May 20th, 2009

Woman-on-Woman Bullying

Six explanations from us for why women bully other women at work.

Solidarity of the sisterhood is a myth and stereotype. It doesn’t mean it does not exist, it’s just that not all women are nurturant and supportive to one another. Neither is every man macho and hyper-aggressive. Stereotypes are generalizations about sex-role-typed behavior, common acts associated with only one gender and not the other. Many behaviors are gender-typed. 

Workplace Bullying is not gender-typed. Workplace environment factors are better predictors than gender. For example, a culture that carries no accountability or negative consequences, regardless of how harmful the behavior exhibited paves the way for bullies. A place where kissing-up (ingratiation) is the norm is fertile territory, where bullying and favoritism (and its converse, ostracism) thrive.

When we discuss the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill, we speak of “status-blind” harassment. Bullying crosses the boundaries drawn by gender, race, ethnicity, age, and disability. Thus bullying is truly “gender-free.”

What attracts the media to woman-on-woman (WOW) bullying is the fact that women are targeted at a higher rate by female bullies (71%) than by male bullies (46%). Yes, women are crueler to women than they are to men, and that must be explained. But don’t forget that 60% of all bullies are men. 31% of all bullying is men-on-men, 29% is WOW. Why is there so little interest in the more frequent variety of same-gender bullying? Because it’s discounted as routine, expected, predictable. WOW sounds mysterious, counterintuitive, and, I think, somewhat prurient.

So here are some explanations for WOW bullying that rarely make it into TV segments on bullying, print stories and the gabfest which is the blogosphere. We offer this because some readers might get the impression that we are misogynists. We are not! 57% of all bullied targets are women, and the majority of callers seeking help from us are women. We are women’s advocates in the fight against workplace bullying.

The WBI  starter list of explanations

A. It’s the workplace, not the people in it. Employers create work environments where aggression is rewarded. women see this (as well if not better than men) and learn to abuse others to get ahead. It’s the way things are done around here.

In male-dominated organizations, where men hold all the executive positions, women tend to adopt male-sex-typed behavior to survive and succeed. Only in female-run organizations (or those run by males who adopt a female-sex-typed style that values quality of interpersonal relationships as much as power and status differences) can there be hope for a less aggressive, more dignified and respectful way to operate.

See the Women and Bullying articles in our Research section for relevant studies about this particular angle.

B. A double standard about women is alive and well and practiced by both men and women. If women are “nice” they are too soft. If they are tough, they are “bitchy.” There are two social psychological explanations for this. 

First, it is gender bias in the causal attribution process. Causal attribution is simply showing a preference for explaining things that happen. Old research found that if a person is described succeeding at a task, the explanation depends on whether the person described is male or female. Success for men is typically explained by a trait, inherent skill, intelligence, ability. With exactly the same information, when it’s a woman, success is the result of the task being so easy anyone could have done it or luck. And both men and women elect those different explanations. 

Second, the first person to break any barrier and be the lone representative of a group (and therefore, be in the statistical minority) is called a “token.” Tokens are subjected to disproportionate pressure. Errors, however tiny, are magnified. Successes can also be blown out of proportion. In practice, token individuals often break from the pressure. Look at what Jackie Robinson had to endure when he broke the race barrier in the white baseball league. Same for the first woman CEO or the first woman to attain a high rank in any organization. Women are natural tokens in male-dominated domains, like business. Men are rarely the only male in any role, but when they are, they, too are tokens and heavily scrutinized.

C. Women targets are less likely to confront in response to being bullied. But targets, of both genders, rarely react with aggression. That’s what makes them targets. Bullies sense who will be an easier mark. Targets are sorted into those who take no action because of a higher moral calling. It could be their religion that tells them to turn the other cheek or to never lower oneself to the level of a tyrant. Other targets walk away in fear, stunned at the surprise attack. Getting away is the only reaction they have. Once away, they hope time will heal the wound or prevent it from happening again. Regardless of motive, targets do not defend themselves because either they are unable (it’s not their worldview and never acquired the skill of self-defense because it’s a fair world, no one will hurt you) or unwilling to do so. Targets are all “easy marks.” It’s not just women.

D. Most bullies are bosses (in the US, 72% of bullies are bosses). All bullies prefer to bully subordinates. It’s a permitted prerogative that makes being a boss attractive to many people. So, bullying flows downhill.

Women are bosses, too. But they are lower-ranking than men bosses (only 15% of executives are women, only 3% of CEOs). So they are more likely managing other women and not other men executives. They bully whoever they can. So, WOW may be nothing more than proximity at work. You bully those within reach.

E. Though I’m not a woman, I’ve had a great deal to do with them during my lifetime (and Ruth educates me constantly). (She says that) women are socialized to judge other girls while growing up. They pay attention to how others look and dress all the time. Self-identity can be almost entirely dependent on how others appear and how they are judged by others. Without comparisons to others, some would not know how to make decisions.

Two factors emerge. First, modeling one’s personal behavior on the actions of others gives a great deal of power to the other person. Clearly in WOW relationships where apparent friendship preceded bullying, the bully may have been respected by the future target. When she is betrayed, the target ruminates (for way too long) about the inexplicable turnaround, searching for a rational explanation. It doesn’t matter, it just happened because the bully wanted it to. Wanting to be like someone else gives away too much personal control over one’s own life and choices made.

Second, the skill of paying attention since childhood determines the adult woman’s perceptual field. Other women are salient in the social world. More information is gleaned from cultivating relationships with women. Abusive, exploitative relationships with one person dominating the other is simply a twisted, sick reliance upon getting information from another woman (to then be used against her). Targets fall into the trap easily.

F. Feminist writers claim that women grow up accustomed to having their personal boundaries invaded and thus learn to treat other women that same way. A girl’s opinions are treated as irrelevant by the father compared to her brother’s. A girl’s ambitions are tamped down, expectations made more “realistic,” dreams treated as impossible. This is denial of her very psychological integrity, a discounting of her humanity. If this is how she is raised, she grows accustomed to being treated rudely or denigrated as not deserving equal status with others. So, when bullied at work, the immediate reaction is rarely outrage and righteous indignation that a fool would dare lie so readily or be so unapologetically cruel. It is more likely a timid turing away, starting immediately to blame herself, buying into the lies (as if some “kernel of truth” is buried in all the manure), and spiraling into a psychologically compromised state.

Read Phyllis Chesler’s Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman in the Recommended Books section.

So, there’s my preliminary thinking about the topic. Do you see why reporters can’t handle all this information?

Women:  share your favorite explanation for WOW bullying by adding a comment. We want to see lots of input from you, the experts.


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 at 3:24 pm and is filed under Bullying-Related Research, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Tutorials About Bullying. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. RoJo says:

    I have most often seen the women bully’s selecting the workers with higher degrees of ethics and competence in their jobs as the targets. I attribute that to their irritation that the position they hold as 60% social and 40% satisfaction is threatened and they will have to rise to meet the elevated bar. They hate having a new dynamo coming in and stealing their thunder, especially if they can’t pull the person into their confidence to collect amunition to use against them.

    • mary ann says:

      My bully essentially began to steal my identity. She took credit for my work, she took my ideas and presented them as her own, and as she did so, she slowly cut me out of meetings, took me off tasks, and whittled away at every single accomplishment I’d ever had. Finally, when I confronted her, she laid me off and I was escorted out of the building. A bully that is allowed to run rampant becomes a sociopath and it is much more pathological than gender-related.

      • justsotired says:

        That sounds like what happened to me!

      • A. Caroline says:

        Look up narcissistic personality disorder to see if it’s her. They like to take credit for things that are always done by others. They despise people with values and morals. I wish you much luck.

