Trapped in a Toxic Environment

Like an animal in a cage,

Poked, prodded,

Feeling others’ rage,

Trapped,

There’s no escape,

From the toxic hate,

Bystanders content to follow,

The bullies like sheeple,

Poison you must swallow,

From bullies and fake people,

No chance of flight

Doors slammed shut and locked,

You must prepare to fight,

Because all exits are blocked,

Nowhere to go,

Life tells you no,

Cornered like a frightened dog,

With other’s issues you’re bogged,

Between a rock and hard place,

You must stare them in the face,

There’s no escape,

From the hate,

In a toxic environment,

Where everyone is violent

Reasons to Leave a Toxic Environment

A Positive Environment

When we’re in the right environment, one that is accepting, loving, and nurturing, we not only survive, but we also thrive. We can grow and flourish.

Therefore, in a positive environment, under the right conditions, we feel free to be ourselves. We can express our own ideas and opinions without fear. Also, we can feel safe and secure. We can be confident and build positive relationships with others. This gives us the freedom to be creative and show our talents.

The people around us encourage and support us. They are cooperative and give us the freedom to be and do. Most importantly, they nudge and push us to be our best. This is the kind of environment that nurtures our souls.

Whereas, in the wrong environment, one that is toxic, oppressive, restrictive, and harmful, we may only survive. We may only squeeze by. Instead of grow, we only stagnate, or worse, regress. Instead of flourish, we only wither.

A Toxic Environment

In a toxic environment, under terrible conditions, we aren’t free. We’re only prisoners, slaves, and victims.

Furthermore, humans need more than just food and water to survive, which means they also need positivity from their environments. They need positive people around them.  Also, human beings need diverse experiences instead of sameness.

Sadly, a toxic, bullying environment only promotes sameness. It doesn’t tolerate any form of diversity because it loathes anything different. Environmental stimuli have a huge impact on our psyches and social interactions. It can make us bitter or better. Our environments can cause progression or regression.

Therefore, it is so important that, if you find yourself in an environment that sucks the oxygen out of you, you must remove yourself from it. Though it may not always be easy to do, it’s a must if you want to salvage your self-esteem and mental health. In doing so, you will save yourself a lot of stress and heartache. Also, you will save yourself months of recovery.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

The Environment That Conditions You Most

What is the environment that conditions and shapes you the most when you’re in school or working? I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t the home!

Our environments determine our mental health.

They have ways of molding and shaping us, especially during our formative years. For example, a child who grows up in an abusive environment is, more than likely, going to either grow up to be an abusive adult. Or worse, they will grow up to be weakened and powerless. Remember that a person’s formative years (childhood) is the most impressionable and it determines their future!

Yes, there are exceptions to this rule. There are a few kids who develop a strong sense of self, either through dogged determination or an outside mentor. Those are the kids who make it out and create successful lives from themselves. However, most do not, and it’s sad.

You have three types of environments:
  1. Nourishing Environment (Very Healthy)
  2. Neutral Environment (Somewhat Healthy)
  3. Toxic Environment (Unhealthy)

Understand that the environment you spend most of your day in, will the one that will likely condition you. And if you spend most of your day-to-day life in a bullying environment, your mental health will suffer!

For example, a certain school kid lives in a loving and healthy home. But his classmates at school bully him mercilessly and without fail.

Now, let’s do the math:

A child or teen who is growing must have around 10 hours of sleep per day. So, subtract 10 hours for 24 hours and you’re left with a total of 14 waking hours. The average young student then spends about 8 hours per day in school. Subtract 8 hours from 14 waking hours and you have only six waking hours away from school.

Then we must figure in school bus time, or commuting time, which, for the average schoolkid, is 30 minutes to 1 hour, one way. Therefore, that’s 1-2 hours roundtrip (Keep in mind that most kids who are bullied at school are also bullied on the school bus).

Subtract that from 6 waking hours and the schoolkid in this scenario has only 4-5 waking hours at home in her loving and nourishing environment.

