Why targets of workplace bullying need our help: A rallying cry from the heart

(Drawing copyright Aaron Maeda)

Early Monday morning, a reader of this blog left a comment that specially captured what workplace bullying can do to an individual and why targets need help from family, friends, co-workers, and advocates who are not in harm’s way. Her comment starts with an explanation for why she hasn’t posted more responses to blog posts and commentaries about workplace bullying, mobbing, and abuse, then goes into a more general description of how smart, independent, resourceful individuals can be rendered powerless in the face of sustained, continuing mistreatment.

I shared this comment on Facebook, and the response was overwhelmingly positive and supportive of the sentiments and insights expressed by this writer. I decided that her words should be highlighted for readers of this blog, not merely tucked into a comment to another post.

I’m sharing it below in its entirety, with a few very minor edits and typo corrections, and with deep thanks to this reader, Lilydalelah, for her courage and eloquence. Under her comment, I’ve included the responses that were posted.

Let this be a rallying cry from the heart. Here goes:


Some targets may consume and be affected or comforted by info that strikes a chord, but are either still silenced (for a variety of reasons), struggling to find their “voice” again, or may be dealing with the fear of opening a floodgate.

I, for example, find posts, articles, and research studies all the time that I would love to respond to.

I often begin writing, and find I have written nearly a book by the time I am through. Too long and tangential to post, but too painful to proofread, edit and reorganize, I end up throwing the un-posted draft info my notes, and exasperated by the “reliving” of the trauma during the writing, I force myself to shift gears and just give up on whatever I was trying to say.

I find it nearly impossible to write a brief comment, instead, tangentially spilling the endless intertwined tornado of horrors.

In my case, it is a trauma that I cannot escape, as despite my best efforts, defense mechanisms, and sacrifices, the trauma keeps escalating, despite my job ended almost 3 years ago. However, the stalking, threats, harassment, and so much more, continue in a terrifying smear-campaign, via cyberspace, involving impersonation of my identity, and technical tactics tweaking search engines to keep the lies and fabrications of me as “crazy” and “a threat” discoverable… permanently.

I find so much I want to reply to, and resources to reach out to, but don’t know even where to begin.

The learned helplessness stage is so crippling. I am not sure how or if many voices can be still heard once the abuse goes on for so long, and becomes so all-encompassing.

With an unimaginable plethora of losses to acclimate to, and to mourn, plus fears of present and future we are saddled with, the oft seemingly-hopeless efforts, to grasp for a even a thread of hope, that anyone still cares, or that a future is even still possible, and the mounting stress of becoming more aware of the degree of danger we are in, the healing cannot even begin, until escape and safety is achieved.

I think that those with the most to say, are the targets most silenced.

Ones that escaped the workplace mobbing, by becoming too ill to work, only to find they are dragged into a whole new cycle, of becoming a target of a bully-turned-cybercriminal, becomes totally devastating to every aspect of a target, and the death of all hope of being able to pick up the pieces, and move on to heal someday.

I think it is probably why so many targets of mobbing die within a few years of “escaping” the abusive workplace. Only we never (or rarely) hear from these targets to even know what became of them.

Most are isolated, even by those who supported them, as the strain continues and becomes too much for supporters.

As for anyone else who could have helped, these targets are written off as “crazy” and not many help-resources see through to the “normal” person who is suffering a “normal” reaction to an abnormal, ongoing trauma.

By this stage in this multifaceted, multiple-cycle process of destroying the target, at work, then in every facet of life via online tactics, severe mental injuries like cPTSD [ed: Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], and various systemic physical illnesses result, and also cause targets to isolate and be silenced. The ailments caused or exacerbated by years of fight/flight stress, will probably kill the target soon, if target is not first driven to end it sooner, to escape the daily fear and continued torture of what I guess most closely equates to being buried alive, and then forgotten about, by anyone who once cared.

The suffering that overtakes the target, every waking moment, becomes so intense, as escape inevitably becomes impossible, so one begins to hope, instead, for the air to run out quickly so the pain will end.

I am sure that sounds “crazy” and will likely be circulated as “proof” of this rumor, but I am just going to hit “post” without proofreading, or this will become yet another draft to add to my collection of things I hoped to say someday.

My point is simply:

We are too far-gone, exasperated, terrified of retaliation, or even fear physical assault plus the many other risks we now bear from what was maliciously and permanently put online to smear us. We are sick, in pain, and are probably very isolated.