    • Beentherdonethat says:

      My situation is this…I came into this job 3.5 yr ago or so…4 were here then 1 male who has transferred to a different dept and 2 women and me. I am a non mgmt. person both women are mgmt. but not my boss. We all have the same supervisor.
      since day one the older lady (my age 60) has disliked me for no apparent reason I have never done anything ugly or mean to her. She has set the tone in the office with the other young mgr and the young one follows her lead…I am ostersized, never included in anything, no personal conversations, no hey you look nice today, I like your outfit or how is your kids, husband, grandkids, etc…(there is much of this between the two of them daily). Since I have been here the young one graduated from college so I sent a gift to her of two beads for a bracelet she wore..(she has never worn it again to the office and I have never seen the beads) the first two xmases I was here I gave them all a small gift and card—they gave me NOTHING so this year I gave them nothing. This year our boss gave the older co worker a $30 gift card for xmas lunch…we have never went out (nor do I want to go with them) but she has the $$ and has mentioned it twice but never moved on it and here it is mid March and NOTHING…she has belittled me, demeaned me, said snide things to me (always when no one was present) she acts like she is my supervisor–always watching me and mentioning stuff I am doing wrong…today was the last straw…she walked into my cube 1st thing in the morning and said my perfume was so STRONG and that she would be shutting her door and that the other person said the same thing. (I have been wearing the same perfume for over 3 yrs and not once has anyone ever mentioned it)but her. Then she said I am not trying to hurt your feelings just to let you know…
      I can’t do this crap anymore with her—I am wishing that bad happens to her–I feel happy when I think of not EVER seeing her face again. I think I will be seeking forgiveness in confession this Sat..

      • Starry says:

        I hope to God you are not still putting up with this. Remember, ‘Love Thyself’, as He said. This is psychological abuse you are putting up with. Not just a one time ‘turn the cheek” thing. Like me you want to take the higher road, but I have my limits.

  2. SurvivorMom says:

    It’s a shame that there are still many of us on welfare being supported by the government because we have been frequently abused by supervisors or coworkers. Some us can’t keep jobs because abuse is perpetuative. They are ignoring this problem. Many of us are in disadvantaged situations and finally get into employment only to be targeted and harassed back out. Potential employers take a look at our “new job every 6 months” resume and just won’t hire us as if these problems are being caused by us. As women we all face a certain level of the same challenges…it’s why we have EEOC laws. Are the ladies of today forgetting history? Or have some of us fallen in to the same mindset of the men that we had to convince to change to get more equality in our work environments. I see emotional battering of women that have already been emotionally and physically battered in their own homes by their husbands. It’s abuse upon abuse. I see women behaving in the same narcissistic “I need a raise, so I’ll have to make sure she doesn’t by sabotaging her work” . . . I see children shooting their schoolmates, military personnel shooting other military personnel, regular everyday people pulling out artillery on former coworkers and family members. The WBI bill is something that if everyone had access to understood and abided by, it would heal and transform so many situations beyond just workplace abuse. It is a bill that is necessary for some of us to work. period.

    • Jadé says:

      I thank you for writing this. I thought I was the only one that was going through this. My family looks at me like I’m a failure not knowing how hard it is to fight in the workplace. I have nothing to show for the hard work that I have done to the point where my health has suffered tremendously causing debt. I have lost friendships, I’m on the verge of losing my relationship if I quit again. But that creates a double standard for me when I do re-establish income. I feel more helpless when I’m working than when I’m not.

      • Connie says:

        Hang in there, don’t let the jealous “witches” get you down. It’s all about jealousy of the individuals that are smart.

      • Kathleen M. Tripp says:

        Dear Jade,

        Yes, hang in there. I have been bullied for two yrs. by my Mgr. I consider myself a “whistleblower”, and I am currently on suspension awaiting the final outcome to see if I will be terminated, I have just contacted lawyers about my case because I believe I have a good one… I hope you have been documenting all the episodes of harassment so that you can see if you have a case… I have slight disability from a car accident(the bullying began when I returned to work) so I believe I have a case for harassment bullying, discrimination (age,gender, disability), as well as malice… I am lucky in a way because I am a 43 yr. old female with a disability, and a whistleblower and am supposed to be protected… I hope that is true!!!

      • Sue says:

        Jade, hang in there. I was, and continue to be bullied, but I took my “case” to management. My department manager listened, sympathized even, but didn’t act. He just told me to list the incidents. This new year (2010) I got a new supervisor and she absolutely, positively will NOT tolerate the behavior the bully is foisting on me. My supervisor went to the bully’s manager (who is new, this year, to the bully! There is a God) and they began to document the incidents.
        Yes, you begin to think you need a mental health expert and it does (and did to me) work on my physical health. But I WILL NOT let this bully wreck my career or my reputation.
        I’m lucky, too, in that my husband is totally supportive and listens to my complaints. He’s a lot cheaper and more loving than a psychologist.

      • Dr. Gary Namie says:

        I really hope your new supervisor puts your safety first and keeps the bully away. This is a success story (still in process) that is worth telling. I invite you to write this story of the heroic, bold supv. GN

      • dknj says:

        Dear Jadé –
        I lost my job as Information Mgr in the law department of a large corporation after returning from a leave I took for breast cancer treatment. Suddenly, the world changed. I was made to report to a female lawyer and she steadily harassed me from the very day that she took over.
        In an investigation by outside counsel, and ever since, she claimed that I got along with men better than with women, since I could twist them around my finger. (I am long past my 20s.) If this is not jealousy, I don’t know what it is. I mean, I had good friends among the men in the dept,, simply because most lawyers were male. After harrowing times, I left a job I had loved for almost 20 years, lost my career and am still out of work, in the worst economy in our times.

      • Dr. Gary Namie says:

        “after returning from a leave I took for breast cancer treatment” This happens so often — the cowardly bullies target people when most vulnerable. Wonder how they would take it if roles were reversed. That woman lawyer would have been the first to cry for help. These clowns pick fights when the target can’t fight back. The ones she did manage to get along with must have been senior partners (probably male) so that she’s still there and you’re not. So sorry for your plight. GN

      • Rose Webster says:

        Dear Jade,

        I feel exactly the same way. You are NOT alone in all of this. I am actually writing about workplace bullies…doing a great deal of research. And you know what? You are dead-on right. If you like, check out my blog at:

        Hang in there, it will and does get better.Thank you for your honesty. I feel less alone now.

        Take Good Care,

      • JRivcol says:


        It is so nice to read all these comments. I have been a target, at first by nurse peers then by a new manager. One peer was my “BFF” at work, but when the new manager came, and they were good friends from 20 years ago, she turned on me. I have been falsely accused of things, had a journal stolen out of my desk that I kept as a legal document. The manager and Medical Directors are all in on it. They have treated me like I wasn’t even a person. I am in the process of leaving. The reality was I was the highest paid and my “work was impecable” as the manager put it. Because I didn’t work extra when they wanted and I believe because of the legal documentation I kept that was stolen, when my spouse was laid off, I was told I could not work extra, that there were no hours budgeted yet there is a job posting on Career Builder for 40 hours. The medical director told me if I wanted full time work I should apply elsewhere. I was told I called out too much (even though I was ill, my physician even treated me – who is also the medical director) and that I was rude to staff. Yet when the bullies were rude to me, the supervisor made excuses for them. I ended up blowing a whistle on the new supervisor’s BFF, Because the supervisor was giving her good friend special treatment, and that also contributed to the retaliation. Even though I was trying to prevent a disaster. Most of the staff (90%) are hispanic and they wanted a hispanic supervisor, the other bully nurses were noticing the “favorite” nurses special treatment. So I warned the Medical director and she paid me back by making me out to be the bad one for whistle blowing. The “favorite” nurse had been bragging about how she knew the new supervisor and how she was going to be her favorite. Once the supervisor was hired she started working late and whining about how overwhelmed she was. She even told me that she had told the Supervisor all about the HealthCenter and how “they” were going to straighten everyone else out. This “favorite” nurse had been outed by the other 2 bullies when I first arrived there and said I had been her only friend and if it weren’t for me she would have quit. Then she outs me with the supervisor because I confronted her and told her she was not doing her Supervisor “BFF” a favor by making her discredit herself as a supervisor by showing favortism. Some thanks for trying to prevent a war and save this poor, naive Supervisor’s reputation. The other 2 bullies, known as Team Leads, had it out for me the second I got there. Yet this “favorite” nurse who had been there target is now aligning herself with them. Anyway, I know that there is a God and that evil people will reap what they sow. I am the 3rd nurse to leave under this new manager, and my work is “impecable” according to this manager. It is sad when impecable work doesn’t matter. Work has become a popularity contest in so many places. You would think that “Professionals” would know what being a professional is. Hang in there. Pray for God to find you a better place to work and let God pay your enemies back. HE has such a loving way of teaching people a lesson. “Bless and pray for those who persecute you.” That is what I have done. There is another nurse who has witnessed what is happening. These nurses just shot themselves in the foot because if the nurses leave it only leaves them short handed. I just feel bad for the patients who have to suffer with bad customer service from an under-staffed clinic.