24 Hours (One Day)

-10 hours (Sleep)

-8 hours (School)

-1 or 2 hours (School bus)

= only 4 to 5 hours awake at home

So, that bullied child, although living in a loving and nourishing home environment, spends twice as many waking hours in a toxic school environment. Therefore, the bullying he suffers at school is likely to nullify the love and acceptance he gets at home. And he will be conditioned either to hate himself, or not to think much of himself. Because he spends more time with his bullying peers than he spends with his loving and accepting family, he’s still more likely to have self-esteem issues and lack confidence.

Now, do you see how this works?

Even sadder, the self-esteem and confidence of kids who are bullied at school and abused or neglected at home will take an even bigger hit to their mental health! Why? Because they never get a reprieve from bullying, as abuse at home is a form of bullying in and of itself.

In conclusion, how a student is treated at school has a huge impact on their mental health. It doesn’t matter how loving and nurturing their home life is. Granted, having a positive home life certainly helps, the bullying a child or teen suffers at school will likely negate any love and acceptance she receives at home.

So, how do we reverse the damage school bullies have caused a child?

We simple create opportunities for the child to make friends outside of their school. This will create more positive social experiences for them. It will help to create a more even balance between the bullying and negativity they suffer and the friendships and positivity they enjoy. Even better, it might even tip the scales and create more positive experiences and social interactions than negative!

Therefore, the resulting rise in positive experiences and interactions outside the school environment will serve to buffer person’s self-esteem and mental health from the blows of negativity they get at school.

You can help the youngster create these positive connections and experiences by sending them to summer camp. Also, you can do it by enrolling them in a martial arts class or attending neighborhood family get-togethers where there are other kids present. Attending church and church functions is another great idea.

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There are many, many opportunities available for the seizing! So, go for it! Give your bullied child these wonderful experiences! They will turn into awesome memories that will last a lifetime!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

3 Ways Living in Survival Mode Robs You of Personal Power

Living in survival mode can make for a hellish life. Sadly, many targets of bullying go through day-to-day life surviving instead of thriving. Not only can it have an impact on your successes with your family, relationships, and opportunities, it can affect your mental and physical health as well.

Personal power isn’t only essential to personal freedom, but also the last vestige of power we have. Without it, we’re completely powerless. So, what are the ways that being in survival mode can rob you of your personal power?

1. It exhausts you both physically and mentally.

And when you’re exhausted, you’re only running on fumes. You need extra sleep and have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings. You go into work or school at 8am dreading the day. Your butt drags around like an old, tired dog. You have zero energy, and you constantly feel sluggish. Living off raw adrenaline every day is never good and can cause health problems, such as autoimmune disorders, hypertension, and heart issues.

2. Instead of living, you only exist.

Instead of living a purposeful life, you only go through the motions. You’re being forced by circumstances beyond your control (i.e., bullies and their sycophants) to just get by. You have no chance of reaching your full potential and happiness quotient. And if you feel you can’t reach those levels, you don’t really live.

3. You either don’t have time to think about personal goals or you give up on them altogether.

When you busy living in survival mode, you’ll more than likely give up on your goals. Once you resign yourself, then the goal simply becomes just to survive and get through the day. If you do think about your goals, those goals are only passing thoughts. Or you wish for your goals to materialize.

But here’s the thing about wishing instead of goal setting. Wishing denotes a spirit of lack instead of the spirit of abundance. A spirit of lack only invites more lack to come into your life. Thoughts and feelings become our circumstances. What we think about, if even subconsciously, comes about.

Sadly, getting out of survival mode is a lot easier said than done. So, how do you do it?

Realize that when you’re constantly in survival mode, it usually means that you either live in a toxic environment, work in one, or go to school in one. And where there’s a toxic environment, there are toxic people.

Again, how do you get out of survival mode so you can finally relax and begin to enjoy life?

1. If you can, get out of the environment.

Getting away from the toxic place is a sure-fire way to reduce your stress levels and restore your mental health as well as your personal power. However, some people can’t leave because they have circumstances that prevent them from doing so. So, if you can’t leave, what else can you do?

