Bullying and “The Audience Effect”

Let’s face it. We all act differently in public than we do in private. Every single one of us- you, me, everyone. For instance, you certainly wouldn’t take off your clothes and run around in your underwear in public.

Also, to a small degree, we tailor our actions and responses according to who is present at a given time. Why? Because the people around us are always evaluating us whether we know it or not.

For instance,

bullies will tailor their behavior according to their audience. If they think the people around them will get fun and entertainment out of seeing them bully, they will continue. Also, if the bullies expect bystanders and authority to turn a blind eye, they will continue bullying. And they will mercilessly bully that target without fail.

Even worse,

if the bullies catch on that everyone- even the bystanders and witnesses, share an intense hatred of the target, not only will they continue to bully that target, but they will mercilessly escalate the torment. Because, if everyone hates the target, that’s when there are absolutely no boundaries, no limits, to the level of abuse the bullies will inflict.

On the other hand, what if the bullies think there’s even a possibility that the audience will sympathize with the target?

If the bullies think there’s a chance the audience might call them out on their abuse and help the target, you can bet they’ll likely stop the abuse. And, in the future, the bullies will more than likely think twice before bullying the target again.

Again,

If the target has no friends and isn’t supported, the bullies will bully that target without fail. However, if the target has friends, allies, and supporters, the bullies will likely leave that person alone and go find an easier target who has fewer friends, allies, and supporters or none at all.

Therefore, you must find ways to make friends and garner support if ever you find yourself in the cross hairs of bullies. I cannot stress enough the importance of a support system- even if it’s an outside support system. Not only will you be safer and more secure, but your mental health won’t suffer nearly as much.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

What Are The Far-Reaching Consequences of School Bullying and Mobbing?

How many lives could’ve been saved if we’d spoken up sooner?

For years, everyone saw bullies picking on and ganging up on targets- they saw it on the playground, the hallways, the gym, the locker room, the bathrooms, the classrooms, and on the school bus and the target was driven to act out in violence.

No one cared about any of the bullying until targets started taking matters into their own hands- more appropriately, until they started bringing guns to school and blowing their bullies away, committing suicide, or both.

It’s a shame that people had to die before we finally began to take bullying seriously. Being treated like an object for too long, instead of a living, breathing, and feeling human being can make one enraged enough to want to kill or desperate enough to escape the torment by any means (suicide).

Thankfully, not all who suffer repeated and patterned bullying and mobbing commit homicide or suicide. Most targets suffer in silence. They live depressed, isolated, bewildered, and confused because they’ve had their self-confidence stripped away. In that, they’re prevented from realizing their full potential and capabilities.

Many children and teens are terrified of getting on the school bus and many more stay silent for fear of retribution. Young targets endure torment others cannot possibly comprehend and much of the wounds and bruises are unseen. Just because someone isn’t bludgeoned, bruised, and bloodied on the outside doesn’t mean they aren’t they aren’t so inside. Physical wounds can be seen but wounds to the soul can’t.

Bullying and mobbing leave permanent scars. Even after time has gone by, the memories are still fresh. In fact, they’re so deeply entrenched that even decades later, targets can still remember the names of those who instigated the mobbing, those who joined in and partook in it, those who encouraged it, and those who pretended to be their friends but didn’t have their back and refused to help them.

As a survivor of school bullying and mobbing myself, I can tell you that I remember the names of every single one of my classmates who fell in the above categories, one of whom I thought was a close friend. I only recently stopped talking to this woman and was a fool not to have kicked her sorry butt to the curb years ago.

Every survivor I’ve ever spoken too remembers these things specifically.

Understand that when a child or teen is bullied and mobbed by virtually everyone, minor occurrences of ridicule, name-calling, and shunning may occur. However, things such as these build up over time.

What ends up breaking and killing the target’s spirit and self-image is the accumulation of so many incidences of so many classmates brutally bullying her and the fact that the abuse comes from everyone and from every direction.