    • Eva says:

      Please hang in there. I’m going through the same thing right now. First w/ male, now w/ female super.

      “The first person to break any barrier and be the lone representative of a group (and therefore, be in the statistical minority) is called a “token.” Tokens are subjected to disproportionate pressure. Errors, however tiny, are magnified.”

      This could describe me. Doesn’t matter how great a job you do, you will get more work, less pay and always be put down.

      In my co., it’s not the gender, it’s the workplace. This type of behavior seems to be encouraged. So might as well stand up for yourself. Because, YOU don’t deserve this!

    • Sara Nunez says:

      I agree with you 100 %. The congress should pass a bill against bullying. Perhaps if all of us that have been billed, could come together as a unit and fight for it can make it happen.

  3. Sue Schweickert says:

    I have experienced this many times over the years. I had a supervisor who bullied me and several other women in the office. I witnessed her shaking her finger in the face of another female staff person. When I confronted her about what she did she spread lies to the owners of the business. I left after that as I knew I would never get a promotion after that.

    I worked in county Human Services Agency where another worker who was in tight with the Director and the supervisor sabatoged my work and cost me my position, because she wanted a friend to get the job I had. She said derogatory things about me to the Director in front of other staff. She made work I did disappear and then reported me for not doing my work or not doing it correcly. I was not the only one she did this to. She cause another person to leave and almost cost the job of the person who replaced the one who left.

    I am now a supervisor in a County Agency in another county and I work with 4 women, 3 of which have bullied me for 7 years. I refuse to allow them to make me leave. It has been tempting at times, but I am not a quitter anymore. One even told me she was waiting for me to leave so she could have my job.

    Go Figure. You would think women would be nicer to each other. It is all about power for them.

    • jaye says:

      I worked at a company that treated me like this also. I had returned to school and it was common for this unit to harass newcomers to the point that they would leave so that one of their “friends could get employment there. I ironically turned to HR, thinking that I had some type of support. It was one of the worst mistakes I could do, because they would report to them everything I said. Lies were invented about my work and eventually I left to got to another job. I will never forget how I was treated because it was uncalled for. It taught me to never completely show your whole hand. I have a job now that I do not have to go through these changes, it is not perfect. But I know how to protect myself now from past experiences that I learned to built on. I have predominantly always worked with women because I am a nurse. You would think that they would be the most nurturing group, but they are the opposite.

  4. Pat Navadomskis says:

    Employment at will fine but I want my money back.I was getting harrased to the point of PTSD.
    overpayments on CHARGE CARDS to predetory lenders.
    I had NO CONTROL OVER THIS and I am not getting screwe over by those Banks.I want my credit repaired and i still think TERRORIST are involved in this.So WHY ARE WE TARGETS GETTING SCREWED BY THE COMPANIES<COWORKERS FROM HELL AND BANKS?????

  5. Marisa Wood says:

    My perpetrator, from 2005-2006, was a woman. But it had very little to do with gender, and everything to do with her mean spirit (and probably sociopathic tendencies). L.P. was an equal opportunity bully who victimized men and women, able-bodied and disabled, different races and religions.

    She did what predators always do–selected the one she saw as the “weakest in the pack” and would not stop, even after the victim quit or got fired. In the time I worked for her, she hounded four or five people–including me–out of their jobs.

    And in my case, she made it hard for me to find another job because she gave bad references. Now that I think about it, she probably did that to the other victims.

    The company eventually did get rid of her, but not before she destroyed my health and very nearly my career.

  6. Recent reader says:

    Most bullied workers are women, I think because bullies believe it’s safer, frankly, to try their tactics against someone who’s been socialized not to get overly aggressive or even violent when met with such tactics.

    I think the gender of the most common target is more interesting than the gender of the bully. Women are targeted 57% of the time.

    I think men bully women less frequently than they bully men because it’s too easily put into the gender discrimination or sexual harassment categories when it’s a male bully and a female target, so men are “careful” about it because they know there could be potential legal consequences. Women don’t have that discincentive when going after women.

    If I had a dollar for every attorney that has expressed disappointment that my bully was female, because that makes it almost impossible to pursue a discrimination or harassment suit……………

    Signed, a target whose bully was her female boss. I dug in my heels and stuck it out, only to be laid off recently along with a few percent of the company. I blame the bully’s conduct directly for the decision to lay me off, costing me over one hundred thousand dollars of deferred compensation for high performance in prior years that I became ineligible to receive the minute I was separated from the company.

  7. catherine says:

    whether you have brothers and sisters, or you were
    raised as an only child, parents cannot be blamed
    for all things. There comes a time when becoming
    adult in our dealing with other people is essen-
    tial. It becomes necessary to say I did this ,
    because this or that was my choice. Not because
    my father or mother ignored or pampered me, but,
    because adult means I have grown enough as a person to do what is Right.

    If any person can maltreat another person(s),
    and be rewarded with increased status, then some
    thing is wrong with the social structure, Not the
    genders. It’s like using defective material to
    make a Valentino. Nothing is wrong with the de-
    sign, the fabric is poor quality.
    Catherine C.

    wrong with the

  8. An Explanation of The Equal Pay Act | The Money Saving Fifty (50) says:

    […] Woman-on-Woman Bullying […]

  9. Saturn7 says:

    From my experience and observation I think the people who bully are insecure, lack real skills for the job, and bully to hide their own incompetence. I think its why they target people who are competent, secure, and skilled. Bullies fear being found out – incompetent, scared, and worried about their own inadequacies.

    I think this is true from young ages in grade school to high level positions of power. If you are competent, secure, and skilled you don’t have the need to hurt others in this way.

    Recently I was told by an upper level administrator that the mistake Senior VPs, CNOs in nursing make is to “get rid of anyone who is a threat to them”. A mistake made out of insecurity, rather than seeing that competent people can actually make their jobs easier.

    The problem is these same VPs & CNOs continue to be hired regardless of how many places they have destroyed through their firing competent people.

    Its a top down process that is ongoing and perpetuates itself in healthcare and the consequence is ultimately to the patient.

    • Elizabeth C says:

      I am a secretary who has been bullied by one of my executives for the past three years. I got through it because I had the support of my supervisor who would advocate for me. When we reorganized our company, I realized that I was at risk since the bully was now in a position to fire me. At our first review (where she only set goals for future, but did not review the past), she spoke in a way that indicated she was paving the way to fire me down the road.

      I agree with the above poster that about the bully lacking skills in some area. In this case, the bully is a terrible communicator, and when things are not done as she envisioned (but did not communicate), she blamed me for the faulty outcome.

      Luckily, there was another position in the company that I was able to apply for, which does not report to this bully.

