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 http://www.bullyonline.org/ 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.