We have often become hopeless, after years of coping and clinging to an inner strength, that is now gone.

Some of us are dead. Others may soon be.

Thus it is hard for targets of these most severe and ongoing forms of workplace bullying, cybercrime and mobbing, to actually respond to valuable, insightful posts.

But I think we are reading, and learning from the experts. Some of us consume information continually, and have so much we want to say in response.

Yet some of what we learn, frightens us even more, since depending on the situation, for some, there is no way to stop it. We spend stretches of time in avoidance, finding ways periodically to dissociate from the horror, but that reality lf the nightmare eventually engulfs us again. We can never hide from it for long, particularly when a bully resorts to cyber-tactics, to ensure no escape, healing, or future employment is possible.

We learn that as bad as it all has been, indeed it can, and likely will, get worse.

We remember in earlier stages, when we read of the cycle, and the stages ahead, and thought: “what happens to ‘most targets’ can’t possibly happen to me.”

And then it did.

Despite the knowledge, and every effort to prevent it, we were dragged helplessly through the cycle, and beyond.

We need support, and help from others, because our own (typically strong) abilities to cope, are now depleted.

We need advocacy, major legal changes, and awareness by others, so we are not inadvertently “re-victimized” by societal ignorance.

Our usual resourcefulness and ability to land on our feet, is no longer, as the damages progress. It always seems the road to solution is so close, yet for us alone, remains perpetually just out of reach.


Several readers responded to this comment:

Al Thomson says:

Lily speaks for all of us. It’s hard to defend one’s self after a psychological beating. We can ruminate and relive the events and outcome endlessly in a quest for closure that simply never happens, though we keep on hoping. I want to shed my status as a victim, at risk of being seen as a gadfly or nutcase, in the same hope. I thank her for sharing. I’ve had the good fortune to experience therapy that helped me view the situation objectively, as in a movie. Panic attacks are like hurdles on the way, each time I speak out. It may well be a false hope to pursue more creative ideas, but continue to do so. I know PTSD will likely be with me the rest of my life and somehow feel inspired to express the traumatic experiences in different ways, always hoping that one more person will understand, or that it may help someone else. I thank you and appreciate every word you said.

cfehner says:
Lily, your post is most eloquent in conveying why those who are targeted often can’t help themselves. I teach about workplace bullying to union representatives and this is a concept I try to convey. They often say to targets that “if you won’t file a grievance, I can’t help you”. I know how damaging this is to a target like yourself hanging on by your fingernails. We have come up with another approach to a toxic workplace that unions can use while keeping the targets anonymous and safe. It’s something I learned by the school of hard knocks. Thank you for your powerful words. I will be sharing them with my classes in the future if you don’t mind.

Been There says:
Lilydalelah, there is nothing “crazy” about what you say and you are not exaggerating about targets dying. A woman in her early 50s who worked where I did was bullied into quitting. A few months later she had a heart attack and died. Another woman, of the same age, at the same institution, was bullied and either quit or got fired. A couple months later, she suffered a stroke and lost her ability to speak. I don’t know what happened to her.

There were many times I felt as though my heart was going to squirm out of my chest. The chest pain would last for weeks, not hours, not minutes, not days. It was perpetual. If I had started out with any kind of risk factor, I’m sure I’d be dead too.

47 responses

  1. Yes Yes Yes There are many of us feeling and suffering the same way. Thank you for putting it into words that we often cannot do ourselves. I have thought of killing myself many times over the past five years but now I just mark time, waiting til the end of my life. No hope, no future, nothing to look forward to – just ticking the days off as I feel so utterly destroyed by the bullying, ostracism and defamation.

  2. Gosh, this article touched a deep chord in me. I wlil need to be carve out some time to read and appreciate the content, as well as respond.

    After one of my co-workers was brutally fired just before the holidays last year, both he and his wife ended up in a nursing home for rehab. He suffered generalized weaknesses-a sense of paralysis, and his wife almost died.

    As for me, I am in the process of being evaluated for what may be potentially serious health issues.

    On some days, I simply feel as though I am falling apart, intermittent with feeling re-energized and everytihng in between. Sometimes, my life feels like a rollercoaster ride, as I attempt to rise from the ashes, so to speak.