      • SandDollar says:

        Elizabeth C said, “I agree with the above poster that about the bully lacking skills in some area. In this case, the bully is a terrible communicator, and when things are not done as she envisioned (but did not communicate), she blamed me for the faulty outcome.”

        That sounds very similar to a female supervisor I had who harassed me and what I went through. I’ll call this former boss of mine “Mrs. Smith” (not her real name).

        “Mrs. Smith” would fail me on things that were not my fault, including giving me poor marks on the annual job performance reviews.

        I don’t want to say specifically what job I did, but it involved technical skills and computers.

        Mrs. Smith was totally inept and knew nothing about tech or computers.

        “Mrs. Smith’s” background was in restaurant management and related fields. She did not even know the most basic computer skills, such as how to open e-mail attachments (I’m serious).

        The only explanation I ever got from others as to how such a horrendously tech-ignorant person such as her even got a job where I worked (where it was her duty to manage computer people like me) is that her husband had a position of authority elsewhere in our organization.

        Anyway, due to “Mrs. Smith’s” total ignorance of all things computers, she would frequently get confused about things, and she had no idea what my job was, and new nothing about the software I used for the job, etc, etc.

        She did not understand where other people’s jobs ended and mine began and vice versa (again due to her ignorance about computers and technology).

        “Mrs. Smith” would routinely get my job duties and skills confused with that of people there who worked in a different computer area than mine, so she would blame me for THEIR mistakes!

        Even when I tried to explain to her what my job was, how the software worked, etc, and no matter how much I simplified it for her, she never understood.

        I got blamed several times over for mistakes of other workers on projects we worked on all because Dumbo (“Mrs. SMith”) was too stupid to understand the technology involved, or what I did for a living vs what the other workers did.

        Most maddening of all, when I would try to correct her or defend myself, Mrs. Smith would turn it around and say I was not being a “team player.”

        Me naturally trying to explain to her that she was unfairly marking me down for stuff that was not my mistake, she would depict as me not being an adult – refusing to take blame, as me being difficult, or whiny, etc.

      • Karen R Scott says:

        I feel very strongly about correcting how women hurt other women, especially within the Military, government & the Veterans Administration causing & allowing unlawful harm! They are threatened loss of positions, jobs & career I do understand this in the Military & VA facilities if they stand up for veterans’ rights that they are against! Corruption within our agencies needs to be cleaned up to prevent organized crime, ganging up on and all the intentional harm so our lives, health & career are not sabotaged! Attacking an mst disabled female veteran just because you don’t like her and all women that went along that violently destroyed my career, my health and my life I wish you would stop hurting other females! When I was violently attacked, sexually assaulted & raped in the Military I was told they would hurt me destroy my career that I was to shut up! I reported rape to my commander due to having orders going back to the place where my rapist was serving. I tried to explain, but he got mad & attacked me. I did get permission to approach the commander! He locked me up in a room illegally would not allow me to eat or drink. I had Graves’ disease I didn’t know I was sick. The other women in the unit just turned her head to keep her status quo and position that allowed my health to be destroyed forever with irreversible conditions! He would not allow me to see another medical professional he threatened he would court martial me if I disobeyed! I followed orders it cost me my health for the rest of my life! Training was over I had orders to go back to Korea with rank warrant officer. What these men & women did was unlawful. Men & women that have gotten sick before in the Military can get waivers to continue in the Military with another job! Then when I got out there were women in the VA that went along with the attacking, discriminatory actions, denials and blocking. I cannot go back to Veterans hospital due to be being attacked each & every time I went to my appointments. We don’t have to be part of your gang that you have out in civilian world, be owned by you, be forced to be with you and be of a certain religion to be respected in the Military and to stay in the Military! These horrible wrongs in the Military did not happen when I was out with someone they happened in the Military hospital and at my Military work duty place! Women that have been attacking me, how many other women have you hurt? Bullying, unlawful intentional harm & unlawful retaliations are not being corrected & is being allowed in our workplace!

    • Paula says:

      I completely agree with your assessment. My second-line supervisor has had it in for me ever since she took the job. I don’t know how she came to be promoted, but her technical skills are sketchy and her interpersonal skills are horrible. I’d been at my job for 17 years when she came on, and was pretty much seen as the “expert” in the office. I’m sure that her bullying is an attempt to discredit me amongst management. Unfortunately, she has pretty much succeeded. I never get invited to take part in any opportunities that would provide great experience and help me to promote. But I’ve finally been able to take some concrete action. I was suspended from my job (I’m sure she was behind it), and I’ve filed an appeal. I believe, once I present my defense, that the judge will see how ridiculous the charges were. I’ve also filed a sexual discrimination suit with the state. In both cases, I’ve had to bring the case against the top brass, because that’s whose name was on the paperwork, even though I’m sure this woman was responsible. But that’s a good thing, because when he starts getting all this legal crap coming down on him, he’s going to turn to HER and say, “What the hell??!!” Hopefully she’ll be seen as the incompetent imposter that she is. It’s just so hard WAITING for all this to happen. These things are SO SLOW!!

    • Ronni says:


      I work on a very large research Study and I continue to be bullied by my current supervisor, her supervisor, my other supervisor, and the two admin. support staff.

      I tend to work hard and want to get things done and it drives them crazy.

      I believe I’m minutes away from being fired.

      I feel bet down a lot of the time. The worst part of all of this is I love my job but I can’t seem to do what management wants me to do.

      I’m harrassed indirectly daily….I’m tired and so is my husband.

  10. Elena Esquivel says:

    I was terminated from my job on 9.11.2008 because of tardiness, leaving early (not frequently), due to my daughters’ medical condition. I had been a target by my female supervisor, and by a female Director. They would constantly use my daughters’ fragile medical condition against me, threaten my job frequently, harrass me, tell my co-workers not to speak with me, put me down, set me up, etc.
    I had to take two medical leaves due to the emotional stress. Financially I was hurting and unable to afford my rent and almost evicted.
    I was going on ten years, and I knew my job very well and was well liked by my co-workers and patients.
    I was employed at a hospital in the admitting department as a Quality Assurance Analyst.
    I was even retaliated against by being transferred to work in the ER where my job title and or job description did not include duties in the ER. My supervisor and director knew that I did not like working in the ER because of the emotional toll it would take on me, since having to visit the ER many times with my own child since infancy with debilitating seizures. It would affect me emotionally to see other children hurt or suffering seizures. I was actually made to work at the bottom for which with my knowledge and expertise would not be utilized. With no offense to anyone its like being demoted from Department engineer to an entry position like a hostess or receptionist.
    I did file a complaint prior to my termination and the state did file on my behalf and it is still pending.

    The hospital is owned by a nationwide company who in my opinion believes that they are above the law.

    Good luck to all of those who have been victims and those who still are being victimized and to fight for your right to work in a peaceful enviroment.

    Elena Esquivel

    • Jill says:

      Hi Elena,

      I’ve experienced a bullying situation similar to yours. Are you still experiencing this abuse? Have you taken further action?