But I guarantee that if you were to tell each of the target’s classmates what they were doing and tell them of the damage they had done to that targeted child, they would either deny it or respond with, “But all I did was…!”

Again, these “little attacks” come from many, many directions and over a long period of time against the same person- this is one of the biggest hallmarks of mobbing.

I’ve asked other survivors of school bullying and mobbing why they think their classmates mobbed them and not one of them knows why. Each one of these people, even decades later, wonder what they did to encourage their schoolmates to gang up on them and torment them the way that they did.

I always tell them that they did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment and that they should never blame themselves for their classmates’ atrocious behavior.

During my years of research on bullying and mobbing, I’ve learned that mobbing is always caused by a trivial conflict that’s not even personal but somehow, becomes personal later. The origins of mobbing can be anything- a potential target is a new student at the school, or the potential target says something that isn’t necessarily bad but rubs the wrong kids the wrong way.

Maybe the potential target is different, or maybe the child is highly intelligent to the point of overshadowing members of the top clique. It could be that the potential target brags about something and ticks off the rest of the class, or wears clothes that are out of fashion and the bullies use it as an excuse to torment the kid.

And long after the initial cause of the bullying is over and forgotten, the bullying continues.

Understand that if you were to ask bullies why they mobbed and tormented a certain individual, they either wouldn’t know the reason, or they would give an answer that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Therefore, targets and survivors alike must realize that the mobbing and bullying they presently struggle with or endured in the past was never about anything they said or did. It was never about them. It was always about their bullies’ own mental health issues. It was about the bullies’ senses of self-entitlement, their insecurities, feelings of self-loathing, and intense jealousy.

And once they realize these things, their self-esteem won’t take such a big hit.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

4 Reasons Bystanders Refuse to Help Targets: The Cold, Hard Truth

bystander effect

You not only never forget the bullies, but you also remember the people who were there- the people who had the power to help you but did nothing. Many times, the bystanders who saw it never tried to intervene and stop the attacks, nor did they speak up on my behalf.

As much as I hate to say it, I was guilty of the same thing. When I watched a few others get bullied, I said and did nothing, thinking that my voice wouldn’t make a difference if I did speak up. Other times, I was just damn glad that, for a change, I wasn’t the one targeted and that it was someone else taking heat for a change.

For this, I am very remorseful and would like to apologize to all the other targets I left to fend for themselves. I’m truly sorry.

Bullying Poster Concept Illustration bystanders

Here are the reasons bystanders do nothing to help a target of bullying:

1. They’re afraid of arousing the bullies’ anger and becoming the next target. No one wants to be a target of bullying. I get that. Many bystanders fear getting involved, and for good reasons. However, many bystanders do have some power because they’re high on the social hierarchy.

And the higher you are in the pecking order, the more weight your actions and words carry. So, why not use your power to help the target? Because if you’re extremely popular, the chances are that other bystanders will follow your lead and join you, and the bully will leave the victim alone. There’s strength in numbers.

2. The bystanders see the bullies’ torment of the target as entertainment. Bullies always bully in front of an audience to humiliate the target. During altercations between bullies and targets, bystanders immediately gather around to watch it go down.

Most bystanders then stand around, laughing and pointing fingers. Many of them cheer and egg the bully on, stirring it up to get more entertainment, all of which only encourages the bully to continue and even escalate the abuse.

As long as it isn’t them getting dogged out or having their brains beat in, most bystanders think it’s funny to see it happen to someone else.

Silhouette of two hands with smartphones, shoot a video on a sinking person’s hand, asking for help. The concept of a selfish society, a social problem

It’s the reason that instead of helping the target, bystanders will automatically whip out their smartphones and record the confrontation. They can then watch it later, send the film to their friends, and have another big laugh over it.

But! It’s not the least bit funny to the target. It’s painful and humiliating. It can be devastating to a victim who has already been a target of bullying for an extended time and can drive them over the edge.

3. The bystanders themselves either dislike or hate the target. In many cases, bullies have run vicious smear campaigns and turned everyone against their victims. When an altercation finally breaks out, the bystanders refuse to help the target because they think she deserves the abuse. Many times, these bystanders secretly or openly take pleasure in seeing the target suffer.

