Is it my fault?

(4 Posts)
GreenGoose21 Sun 06-Nov-16 17:07:17

I've had problems with my line manager at work for a few years now, and have finally been diagnosed with work related stress and depression and signed off for two weeks.

I have been reading lots of books and articles about bullying, and they have made me feel much better about the situation. Everything that has happened to me seems to be straight out of the textbook, and I felt really positive about my grievance being upheld and my being able to get back to work quickly. Or at least I did until the last book I read - 'Free Yourself from Workplace Bullying".

The last couple of chapters focus on Passive Aggressive behaviour. Someone once told me I could be a bit passive aggressive at times because I really don't like conflict, and now I'm really worried that the bullying situation at work is actually my own fault.
I know that I have been a bit hostile to my manager - but that's because he's been bullying me.
I know that I've spoken negatively about him to team mates and not been particularly respectful of his authority - but that's because he's a bully who abuses his power, and I've needed to use my support network to keep me going.

So can I ask, is it my fault? Is passive aggressive type behaviour an understandable response to bullying, or am I such a difficult employee that his actions are actually justifiable to manage me.

neverknowinglynormal Sun 06-Nov-16 20:47:14

I know what you mean. I wonder this myself sometimes, but then I know that my defensiveness with my boss has arisen from how he's treated me, and so I don't feel as bad.

The support network bit is really important. I've needed my friends' support, so have been open with those who I can trust. This has sometimes led to less trustworthy people becoming aware of issues and stirring trouble, so I've had to be careful what I say and to who, but you need people to have your back when you are being targeted.

Hope things improve for you soon.

OllyBJolly Sun 06-Nov-16 21:07:51

Nobody can tell you because no one will have knowledge of the whole situation and all the players' perspectives.

As they say, there are always three sides to every story - in this case, yours, the manager's and the truth. It's rarely black and white.

You admit to undermining the manager with the rest of the team, and your perception is he bullies you. He could be struggling to get the team to function and manages you more closely with no thought at all that it could be bullying behaviour. Or he could be an out and out bully. Who is to say?

The relationship obviously isn't working. Once you get to grievance then it's usual for each party to get more entrenched and defensive. You appear to be taking a more mature approach in opening up to admit you might be at least partially at fault. Is mediation an option rather than formal grievance?

GreenGoose21 Mon 07-Nov-16 19:58:14

Thank you for your help. I totally agree with you neverknowinglynormal that its a careful balance between the people that you can trust to be honest and open with, and those who will use your honesty to do you harm. I've recently met one of the latter, and it was a bit of a shock.

OllyBJolly, I swallowed hard at your description of me as undermining the manager - as pretty much everyone in the team feels the same about him - some to a greater or lesser degree obviously. I've been the target for bullying, but others have been made to feel worthless by him as well.

Having said that, I know that what you're saying is a valid point of view. Its just really hard when you feel like you've been under attack for such a long time - and the things that have given you relief (a good moan with your colleagues) are suddenly portrayed as difficult behaviours.

I've been trying to read up on passive aggression, and it seems like its the worst thing in the world here on MN, and actually on the web as a whole. Every article is about how awful PA people are, but I don't feel like half of the things are actually that bad. Obviously there are some nasty behaviours, but most of them just seem like the things you seen on 'Very British Problems'. Lots of silent seething. hmm

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