  11. Patty says:

    I have been the target of bullying in a state college. I made a whistle blower complaint, involved the union, and then the bullying started. The complaint was swept under the rug and I became a target; even though for more than a year I was considered a darling by my boss and those who hired me into the job. I have PTSD so it didn’t take long for me to fall apart. Going to the doctor every month and on medications. My health was declining, I ended up in the emergency room extremely distraught, and had to take two weeks off at my own expense. Even when I told them about my PTSD, they continued to be angry at me, watch me like a hawk, make unreasonable demands, and intimidated me. I was then transferred to another job where as soon as the supervisor found out about my disability, she decided that I was incompetent to do the job and she proceeded to intimidate and bully me also. I was told that there was work politics going on behind the scenes that also caused her to be even more angry at me being there. She hindered my ability to do my job by withholding communication, being extremely picky, watching me in a way that she did not watch anyone else and piling on more and more work with very little training. She compared me to non-disabled people who did not do my job, she had them write negative letters about me, and even told lies about me and my work. She hauled me and others who she did not care for into her office to scream at us so loud people could hear it outside her office with the door closed. She sexually harassed her female staff, but they were too afraid to say anything because they did not want to be retaliated against or lose their job or be subject to a bad reference if they left their job there. I saw many people be fired because she did not care for them, and others who were barely competent become her pets. I could see that she was an incompetent supervisor and incompetent to do her job. I think that I was a threat to her because I was very honest, did a good job even with my disability, and did my work in such a way that it exposed her incompetence. She had to lie to cover up that she was doing unethical and illegal things to cover her own rear-end. They drummed up excuses to suspend me and took four months to terminate me after we insisted they make a decision, I filed a grievance, and a month later they asked if they could settle with me. So I left with a settlement that cost taypayers a chunk of money. Even though administration knows about the sexual harassment, hostile workplace she created, discrimination against a person with a disability, and she withheld overtime pay from at least 30 people over the course of four years, she is still there; and this is in a state workplace.

    • Jill says:


      I would like to hear more about your situation as it is eerily similar to mine, except that I was being forced out and resigned in order to maintain my mental and physical well being. I’m trying to get a settlement and would love to hear about how you got yours.

  12. PB says:

    I have most often seen the women bully’s selecting the workers with higher degrees of ethics and competence in their jobs as the targets. I attribute that to their irritation that the position they hold as 60% social and 40% satisfaction is threatened and they will have to rise to meet the elevated bar. They hate having a new dynamo coming in and stealing their thunder, especially if they can’t pull the person into their confidence to collect amunition to use against them.

  13. JW says:

    My bullying started out with a coworker of lower rank and then with a higher rank manager. I found out the lower rank employee and the higher rank employee had a personal relationship(both females). I was not allowed to say anything to the lower rank employee or instruct her to do anything without been harshly reprimanded. I went to everyone in the chain of command in the company and things only got worse for me. This has been very hard for me. I have looked for jobs other places. I now have 29 years with the company but have been constantly overlooked for promotions. These people have sabotaged my career.

  14. Noelle Ibrahim says:

    I think that most corporations have a culture that corrects for power imbalances between female supervisors and male subordinates such that the woman holds less power over male subordinates than she does over female subordinates. Naturally, a bully targets the `weakest` members of her team because she is more likely to get away with the abuses. So, both men and women bully and in this way the bullying is not gender specific, but women are more frequently targeted by both genders because they are more likely to get away with it.

  15. Martha for stopthebullies says:

    Gary and Ruth,

    We are seeing women bullies in paramilitary agencies act with physical agression. They never injure but just imtimidate. These agencies reward masculine traits that other employers wouldn’t – like physical prowess and the ability to control a prisoner. The bully doesn’t need to work in a prison to be influenced by this paradigm. . . Take Care . . Martha

  16. Jenny says:

    I just quit from a work place where I was bullied. I didn’t realize that that was what was actually going on until after I quit actually. I started reading about bullying and found this place. The things they did towards me fit in here so well. I am glad I got out of there and that I told the owner of the place what I thought of them before I left. They sat there, saying nothing. I felt I took my power back.
    Anyway, very sad that this is going on so much. This is the first time I have ever had it happen. Apparently that place bully at least one person all the time. People leave and they pick another. Sad. I feel sad for them.

  17. Carol Ann says:

    I am being bullied in a government job I have held for 19 years. A few years ago my bully whispered in the bosses ear things about me which lead to a project which was the major portion of my job being given to my bully. The bully is now promoted to my boss and has taken 2/3 of my job away from me. I believe she is doing constructive dismissal in my case. The union says that management has a history of harassing employees they want to retire. It is their right. Many employees have been forced out. Our CAO is a bully and loves people just like him.

  18. spencer says:

    thanx a million for everything i’ve read here. i’m a former male nurse and i have suffered both bullying and sexual harassment from females in the workplace. in my experience as a male working with predominantly females the threat of termination for sexual harassment allegations is held over your head constantly and the fact that as a male your chances of a successful wrongful termination suit are very low is something i had to find out the hard way on your own. one very nice female atty. told me ‘as a male the burden of proof is on you’. be that as it may i had sexual comments made about me and had at least 3 who constantly vascilated back and forth between verbally abusing me and looking at me like they badly wanted me sexually. i had somehow navigated all these politics for 6 years until a hideously ugly female became head nurse who obviously wanted me sexually and this time verbal abuse, absurd complaints to higher-ups and threats of termination would not suffice. if she couldn’t have me then i couldn’t have my job plain and simple. at that point i was finding nursing in general to be too many hours so i walked away with a generous sverance package in exchange for not suing. later on i started working office jobs just to not spend my sverance as quickly and though the jobs were much more pleasant in general again i had a supervisor who made my life difficult simply because the only other male there was the boss who was never there. again the threat of sexual harassment is implied even if unspoken. eventually she got pregnant and quit and everything’s been fine ever since (i ended up with her job 2 years later and even the boss admitted it was a huge improvement). though these mean supervisors were all quite mean to women as well the fact of being male very very often means they can successfully run you out even for something as widely condemned as sexual harassment on the terminator’s part. men and women both behave equally badly in different ways but the real issue here is bullying and the way it’s so widely tolerated in the american workplace. i think perhaps this ultimately ‘trickles up’ in the sense that it eventually leads to corporate dishonesty and ruthlesness.
    thanx for sharing everybody. nice to know you’re not alone.

  19. Michelle says:

    Work place bullying is not just between superviors and staff. I am in a position of leadership and have experienced work place “bullying” coming from staff members, including secretaries. Always women, and always an issue of insecurity or jealousy on their parts. In the two cases I have witnessed in two law firms (yes, law firms), despite the fact that their behavior was inappropriate (comments about my attire, my looks, etc.) very little ever happens. Of course, the men in the work place will say “o’ it’s just because you’re attractive and they aren’t, you’re skinny and they are overweight.” The women will say, “yeah, she’s that way to everyone.” And yet, nothing happens and the same offenders continue to be spiteful and mean to others as well. What slays me, is as a Director in the firm, I’ve had a secretary make snide remarks about me while walking down a hallway and give me nasty looks. Finally, I sent her a diplomatic yet pointed e-mail saying we are in a professional environment, should treat each other as professionals, and that I would request she not make nasty remarks about me within earshot. No response, but I will be interested to see what happens. In some environments it would be grounds for dismissal, in a perfect world, I would fire the employee. But, alas, she is not under my supervision. I think the best defense against people that are jerks at work is to confront them in a professional manner, but head on and person to person. It takes the power out of their bullying when you stand up to them. Unfortunately, it feels like some people never matured past the envy, insecurities and jealousy of high school girls. No one believes it, but there is still a “I hate the cheerleader” mentality in the workplace where those that don’t have high self-esteem resent the women that are succeeding and or attractive.

    • garynamie says:


      I can appreciate the unfortunate consequences of your attractiveness and smarts. That’s who gets targeted. However, you were not a typical target. Most cannot defend themselves. You did. Your advice is spot on except that many others without your sense of personal power can stand up to them “head on and person to person.” And you could not teach them to do so. However, you are a role model, an exemplar of how and what to do. It might also interest you to know that one of the studies in our Research section about women and bullying did describe this conduct in a law firm.

      G N

      • bebeloves says:

        Yeah, but I stood up to the secretary (my bully) in a professional manner and ended up losing my position…demoted for reasons that supposedly have nothing to do with her but I have major suspicions since she is tight with the director. It is very frustrating since the position was a wonderful “fit” for me and now I’m back where I was before and it is not the best fit, nor do I get to use a lot of my skills or what I went to school for…plus I’m still in the middle of a toxic work environment. I wonder if I hadn’t said a word if I wouldn’t still be in my position….

