you, just like when we were kids they feed off that and it is like a drug to a bully, and they will want more of the same from you, more pain.  I'm convinced my old boss got a real boost from feeling like she could make my day shit when she felt like it.  If it continues, unlike when we were kids, we can take action and go higher up.  This obviously might not result in anything, but we aren't kids anymore and they really only can go so far.  As children the threat of physical attack that would, of course, go unpunished was all too real.

    Take care of yourself.

    •  I can see how the hypervigilance (0+ / 0-)

      you have is related to your childhood bullying.  In my case, the school was small enough that there really wasn't anywhere to go to escape them so hypervigilance wasn't helpful.  Escape into fantasy and believing I was toxic seemed to be the coping skills I knew how to use as a child. It took me a long time to get over the toxic thing and incidents like this make me realize that it maybe never fully goes away.  Now I channel the fantasy into my writing, I guess.  

  •  Get a hold of your HR/Ethics department (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, cassandracarolina, Ramelle

    ASAP and report this.  Have your ducks in the line up.  Have them interview the common people you two have to manage.

    And have them interview anyone that is a witness.  DO NOT have any private meetings with this jerk.  Always have a neutral witness in the room.

    "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

    by doingbusinessas on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 11:03:14 AM PDT

  •  I've seen this plenty of times, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, Ramelle

    at many points in my life. I mean, I've dealt regularly with this exact guy:

    His face was a twisted up mask of rage. He was in my face.
    If a woman doesn't erase herself completely; if she's other than 100% compliant, if she speaks up, at all, whatsoever, she's a bitch. She deserves your fanged frontal attack, and whatever venom your fangs contain. I know that sad number all too well.

    It isn't basically your job to placate an insecure man. I believe that. By showing such a person any sympathy, you'd definitely be doing more than what's called for, and that's fine. Don't attempt what you're not up to, and never let anybody give you flak for not trying to be nurturant when dealing with a bully or a potential bully. But I've marveled at what kind of pain this aggressor personally would have to be in. He must live in a world that is out to get him all the time. I wonder from my own experience with these men, is there any way this attack could have been pre-empted, by going out of my way to extend sympathy? Or perhaps the situation is just too far gone.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:12:30 PM PDT

    •  funny (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      one of the things he used to make me believe I was the problem was the fact that he doesn't have these kinds of problems with the other supervisor he works with.  Every time I've stopped at this other team lead's office to talk to her about something, she's online ordering things like shoes.  One time, i swear I smelled nail polish remover when I walked in her office. Half the people she supervises come to me for information because they don't get the information they need to do their jobs effectively from her   He accused me of being in power struggles with her too.  Honestly, I just try to get her to do the parts of her job that affect me, but I can see how it ends up looking like a power struggle.  That's something I've decided I need to just give up on.  

  •  I know it's easy to say stay calm, don't react (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    emotionally, but with your "baggage" of bullying as a child, it's probably impossible for you to manage that right now. It could be triggering a PTSD type reaction on your part, from your description. The horrible feelings he gives you when he blows up at you, accuses you, belittles you, that is all very hard to take and should not be allowed in the workplace, in a government office.

    It is he who has the problem, imo. When people blow things out of proportion it often is. His agenda seems to be to get rid of you and rise in the organization himself. He is throwing his weight around, arousing the support of others for his position, and making you out to be the bad one, the one who should leave, of all things, now that is super escalation. I wish you had not told him you were not feeling secure there. He sounds like the type who will try to use any perceived weakness against you.

    You need emotional support and it doesn't sound as if you have it right now. Can you get some? I don't blame you at all for your reaction, I think it is entirely understandable, but is working against you so you need to try to understand it and to change it. You need to find your own power, your anger that you squelched for so long, trying to cover up bullying at school.

