It took me a while to figure out that I was being bullied by my now ex-boss.  At first, all I felt was a vague sense of disquiet that I never knew where I stood.  After a while I began to question why I felt under such pressure, and why it seemed that I had to work extra specially hard to get people to talk to me when I came back into work on Monday after my Fridays off.  “Just do exactly as she says.”  “Work harder.”  “You’re getting it out of proportion,” were common themes of my conversations with friends and family.  I tried.  I really did.  But nothing I did seemed to make anything better; if anything, it made it worse.

So, how did I come to the realisation that what was happening to me was rather more than ordinary work-place stuff?  I was ill.  I was living in such a state of anxiety that I had headaches that were so bad that I couldn’t really see.  My heart was racing for much of the time.  I felt oppressed, depressed.  I went to see my doctor and cried when I asked him how poorly I needed to feel before I was incapable of working.

And while I was at home, recovering, I did some finding out.  And the things that I found out I wanted to share with you.

You’ll have to excuse the links, I can’t see the point in re-writing what others have put so well before me.  I hope, if you suspect that this might be happening to you, or to someone you know and love that you will find them useful.

For answers to questions such as ‘how do I recognise bullying?’, ‘why me?’ and ‘why have my colleagues deserted me?’, go to  I really can’t recommend this site highly enough, or the book, by the late Tim Field, that accompanies it.

For an interesting forum discussion that gets you thinking (about our own behaviour too!) check out this discussion as to whether your boss is a psychopath or a narcissist.

For confidential help and advice for teachers who feel bullied, this anonymous forum for discussion is invaluable.

The Teacher Support Network has an anonymous helpline.

When contacting unions, I have found that the regional office is best placed to help you.

There are ways out.  You don’t have to put up with being the target.

You can move on.

7 thoughts on “Help!

  1. Me too, different circumstances but no better. I think it is endemic in UK schools and is seen as firm and assertive management. But call it what it is – bullying- I hope you are moving onwards and upwards.

  2. I have come across a number of bullies in the work place over the years. Once, I was a ‘supporting friend’ for a colleague who made an official complaint. My advice, keep a detailed, but factual, diary of incidents. Individual instances are often difficult to pin down, but over a period of time a trend appears…and keeping it factual makes it very easy to see what is actually going on. This can then be used in an investigation (but, also, it is a corrective to how the whole thing feels – it confirms that it is actually going on, that it is not being imagined). My experience also suggests that the bully knows what they are up to.

  3. I was bullied by my teacher. I am a TA and had spent 8 happy years in my school. When I started working with her I couldn’t quite believe what was happening. She made me feel like I was losing my mind. I was made to feel as if it was my fault by my Head and DH who really didn’t know how to approach the problem. It was my word against hers and she was very clever at showing the “right behaviour” infront of others. She was cruel to the children too, mocking stammers and ignoring children in need. Nobody took action when I told them what was going on. I went from being a happy positive person to one who was suffering chest pains, crying every day, withdrawn. It was hideous and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I was close to resigning but refused to let her beat me. I eventually refused to work with her and nothing was done to her.
    I have worked with 2 teachers in a job share for the last 2 years and I’ve never been happier. Love my job again. I hope you get through it too.

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