  3. I know that this post will resonate painfully with many folks who have dealing with their own experiences. Nevertheless, I hope it also is validating. This helps to put to rest the notion that workplace bullying is about oversensitive people who cannot take a few harsh words in the office. It’s about abuse, plain and simple.

    Even if we can do a better job of prevention, bullying will occur. And so nothing removes the need to find ways to help people move toward recovery and hopefully even renewal. That may sound wildly optimistic to some readers who are dealing with their own struggles, but it should always be one of our long-term and very important objectives.

    • Dear David,
      The article by Lily is everything you hoped it to be. Validating, painfully so, but nonetheless validates that bad things happen to good people in the workplace all the time.
      My own experience with workplace bullying left me on the couch, or in bed, sleeping until the after noon hours, fearing what had happened to me. Wondering what I was supposed to do now for work. I was at this job for nearly 10 years. I was furthering my education in hopes to climb the ladder, and raise my income. I never thought in a million years that the people there, who I considered my friends, were capable of literally turning their backs on me, as though I were invisible. My supervisor practiced such incredible abuses towards me, I often wonder how she was able to get away with it. I did report to our union representative what was happening, but even she became short, and angry with me. She never returned my phone calls. I did not know I was not to sit with this boss without union representation. He never told me that of course, and neither did the union representative.
      Five years have come and gone, and every time I read something like this the wounds reopen. Looking back, I do see strength in my giving as a retirement gift to the boss, a book on workplace mobbing, for this is exactly what happened to me. And he, knowingly or not, led that posse. I still do not fully understand what happened. He gave me a letter of recommendation, so why did he participate in forcing me to leave? Questions I go over, and over. Answers that may never come.
      Thank you Lily for writing.
      Thank you David for setting up this site for people to share.
      I write about my trauma these days in poetry form.
      But mostly I hope these bullies are stopped, and held accountable for the grave harm they have caused in our lives.

  4. Thanks, Lilydalelah for hitting send and sharing your story with us and to David for sharing it in this broader forum. And thanks to all who have commented so far. I found your descriptions of your experiences to be heart-rendering and painful. My heart breaks to hear of any of you feeling that you are “marking time” until the end. Even leaving the job doesn’t stop the continuing damage. You all remind me to continue doing the research, writing and presentations I do on addressing these destructive situations. I will weave more of your words and experiences into my presentations and writing to help people understand how such treatment of others is so devastating for those who have been targeted and for us as thoughtful, caring beings.

  5. In all the posts on this blog from people who have been bullied at work, not once has anyone publicly named the bully or the company. That’s counter-productive. If you want the help that you deserve, please post that information so that your comrades can boycott those companies and let their management know why.

    Best of luck to you, Lily.

    • The issue of naming employers and perpetrators is a very difficult one for public sector employees who have tried and failed to have concerns addressed internally. Naming the employer and/or bullies carries the risk of discouraging the public from accessing services they need. Those services may be compromised, but if they are the only ones available to compromised members of the public….going public only serves to disservice the public we were and are committed to serving.

      If there are similar services available at similar cost in the private sector, naming makes sense. Otherwise, the fight continues with government….who have far greater access to legal resources than a single bullied target could reasonably access…particularly in the absence of anti-bullying legislation. Raising public awareness is another possible avenue as it can put pressure on government to address their dirty little secrets, even if they never publicly acknowledge the disservice and destruction they are responsible for in our communities.

    • Some of us don’t want to add fuel to the fire of being blacklisted. I was an anonymous whistleblower at my govt. job but even public outrage over the corruption where I worked was not enough to get the malfeasance to stop. It really is the good old boys network in the public sector and word travels like wildfire. For me, I just want to put the experience behind me and move on without this cloud hanging over my head.

      • Your comments, and that of another public sector worker, are surprising, which shows how naive I am. I was of the misimpression that civil service provides protection to whistle-blowers and bullying targets.

        I’ve worked, briefly, for one federal agency in Woods Hole and found them pretty despicable: gossipy, resistant to change or suggestion, eager to “rat” on their fellow workers, sacrificing their fellow workers’ comfort and even health just to win points with their boss. I was hoping these jerks were the exception and not the rule. Thanks for straightening me out on that one!

    • Marcia MacInnis,

      I think you’re on to something. Certainly, I find that if anything deviant can be done in the dark it will be. Many of the companies that have allowed, assisted, covered, made excuse for or coerced indifference from other employees, are large companies with large revenue. Many of the targets have not had the opportunity via resources financially or other, strength or anything left of them to fight in litigation. The humiliation and muck is often so tattooing, leaving us downtrodden even when the worst, most indecent, invasive, stalking-like situation has occurred.