They may stand around snickering or join the bullies in tormenting the target. Often, the bullies are only doing to the victim what many bystanders wish they had the stones to do themselves. So, they get complete satisfaction in seeing someone else attack the target. Bystanders often hate the victim so much that they would defend a total stranger before protecting the victim they hate so intensely.

4. They don’t want to get involved. Many bystanders figure that it’s none of their business and choose not to get involved. These bystanders are so indifferent that they won’t even stop and watch. They will only pass by and keep going. They don’t care. Period.

Understand that bullies always perform in front of an audience to show their superiority, strength, and power. Bystanders who do nothing to stop the attacks only silently support and encourage the bullies. These bystanders are just as guilty as the psycho bullies who perpetuate the attacks.

Often, bystanders either don’t understand or underestimate the power they have, especially in large numbers. When witnesses speak up for the target, the bullies will likely stop and leave the victim.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Step-by-Step Description of Mobbing in Progress

Mobbing is THE severest form of bullying. Once the bullying reaches the stage of mobbing, this is when the bullying becomes life-threatening! And if you’ve ever been a target of it, you know firsthand how destructive it is.

The reason that mobbing is so hard to remedy is that not only has it already rendered us so distraught that we’re unable to think clearly, but we aren’t able to name, describe, nor communicate the steps bullies take to destroy us.

A successful smear campaign is started by a bully or bullies who are well-practiced in the arts of persuasion and influence and can last for years.

Here’s something I want you to realize. A smear campaign is nowhere near as tricky as it looks. You’d be amazed at just how simple it is to smear someone. It’s so easy that it shouldn’t be so effective, but it is!

To quote the old Geico commercial, it’s “so easy; a caveman can do it.”

Here’s a chronological, step-by-step recap of how bullies do it and succeed at it:

1. The bullies have a dislike for a specific individual who refuses to conform to their standard of who she should be.

Now all this time, the bullies have been able to influence everyone else and get them to submit to their will and every whim. Then, low and behold, along comes the target (we’ll call her “Cindy”) who’s stubborn and either unable to or won’t submit to the bullies’ control and allow them to change her personality into what they think it should be.

And Cindy may not realize the bullies’ motives and that just by doing her thing, she’s enraging the bullies. So, she goes on about her business, makes plans for her future, makes achievement after achievement, and maybe she gets loads of positive attention and praise from others because she’s so successful and well-liked.

2. Next, the bullies begin to smear Cindy. To implement their smear campaign, they watch Cindy, studying her behavior carefully until they’re able to anticipate her reactions.

3. The bullies then train their audience (i.e., the other classmates or coworkers to expect a specific type of behavior out of Cindy. They point out these behaviors when they occur. The bullies then associate Cindy’s completely innocent behavior with something bad or evil.

For example, let’s say that Cindy is sweet, playful, and likes to engage in a little banter. The bullies watch as Cindy banters with people in the school or workplace. She playfully calls someone a “dummy” or a “goofball,” but others know that it’s all for harmless jokes and think it’s funny because Cindy is a genuinely kind person.

4. So, the bullies begin making offhand comments. They remark that Cindy’s kindness is only an attempt to kiss ass because she wants something from people and that she thinks the people around her really are dummies, but only disguises it under a veil of fun jokes and playfulness.

The bullies also make statements that Cindy thinks she’s cute and that Cindy thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. Then repeat, repeat, repeat!

To quote a propaganda minister to a well-known dictator in history, “Tell a lie once, and it remains a lie. Tell a lie a thousand times, and it becomes the truth.”

5. The next time others see Cindy being kind to and playfully bantering with someone, she doesn’t look so cute, and the banter isn’t so funny anymore. Now people see a side of Cindy they can’t believe they never noticed before.

6. Now feeling smug with gratification, the bullies look at themselves, then at Cindy with smirks on their crooked faces and try the same thing all over again.