    Perhaps you would be better off finding a new position because if he does not leave you may continue to suffer and be unable to change the situation. Sometimes sticking with something is not the best option, not if it is going to demoralize you. If you can fight back, great though.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:18:47 PM PDT

  •  [[[[[[[[[[ramelle]]]]]]]]]]]] (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, RockyMtnLib, Ramelle

    coming from a history of bullying myself, i did some research about the dynamics of bullying.

    there are three components to bullying:  the bully, the victim and the bystanders.  but the ones who have the most power in this dynamic?  the bystanders.

    my boss is a horrible bully.  his father before him.  he yells.  he stomps.  he gets redfaced and huffing.  he's large and physically intimidating.  i'm a tall thin gay man with a willowy aspect and am usually soft spoken.  when he starts to bully our techs, i jump in.  always.  it doesn't take much to redirect his negative energy and defuse it by saying, "so and so doesn't deserve to be treated that way, do they?"  or some minor intervention to let him know two things:  someone is watching and that someone does not approve.  

    not that this is very helpful to you specifically.  just a shout out to the bystanders who see this type of thing and don't intervene for whatever reason.  it's part of the social contract that we are concerned for each other and modify each other's behavior through cultural stigma, taboo, etc.  without the silent participation of the witnesses, the bully has nothing to gain.  i think it's important enough to commit to refusing to be a silent witness ever again.  NO ONE GETS BULLIED WHILE I'M IN THE ROOM.  Period.

    I will believe corporations are people when Texas executes one.

    by patchmo13 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:07:27 PM PDT

  •  yes, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, fumie, Ramelle
    I know this diary probably won't actually go anywhere.  It isn't really political and ...
    The personal IS political!
  •  People can be so horrible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RockyMtnLib, Ramelle

    and mean all because they are messed up. It has nothing to do with you that they are inclined to put other people through hell. The point is not to understand them, but to realize it is not your behavior causing the outbursts and craziness. It is theirs. I've faced this twice, both with women and neither time could I find a way to deal with it and stay in the work situation.

    Your story reminds me of the business partner I once had. I needed help and took her as an equal partner, needing a cash infusion, and stupidly I thought because she was a Christian she was a nice and decent person, and would be fair. WRONG. She had been mistreated by her own mother who ridiculed her. Well, this woman decided to let me have it, and I'd never ever been treated like that, berated and put down. I was stunned and felt beaten down. Though I was strong at the time, something about how she did that brought out some insecurities I had. Some of her claims had a small element of truth in them and that made it harder to deal with.

    She became worse. I fought her but I hated so much to be around her that even though I had started the business, I knew she would not leave and I had to get out. She still is running MY business with MY name 11 years later! All because she had some inner hatred she was taking out on me and she would not stop. She was a toxic individual, pure and simple, appearances to the contrary. The loss of the business and health problems led to major depression 1 1/1 years later.

    My earlier experience with a boss who suddenly became angry or jealous of me and would not tell me why, that was also very detrimental to my health. If something in you cannot fight it, though I hope you can do that, do not hesitate to look for a new job. I think you've gotten a lot of great comments here today! Good luck!

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:50:11 PM PDT

  •  Cry me a fucking river (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:

    During my first attempt at gender transition in the 1970s, it was a MSW who outed me to my parents and an MD psychiatrist who refused to give my hormones because, and I quote him verbatim, "I can tell who is really a woman by whether she turns me on." And Ph.D. psychologists were and still are

    If you join a profession that is rooted in bullying and crushing people to fit social norms, you can't complain when you are the target of its entire raison d'être.

    And don't tell me "that was all before my time, so I'm not responsible". The all the gender stuff in the new DSM-V was chaired by psychologists who have made careers out of practicing conversion therapy on trans kid.

    You lie down with rats, you contract bubonic fever.

    •  HR'd for abuse. (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      If you are not capable of empathy, at least try not to go out of your way to kick someone while they are down.