      We would have to summon herculean strength in order to fight of the smear campaign that would surely occur when going public. The public is often fickle and compassion may come in a mixed bag of bully apologists with only scatterings of still civil, still noble, still protective of dignity laden folk. We need an army, navy or some other sturdy brute-like morality/civility/humanity compass demanding force behind our society to counter all of the deviance and indifference that is now rampant.

      All in all, we need a law. The law of the land supporting not just in a kinda sorta way, or only if “your dress wasn’t too short” way, but in an under know conditions, no way, no how, and for no reason way. Civil rights, human rights, boundaries preserved and upheld.

      I am so thankful for organizations like WBI and David Yumada and this site. If there was true support for going public and all of it were denounced as social deviance, the poor publicity and boycotting could certainly stop it, companies may not dare try to sweep it under the rug.

      • Hi “Just Need”. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

        David has asked that I not muck up his blog with personal complaints, and I completely respect his wishes, of course.

        So, to prove that I’m not a hypocrite, I’ve posted a description of some of the bad – and very good – bosses I’ve had in my 40+ years of work. I’ve named names of people and organizations. Here’s a link if anyone is interested in taking a look: http://capecoder.com/thecapeblog/?p=6051

        Good luck to everyone who has shared their stories here and by doing so, educated people like me.

    • On whistle-blower legislation- I was actively discouraged from making a disclosure by the designated official. A little research on the topic reveals that it is rare for a whistleblower to be protected when the disclosure reveals millions of taxpayer dollars abused…how does the destruction of a measly employee whose worth is only five figures annually compare? I would need to see evidence that the malfeasance revealed by a disclosure was addressed AND the whistleblower was unharmed as a result of the disclosure before I would make another attempt.

      • Thanks, Marcia and Anon. I am going to bookmark those sites, and I certainly intend to post to them, as well.

    • I am not sure where i found a website that enables any one of us to name people and employers who we think the public should be ware of. I cannot find the link, now.

      Does anyone recall such a topic/link? I do believe that the poster can be anonymous.

  6. Dear Mr. Yamada, Thank you so much for this post. I can’t remember when I found your website, but it has been at least a year. It has helped me tremendously through my mobbing/community stalking experience. I finally had to quit my job a month ago from the state/union job i had for thirteen years. I do not know for certain what I am going to do next, but you have been an awesome source of comfort and strength – as well as my Catholic faith. This horrific experience is not only affecting me, but my children as well. I live in Central Illinois, and there are no resources for mobbing victims. I have decided to move far away from here, but it seems – based on your post below – that that may not make a difference. But moving to some place that has knowledge of mobbing, advocacy for victims as well as therapy seems to be the way to go. Do you know of location in the U.S. that offer such services? Again, thank you so much for your work!!! God Bless, Judy Gion

    • Judy, thank you for your kind comment, though I’m very sorry to hear about the circumstances that led you here. The Workplace Bullying Institute, with whom I’ve been working for many years, is the best starting place for learning about advocacy and counseling. In addition, the Need Help? page of this blog will provide links to those resources and others. Best of luck to you.

    • Hi Judy – I wouldn’t recommend New England. It’s pretty provincial here outside Boston and Cambridge, although no doubt David has a better insight than I do into the weltanschauung in those cities. I think his advice to look to the West Coast is excellent, even if your travel there (via WBI in Bellingham, WA) is only virtual. Good luck.

  7. This is what I experienced 13+ years ago at the hands of Verizon Communications who tell their management people to bully it’s employees. You cannot begin to understand the toll it took on me and my entire family.

    • Thanks for naming your disgusting tormentor, Thomas. You’ll be pleased to know that in this family, we’ve dumped Verizon for Credo and Vonage.

      Our motivation was concern for Verizon workers and our dislike for the political candidates they support. Reading your story, I’m glad we got rid of them.

      BTW, Credo and Vonage have given us excellent service for a fraction of Verizon’s cost.

      I’m glad David has allowed comments on his blog so that we can help each other out, including public shaming of those who have hurt our fellow citizens.

