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Bullying at work feels like it will never end

(14 Posts)
Coffee2sugarsthanks Fri 12-Jul-19 18:52:19

Hi guys

I would like some advice on what you would do in my situation. I work for the nhs in a Hospital. Bullying is constant on a day to day basis however once you’ve settled in if you make some friends then you can ignore the others who aren’t very nice. The issue is one man who was so rude to me on my first day years ago and has been a constant problem ever since. He actively watches my work and checks on the systems what I’ve been doing and then questions me and tries to tell me I’ve done something bad. He doesn’t work in my department. I only see him a few times a week but we have to communicate for me to do my job.

He is shouting at staff in front of patients he is angry and verbally abusive. He is a narcissist and he makes things up and genuinely believes his own lies. He is obsessive and controlling. Even if there is a perfectly good explanation for something he will fly off the handle and refuse to look at any proof I'm trying to show him to make him see I haven’t done what he is accusing me of.

It’s been a few years now and complaint after complaint has been made by me. We had two meetings and they had to be cut short because the manager got a bleep... during these meetings he admitted no fault, so it’s has been an ongoing issue basically.

I have sent my managers, his managers and the head of his department who I also work with plenty of emails. A complaint was followed up last Christmas and I was never told the outcome however I was assured that it had been dealt with. That manager has now left. My manager literally ignores 95% of my emails and I feel like the biggest nuisance. I’ve been told that his manager and everyone he works with just laughs at my emails or requests and ignores them...

He refuses to speak to me or anyone else on the ward. He will speak if he wants to shout at me about something. If I try to speak back or defend myself he ignores me like I'm not there and walks off.

My manager is now down to 2 days a week and when she’s not on annual leave or swanning off to a “meeting” you might see her on the ward. When I try to explain things to her she doesn’t seem to pick up easily what I'm trying to say and gets things mixed up. To be fair she’s totally useless as a manager.

However... I don’t have the confidence to think about moving jobs now as I'm comfortable here now. I’ve cried many times because of him and other staff. He’s not the only problem but I’d say he is the worst one. They won’t move him to a different department or give us someone new. I literally hate him. I have to remain polite however if he ever spoke to me like this outside of work I would make him walk away crying! I’ve got so much I could say to him but I have to remain professional. He’s got no friends and literally lives at home with his cat. He’s a nasty little man who likes to bully girls. He picks people selectively as there are some staff he knows he can’t get away with bullying.

Please tell me what you would do in my shoes?

31RueCambon Fri 12-Jul-19 19:55:48

I feel for you and I can only tell you what I learnt from handling things the wrong way for years.

I was raised to rise above it. If somebody said something rude to me, I would try to assume they'd had a bad day. Blah blah blah. The net result of all my rising above it was that a few others began to talk down to me and exclude me and tell me ''I'm not taking the hit for that'' (something that wasn't my fault).

Anyway, eventually I stumbled on this form of communication called ''making the unseen seen''.

If you're dealing with an outright narcissist it might not work but for others who are slghtly below narcissist, try this.

You highlight their behaviour with a question, ''is this your intention?''. The idea is that that puts them on the spot and they have to either 'own' their shitty behaviour or deny it. Mostly they deny it. And then, this is key, when they do deny it, you 100% give them the benefit of the doubt.

So, eg
''I feel like you give everything I do a negative interpretation rather than a positive one, is this your intention?''.

''I feel like you have taken on the role of my manager, is this your intention?''

''I feel like you are brimming over with warmth for everybody else around us but you are cold towards me, is this your intention?''

I have started using this technique at work and it has elevated my ''status'' at work. I can promise you it seems quite minimal but it puts these fuckwits on notice, just enough notice that you might not be the pushover they thought you were.

One woman at my work was horrible to me to begin with and now she is trying to be my friend! I'm civil and I'm not unpleasant to her but I can never forget.

31RueCambon Fri 12-Jul-19 19:58:00

Ps, you have to do this calmly with a few witnesses.

Deliberately consciously slow your voice down.

''I feel like you've overlooked all of my hard work again, was that your intention?''.

wafffle waffle waffle waffle waffle defensive bullshit waffle waffle
You may think ''well that was pointless and I feel so awkward and embarrassed. But after you've done it a few times, you look up one day and you realise that those arseholes are being an arsehole to somebody else now :-/

spam390 Sat 13-Jul-19 13:48:20

@ 31RueCambon

Perfectly put smile

Would simply add that as NHS has zero tolerance for abusive behaviour, I'd definitely add ' are you aware that shouting at me is against the zero tolerance policy ? '

I've never used @ 31RueCambon's recommended phrasing, but I love it !

The only thing I've done is to wait until the bully is in full swing, then simply about turn and walk calmly away. ( If you do it with a hint of a smile too it's even better).

when you calmly walk away, they only really have two options.

1. Follow you shouting, which means their bullying is no longer 'private' and can be witnessed. (which they don't want)

2. Be left alone shouting at no-one and feel stupid. (which they also don't want, they want to feel powerful, not powerless)

Also, if they follow you, they cross the line between having a 'chat', (which is what they would say in their defence), and being seen as aggressive (i.e following you round shouting).