      • Tina says:

        Unfortunately bullying is not always recongnized by the victim(s). A small little incident happened(a comment such as “fine its wrong – mark it or fix it if you want to – I don’t care what you do” and then she will not talk to you for a few days but suddenly gets over it) and then weeks passed with nothing further but eventually the behavior escalated and by the time the victim(s) realized they are being bullied the situation has gained momentum. The bully is now secure in her position and has acquired followers. She has become bolder as management deemed the situation a personality conflict. They named and labeled her personality trait and you are supposed to honor and understand (“she is an extrovert; therefore she blurts out her thoughts and feelings. It is just her way.” “you are an introvert; therefore it bothers you, but you must understand that is her personality and you need to embrace diversity.”)

        My situation has now escalated to a tag team approach with two bullies and many specatators. To make matters worse and leave me utterly hopeless I have recently found out that not only is my supervisor and one of my bullies neighbors and friends but the manager and head of human resources all live in the same neighborhood. They confirmed their friendship situation by trying to minimize and justify that the friendly behavior they show each other is confined to an occassional dinner, or letting a pet out,or picking up the mail or newspapers when one of them is on vaction or in need. Just minor little things.? I am assured that by no means are they biased……

        And if that wasn’t bad enough, one of my bullies has three cousins who also work in the building in different departments. The other bully has been able to attract numerous sympathetic followers based on the fact that she was recently given a clean bill of health after being diagonsed with breast cancer at stage zero. I refused to do her work one day and she starting yelling and screaming at me that I never help anyone. Because she was screaming and yelling a manager from a different department became involved and she was talked to. The next day she confronted me, screamed in my face and preceded to list details of why every single person hates me. She was yelling at me so passionately that spit flew into my face. Now, not only am I the hated one, I have become the inhuman unfeeling monster. How is that for irony?

        My situation has become ten times worse since I stood up for myself and refused to do her work. I offered to help her and even gave her pointers but I would not allow her to pawn her work off on me. My life is a nightmare – My health is suffering. I cannot sleep, my head hurts, I have had a few panic attacks, some chest pains, gained weight, and I am even losing some hair. In short miserable.

    • Kathleen M. Tripp says:

      It sounds like to me that because you have a high position yourself, you would not be putting yourself in jeopardy by confronting the secretary. I am in a position that requires a license but my mgr. who oversees me in general has no license to do my job but is constantly trying to overstep the law and get too involved in my business. She comes to my dept. and asks my pts. if they have appts. and what time they are and constantly belittles me about the time I spend with pts. If I run late I am counseled about that but also if I don’t take my breaks the same thing happens. I can’t win or lose… Everything I do is suspect and wrong. She noses around my dept. My pts. realize that she is a controlling bully and I found out that her profile on the best test is basically 100%BOLD. She has no tech. skills, abilities, nor does she have any expressive positive skills, or sympathetic if you look at the test to be so rigid in one area is not good esp. for mgmt. Ideally, mgrs. should have a broad mix of all categories…

      • Dr. Gary Namie says:

        Bullies are less competent in most cases. Their tactics are bluff and bravado to distract others from seeing who they really are. GN

    • Coolgrandma says:

      I have heard other women say someone is jealous because of their looks. I have also had people say “you are so smart, I am intimidated”

      So my questions would be to those who are mad because someone is “better” in some way: What should I do, get ugly so you will feel better? Act stupid so you won’t be intimidated?’

      I mean really

      • Jennifer says:

        I hear what you’re saying, about not being able to change ourselves (i.e. to “ugly” or “stupid”) to appease others.

        May be idealistic, but I think we can only be the best version of ourselves. Trying to play politics we’re not comfortable with or don’t understand really doesn’t work.

        It seems some organizations don’t tolerate bullying, some are neutral, and some encourage it (they pat themselves on the back, I suppose, by saying it produces a “better”, “tougher” employee. What horseshit.)

        What has become our–the Target’s–burden, is to find an organization that does have sound ethics and is therefore a good ‘cultural fit’ for us.

    • SandDollar says:

      Dr. Namie, you wrote to someone above,
      “You did. Your advice is spot on except that many others without your sense of personal power can stand up to them “head on and person to person.” And you could not teach them to do so.”

      In a way, you can get them to change, and you can teach some of them. You just have to make them realize that they can. I know because I used to be one of them.

      I didn’t realize until after my mother died a few years ago that she was highly codependent. I knew she was that way, but I did not know that her behavior had a label (codependent).

      I knew since I was a kid that my Mom was a doormat.

      My Mom found it hard to say no to people; she would hardly ever defend herself when bullied, etc. She had all the other classic symptoms of codependency, too.

      My mom raised me to be codependent as well.

      Growing up, I suspected there was something wrong with such behavior, but I did not know for sure, since I had nobody else in life to show me how to handle ‘people problems.’

      My father was the total opposite of mom (he is very blunt, very critical, would hurt people’s feelings, etc, and I did not want to be like that). I did not realize there was a third alternative (i.e., being assertive).

      I did not know that my mother’s sort of behavior (doormat, passive, non-confrontational with abusers) was called “codependency” until only a year or two ago, after I began reading about the topic.

      Since a very young age, I was very insecure, shy, and afraid of people, and although I was scared to confront people (even bullies), I was willing to do so in early childhood.

      Except as I got older and went to my mother for advice or permission before beating up a bully (starting around age 11 or 12), she’d always tell me not to do or say anything to the bully.

      My mother also (oddly I thought) expressed concern about the _bully’s_ feelings (even though I was the one being abused and did nothing to provoke bullies).

      My mother seemed to care more about the bully getting hurt feelings (by me standing up to them, even just using polite words) than she did the fact the bullies were hurting me (physically and/ or emotionally).

      To complicate the mix, my mother was a very devout Christian, as am I, and my mother (like many other Christians) incorrectly believe that Jesus Christ taught doormat living, and hyper pacificism.

      Such Christians fixate on Bible verses that talk about ‘loving one’s enemy’ and such to the exclusion of ones that tell believers to stand up to injustice and for the weak.

      I’ve noticed many pastors are guilty of encouraging this doormat behavior, since most of their sermons contain messages that encourage more passivity and codependent behavior in Christians, when they should be teaching the opposite.

      I never wanted to go through life allowing others to treat me like trash.

      I wanted to stand up to bullies (even as an adult who was bullied by other adults), but my upbringing made me feel as though self defense was unChristian, mean, selfish, unladylike, and so forth.

      After my Mom died, and I began reading about these things, when I read books by Christian counselors who said otherwise, that it’s not against the faith to stand up to rude people and bullies, I felt liberated. I also lost my fear of people and confrontation.

      I was very codependent most of my life, and I am pretty much recovered now, so it is possible for some targets to change and to use boundaries.

      It just did not occur to me for many years that I could change, and up until reading these books about codependency, I never heard Christians tell me it’s okay to be assertive.

      I think some Christians naively think that loving a bully will get the bully to magically change, that ‘love conquers all.’

      I learned some people are so twisted and hate filled that no amount of love, diplomacy, talk, or negotiation will appease them or get them to change, in which case, God is fine with you being more harsh with such people.

    • SandDollar says:

      I got confused by this page’s comment area layout and my reply to Dr. Namie’s reply to Michelle is a tiny bit farther down the page. (I accidentally posted to the wrong thread, I think.)

      To the person (bebeloves) who said you confronted the bully but still got fired…

      I am truly sorry you lost your position, but IMO, it’s far better to confront and have to get a new job. For one thing, if you get bullied enough, you will get so stressed that you will end up quitting anyway.

      Secondly, as someone who is recovering from codependent behavior, I’ve learned it’s better to confront people regardless of any risks involved, because otherwise, you live in fear of other people and fear of things that might not ever come to pass (a lot of imagined fears never come to pass).