  8. It seems to me that there is SO much here for legal grounds. It is NOT okay for us targets to have their lives taken right out from under us. I make the comparison to domestic abuse or even assault or harassment from a total stranger. These are not OK, therefore not OK in any situation. I keep telling myself that it will get better if I can get through today…one day at a time. I know watching what we go through is hard, sometimes unbearable for family and friends and although good intentioned, their attempts to reach out can be temporary at best. I force myself to exercise, interact as much as possible, but that is no easy feat. We so deserve better. I was able to name my target in court 2 weeks ago and received monetary damages. I will tell you that at first it seemed like a victory, but moving on is the real challenge: I simply do not know how or when or where. For me to trust another in the workplace seems totally impossible so I figure, why bother? I know deep down that I am a survivor and deserve relative happiness, but PEACE is what I really want. PEACE. And a good night’s sleep without dreams and the racing heartbeat. Time will tell. Hugs to all of us!

  9. ” Some of us are dead. Others may be soon.” This reminded me of the emotional testimonies in support of the MA Healthy Workplace Bill. Several came to speak on behalf of their colleagues who had committed suicide. Why is the divide so wide between legislation of child vs adult bullies when the consequences are the same?

  10. Lily’s poetic prose reveals a highly educated and sensitive woman beneath. Our ignorant society often stereotypes those who would “allow” themselves to be bullied as uneducated or weak. Lily is neither. We have found that most who do seek help are like Lily — brilliant, obviously threatening to aggressors, and capable of an understanding about the human condition out of reach to bullies. Lily also shatters another myth — that psychological injuries are fleeting or trivial. In fact, her experience shows how fragile is the human psyche. Insults and injuries easily result from violent interpersonal relationships when the assaults are personalized as in cases of domestic violence and its analogue workplace bullying/mobbing. Lily is not weak, nor predisposed to face the misery visited upon her. She was, and is, an involuntary participant in her misery. She did not deserve it. And like so many others, she cannot escape it. Wishing Lily peace.

  11. Pingback: The reason WBI is all about helping targets of workplace bullying | Workplace Bullying Institute

  12. OMG…thank you! I couldn’t believe when I was being followed outside the place. I was forced out by continued bullying. I thought maybe I was the only one this type of thing happened to.

  13. Pingback: Why targets of workplace bullying need our help: A rallying cry from the heart

  14. Lily,

    You make me believe that were are somehow all akin (targets of workplace bullying) or family somehow. Really I realize the commonality, the reason we all sound so similar.

    We are akin. We are all human.

    Most targets, the best of humanity. The best that has been birthed to this earth. The best spirits, certainly not “perfect” (as I was called in some creative slur), but truly significantly developed spirits. I know of your “book length” replies and refusal to proof the words that have flooded from your mind, for fear that you may relive or somehow feel stupid or “crazy” perhaps for posting. I too have hit delete, or just left the site altogether. It evokes something unendingly stabbing within my spirit to hear of yet another murder. I call it (workplace bullying) murder because it truly does kill something within people. I thought at first that it was just me, because many who only murmured occasionally (whenever the feeling struck them) in my defense, did say that I was “too nice” or that I’d “have a special place in heaven”, because they’d long ago -gone off- on the bullies.

    I do pray now that I will have that “special place” in heaven as I might soon be headed there. I’m tired. Not just tired but exhausted really. The fight goes on even after I’d removed myself from the environment in 2010 for a stress leave, and was forced out as the company said to me in writing that “I had a disability and had not recovered and would likely not recover in the leave time allowed per company policy”. My employment was terminated and there are no words. I had wrestled with the harassment and requesting of help for years, since 2008 first very passively, then somewhat passively and then more aggressively after the company blatantly retaliated and allowed further efforts of humiliation to occur as I worked.

    I was “the good employee”. The one with perfect attendance, exceeding productivity numbers, shining character acknowledgements and complimented on presentation constantly. All the while, I was picked apart and sat in a hellish environment of malice and constant aggression, menacing as if I were in middle school. Menacing I was uncertain how to respond to. It was not in me and seemed nonsensical to replay or create a loud boisterous expletive laced scene, or even a quiet one. I ignored with my female supervisor encouraging me to do so. I was told that “this kind of thing spreads like cancer” and “I wish I’d been more private like you, they did some of the same things to me”. Or “let them hang themselves”. To “their just jealous” and more that acknowledged, but did not serve me in turning off the pressure cooker that I was made to suffer. There were constant profane names, humiliating invasions, a constant negative remark when I’d be complimented, to near stalking and monitoring my work schedule and going to the male supervisor to inform of any slight deviation in my adherence. They utilized the vile male supervisor to harass me as he enjoyed it for sport. He himself had a history of humiliating employees in derogatory names, aloud in menacing and much more, all ignored and allowed or diminished by those who’d too been harmed only a bit, or bystanders who had the fortune of not sustaining any of that tattooing.