2. You drawn strength from your faith.

Remember that prayer works. It works wonders.

3. Go for a walk or take a break.

This works wonders as well. Going for a walk or taking a break gives you time away from toxic people and the environment you’re stuck in. Even five minutes of time away can reduce your stress levels. In just doing these things alone, you can exercise your personal power, or what little of it you think you have left. And it feels exhilarating!

Know that you always have a choice, you may not have many of them, but you have at least one choice. Find out what your options are and use them. Only then will you feel a degree of personal freedom and, therefore get out of survival mode, if only temporarily, so that you can finally breathe again.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

Flowers Can’t Grow and Bloom Without Sunlight

Self-doubt is the killer of dreams. It comes when a person is consistently showered with toxicity and toxicity comes from toxic people- bullies and abusers. When all a person gets is insults and abuse for a long period of time, they become exhausted and any positivity they once had is slowly drained from them until they’re totally depleted of it.

Eventually, if targets aren’t careful, they’ll start to believe their abusers. They start seeing themselves through the eyes of their bullies. They’ll give up and others will see in them, a person who’s lackluster and slow.

When you’re a target of bullying, you’re like a flower that gets nothing but constant rain. The flower doesn’t grow and develop properly. The consistent abuse zaps your energy and keeps you hyper-vigilant and on guard 24/7- waiting for the other shoe to drop.

What happens is you lose your happiness, confidence, pride, will, and purpose in life. In essence, your bullies take away your good qualities and turn you into a person you don’t even recognize anymore.

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Bullying and abuse takes the joy out of your life and you begin to daydream about escaping your current situation. If there is no escape route available, you feel stuck. Then, you isolate yourself and become a recluse. You retreat into your own little fantasy world because it just feels safer that way.

Finally, you stop growing as a person because you live inside your head instead of observing life that’s going on around you and learning the lessons life is trying to teach you. All the while, the bullying and abuse you suffer only gets worse because everyone around you knows that you’re living inside your head and they ridicule you for it.

And people who do not know what you are going through or don’t understand you may mistake you for being lazy, slow, or stupid. But it only causes you to retreat further inside yourself and the bullying only gets worse. It is a vicious cycle, and it is no way to live!

Not only do I understand how you feel inside, I understand why. Just as flowers can’t grow without sunlight, people can’t grow without positivity. Flowers need a good balance of rain and sunlight and people need a good balance of positivity and negativity. They cannot survive on just negativity nor positivity.

Too much negativity or, in this case, toxicity, and the person’s emotional and psychological growth will be stunted. Then, their happiness, confidence, and dreams will die, and they’ll give up. Too much positivity, and they lose touch with the real world and real people, then become arrogant, full of themselves, demanding, and tyrannical! There has to be a healthy balance of both before a person can truly grow.

Therefore, if you’re a target of bullying, never accept what bullies and abusers try to cram down your throat. I want you to realize that they don’t know you at all, although they may claim they know you more than you know yourself. The truth is, nobody can possibly know you like that and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying through their teeth.

Understand that bullies and abusers are miserable people who want you to be as miserable as they are. Stay away from those people. They aren’t worth your time or energy. Only keep company with people who love you and who uplift you!

Remember that there’s always hope and you’re worth much more than what your bullies say you are and more than you may think you are. Never let bullies destroy the things inside you that matter the most- your self-love, self-respect, confidence, and sense of pride. Those things are yours and not for anyone else to have!

And how you do this is through self-care. If at all possible, remove yourself from the bullying environment and go to a new place where you can grow and flourish, and where you can make friends and be no only accepted, but celebrated!

Be your own best friend. Be your own hero. Be your own sunlight! Keep company with people who allow you to shine and the sun to shine on you!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

8 Telltale Signs Your Loved One is Bullied at School

As we know, targets are often silent about the torment they face at work or school and in most cases. This is due to shame and embarrassment. Also, Most family members and friends are not even aware that there is a problem. Those who do know about it are often at a loss as to how to help them. If you are a family member and are wondering whether or not your loved one is a target of bullying, here are the signs that she’s being bullied:

1. Withdrawal from family and friends – being the target of bullying can slowly chip away at self-esteem. And people with low self-esteem have a tendency to withdraw. It is a defense mechanism to protect oneself against further attacks because bully targets, after being victimized for so long, begin to think that all people are vicious and cannot be trusted.