      You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

      by Simian on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:15:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Transphobic jerk (0+ / 0-)

        An entire profession devoted to destroying the lives of LGBT people for the past century is, of course, worthy of my empathy.

        •  Way too broad a brush (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Don't project the abuse you got onto the diarist and all the people in the profession.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:51:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You are not allowed to HR someone in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          response to your own HR, or someone with whom you're having a conversation. It's spelled out and been there forever.

          liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

          by RockyMtnLib on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 05:49:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How convenient for the many transphobes (0+ / 0-)

            on DKos.

            •  Anyone who doesn't see things exactly as you do, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              who doesn't think the long-established posting rules shouldn't apply to you because those rules would somehow inhibit you from exposing transphobes - that person is by definition a transphobe. And that also goes for anyone who doesn't think the psychology profession is pure unmitigated evil.

              Um, ok. Whatever.

              liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

              by RockyMtnLib on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 08:42:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  OK look (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Simian, Ramelle

              If this diary brought out PTSD I get that. I wouldn't want anyone to go through what you went through, and it's not my intent to dismiss or belittle your experiences, so please take my apology if I gave you that impression.

              It's just that this doesn't justify belittling the diarist's experiences, which was apparent in your initial comment.

              liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

              by RockyMtnLib on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:11:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  thank you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                for coming to my defense. Tempting to try to defend myself to someone who doesn't know me at all. Considering in the '70s I was in high school struggling with my attraction to women (being a woman) and way too afraid to come out and it was my involvement in the lesbian community that led me to my profession of social worker. But of course here I am, justifying and defending - exactly what I need to learn not to do when people project their own stuff onto me.  So anyway, thanks for jumping in.  

        •  HR'd for further abuse. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I am neither transphobic nor a jerk. I called you out on an abusive post, and in response you HR'd my comment, which is itself a further violation, and called me a gratuitous name, which is yet another violation.

          If you continue to behave like this, it will not end well. You are new around here. I urge you to read and abide by the posting rules.

          You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

          by Simian on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 01:44:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've been "urged" to obey cis gender rules (0+ / 0-)

            all my life, long before the Internet existed. The threats never had any effect.

            The US government recently tried to shut down our favorite lifesaving Internet offshore source of hormones and other meds needed by trans people -- meds for which we often do not have the assistance of US medicine. The source was shut down for about 3 minutes, and then was back in business at a new URL.

            Such is the Internet. We come and we go; avatars and email addresses change. Nothing can be presumed from appearances on the Internet. All is illusion here.

  •  And I see some transphobic asshole (0+ / 0-)

    instantly leapt to defend the gender cops by hide rating my post.

    •  Your response to this diary is over the top (0+ / 0-)

      but I won't HR you. Obviously this diary triggered your PTSD.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:53:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  PTSD caused by a profession (0+ / 0-)

        that is still actively planting PTSD in trans kids. The personal is political.

        Forgive my unsightly outrage at the cis privilege radiated by this diary. I have no doubt that such outrage is unwelcome on dKos.

        •  No need to call people here aHoles (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Vent if it makes you feel better.

          You have no evidence that the diarist has anything to do with the shitty things done by some groups of therapists.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 06:01:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, only PTSD scars and a life in the margins (0+ / 0-)

            thanks to her profession.

            But she was bullied.

            •  My MIL was hospitalized multiple times (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              One of the times the antipsychotics damaged her ability to walk. My wife took her in after she almost died of a stroke after losing her legal rights and being put in a state hospital then a poor nursing home. It has been really ugly.

              She rants about psychiatry. And it's true she was mistreated, drugged senseless and almost killed. She has suffered for 50 years in ways I don't want to imagine.

              I try not to blame everyone in the profession for how she was mistreated. Of course, she isn't able to see any good in psychiatry after what she went through. But I know psychiatrists have helped other family members.

              look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

              by FishOutofWater on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 08:19:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They also have a century of human rights abuses (0+ / 0-)

                of LGBT people, a record of supporting eugenics (before WWII) and they love DOD contracts on learned helplessness.