7. And before you know it, everyone wonders what they ever saw in Cindy, to begin with. They start having negative feelings toward the poor girl.

8. Cindy begins to pick up on the negative vibes around her and withdraws a little. She doesn’t speak to people as much as she did and doesn’t understand what she did or said to bring it all about. The bullies notice that Cindy is more distant than usual, and they point this out to everyone.

“Hey, look! Do you see that? Now, what did we tell you? Cindy really does think we’re all dummies! She really does think she’s smarter than the rest of us!”

“And her ass-kissing (Cindy’s sweet disposition) didn’t work, so now she’s too good to speak to anyone!”

9. Cindy’s withdrawal only inflames everyone’s feelings of dislike and resentment. Although her becoming distant is only out of self-protection, others mistake it for smugness and arrogance.

10. And it only snowballs from there, getting worse and worse over time. Understand that people are human, and they make mistakes. They misjudge innocent others all the time.

And when bullies condition the whole of a group, school, organization, workplace, or community to see any quality in a particular person as a bad thing, a smear campaign is most effective. So everyone, even those who aren’t bullies and are otherwise kind and compassionate, can become extremely cold and cruel to a target. And everyone repeats the same cruelty, over and over again.

Understand that smear campaigns are just too effective because they can quickly become bullying, then escalate to mobbing, which is the most severe kind of bullying. And once it increases to mobbing, it’s unstoppable, and the only way you can take your life back is to leave that toxic, poisonous environment altogether.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 5)

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(Continued from Part 4…)

Six months after Darnell and I walked away from the workplace cesspool, that was Shady Grove Living Center, the fit finally hit the shan. I was outside walking my dog when a neighbor, who still worked at the nursing home, stopped me to relay some exciting news.

Beau, Harry, and Cammie, better known as “The Thieving Three,” had all been fired from the facility earlier that day- only an hour or two earlier, in fact. The news had traveled that fast!
She told me that the owners of the facility had suddenly shown up and had the three of them escorted off the property. An Acting Administrator took Beau’s place. A temporary Bookkeeper/Payroll Clerk and Head of Maintenance took the positions of Cammie and Harry.

Over the next few weeks, several others were fired as well. The DON (Director of Nursing) was let go after stealing narcotics to feed her addiction to pain pills, as were a few other nurses. The owners also terminated the dietary manager and several CNAs- who had all been loyal flying monkeys to The Thieving Three.

So many got the ax and within such a short amount of time. The owners cleaned that place out. After it was all said and done, I could probably count on one hand the people spared.

It was the buzz around town for well over a month. After they were terminated, Harry and Cammie were so scared and humiliated that they threw everything into two U-hauls and skipped town. Surprisingly, Shady Grove never pressed charges and I was told that it was because the nursing home was afraid that pressing charges might tarnish it’s reputation.

Harry and Cammie moved somewhere around middle, TN, somewhere close to the Tennessee River. Cammie ended up working for the County Medical Center there, in the same position she had at Shady Grove. Later, she committed the same crimes there; only the Medical Center didn’t let it slide as Shady Grove had.

They pressed charges and Cammie was found guilty. The judge sentenced her to three years in state prison but she only served two.

I’ll never forget the tyrannical reign of The Thieving Three over the employees of Shady Grove, and neither will I forget their downfall. This is why I firmly believe that most bullies usually get their just desserts in the end, just as these bullies did.

Sometimes, you must let your bullies do what they do until they get too cocky, too careless, and end up falling on their own swords.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 4)

(Continued from Part 3…)

I remember a night when one of the flying monkeys, Shelly, a CNA, approached me in the hall, from behind and began screaming, cursing, and threatening to jump me over a rumor that had it that I was stabbing her in the back.

She threatened to attack me there on the spot physically, and there were bystanders!
When I turned around, faced her, and called her out for being unprofessional, Shelly became twice as angry.

Later, I was afraid that I might face termination because Shelly had escalated the confrontation to an unprecedented level. Also, I’d seen so many others whom these people had pulled the same tactic on getting fired left and right!

