Definition of Workplace Bullying

Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:
*Verbal abuse

*Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating

*Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done
"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life, but define yourself.”
~Harvey S. Firestone

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bullying affects your health

I suffered the bullying bosses abuse for nearly 4 months before I was fired.  It is important to note, I had NOT been written up, had any reprimands or any issues with my work performance, issues with other employees or customers/clients.  Actually, in one email the bullying boss admits we had never had a disagreement for the entire time I worked there.  He/She did say in one email that he/she wished I would just come into the office and the two of us have it out.  This was not an option for me, it was not professional to be in a verbal altercation with your boss.  I also knew the bullying boss wanted me to react and I was not going to fall into the trap.  I tried to be diplomatic at all costs and bit my tongue often.  Generally, I try to be optimistic in situations and believe as time moves forward things will work themselves out.

On a personal note, I had been under a lot of stress but was handling my personal situation at home very positively.  My husband/wife was ill and had gone on long term disability.  I was in the position to be the one person in the household employed and knew the importance of it remaining this way.  We were also putting two children through college.  I had my plate full, worrying about my spouses health and our financial situation.  Many of my friends and family members worried about me and questioned how I was able to continue to be positive, smile and kept moving forward.  I had my moments but usually this was behind closed doors, driving alone or other moments I had to myself.  I had the constant worry of  "is tomorrow the day I am going to lose my spouse".  I just never let on to others my own personal turmoil and as me goes, appeared strong and optimistic to the world.  In previous blogs, I noted how a bully finds that weak spot to exploit and unfortunately, my weak spot was that I needed my job due to my spouses illness.  The bullying boss understood this and threatened me for nearly 4 months that I was an at will employee and he/she could terminate me without cause.

I received the threats by emails primarily but also in the form of texts, Facebook and at the office.  The emails were usually extremely lengthy, sometimes totaling 4 or 5 pages in length.  At first, I would respond with explanations, tried being diplomatic and appeasing.  The usual response back from the bullying boss was very negative, followed with more threats and the attacks on my character.  Eventually, I responded with less explanations and more agreeable short comments.

One of the first emails I received threatening my job threw my spouse into a panic, threatened his health and caused additional stress for me regarding my spouses well being.  I did not want my spouse to suffer a another stroke or worse yet have a heart attack.  So, I gathered myself together for my spouse, told him/her it was going to be fine and stuffed all my stress inside of myself.  I responded to the bullying boss with basically whatever I need to do, I need my job.  I thought this would end it.  I was so wrong, it only escalated the emails, the threats and now no matter what move I made, I was the problem.

I continued to receive these lengthy emails, knew the bullying boss was sitting at home watching the video feeds in the office, recording phone calls and having other employees report to him/her.  The stress was intense and coming to work was one of the hardest things I did each day.  Prior to all this bullying, I enjoyed coming to work and "loved" my job, I was helping others and enjoyed the challenges each day presented.  The bullying destroyed it all and I understood the bullying boss was NOT going to stop until he/she beat me down.  I continued to do my job, although job responsibilities were taken away from me and eventually I was trying to figure out what to do from day to day to keep busy.  The bullying boss did all the classic moves done to their targets.  I went from being an employee valued to one that was treated like the worse ever employed.

My health was suffering.  Prior to the bullying, I had been to the doctor for my annual physical and everything was in check.  I did not have any high blood pressure, no diabetes, cholesterol in good range and all other blood tests were normal.  My physician gave me a clean bill of health.  The bullying changed all of that.

My bullying boss after one of his/her emails put me right into a panic, my blood pressure was out of control and I was admitted to the hospital.  The bullying boss questioned it all by the way but I showed the proof, a report from the hospital does not lie.  After I was released from hospital, I had to follow up with my physician.  My physician ran all types of tests, checked everything and was concerned by the findings. In the end, I was prescribed medication for high blood pressure, my cholesterol was elevated and a few additional issues.  I was sent to a specialist who ran some tests and I was waiting on the results.  I will never forget the day the results came in, it was in the late afternoon while at work and I was in shock from the diagnosis.  Without having to say specifically what I was diagnosed with, one of my parents had been diagnosed with the same illness and it had caused many complications.  The stress that overwhelmed me was over the top and I still had to finish my day.  I had taken the call from the doctor outside of the office and I had been crying.  I never was one to cry in front of people, so I decided to keep my sunglasses on and try to function the rest of my day.

The good old bullying boss was watching from his/her home on the video cameras he/she had installed to spy on his/her employees.  He/She emailed me and questioned why I had my sunglasses on and why I was using my cell phone (this was a new rule for me since I was allowed to use my cell in the office).  In the meantime, as this email came through, another employee was lurking (the one that had been targeted a few months prior by the bullying boss) in my office to try to gather information and report back to the bullying boss.  Can you image what I was going through, the stress, all the worry?

I finally walked into the other employees office and said this has got to stop, it has gone on long enough and my health has been affected.  I also sent back an email to the bullying boss explaining I had my sunglasses on because I had been crying because I  received some bad news about my health.  The end of the day was close and at this point I decided to leave.

When I walked out to my car, I was crying, crying because of the news I was given, crying because of all the stress I was experiencing, crying because of everything.  As I was driving home, my bullying boss did not stop, an email was sent and it basically said I was not to report to work the next day or until further notice.  I just put my hands in the air, tears streaming down my face, stress beyond words and asking myself why.  Keep in mind, I still had to face my ill spouse, explain everything and also that the bullying boss threatened my job again.

Within a few days I was fired!

P.S.  This is not behavior from a passionate, caring or understandable boss/person.  It is classic bullying behavior from a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Attention Seeking behavior.  My hope continues to be to explain the pattern of these bullies and to parallel my story to the researched literature.  

No comments:

Post a Comment