Specific words and responses in the past week have led me to understand that I am currently the target of an active bullying campaign from a colleague, and have been since I joined.
From the very beginning she made it clear through her body language, dismissive attitude, word usage and tone of voice that I am Not Welcome and she Does Not Like Me. Which is fine, I’m quite happy to leave her be and do my own thing and not unnecessarily interact with her so she doesn’t get annoyed and I don’t get snapped at. This is a simple solution. I know I’m not everyone’s cuppa tea and I’m happy to leave people be.
Last week she commented in a meeting to the effect of “you’re not doing your job”, a comment she never would have made had she not been confident she would be backed up. And, unsurprisingly, she was – three of my other colleagues jumped in with very pointed comments on the topic at hand directed solely at me, in a manner that made me feel very attacked (although I didn’t quite understand until after the fact). She was elated after that display. Positively beaming. It made me realise a few things.
First, that I wasn’t going to let this slide. Passive bullying, being an ass to me directly, not a problem. I can just avoid that person and we’ll all go on our happy way, but this was active. She was seeking people out and telling them I wasn’t able to do my job. She was cultivating this belief in my incompetence among other colleagues. No, this I will not tolerate.
Secondly, just how much the stress of bullying has affected my mental and physical health!
I’ve always had a peculiar disconnect between my mind and my body. Prior to a few years ago, I just didn’t think, I didn’t contemplate, I didn’t look within and analyse my own thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. I just did, and bottled it all up. Super healthy, right?
Now I take the time to figure out what my body and mind are telling me, and everything is ringing stress bells. My gastrointestinal tract became deeply upset. My mind couldn’t settle. I was restless and antsy. My heart rate was high. I had difficulties getting to sleep, maintaining a restful sleep, and staying asleep. I genuinely did not think I would be this affected by bullying in the workplace, and yet here I am, my anxiety still twisting in my gut.
I’ve lodged a complaint, and I’ll pursue this. I think I’ll let the higher ups handle it – I don’t think it will be good for my health to interact with her myself in any way, especially as I am very confident she will simply gaslight me and I will end up getting nowhere. I’m only there for a couple more months, and if I really need to, I will leave. Although that’d have to be pretty dire for me to leave, I often have a hard time doing what’s best for myself when it comes to work.
But I’ve got to look after my health first.