I remember thinking,

“Well, if I do get canned, they won’t be able to say they didn’t have to work hard at achieving that goal! At the very least, I’ll leave here knowing I put up one hell of a fight!”

One of the bystanders was Deb, the charge nurse, and Shelly’s supervisor and buddy. Therefore, I knew that Deb would sweep Shelly’s behavior under the rug and paint me as the instigator.

Sure enough, she did. These people had a way of turning everything around to fit their narrative and getting others to agree with it.

The other guy was always to blame.
It was always the other guy’s fault.
It was never their fault, and they were never wrong.

They reported the incident to Darnell and suggested that he terminate me right then and there. When he talked to me about it, I calmly explained that Shelly had approached me from behind in a very threatening manner, that I feared for my physical safety, and didn’t know what she would do had I not faced her down.

And by this time, I’d worked under Darnell long enough that he knew the kind of person I was and that I was only taking care of myself.

So, again, Darnell went to bat for me. Also, I had made an awesome friend out of Jane, who was another charge nurse at the nursing home. She, too, went to bat for me as did several of my coworkers.

Each time nothing happened to me, the bullies only became angrier and crazier, until they were all out for blood!

It was then that I starting noticing Jules hovering around in the hall just outside the door to the laundry room. Later, I’d see him milling around nearby anytime I’d stop in the hallway to greet and talk to friends. And I’ve got to tell you! He gave me such a creepy vibe!

Next, I began seeing him standing across the street from my apartment, smoking a cigarette. And I could tell he was watching my apartment. Now that freaked me out!

I found out that he and the neighbor across the street had begun dating and that he was there to see her. She didn’t allow smoking in her house, so he had no choice but to smoke outside. Still, I didn’t feel any better. I felt as if I was being stalked!

I knew why he was hanging around so close. Jules was an eavesdropper for Cammie and her group, listening in on our convos in the laundry room and my discussions with friends in the hallway. Everybody knew it because he’d eavesdropped on many others.

My instinct also told me they’d enlisted him to watch my house. He was watching to see what company I had over- looking for any information with which to report back to Cammie.

The fact that Jules’ girlfriend lived across the street from me was a convenient cover for him and they knew it. Although I knew what was going on, I didn’t speak of it because I knew I couldn’t without sounding completely nuts. I did the best thing by keeping it to myself but filing it in the back of my mind. The only people I told were my closest family and they knew I wasn’t kidding.

Luckily, his girlfriend was a good friend of mine and I knew she only kept him around because she was lonely. So, I used it to my advantage, and cozied up to her a little bit more so she would volunteer to tell me little tidbits about what he was doing. Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions.

Not much later, Darnell, having himself become a target of the vitriol that inflected the workplace, announced to us that he had put in his two-week notice of resignation and was moving on to a better job and a better work environment.

Although we were happy that he’d finally found something better and was getting out of that hellhole, we were also deeply saddened because we’d miss him so much. We saw Darnell as our fearless leader, our Captain Ahab, and our hero!

What kind of leader would the new supervisor be? And would they protect us from those devils down the hall as Darnell had?

Choosing not to leave anything to chance, I decided that I’d put in my notice as well. Being the type of woman who would always think ahead, I knew that once Darnell was gone, I’d be totally at their mercy. I had a sickening feeling that the next supervisor would toady up to the bullies in the upper echelons of management and the social order.

Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.

I knew that Cammie had long waited, with bated breath, for the day when Darnell would either quit or get fired. Then, she could begin working on the new supervisor, ingratiate herself in them, and turn them against us.

Sure enough, my closest coworker told me she’d overheard Cammie saying precisely that, and she was recommending that the new supervisor terminate three of us. Knowing I was one of the three, I quickly filled out my two weeks notice of resignation and gave it to Darnell.

Darnell introduced us to the new supervisor. She was a short, dumpy woman in her forties and by her facial expression, which was hard and cold, I made the conclusion that putting in my notice was the smartest thing to do and gave myself a pat on the back.