                As for the psychologists -- they have just discovered the idea of repeating experiments.

              •  the profession has evolved (0+ / 0-)

                and hopefully improved over time.  My best friend is an F to M trans and we bring him in to talk to the psychology students in our agency every year and he and I have had many conversations about the importance of good therapy to help people through their transition process.  I'm sure there are still people in the profession who suck at that, but hopefully they're in the minority these days.  Just as the medications have improved some and the realization that people need to be monitored for the kinds of physical problems your mother experienced has also improved though unfortunately too late for her.  I grew up one of two Jewish kids in my school. I suspect that contributed to why I was a bully target.  By 8th grade, I had my first crush on another woman and back then the only TV role model I could find was Kate Jackson in Charlie's Angels....So unlike the bully at work who cut me where it hurt, these accusations of transphobia don't really touch me.  As you noted, my description of my experiences probably did bring out this person's PTSD.  

                Funny, it just struck me now that my parents did the same thing with Germans - all Germans were bad evil people.  I tried to take German in high school - my reasoning was actually that it was as close as I could get to learning Yiddish and sounded a little like Yiddish.  My mother just about disowned me and I quit after a semester.  So, I guess that instinct to blame an entire group for the wrongs of those in the past is a human thing, though painful to find oneself associated with it for a profession chosen out of a desire to ease suffering.  

                •  Shrinks fear legal retaliation (0+ / 0-)

                  As we gain legal rights, open abuse from shrinks has declined for adult trans people. Toward trans children it is still common. Children are prisoners of their parents, and there are plenty of shrinks (like Kenneth Zucker) who have made careers out of practicing conversion therapy on them.

                  (Kenneth Zucker is the chairman of the DSM committee on gender and he crafted the "diagnosis" of gender dysphoria for DSM-V so that he can go on making money from parents in a panic about their "gay son", providing behavioral aversion therapy -- including regularly scheduled paternal beatings for feminine behavior in boys.)

                  I expect the shrinks to retreat further as legal improvements take away their powers to abuse us.

                  However, trans people have to sit through sessions with shrinks to get surgery even if they self-transition hormonally. Only the WPATH therapists are worth talking to -- the rest are complete imbeciles about gender (even if they are LG) and will bullying with cis concepts of normality.

                •  Oh and BTW the word "transphobia" (0+ / 0-)

                  was coined for trans-haters among the lesbian and gay communities. The most vicious trans misogyny of all comes from the lesbian community.

            •  You obviously had (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              a horrible experience, but you are simply ignorant about the impact of workplace bullying.

              It can and does result in PTSD and suicide, just like other kinds of abuse.

              Researchers even compare the impact on the targets' health to the impact on prisoners of war; some researchers consider the target to be in a state of captivity, especially now, when jobs are so scarce, and the target has nowhere to go.  And it is also compared to domestic abuse, in that the bully attempts to dominate, subjugate, control and isolate the target.

              Research indicates that the stress of workplace abuse results in numerous deleterious health problems, like high blood pressure, heart attacks, depression, and on and on.  Research also indicates that the continued exposure to abnormally high levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, causes brain deterioration.

              So don't dismiss workplace abuse.

              I have been in constant pain since my experience with workplace abuse, and it happened about 2 years ago.  I still have problems assimilating and retaining new information.  I live half a life now, I'm only able to work up enough energy to do a part of what I used to do.

              And PTSD--well, I really don't even want to think about the overwhelming rage I right now, as I write this.

              The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

              by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:34:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I had workplace bullying when I transitioned (0+ / 0-)

                And childhood bullying, including hospitalizations from attacks, and shrink bullying, and post-transition being-homeless bullying, and bullying from the social workers in the workhouses for Walmart ("homeless shelters").

                All trans people are prisoners in the lifelong war of cis people against trans: you seek to exterminate us, and we find ways to survive despite you... well, the few of us who do survive find them.

                Shrinks are still bullying trans people -- especially trans children. Nothing has improved there, except that the Internet took away the MDs draconian control of hormones, and in a few states such as California we have acquired the legal right to exist. Soon it may be illegal in CA to practice conversion therapy on children. That would have put Dr. Kenneth Zucker  (chairman of the DSM committee on gender) out of his life's work of torturing trans children into gender conformity.

                The suicides continue. The murders continue. Thanks to the Internet we are slightly less invisible than when I was young. All the progress has come from that. None of it came from the shrinks.

                •  I don't know what to (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  say in response to your awful experiences.

                  I've joined the effort to pass the Healthy Workplace Bill that provides a cause of action against an employer and an individual cause of action against the bully.

                  I hope that your efforts via the political process provide you some relief.

                  The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

                  by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 10:52:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  When I transitioned there was still no legal (0+ / 0-)

                    protection against employment or housing discrimination of trans people in CA. The activist who changed that is Theresa Sparks. But the change in law did not come into effect until a year after I had been pushed out of my 17-year job (and my entire career, as it turned out).

                    But Theresa's work saved me from being forced to live in men's homeless shelters for the next several years -- the directors of women's shelters were legally required to accept me. Naturally, some older lesbians were outraged by this and I had to put up with bullying from them, too.

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:45:20 PM PDT

  •  Thankfully I haven't experienced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    workplace bullying, at least not to the extent you have.

    I was, however on the receiving end of bullying and constant ostracism in junior high and in high school through my junior year. It started to subside my senior year but up to that point it was 5 years of bad memories that cause me to seethe with rage whenever I hear of anyone bullying (and that doesn't include many things that I in my own ignorance can overlook).

    In junior high I developed severe acne., constantly being called "pizza face" or being told how disgusting I looked. Add that to being scrawny with coke-bottle glasses and hair that went haywire in some places, and you have all the ingredients of an easy target.

    Sometimes people would act like they were befriending me only as a setup for my humiliation. In some ways it hurt my ability to discern who I could trust. Thankfully I survived that little part and have grown past that, but the bad memories never go away.

    That set me back big time in terms of learning how to relate to the opposite sex. Whereas the average teenager may get a couple of comments directed at them about being "kind of cute", I got none, until I turned 16. My family went to another family's house (we were all good friends). This family had relatives visiting from Texas. One of them was about 2 years younger than me and the two of us were able to enjoy each others' company that day. It was revealed to me that she told her relatives - the family friends of ours, that I was "kind of cute". To someone who had never heard that before, that was a huge fucking deal - so much so that I longed to see her again, even though she lived 1000 miles away. Put that in the context of my being at the low end of the social totem pole and in boy-girl dynamics, it skewed my perspective.

    It makes me feel so fortunate that I found my wife of almost 12 years who has in more ways than she'll ever know shown me the courage to be confident in my own skin and to discover my true self.

    I wish there was an easy, magic-bullet solution for you. Nothing would tickle me pink more right now than to see you come out better on the other side of this and for your tormentor to get his comeuppance.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:38:56 PM PDT

  •  Ramelle, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you've gotten a lot of advice.

    First, please stop blaming yourself and accommodating the bullies.  This isn't about performance or constructive criticism.  It's about who is going to win.

    Second, you  need to protect yourself, because your co-worker specifically threatened you.  It is safe to assume that he is trying to get you fired and is recruiting others in this effort.

    Third, you need to file a complaint against these people, specifically citing their behavior, such as his rage.  If the woman you mentioned is your subordinate, you need to start writing her up for being insubordinate.

    Fourth, they are going to sabotage you; you need to document everything--no matter how exhausted you get.  Try to create a trail with emails that you forward to your personal email.

    And take a look at this website:


    It's either you or them.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:45:31 AM PDT

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