    For each incident I’d witnessed, or been made target of, I can remember as if I am watching it on TV. For a time many I’d forgotten outright lost from memory. The scenes and words just reappeared and I wondered how I’d ever forgotten those parts. They say that is a part of my PTSD.

    I know how you feel, or even at times don’t. I was murdered too. I can hardly inventory a bit of myself as I am today.

    I’m not alive

    Though you may see me I am not alive

    I breath, hear, see, smell, taste and often speak

    I am not alive

    I just watch life. I’m a caretaker of littler ones, so I carry out my duty often somewhat robotic. I miss me, but I don’t think she’s commin back at all. I paid the mortgage, had good credit, academically and humanity excellent children, never had even a traffic violation, modest to an unusual degree, kind and able to multitask it all expertly. I was handicapped in my ability to deal with deviance. My body reacted, but my mouth would never. I thought any need was over ending with high school. What I endured and then had to speak of and then the reality I found out about what happens in the workplace, in the world… in our civilized world was too much.

    I ramble

  15. Truly, the suffering I read about on this blog is heart wrenching and very familiar, indeed. I do believe that many, if not most, targets of long-term bullying and mobbing are meek-natured individuals with an almost inherent gift for civility, tolerance and empathy for others, as well as being highly intelligent and perceptive, with a desire for purposeful and respectful engagement with co-workers.

    Egalitarian principles that include fair play and human decency come natural to a specific segment of the human population. Unfortunately for us, it appears to me, at least, that the bullies in our lives past and present seem to garner an almost sadistic pleasure from harming others, for a host of reasons, as we have discussed in so many of the topics.

    My greatest fear is that if/when I am able to engage in an area that interests me I will encounter a bully, once again. My health is in a very precarious state these days, and I truly do not know if I can sustain another round of assaultive behavior on my being. I am not even sure if I am going to be able to recover from this episode, for that matter, although I pray for divine guidance and support.

    I wish I had some answers to share, and yet, I simply do not. In a civilized world that retains some savage propensities for hunting and consuming others’ souls, I, for one, do not foresee that the experiences that each of us has endured to be isolated incidences, and that the next environment will necessarily be better, although that could happen.

    I, too, am exhausted, sick, and tired of the aspect of our human experience that dictates that some of us must be wounded and harmed for the ‘sport’ of it all. It isn’t as though we are hunting one another for any purposeful reason of sustenance, since; generally speaking, our basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing are available to us, as long as we are able to remain gainfully employed.

    Of course, the bullies want us to suffer and be deprived of those basic needs, not in order to sustain their basic needs, but to satisfy a sadistic need to harm others for the power, thrill, and enjoyment of watching some of us suffer and fail.

    How does any one of us cope with this type of phenomena since it is so foreign to who we intrinsically are? As for me, in the nine years that I endured this treatment, I tried to explore new ways in which to engage this bully and cope in the situation that I was in, apparently to no avail.


  16. Thank you for sharing your story and pain, which resonated deeply with me. Nobody can understand the powerlessness and inescapable pain that being called intrinsically inadequate can bring, and this is ultimately what bullying does and implies. I have been psychologically and physically abused and degraded for years at the hands of my bullies, and I have tried to fight them through every avenue I could think of. But the police, the institution involved, my husband all choose to ignore the problem and call me crazy instead as it is easier than dealing with the problem. So I remain at the bullies whim even though I have left every arena of social and working life – they still find a way to abuse me from my couch. I am isolated, I am bashed about at their pleasing, I can’t get help anywhere. My life is now simply waiting and dealing with their next attack. I have no fight left to give.

    • Just a thought, FCG, and I hope it is okay to comment, as I can truly feel your despair.

      Is it possible to petition the court (district) for a no contact order on one or more of these folks?

      If you have a paper trail and/or text messages, etc.that could help. if you are to obtain a no contact order,and if any one of them contacts you, they are commiting a criminal offense and can be prosecuted.