Spy Snooping Spiders Spies Covert Intelligence 3d Illustration

Off and on during the last two weeks, I’d catch those tiny micro flashes of suspicion and contempt the new supervisor would flash toward me and a few others. And the bullies were completely enraged once word of my pending exit reached their ears. But once I was out of there, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was quite proud of myself for having escaped that toxic place and walked away from the job with confidence and my self-esteem still intact.

But the best and juiciest part is yet to be told!

(Continued in Part 5…)

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 3)

(Continued from part 2…)

Everyone knew about it, but it seemed they were afraid to report it. It was also evident that Harry and Cammie were getting fat off the embezzlement and not only those two but the administrator (Beau) too.

We secretly referred to these three ringleaders of the bully group as “The Thieving Three.” Fran, Marilyn, Misti, and Jules were their lieutenants. At the bottom of this little workplace cabal were the flying monkeys.

There were so many policy violations and illegal activities happening right under our noses. They are as follows:

1. Beau had his Winnebago RV on the property for Harry and Jules to do repairs on during work hours. Again, this was all done out in the open.

Beau knew that most were too scared to talk about it. So, why put in the extra effort to try and cover it up? He would have them work on his camper, therefore neglecting the repairs the nursing facility needed. They would also work on his car. Can you imagine how much Beau was saving on auto repairs while he ran that nursing home?

2. Fighting and Assault on Company Property.

And by the administrator himself! Beau was having an affair with another employee. When her husband found out, he came to the nursing home to confront Beau. And Beau invited him out to the parking lot to fight. And the two men got into a brutal fistfight in the parking lot, in broad daylight, in front of God and everyone. And it happened while Beau was on the clock!

After the fight was over, Beau sent word to every employee that if they uttered one word about the incident at work or outside of work, they would not only lose their jobs, but he’d make sure they didn’t work anywhere else.

3. Embezzlement.

Beau, Harry, and Cammie were robbing Shady Grove blind! Beau made off with several hundreds of thousands of dollars, as did Harry and Cammie. And they were moving up in the world quickly. They all suddenly bought new vehicles and vacation homes on the lake. They began taking lavish vacations and taking them anytime they wanted. For the professions they were working in, they were living high.

Cammie was the payroll clerk and bookkeeper of the facility. She would take the money and doctor the books to make everything look legit. Her husband Harry would clock in, fill out bogus work orders, leave for the day, then come back that night and clock back out before going home. They would also take as many days off as they wanted in a year instead of the allotted vacation time allowed.

Cammie would also make herself Power of Attorney over widowed and childless residents with no families. And she would do this by talking them into signing legal documents, agreeing to leave any assets to her and her husband once they passed away.

Cammie helped her teenage daughter get hired at the nursing home as the person who passed the snacks, juice cups, and the pitchers of ice and water around. She fixed the wages so that her daughter would make twenty dollars per hour on the job, which brings me to the next violation.

4. Nepotism.

Harry and Cammie fixed the system where her children and family got first dibs at any jobs. When the nursing home hired these family members, they would receive massive hourly wages, anywhere from double up to five times the going payments for the job.

It didn’t take long for the whisper to spread, but we had to be careful who we talked around because there were eyes and ears everywhere and increasing in numbers.
Beau, Harry, and Cammie ran the place. Right or wrong, anyone who challenged them in any way, was bullied and mobbed out! And so was anyone who slighted or stood up to any of their favorite people.

Again, Cammie increased her attacks. More and more, she’d provoke me, but I wouldn’t bite. She and the cabal instituted several smear campaigns against me and a few others, but we only doubled down in our resolve not to let them shake us.

I must tell you that it got rough at times. On a few occasions, the payroll clerk and a few CNAs threatened to catch me out and do physical harm. But it never happened, and back then, I went out all the time. I was lucky.

Although the provocations were stressful, I was able to put my hand up to her, tell her what I thought of her, then walk away.

Darnell was excellent! He was a quiet guy, yet firm when he had to be. Darnell was like me. He kept his mouth closed and observed everything that went on around him. The man was much smarter than what people took him to be. He knew what was happening, and he took care of us!