      You might as well confront the jerk idiot at your boss, because if you don’t, they are guaranteed to keep harassing you anyway.

      And if they keep at it, you will eventually quit. So the way I figure it, you really have nothing to lose by telling them to knock it off.

  20. Carol says:

    I understand this is subject to moderation and it may be better if it is not posted…am taking the opportunitiy to vent. This is a bigger problem than is being addressed. I realize most recipients of bullying may not have read the literature I have had access to….and may be difficult to understand or add to the work place dread that we feel. I don’t want to make anyone feel worse than they already do…however….

    This is really cool…heavy duty work gloves are on…white gloves trashed…I was working on a paper and Dr. Chesler actually responded to me, she is good. Women need to know a few other things….esp in the corporate world….altho I make no claim to having advanced academic education, my studies had guided me to scholarly academic journal articles describing personality characteristics of some leaders in various areas (business, government and politics).

    Mentioning that women make up a small proportion of executives is the problem…I have a recent article from the Chicago Sun Times that explains this in detail…in my age group, the MBA’s of the early 80’s when an MBA was far more prestigious than an MD…these are the Madoff’s the Enron leaders, AIG etc execs that created the mess we are in….there is no shortage of literature on their anti-social attitudes re the finance industry…which means that ideology trickles into the company leadership models and business plans….

    Many studies I accessed include attitudes of Hostile Sexism, Social Dominators, Benevolent Sexism and the (darker) trio including narcissism, Maciavellianism and psychopathy….if we better understand the ultimate causes and sources, it will help combat the effects…developing stronger survival modalities, inorder ot maintain a healthy work environment is the key. We need stronger psychological skills. I don’t think anyone here as aspirations of being a CEO…what I am hearingm after scanning some areas, is the participants want a mentally healthy work environment…which they have not had. That is the sadness of our society.

    • leslie says:

      I have heard the trickle down theory for many years in regards to ethics violations and it is true that people have a sense of entitlement to it, especially when they see that those at the top (in government) get away with it repeatedly. However I am seeing our whole economic collapse in terms of ethics issues including the culture of bullying that we see acted out daily even in a routine drive to the supermarket. My husband gets targeted often while driving due to his age and white hair (almost daily) but he is still sharp and can meet the challenge – he does not get in the accidents or get a ticket – the perps do. Perhaps it has trickled down but there is a rage in the American people, as well as a spiritual depravity that has created what I see as a wildfire of constant occurrences. We are bombarded with messages such as “Feed the Pig” – trying to get us to increase our savings (piggy banks) when most of us do not make enough money to ever save. Just one example but I think that it contributes to the rage and is insensitive. Or how my local government does not have enough money to keep the schools open but I keep getting phone calls paid for with my tax dollars telling me to get those mercury light bulbs or to shut off appliances while not in use and how to save water. Quit the calling and hire a teacher! I do not know or care about the intricacies of which funds came from where and legally have to be applied to what. Figure it out.

  21. Karen Ann says:

    Please forgive me, but this is a long comment….

    I just finished reading “The Bully at Work.” I feel it was written for me about my and my recent situation.

    I got laid off April 1st and knew I was the target for the first layoff in the company no matter how well I did my job or how much they needed someone to do what I was doing.

    I would have been gone (quit or done something to get fired) long before that, but I needed the job in this economy, and had done some strategic moves to keep myself there so they had to lay me off instead of fire me or get me to quit even tho my sanity and health paid for it in the long run.

    You don’t get unemployment benefits if you quit.

    You can get unemployment if fired if you can prove that you were not at fault in knowingly trying to screw up the company.

    FYI: I purposely let my Supervisor know that I was keeping a “Cover My Ass file” in my car & if I got fired, the Unemployment Office would get an earful of what was going on there & grant me unemployment and get the company’s name on the list of a place that fires people without just cause. I am sure he let others know of it’s existence.

    He knew enough of my history with the Plant Manager & others to know I could do it. They weren’t too bright when it came to covering their tracks. When you are so focused on your bullying, you loose track of covering your steps to keep you out of trouble. They really aren’t that bright, just intimidating & have a job in the company that could end yours.

    Emails were there biggest mistake…..
    You can deny verbal attacks, but emails can be printed and saved. That’s just what I did.

    FYI: After being laid off, I was replaced by my part time Assistant (female Opportunist, 2-headed Snake, & Gatekeeper bully who only did the job to get away from her kids & have something to do) and a dumb as dirt high school kid who was the son of the Customer Service (CS) Manager (female Opportunist, Control Freak Bully-there 25 years).

    My Assistant trained (yeah, right!) me when I started there less than 2 years ago. My predessor (female 2-headed Snake bully-still with the company) was there over 20 years.

    We all worked for the second Plant Manager since I started there (male Opportunist bully who had everyone else in the office scared of him only because of his postion-able to fire you).

    The Assistant HR person (female Opportunist, Control Freak bully) was the most 2-faced person I met. She called everyone “Sunshine”. So sweet it made your teeth rot.

    The HR Director (female nice lady) was in charge but for some reason gave the bully a lot of control there. I hope she leave the company on her own before the problems affect her job.

    My immediate Supervisor (male 2-Headed Snake, Gatekeeper bully) had very little to do with 90% the work I did (don’t know why he was made my supervisor in the first place).

    He was your typical low man on the totem pole (blame it on him when something goes wrong so he can blame it on his lowest on the totem pole workers) jellyfish with no back bone who was afraid of the Customer Service Manager & Plant Manager & the HR Assistant. Bullies like that kind under them…they are easy to bully.

    Everyone thought my Assistant was harmless.

    The low cut tight tops she wore everyday kept all the men from thinking she was anything but the smartest thing around. Boobs hanging out turn many men into flaming idiots no matter what their IQ is.

    She was a scheming little Vixen. Her motto “Kill them with Kindness”. I knew her game the first week. She had an answer for everything, I couldn’t get her goat, so to speak. She was difficult. Worked after I left for the day, so I never knew who she talked to or about what while I was gone, but the next day, things changed & I didn’t know why….she did something to stir the pot. Funny thing is, with all the crap she was doing to other people, she actually only did 1 hour of real work in the 5 hours she was there & the bullies didn’t mind.

    My Supervisor sticking up for me was not happening. He was okay when the other Plant Manager was there (knew things were a bit stressed due to my lack of proper training), but when the change of managers was made after I was there a year, he was so afraid of ruffling the new Plant Manager’s & CS Manager’s feathers, he would turn on his own grandma to keep himself safe.

    Now that I read your book, I think even he was trying to hang me from the begining. For a long time I thought he was mainly on my side. Peer (bully) pressure changed him. Jellyfish. I will know better next time, thanks to the book.

    Anyhow, I felt like I was going to war every day instead of my job.

    I had not only to do my work (which in the last 6 months was done with no errors & on time or ahead of time) which had rule changes daily put there to try to trip me up, insufficient and many times inaccurate training (not to mention, I was doing a job that was way beyond my ability-needed college training) but I had to watch my back and listen and observe everything and everybody to make sure the day’s arrows weren’t gonna kill me. I also had to continue filling my Cover My Ass file which was over 1 inch thick emails.

    When I had questions only the CS Manger could answer, she wouldn’t read my emails for 3 weeks and then I’d get an “unread” email receipt from her when she erased them. Sometimes with a return email of: “has this been resoved yet?”

    Duh, no, if you didn’t resolve it……?? I got the clue that she didn’t know the answer. Nobody did.

    She never (in 20 years) got along with the gal who had my job previously. They merely tolerated each other. She had a lot of control over her people, so they weren’t very friendly either. Her job is her life.

    The stress I took home (never showed it at work) was sometimes unmanagable.