      • I so totally agree….PEACE at any cost….legal or otherwise…I wish I had been familiar with simple harassment laws in MA because I would have summoned law enforcement to my place of employment and filed a report of harassment and watch the bully/owner try to squirm or save face in that situation. Yes, I still would have been bullied out the door, but my fellow employees would have learned that the abuse was not OK and also stood up for themselves. I know for a fact that this business owner continues to ruin his employees’ lives on a daily basis. I am a firm believer in what you reap, you shall sow. I so wish I could have helped them….I have to live with that for the rest of my life.

  17. Having experienced the bullying cycle, as well as devouring as much “coping” information as possible, and still being haunted by that experience years later, in my opinion, and this might not help those that are currently being abused/bullied, but, until humans treat each other with mutual respect and dignity and change the way in which we perceive the meaning and value of interpersonal relationships, bullying will continue unabated.
    Unfortunately, there are those that bully and those that don’t, and until one experiences being bullied, then on cannot fully understand or appreciate the devastation bullying causes.
    To the author of this letter, and if it means anything, sending positive energies your way.

  18. I can relate to this article because I too was bullied in the workplace at my first good paying job which happened to be in the dining room of a church-run retirement community. The bully in my case was an older woman (she was in her late 30’s at the time) who wasn’t very intelligent but very vocal about not liking people of a certain age…19-year-olds specifically. When she found out I was 19, the bullying began…and didn’t let up until I resigned a short time later(her bullying was not the reason I resigned…I resigned because I had earned enough to put myself through school and the new semester was starting…Anyway, she had been so influential in turning the other co-workers against me that on my last day, one of her co-horts came up to me and after asking me if I was going to come back and visit (to which I responded to the effect of “I might”) said ‘I wouldn’t if I were you…no body really likes you.” to which responded with a smile “I don’t believe you” and left it at that…Had I thought to, I could have said “Well, you know what I don’t like any of you either.” which was true but I thought it was better to just let sleeping dogs lie as it were than to bring myself down to their level…

  19. I couldn’t agree more. “First they made me sick and then they fired me” — that is my 2-year experience of being a target after 32 years of dedicated service. The illnesses are major depression/anxiety and PTSD for which I am now recovering after the union negotiated a retirement in place of a discharge based on outright lies, The dishonest, unethical managers are still the
    are — receiving bonuses and against whom the upper managers turn a blind eye.
    And I am only one in a long list of older employees the manager at the center of this has forced out under spurious circumstances — and I am sure I will not be the last.
    That I worked as senior counsel on the Chairmnan’s staff at the National Labor Relations Board only shows how deep and widespread this problem is. One of the upper managers involved in this was recently also made a Board member.
    The rot is from the center and spreads in every direction.
    My retirement will be devoted to working against workplace abuse. I know first hand the effects of this violation of human rights (The United Nations Statement of Human Rights includes the right to workers being treated with dignity, respect, and fairness).
    I think we need to start calling work abuse exactly what it is — a human rights violations that should not be tolerated in a civil society.
    My managers took the view that treating employees this way (and this include outright dishonesty) increased productivity, in direct contradiction of basic managerial principles — and no civil defense in any event.
    Just as spousal abuse, child abuse, abuse of gays, school bullying are no longer acceptable, workplace abuse should no longer be acceptable.
    No person should have to relinquish his/her rights to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness as a prerequisite to earning a living. As citizens we can not afford its major negative health effects on employees or its profound negative economic effects.

    • Well said! I find myself more and more inclined to consider myself a dignitarian, and opposed to humiliation in all its various guises.

  20. Pingback: Shouting and shame at work | Organized for Efficiency

  21. I was a target for over 3 years with 9 months of intensive manipulation from 2 individuals. I was forced to resign 3 months ago. I’ve been living with overwhelming guilt, self-blame, hurt & humiliation, anxiety & panic attacks. I had begun to acknowledge that I wasn’t going to ever recover or know what was wrong with me or why I had been forced out of a job I loved. I found the WBI website 2 days ago & I have cried in relief at the explanations that show my case is completely classic – down to being forced out on trumped up health concerns, to why my boss (the CEO) didn’t help me against my peer bully (the HR director), to character assassination to potential employers.