Therefore, they put up their guard and close themselves off, resulting in missed opportunities for closeness with family members, friendships, or romantic relationships.

Or it could be that they don’t want to bother others with their problems and prefer to handle them independently. Still, lovingly ask questions and be prepared to listen attentively if they open up.

 

2. Underachievement – Most targets are underachievers. Their self-esteem has been so badly beaten that they no longer believe in themselves, which can cause a condition known as “Learned Helplessness.” After being told that they are a “loser,” “no good,” and/or that they “can’t do anything right” for so long, they tend to believe it themselves. This can hurt grades, class participation, and performance.

Letter F grade on a report card rating a terrible, bad, poor performance in school, a class, job or other scored activity

They must also focus all their mental energy on ways to avoid bullies and be safe, which can affect performance.

3. Overachievement – Although bullying can cause underachievement, it can go either way. Some bullying targets dive into work projects or schoolwork and achieve exceptional grades and class performance to compensate for their low social status among their peers. They feel that they are socially inept somehow, so these kids try to make up for this by excelling in their work, studies, talents, or any other area.

4. Bruises, scrapes, and or cuts on their physical body – many victims of school bullying are targets of physical bullying (being punched, kicked, knocked down, dragged, etc.), which occurs mostly in boys. Still, thanks partially to feminism and the moral decline in today’s young girls and women, physical assaults perpetrated by females are increasing at an alarming rate.

5. Sadness and Depression – symptoms are crying, withdrawal, loss of interest in activities one normally enjoys, and fatigue.

6. Excessive absences from school – Most targets are afraid of going to work or school because they know that bullies will be waiting for them as soon as they arrive or step onto the bus. So, they avoid going by either skipping, feigning illness, or calling in sick.

7. They may become bullies themselves – Often, bullied people feel helpless. They feel that they have absolutely no control over anything. So they too become bullies in an attempt to feel some sense of power and control over something- ANYTHING.

They bully others who are even more powerless to make themselves feel better about themselves and to feel that they are a rung or two up from the bottom of the social hierarchy. Crap always rolls downhill.

An example of this would be: A child gets yelled at by parents, then goes outside and kicks the dog. It’s the same with most bully targets. And as much as I hate to admit it, I was guilty of the same thing in school.

8. Suicidal thoughts and attempts – sadly, suicides resulting from bullying are at an all-time high! Most people who are bullied are powerless to stop it. Most have tried reporting it to authority or handling it themselves to no avail.

Targets often feel alone and have no one in their corner. They feel that there is something wrong with them. They’re made to feel as if it is their fault and that somehow, they deserve the shabby treatment they get.

Sadly, some targets break under pressure and conclude that suicide is the only way to make it stop. If you even think that your loved one might be suicidal, Get help now!

Targets need a support system! Be that support system! Be there for them! If you see any of these signs in a loved one, don’t ignore or minimize it! Ask questions!!!

Try to get them to open up. It won’t be easy, as people are ashamed to admit being bullied, even their own families. However, if you want to help them, you have to address it, and you have to do it gently and lovingly.

Bullying, Adrenaline, and the Innate Fight or Flight Response

Any time a person has been the object of relentless bullying at work or school over an extended period of time, that person comes to be in a constant state of high alert. Although useful in short, immediate circumstances, this hyper-vigilance can be unhealthy if the person remains in this state for too long, causing stomach issues, headaches, and fatigue, among many other ailments.

Even worse, such a continuous feeling of being under threat can also cause the person to overreact in response to certain occurrences.

Here’s an excerpt from “From Victim to Victor (A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying).”

“…Every living creature has an innate and perfectly natural physiological reaction in the event of a threat or attack. Called the Fight or Flight Response, it protects us from harm in dangerous situations in part through the release of adrenaline. When adrenaline is released into the blood, it becomes next to impossible not to do either of two things- fight or flee.

When I was being bullied and abused during school, escape was not an option for me. Usually, I was cornered or surrounded, either backed into a wall or some large object. With flight cut off to me as an option, what did I have left? Fight! I lived on this adrenaline every day, all day long. Just being around my classmates put my body and mind on constant alert. It was a horrible way to live.

Getting on the school bus and walking through the entrance to the school felt like a death march. In the afternoons, I had horrible headaches that triggered violent nausea. For so long, I had managed to keep from vomiting.

Eventually, my luck ran out. I recall an afternoon in English class when my mouth and eyes began to water. I swallowed hard to control my gag reflexes as I approached the teacher’s desk to ask to be excused to the bathroom.

‘What do you want?’ Mrs. Caraway asked rudely.
‘I don’t feel good.’ I replied.

Without a word, she gave me the hall pass, and I scurried my way to the girls’ room, barely making it to the first stall before launching a stream of the bitterest, most horrible tasting green liquid into the toilet.

This was followed by a long series of dry heaves, which were quite painful. Instead of making me feel better, the vomiting made me feel worse, and my headache became next to unbearable.

I’ll never forget the sound of the bathroom door as it flung open and the teacher stormed in, demanding to know why I was taking so long. I began to cry and, in between gags and wretches, pleaded with her to let me go to the office and call my grandmother….”

She accused me of making myself vomit so I could go home early.

When you’re a bullied kid, even a few teachers, having heard the rumors and falsehoods being spread about you, begin to bully you too. It’s a very lonely and heartbreaking position to be in.

As time went on, the fear of going to school and having to face my classmates grew in me. It was like an infected tumor getting bigger and bigger with each passing day. My stomach would draw up every morning when I set foot on that school bus.

The next eight hours were like walking through a minefield, never knowing when my next step could mean BOOM! and I would be hit, shoved, kicked, or bombarded with a torrent of taunts, insults, and names. It was a situation I saw no end to, and to say that I was afraid would be an understatement. I was petrified.

Most never think of the magnitude of fear the victim must live with or the health consequences of living in that perpetual state of fight or flight. And sadly, although the impact on the victim’s physical health may not show up right away, it may rear its ugly head later in life.

But this doesn’t only happen in school; it happens in the workplace also. What was believed to only happen to school-aged people also happens to adults in the workplace. Bullying knows no age group.

Many bullied victims get into serious trouble when the bullying finally escalates and becomes physical. Every day, innocent targets are unjustly suspended and expelled from school or fired from work because they were forced into fight mode to defend themselves.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

Bullies have a real flair for charming and seducing supervisors, managers, teachers, and staff, lying very convincingly and making the target look like the aggressor. Targets are often severely punished for nothing more than trying to protect themselves, while the bullies are either given a slap on the wrist or escape with complete impunity.

However, school staff and workplace management should know well that, just like all God’s creatures, bullying targets have this fight or flight instinct.

It’s only natural that if you corner a dog and kick it enough times, sooner or later, you’ll get bit!

Types of Beliefs Bullying Instills in Targets

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“Nobody will ever love me.”
“Nothing good can ever happen to me.”
“Human beings are predators and love drama.”
”It sucks to be me!”

Those were once my beliefs.

Bullying is a form of brainwashing. When a person has been an object of bullying for an extended length of time, they become fearful and unconsciously hold themselves back. After people tell the target for so long that they aren’t good enough, the tormented person comes to believe it themselves. Even worse, those negative thoughts, which have, for several years, been drummed into their heads by bullies, become a self-fulfilling prophecy!

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Because bullying is so repetitive, it causes the target to think that they don’t deserve to be happy or prosperous. This person stops taking risks and plays everything safe. They settle for far less than what he/she deserves. And they don’t trust themselves to make good decisions and to say or do the right thing.

Targets of chronic bullying have the mindset that good fortune happens to anyone but them. Also, victims lose faith in humanity and come to think that all people are rotten and take pleasure in harming others. As a result, they lose their trust in humans in general, which only causes them to lose out on what could be genuinely remarkable friendships and relationships and re-enforce loneliness and isolation.

