This week is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK and the topic is something that is extremely close to our hearts in the #BeTheRipple team. To show our support for the wonderful work that the charity BulliesOut do around the topic of bullying, we have decided to post out pieces every day this week, amplifying voices, sharing stories and exploring the way that bullying makes people feel.
We are happy to share another piece today for our blog series, the piece is entitled 'Knowing and Caring'.
The author of this piece would like to remain anonymous.
Over to our author:
Knowing and Caring
Many of us might say we’ve never been bullied.
Possibly because we didn’t associate someone’s behaviour with the act of being bullied.
Knowing what bullying behaviour really is, is therefore vital in helping you cope with this kind of behaviour.
Nothing like this had ever happened to me before and then all of a sudden it did.
E-Mails with really aggressive tones. Conversations that were gentler but very pointed towards my failures. And then even more aggressive emails.
I was under pressure through no fault of my own. I tried to rationalise why my work wasn’t acceptable to my - then - boss. I knew the subject area really well. I had researched with our colleagues and stakeholders. I had crafted something less imaginative than I wanted because I sensed the need to be solid, not adventurous.
My boss didn’t criticise my lack of ambition. They criticised everything about the work and even labelled accusations at me.
I felt in shock. Wounded. Unsure of myself and really under pressure. I tried to look at my work to improve it. I couldn’t see what was wrong.
In the end, I went back to my boss and asked for some more precise direction. Their response was awful. Harsh, critical, judgemental. I backed away even more. I eventually approached another Director. She knew I was very confused and in a state of impairment.
She looked over my work, helped me rejig a few things but then she said ‘Let me approach your boss. Not as a direct consequence of you coming to me, but that I’ve had some thoughts on the topic of your work.’
I felt somewhat rescued but what this other Director achieved was like a defining moment. She cared. And she knew what to do.
I got a response, that actually was a shrouded u-turn on my bosses part. They lied to me saying they’d had a think and now were clearer and gave me some pointers on how to reposition this work. I knew what had happened. My boss didn’t know I knew where this came from. I never let on. I simply adjusted the work, sent it off, and moved on.
My boss showed this behaviour several times and until they departed, I could never trust them again. When a new boss came in it was like a breath of fresh air. Lots of trust and faith in me and this led to a most productive period. But I was scarred by this behaviour and it still makes me shudder now that someone could be so awful to a member of their team without any rational reason for it except their own harshness and lack of empathy, care or sensitivity.
So from that point on, I knew what bullying was. And had more sympathy and empathy with anyone else reporting this sort of thing to me. I didn’t really stand up for myself, I sought help from someone else and they developed a strategy and tactic so I’ll never forget them for that.
In bullying situations, the first way of coping is knowing that’s what is going on. The second way of coping is to seek someone you trust who can help you rationalise and strategise. The third way of coping is to always be aware when behaviour like this starts appearing and create your own strategies quickly as a result of that awareness.
You may not stop the bullying from happening, but you can stop feeling so trapped, isolated, uncertain and helpless about it.
Thank you so much to our author for sharing this piece. Have you ever been bullied? Did you realise you were being bullied? Often it is something that we don't realise until after the events have taken place.
If you are not yet a member of the #BeTheRipple community, we would love you to join us. You can find us on Twitter: @BeTheRipple2020 and/or in our LinkedIn community: Here
Thank you once again to our author for sharing this piece.
If you have been impacted by bullying or harassment of any kind, please speak to someone you can trust at work or outside of work and get some advice from your organisation or externally. You do not have to put up with people treating you unfairly or unkindly, at work or in any other setting.
You can find expert guidance at the following links:
If you would like to submit a blog for this series, please send your work via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find PDFs of all blog pieces: