Six months after Darnell and I walked away from “the cesspool,” that was the environment at 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. The news had traveled that fast!
She told me that the owners of the nursing home 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 having been caught stealing narcotics to feed her addiction to pain pills, as were a few other nurses. The owners also terminated the dietary manager, as were several CNAs, most of who had 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. Harry and Cammie were so scared and humiliated that by the end of the week after the owners terminated them, they threw everything into two U-hauls and skipped town. Surprisingly, Shady Grove never pressed charges. I guessed that the nursing home didn’t want to end up with a black eye.
Harry and Cammie moved somewhere around Clarksville or Paris, TN, somewhere close to the Tennessee River. Cammie ended up working for the County Medical Center, 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, Cammie was found guilty in court, and the judge sentenced her to three years in the state prison. She only served two years.
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.
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 had my back and 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.
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.
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.
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 also 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.
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.
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 a supervisor. However, this only made the bullies more desperate.
Before I go into the story, I want to tell you that very few people ever come out the winner if they’re a victim 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 would’ve 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 of it was, is there was a long corridor between the actual nursing facility and the sanitation area, so I 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 wise ass.
This CNA, whom we’ll call, *Candi, had it in her mind that we, who worked in the laundry department, were beneath her and expected us to carry hers and everyone else’s water. Although the CNAs didn’t make any more money than we did, Candi and a few others had no regard for us. We didn’t classify as human to them.
After I schooled her, Candi got her little feelings hurt. So, she ran and cried to her buddies in the nursing home clique, like a sissy on a schoolyard playground. 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 deemed inferior.
It’s hilarious when I think of it! But that’s when the bullying began.
Bullying becomes Chronic when the bullying has gone on over time and has escalated such that it has now reached a dangerous level. In short, bullying has reached epic proportions.
When there’s Chronic Bullying, bullies have skyrocketed the torment and pursue their targets obsessively and non-stop. In a case of Chronic Bullying, the bullies’ behavior has gone ignored and unaddressed by authority, and the bullies have become so brazen and encouraged that their actions have grown in strength, frequency, and cruelty over several years.
The bullies’ apathy toward the victim grows to a point where they lose all empathy and come to feel nothing but blind hatred and fury toward the target. The attitude has now become that anything they do to the victim, no matter how cruel or how dangerous is good because, to the bullies, the victim has no value, and his life is worth nothing.
People who bully to these extremes usually have followers and minions backing them up. And they enlist members of their following to do their dirty work. It is when the bullying becomes so significant, so ingrained, and so severe that it seemingly takes on a life of its own.
The bullies are seemingly drunk on hate, and the bullying and torment of you seem to be all the bullies can focus on.
Instead of the bullies controlling their evil emotions and actions, their feelings and actions begin to control them! The bullies are controlled by hatred and blinded by senseless rage. They have become so addicted to the power and control over another human being that the bullying becomes constant for the bullies to get their fix and maintain the high that the power over the target gives them.
Understand that when bullying becomes chronic, bullies don’t see the target as a human being, they see him as so worthless and inferior that, in their minds, the target doesn’t deserve the time of day, much less any respect. As far as the bullies are concerned, the target doesn’t even deserve to breathe the same air as them! Even worse- the target doesn’t deserve to breathe, period!
This is why chronic bullying can be especially dangerous to the target because the victim runs the chance of either breaking and committing suicide or being murdered by their bullies.
This is why it’s so important to get out anytime bullying becomes chronic. Get out of that environment- transfer to another school, go to work for another company or move to another area.
Because once bullying becomes chronic, it becomes so out of control that it takes on a life all it’s own. There’s no stopping it at this stage.
The only way you’ll ever find peace is to leave without telling anyone. Only then will you be safe and have peace of mind.
Anyone, who is a victim of bullying knows all too well, the feeling of bewilderment, the confusion…. the questions- The “What did I do wrong?”, “What is it about me?” or “What do they treat me so horrible?” If you are a target, allow me to answer these questions for you.
First, you did nothing wrong!
Second, there is NOTHING wrong with you!
And third, they treat you wrong because of something that is within THEM! Not YOU!
I want you to understand that bullies purposely select their victims. They know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Remember that bullies are nothing but sniveling little cowards. And they select any one, whom they don’t believe will fight back. Or these who achieve great things.
School bullies feel weak. They always pick those they think are slow, kids with hearts of gold, who would never hurt a fly, children who are disabled, mentally handicapped or mentally ill, youngsters who are quiet and reserved and children who have what is perceived to be a physical flaw (overweight, underweight, eyeglasses, braces, or disfigured from accidents).
In school, bullies may select other classmates at random to see how they react. If a potential victim stands up to the bully and tells them off, the bully will then slink away with their tail between their legs. They will then search for someone else until they find the victim who responds how they want them to (cries, ignores them, walks away, runs, tattles, etc.)
Workplace bullies feel threatened. They pick coworkers who are intelligent, competent, and well-liked by others. They pick them because the exceptional workers are the people who make them look bad.
Through their excellent work, the victims hold a mirror up to the bullies (and everyone else) at work, forcing them to see their own pathetic reflections. They unwittingly expose their weaknesses and their incompetency by their successes, accomplishments, and impeccable work ethic.
The only way a bully can feel powerful and that they measure up is to bring the victim down or have a victim to use as a punching bag. If they don’t have that target, they feel less than and will go to the ends of the earth to find one.
At work, bullies will often select the brightest high performers and achievers.
back-stabbing colleagues threatening employee with scissors and knife
Once the bully finds his/her chosen victim, they target that person, sometimes for years until that person either changes schools or workplaces, moves, or dies. Then, once again, the bully will be on the hunt for a replacement victim.
I want you to understand that bullying at any age is born out of cowardice and insecurity. A bully is a pitiful person. Only a lowdown, uneducated, sad, and pathetic person has to have another person to harm. Think about it! School bullies pick on kids whom they perceive as weak! They stoop so low as to pick on disabled and disabled kids! And they do it to feel better about themselves.
Workplace bullies select someone who outperforms them. Only a loser scumbag creep does that! A zero! A sick moron!
So have the courage to call the bully OUT on these things! I realize that there are risks but do it anyway. Your self-esteem is counting on you. Get it in your head right now! Bullies are gutless, pathetic pieces of crap, human filth, toilet scum!
Here’s another fact, most bullies are also narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths. Therefore, there is something dark within them that motivates them to bully others.
I’ll say again. It is not your fault! And there is nothing about you that would make anyone mistreat you. So believe that you are a smart, beautiful person! Believe that you are a better person than your tormentors because you are!
Never allow any bully to convince you that you are less than them. Hold on to your faith and your confidence and counter every negative statement a bully makes.
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 reasons that mobbing is so hard to remedy is because 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, and begins to have 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.
Mobbing is bullying by large groups- it is a form of violence where either a vast majority of or whole of an alumni in a school, a workforce in a workplace, a(n) entire organization, or community collectively harass and attack a single targeted individual.
The mob often act under the influence of a ringleader or someone in a position of power. Mobbing almost always happens out of retaliation against a long-bullied target who became fed-up with the disrespect and cruelty and finally spoke out about or did something about it.
Mobbing has other names as well: Collective Bullying or Mass Bullying.
Remember that bullies and their followers expect the target to stay quiet about the abuse- even demand that he bow down to and submit to it. And when a targeted individual finally has enough and asserts his right to be treated as a human being, the bullies will punish him with mobbing.
Here’s a description of mobbing:
A large group of people (or mob) targets a person who opened his mouth about the bullying and abuse, and they become increasingly aggressive, and the number of attackers against the target grows until the targeted person is completely stripped of power.
Group aggression, or collective bullying, serves to reinforce a shared negative view of the targeted person regardless of the victim’s prior value or reputation. As vicious gossip circulates throughout the environment about the target, destructive labels and damaging accusations will ensue and only isolate the target.
The mob will expand to include several teachers and school staff, or managers on many levels and large numbers of students or coworkers. People who are often peaceful and kind are encouraged to avoid, resent, or hate the targeted person. A bully in power directs them to gossip about the person and to mistreat and bully him. Even the kindest, sweetest, most compassionate people can suddenly become vicious and nasty.
And, one by one, the entire student body, workplace, or community avoids, slanders and accuses the target of one thing after another, and after another.
Understand that, in these cases, those who are generally good, kind people won’t see themselves as mean or as participants in bullying but rather, as defenders against an (alleged) evil enemy. They view their own atrocious behavior as justified and necessary because to see themselves as bullying participants goes against their sense of morality and identity.
Understand that people will always act differently when they’re in a group. Always! Because they feel they must conform. Also, understand that once bullying escalates to mobbing, it’s nearly impossible to stop.
And the reason why it’s the most damaging to a target is that he quickly loses support as more and more people jump on the hate bandwagon, until everyone avoids, defames and blames the mark for any tiny thing that goes wrong.
School staff, the management, or community authorities then close ranks, thereby eliminating any help or escape from the abuse.
Sadly, there isn’t much you can do once the violence has escalated to this point. But in the next post, I will talk about mobbing in more detail. I’ll talk about the steps, stages, and signs that bullying is heading toward mobbing and how you can name it, describe it and raise your chances of heading the bullying off before it gets that far.