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This is what bullying does to victims. It reprograms their minds and smashes their self-esteem to pieces, which can sometimes take years to put back together again. It causes them to do things that they usually would never do. I say this because it happened to me.

During the years my classmates bullied me, I did not trust anyone. I selected friends I didn’t want to be friends with and dated a few guys whom I wasn’t even remotely attracted to- all because I believed I couldn’t do any better. I did this to avoid being alone.

As long as there was a warm body around, it was “good enough.” I didn’t realize that not only was I being unfair to myself but also the people I selected. I deserved to be with people whom I wanted to be with and who were upstanding and positive, and they deserved to be with people who were with them because they chose to be, not because they were the only option. I was doing what Zig Zigler termed as “stinkin’ thinkin.'”

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Here is another thing victims do as a result of bullying, they never permit themselves to be selfish, not realizing that a little bit of selfishness is okay, even imperative at times! In the past, people have repeatedly accused these targets of being selfish when they are only caring for themselves and also shamed them into believing that anything they do for themselves is wrong. Therefore, they put themselves on the back burner and everyone else comes first, often at the victim’s own expense!

It happened to me. I became shy and shut people out for fear of being harmed. I was afraid to say “no” to people because, in the past, I had been retaliated against and hurt for daring to set a boundary. I was forbidden to set boundaries and expected to, even forced to “let” others violate me. It was a terrible situation, which eventually caused me not to value myself as a person.

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And when I finally got mad at the direction my life was headed. I decided, “No more!” I deserved to be happy just as much as the next person and I got proactive. I became hungry for any knowledge that would help me change my inside so that I could change my outside!

I took my first step toward empowerment by reading as many personal development books as I could get my hands on, then putting their advice into practice. And believe me! Spiritual and psychological reprogramming isn’t easy!

Anytime you set out to change destructive thoughts and habits you’ve had for several years, it’s the hardest thing to do. It takes a lot of grunt-work and, most of all, patience because the change doesn’t happen overnight.

Your mind will fight you every step of the way. It took several years for me to notice a significant difference in my thought patterns and attitude.

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Thankfully, it finally paid off in a big way, and things are much different today! I want you to know that when you are a target, placing worth on yourself and doing the work to bring positive changes in your life is the most important thing you can ever do for yourself.

Don’t do like me. For a time, I let my bullies win by caving in under a mountain of pressure and giving them carte blanche to brainwash me with their abuse. However, it was a lesson learned.

Always, value yourself, even when it seems that others don’t because it will work wonders for your self-esteem and save you a lot of work later. Keep fighting even when it appears that you’re losing the battle because oftentimes when things look the bleakest, your breakthrough or relief is just around the corner.

Love yourself and put yourself first, then reach out to only those who reciprocate love and positive feelings to you. Turn a deaf ear to the harmful talk bullies may attempt to fill your head with. Better yet, send those toxic parasites packing! Because you’re worth it! I promise you!

How I Triumphed Over Workplace Bullying and Mobbing (Part 2)- How It All Started

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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.

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 only two of their flying monkeys. On the other side were my supervisor, all of my coworkers (except for one suckup), a charge nurse, and the rest of the CNAs who had my back.

 

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Many times, 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’d soiled their beds during the night.

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

I took photos of all three shelved walls in each of the linen closets, which were chock full of clean linens. I then took pictures of the insides of all the empty barrels, marked “dirty laundry” before clocking out and going home. And the time-stamps on each image left no question of whether 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.

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

In a way, it was funny because each of the linen closets was directly across from the 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 knew I wasn’t alone.

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

Now during this time, I began to witness a couple of the bullies in this workplace clique commit a few illegal activities. In 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 clock in. Harry then filled out a bogus work order, then leave.

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He didn’t return until late that evening. He clocked out and then left again. I’ll never forget the look on his mug when he saw me sitting outside on my last break as he drove right by in his shiny new pick up. 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…)