If they ask you for a 'private word', simply say 'No, not without my union rep and HR present, thank you'

Absolutely best of luck with dealing with this nasty person. As my husband always says ' Don't let the Bas***ds get you down !' smile

Let us know how everything goes ?

Coffee2sugarsthanks Sat 13-Jul-19 16:10:11

Haha I loved the replies! Thank you x

Yes it’s got so bad now that it’s almost like the managers don’t care. I do wonder what would happen if someone took it to HR and complained officially. I’ve emailed my manager and explained that I have all emails saved that I've sent her reporting him and that I’ve not had any replies. I’ve also started keeping a diary of incidents. I keep it in my locker. So if it does come down to complaints being ignored I wonder if my manager would be held accountable as it’s ignoring the bullying and harassment policy. I’ve also informed her that I’ve read through the policy.

Quite honestly I went in to suck up mode on Friday and started explaining my actions to him and being really nice. Why do ai do this?? Surely this shows that I'm a nice person and I don’t like confrontation. He has actually said to another member of staff that I’m bullying him! So what if he switches it around and I get made out to be the bully. It’s very manipulative his behaviour because he tries to do it when i’m alone. I might try and walk out into the open like the previous poster said and then everyone can witness his behaviour. I’ve explained to him before that if there are any issues to discuss I will go and bed the band 7 in charge so we can go through it together. He literally refuses and walks off. Most of the time I’m alone in a tiny cupboard or in a room alone or down the end of the corridor where there are no bays or anything so no one goes down there. Im staring to see why he is only doing it to me. The worst thing is his manager is the same as him and has been sending me rude emails refusing to give me documentation that I need to do my job. The managers are all cc’d in but no one will defend me.

Reading all this back I think it’s time to leave, what a horrible place I work in. Apparently it’s all over the nhs, I’ve heard many stories from my colleagues. The managerial and matrons are the worst apparently they think the rules don’t apply to them. 😞😞😞 I wish I could report it anonymously. Like so many other things I will I could report but I can’t or I would lose my job if they found out it was me who reported.

Coffee2sugarsthanks Sat 13-Jul-19 16:26:59

And just for a laugh il help you picture him. A skinny skinny version of Ian Beale from Eastenders. I swear he actually looks like him 😂 one of them really annoying personalities.

RandomMess Sat 13-Jul-19 16:55:42

Why don't you raise a formal grievance whilst looking for a new job? If you recognise it's time to move on then why not do it?

Isatis Sat 13-Jul-19 17:01:54

Can you go above your managers' heads to HR?

Nat6999 Sat 13-Jul-19 17:05:17

Are you in a union? Pass all the information & emails on to a union rep. That is what they are there for.

Coffee2sugarsthanks Sat 13-Jul-19 18:01:12

Thank you

I don’t have a union and the issue I'm most upset about is that the managers see bullying every day and literally do nothing about it. They sit at the front desk playing music on their phones and talking about their weekend and private life. So far I’ve reported him to my old manager who has left, my new manager, her manager, the head of a larger department overseeing our kind of work, she then reported to his line manager and then she herself has just left. It’s getting worse. Im afraid to mention bullying in case my manager laughs. They are the type of people to make out like you are overreacting. This is why no one reports anything because you end up wishing you never said anything.

The first time I brought it up in our monthly meeting it got repeated back to him what I’d said after answering a question about him from the manager but 10 x worse. Emails get forwarded to other people with our previous conversations included.

Do you think that there is any point in reporting anymore?

Thank you

GemmeFatale Sat 13-Jul-19 20:44:13

I’d report to HR as both bullying and failure from your line management to follow policy when you reported the bullying. At the same time tell them you’re concerned about retaliation for coming forward and ask how they will protect you as a whistleblower.

And join the union. They can’t do anything about the historic issues but any new problems you’ll be covered for.

purple12 Sun 14-Jul-19 04:09:13

See if you can contact the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian in the trust and see if they can offer support or advice as this atmosphere will be adverse to patient care. Frame it in that light. But you also may have to look for other jobs at the same time. Sometimes it is healthier just to get out. It's not right, it's not easy and it's not comfortable but the culture doesn't change quickly and it's about looking after yourself. I've been in a similar type situation in the past and sought an internal move although I loved my job as it had reached a stage where it was making me mentally unwell but fortunately, the bully left the organisation and was replaced by the nicest person in the world - however, it left me very scarred. Good luck with it, I really know how hard it can be

MT2017 Sun 14-Jul-19 11:28:15

You have three options - do nothing / let things continue; fight back; or leave.

You said you don't want to leave. There have been done excellent suggestions about what to say up thread.

My advice is that as the emails are only one way, you may not far with a grievance. Do you have another manager you can send them to?

TakeOneForTheBreem Sun 14-Jul-19 11:32:13

No one likes confrontation really.

Sadly, sometimes you have to confront people if you're not going to get shat on.

I find laughing in their face and walking off usually works well.

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