    In the past 2 days, my relationship with my husband has improved because of this knowledge (he asked me if I had written the “Why you’re a target” article) & I have given myself permission to stop blaming me, to go very slowly to recover & to let go. I also have been able to verbalize that recovery might be a different me. My small, personal support team has affirmed me the entire time.

    I gave the company my legal rights. However, I am more fortunate than most – relatvely short time frame of abuse, severance & some financial independence. But, I want to thank you for this site & the research & information that has enabled me to begin to cope with what is really important – the whys & my new life. This knowledge has given me power to begin a form of healing.

    • Isn’t it funny how your support team becomes that of a chosen few? You may or may not know how hard it is for them to watch us go through that and what to do, when to do it, how to do it…so Bless your “team”, especially your husband because most would think they were doing you a favor by “leaving you alone” when that is so NOT the case. Forward we move!!!

    • I was touched by your story, Beth. Thank you for sharing it with us. I will admit that I am becoming aware that I am beginning to heal from the trauma that I endured for almost nine years.

      A couple of years ago I was directed to this site, as I was searching the internet in my efforts to garner support for the bullying that II was going through, as I figured I couldn’t have been the only one.

      This blog has been most nurturing and I have appreciated and continue to appreciate David’s articles/topics, as well as the input from members of the site.

      Moreover, realizing that there is a political effort to provide legal sanctions for the afflicted has been inspiring to me, especially during my darkest hours and days.

      My relationship with my nineteen year-old daughter is beginning to improve dramatically. I am ever so thankful that I am no longer in that setting, although I would have preferred to have found another job and quit-I was terminated- but it didn’t happen that way.

      I am, also, tending to some health issues that have come to my attention. I have been out of the toxic setting for six months.

      Many challenges to deal with, of course, as a termination my record is unique and, admittedly, hurtful to me, as I didn’t deserve for it to have happen (still healing)..

  22. Reblogged this on Affirm and Promote and commented:
    I had to post this somewhere. Yamada includes an email he received from a victim of workplace bullying and I was so blown away and assured to read some of the details she describes about how she has come to experience life since the abuse has increased because she has voiced some of the greatest frustrations I encounter as a result of traumatic injuries from abusive treatment in the workplace and being the victim of sexual violence. While this is not strictly foccused on the work of faith development or religious education it is very relevant given the stress and frequency of mobbing and bullying directed toward clergy by church factions, senior staff and peers, and ecclesiastical authorities.

  23. Thank you Mr. Yamada and everyone who posted their experiences on here. As a former government employee, I endured some pretty intense mob bullying on my last few years of service. Worked many different jobs for years before I finally decided to join the Air Force to find something more permanent and fulfilling. I was in the AF for four great years before I found a civilian version of my job at a federal agency. Things were great for about five years. I never had any problems with co-workers or supervisors. Then I transferred to another facility that I hoped would have been my last until retirement. At first everything seemed fine. I was excelling and gained a reputation for being very knowledgeable. I was friendly with my co-workers and didn’t know of any enemies. About six months in, things began to change. I can’t say when it happened but it was like I had become the center of attention and not in a good way. It was just like how some people described their experience on here. When the comments started, it seemed to be playful banter and so I ignored it and laughed it off. Since I was still kind of a new guy, I thought that was their way of being friendly. Then it kept escalating until it became full blown harassment and even an occasional threat. Turns out a few of the supervisors were in on it too. Eventually it got so bad that I started carrying a weapon in my vehicle. These so called “mobbers” seem to feed off each other and don’t have an ounce of courage in them when their friends aren’t around. I really thought that I was smart and tough enough to deal with these parasites but that only lasted a few years before they sucked the life out of me too. When I finally had enough and decided to leave, I realized I couldn’t because my mortgage was underwater. In my last year at that job, my wife was deployed to Iraq on her final deployment. Even with the knowledge of being a Vet and having wife deployed overseas didn’t stop these idiots. Without getting too detailed, my health finally gave in and I’m now retired. We did lose our house but were able to start anew. So in a way I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m now finishing up a bachelors degree I began in the AF. Will I head back to the workforce? Not sure. If I ever did though, I doubt I’ll ever be the same ambitious go getter I once was. Something needs to be done soon. This is a major problem in society and it can happen to anyone. Good luck to anyone going through this right now. I pray you find your way.

  24. There will never be a solution until we are believed and allowed to expose THEM who for some reason are the protected and believed.It would seem the truth is harder to prove than the lie.

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