I could never have been more grateful to have such an awesome supervisor. However, this only made the bullies more desperate.

(Continued in Part 4…)

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 2)

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(Continued from Part 1…)

In the last post, I talked about how everything started out great and that I was well-liked by almost everyone. I also mentioned the incident when I responded in kind after Candi, a CNA, caught a bad attitude. Needless to say, I found out that, right or wrong, talking down to her was a no-no because she had connections.

And over several months, one by one, many people turned against me. Luckily, several of my real friends knew how Candi was and had no respect for her. They were the people who had my back, so I can say that I did have allies who took care of me.

However, there was a clear division at Shady Grove Living Center. There was the administrator, who I’ll call *Beau, *Cammie, the payroll clerk, the department heads,*Harry (who was Cammie’s husband), one maintenance guy, whose name was *Jules, and two CNAs, *Shelly was one and *Cheryl who were two flying monkeys. On our side were my supervisor Darnell, all of my coworkers (except for one suck up), a charge nurse, and the rest of the CNAs who had my back.

At first, the bullies made false reports about me to Darnell. On the days after my shift (I worked part-time in the evening), the third shift CNAs would complain that I hadn’t stocked the linen closets on each of the halls and that they had no clean bed pads, bedsheets, nor gowns for the residents who soiled their beds during the night.

But because I always thought ahead and could easily predict what these people would do, I had made sure to pull out my cellphone and take pictures of all my finished work at the end of my shift.

Once I was done stocking the linen closets, I took photos of all the  shelves inside, chock full of freshly clean linens. I then took pictures inside all the empty barrels that were marked “dirty laundry,” before clocking out and going home. And, with the time-stamps on each image, there was no question I’d done my job.

I took pictures every night, at the end of the shift. And I had proof to show Darnell every time they lied.

When that didn’t work, the bullies only turned up the harassment, as word quickly spread throughout the nursing home that I’d taken pictures of all finished work.

In a way, it was funny because each of the linen closets was directly across from a nurse’s desk, where the bullies would sit around and gossip. And I remember overhearing them make snide remarks about my camera and my taking pictures, to which I’d only snicker and chuckle to myself.

Harry, the head of maintenance, would talk pretty ugly to me, but I knew I wasn’t the only one because many times, I’d see him talk terrible to several others- even a few who worked for the nursing home. So, I didn’t feel like the Lone Ranger.

And because I’d already been a target of bullying in school, I knew what to expect as all bullies pull pretty much the same tactics, only adult bullies are much more sophisticated with it. Therefore, I was able to prepare, stay a few steps ahead, and outflank them.

During this time, I began to witness a couple of the bullies in this workplace clique commit a few illegal activities. On one instance, I worked a double shift to cover for a coworker who was sick.

Early one Saturday morning, I saw with my own eyes Harry walk into the back door of the nursing home, dressed in camouflage and his bright orange hunting vest. He crept down the hall past the laundry room, then stopped at the time clock and clocked in. Harry then filled out a bogus work order, then left.

He didn’t return until late that evening to clock out and leave again. I’ll never forget the look on his mug when he saw me sitting outside on my last break as he drove by in his shiny new pickup. And when I told a trusted friend at work a day or two later about what I’d seen, she wasn’t at all surprised.

“Girl! He’s been clocking out and going home on the weekends since I’ve been here! And I’ll tell you something else,” *Brenda told me, “Cammie’s been embezzling from this facility, and she’s been ripping off some of the residents who don’t have families- weaseling them into signing papers to leave their assets to her when they leave this world!”

I felt my eyes pop out of my head as Brenda gave me an ear full!

(Continued in Part 3…)

Triumphing Over Workplace Bullying (Part 1)

Before I go into the story, I want to tell you that very few people ever come out the winner if they’re a target of bullying in the workplace. I say this because when I worked in the toxic and poisonous environment, I’m about to tell you of, I saw so many people who fell victim.

Droves of innocent workers ended up losing their jobs and some, their careers because of the evil actions of a clique of psychopaths who were handed power they had no business having.

These employees were the best and the kindest people, and my heart broke for them. It still does when I think back.

In late 2007, I began working for a sanitation company that contracted with *Shady Grove Living Center in Oakley. My supervisor, *Darnell, and my coworkers were the best. Sure, we had our disagreements and our spats. Still, I could never have dreamed of working with a better supervisor and team. And on many occasions, we’d have so much fun together!

Another great thing was that we didn’t work for the nursing home, only for a separate company contracted with them. So, in reality, no one at the nursing home had any power over us, though they loved to think they did.

I was already well aware that the site was very toxic, but I always stood back and observed the people and the goings-on around me. And during my first week of employment there, it didn’t take long to figure out who the troublemakers were.

I made sure to avoid the drama queens, the gossips, and the bullies and went on with my business. Another beauty was that there was a long corridor between the actual nursing facility and the sanitation area, so we didn’t have to work with them nor be around them much at all.

The only time I saw any of them was toward the end of the shift when I’d roll the laundry cart full of clean linens down to the main building to stock the linen closets.

Therefore, for the first year and three months, everything went smoothly, and no one bothered me. I got along with everyone and was seemingly well-liked. That is until I put one snarky CNA in her place for trying to be a smart alick.

This CNA, whom we’ll call, *Candi, had it in her mind that those who worked in the laundry department, were beneath her and expected them to carry hers and everyone else’s water. Although the CNAs didn’t make any more than we did, Candi and a few others had no regard for us. They didn’t see us as human beings because we worked in sanitation.

After I schooled her, Candi felt anger and indignation. So, she stormed away and cried to her buddies in the nursing home clique. She couldn’t stand that I’d smart-mouthed her, and “how dare” I talk to her like that. Oh! “The nerve of” me!

And she took the rest of the day off as a stress leave because she was so upset. And I knew why she was so peeved. She was the type who couldn’t handle being told a thing or two by someone she deemed inferior.

It’s hilarious when I think of it! But that’s when the bullying began.

(More in Part 2…)

* Not the real name of the person or entity.

The Contagion of Hate

It’s one of the reasons bullies are able to unite people who think like they do and win over bystanders and members of authority. It’s the reason why entire schools, workplaces, and communities will repetitiously mob a single targeted person. Understand that hate builds on hate.

Hate also helps to mask the insecurities of each member of the hating group. And all haters have insecurities, but not all insecure people are haters. Bullies know that, outside of a group, they are insignificant, ineffective, and powerless. If you have noticed, and I’m almost certain you have, haters always- always hate in packs.

Bullies are known for inciting others to not only partake in their hatred of the target, but also agree with and condone it. In their shared hatred of a target, each member gets validation and gains a sense of self-worth. The group also helps them to forget all about their insecurities and shortcomings.

Other benefits bullies get from their groups is a feeling of immense power, anonymity, and decreased accountability.

Realize that hate is like an adhesive that binds each member of the bully group together. When a group of bullies verbally attack their target, it enhances each member’s self-image and the overall status of the group.

And once verbal attacks lose their thrill, these bullies will take it up a notch and begin taunting the target by flipping him off, throwing rocks, destroying their property, and other such activities. And once that no longer produces the power high they seek, they will then begin shoving, tripping, pushing, etc. Shoving, pushing and tripping will then escalate to punching, kicking, and beating- then worse, and worse, and worse still.

Understand that hate spreads like a cancer. It’s the root of so many problems today. It’s true that hate hurts the haters more than the hated and that it eats the haters up inside, it can still cause a lot of collateral damage and make life dangerous for the hated if the hated fail to learn to recognize it.

If you’re an object of hate, the best you can do is to make yourself a priority. And how you do that is to take steps to protect yourself, take care of yourself, and focus on the people you love and who love you. Stay away for the wrong people and keep yourself around people who uplift you. Stay in a warm and loving environment if possible. You owe it to yourself.

With knowledge comes empowerment!