    I got tension headaches, gained weight due to stress eating, cried every other night (mostly upset that I had to go back the next morning for more crap), whined to family members & friends (who told me to get angry & tell them where to put their job that I needed desparately at the time.)

    Plus, I had to change my passive, do a good job, get along with everyone, teamplayer, happy-go-lucky self into a personality I wasn’t; to fight them. That hurt me the most. I lost myself. I don’t like being that way.

    I have myself back now, but still need to get some self confidence back. I am starting to hate & distrust humans so much I prefer to be in the company of my cats. They are my best friends and that isn’t good. I don’t trust anyone anymore. I don’t have many good friends.

    If I had know how the stress & degredation would effect me, I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I did; nestegg or not.

    But, there aren’t many jobs out there right now & I wanted to store up a nestegg to hold me over the recession, if I could.

    I did the best I could and to keep in control, turned it into a game which helped turn the bitter pills of abuse I was taking a bit better. I laughed at it all. Laughing makes everything tolerable. (as they say, “smile” it makes others wonder what you are thinking.) I also tried to focus on pleasant stuff between the arrows.

    Even tho I got laid off, I feel I won.

    I lasted as long as I could on my terms, not theirs. I didn’t want to be let go in the winter, and I indeed lasted until early spring.

    The Plant Manager was my biggest problem. He transfered from the other plant 8 months ago after my Assistant had many talks with him about me behind my back when she was loaned out to the plant he was in charg of.

    She says she was trying to help me……..

    I trusted her as far as I could throw a grand piano!

    Her game was to make everyone in the company look incompetent so she could run in like Wonder Woman and save the company from ruin……

    I wasn’t her only Target. Anyone and everyone was; no matter their postion. She was a “Floater” doing any job anyone needed temporary help with. It put her in a real good position to do her diry work. She’d screw with the President if it got her the rewards she desparately needed to give her the love she craved.

    The Plant Manager never spoke a word to me in 6 months (only Hi once in a while in stairway where no one could confirm the one word conversation).

    I learned long ago to go thru the chain of command at work. Don’t go over your Supervisor’s head or you’ll be in trouble with him/her.

    I requested my Supervisor to set a meeting with himself, Plant Manager and me to get things on track for all of us esp. the company.

    It took 3 weeks & the first meeting was cancelled by the Plant Manager (not surprised-he didn’t want to talk).

    Finally had a meeting & opened the door for more verbal communication. My Supervisor didn’t contribute one word in the 1 hour meeting. I even forced the Plant Manager to agree with me that things were working better than ever (Well oiled machine) since he started there. He hated saying that, I could tell by his body language.

    I thought this meeting changed things. He did talk to me more & work with me. I knew I would never be a part of the family, but it was better than the last 8 months.

    Then, after almost a year my Assistant was sent back to help me….they knew I was doing good all by myself. That was the problem. I needed to be put down again……..and she was the one to help them do it.

    The past was still there & I was on the chopping block.

    I knew the Plant Manager actually by that time hated me without knowing me personally and was trying very hard to get me mad enough to either quit or do something to warrant being fired.

    He still rarely answered my questions (email only) that would help me do a better job, and naturally make him look good to the owner and president.

    That came second to getting me out of there. I gave him many chances to get to know me without any crap from the past getting in the way. I try to leave yesterday’s crap in the past and start every day fresh. I got his butt out of a sling many times with no thank you or atta boy.

    ….Now he’s on his own & I am sure in more trouble than ever before, but blaming it on others.

    I was working for the company’s good and he was sabatoging the quality of work for his own ego. Letting a Vixen misguide his thinking.

    I think the first round of layoffs was due to his not wanting the place to run smoothly and the CS Manager taking too much time on her nastiness to do a good job. Hence, loss of customers. Loss of customers, loss of jobs. 2nd shift eliminated. 2 office jobs gone, and a few more are now gone since 1st layoff.

    Good workers gone and the bully’s friends still there.

    I did my job well & indirectly let him know that he didn’t make me scared or nervous (even tho he did) and always seemed happy and content and showed I wasn’t afraid of him…..even made small talk and commented on his nice sweater (ha!) That was funny…he didn’t expect it & pissed him off, I am sure.

    It felt good that I, the Target, could ruffle his feathers even though I couln’t win, no matter what I did.

    I didn’t win the war but won some battles. The war will never end whether I’m there or not, same play, new characters.

    When I did get laid off (not fired) the Plant Manager, CS Manager, my Supervisor or any other low level workers said goodbye, wished me luck or anything. All hid in their offices of cubicles. It was done so badly. HR Assistant (Sunshine) was given the job of letting us know – she loved it!

    It was like being fired not laid off. The whole process was done very unprofessionally. But, still proved how determined they were at ending this Target’s job security.

    I had to go back the next morning to get my last payroll check (still no one said anything except the HR Director, she was very compassionate about it…..), go back in 2 weeks to get my 2 weeks severence pay check (still nothing).

    I got laid off 23 days short of my 2 year anniversary, but didn’t get the vacation pay I already earned and had to whine until I got info on how to carry over my medical insurance (Cobra).

    I found out (a week after being laid off-did doctoring before insurance ran out in a week) I may have breast cancer or pre-cancer & went thru a 1 1/2 month long breast cancer scare.

    Glad I wasn’t having to go to that job during that time……needle biopsy & lumpectomy before finding out I was cancer free.

    The stess would have driven me to the funny farm.

    Within a week of being laid off (except for going thru the cancer scare thing) I was sleeping well, not getting headaches, reading books to help regain my self-esteem, doing things for myself that I didn’t have time to do when working. I am happier.

    I am secure enough to milk the unemployment for awhile while doing things around the house & looking for the best job, not just a job & read books like yours to help regain my self respect & esteem. I’m taking the time to get myself back.

    Sorry this was so long……had to vent. I guess no matter how well I say I am doing, it still hurts that I couldn’t win this war or better yet, get rid of the warlike atmosphere altogether. I don’t like conflict.

    Worst thing……I couldn’t even tell them off like I should have. I couldn’t tell my side of the story, event tho no one would believe it, even if in email form.

    I feel, tho, that they will pay for their mistakes eventually. The company will be doing worse & unfortunately, others like me will be taken down with them.

    I see fellow co-workers in town and they are afraid to talk to me. Not even any eye contact. Barely a “hello”.

    Are they all jellyfish? Are all people that insecure? Scares me….. What was said to them about me after I left? I want a chance to clear the air, but will probably never get it. A person shouldn’t have to defend themselves like that. It’s not fair not to be able to defend yourself. Guilty without a chance to prove your innocence.

    I need to consider the source and move on, but it’s hard. This isn’t the first time this crap has happened to me.

    I’ve lived in Texas and Wisconsin. In Texas, I loved going to work. In Wisconsin, it’s the same thing as above…..why? Wisconsinites are all wound too tight, it seems.

    Sorry this was a bit dis-connected. I typed as I thought I didn’t take too much time getting things in order…..

    Karen Ann

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Good point. The error is discounting or ignoring the contribution of the workplace culture that enables and rewards the jerks.

    • Eva says:

      Gee, did you work at my company? 🙂

      Good for you! Get your head together and then move on with your life. You deserve it.

      “Feels like going to war instead of a job” describes my situation. Trying to hang in there, but it’s tough. Suffering mental/physical ailments described in all the posts above.

      Thank God for this site. And I truly believe in Karma. Hope you do to!

  22. leslie says:

    My co-workers also afraid to make eye contact, say hello, be civil – none of it. At work or on the street.

    Sometimes I think it would be great if the perp who assaulted me did it again but in a supermarket in front of a security camera and got busted by the store staff since my employer wouldn’t do it. Maybe in a public place strangers wouldn’t be afraid to be witnesses. Then maybe I could say that it happened at work too and finally prosecute.

  23. Lisa says:

    I work in a large human services agency – our big boss – a woman – bullies most of her managers (mostly women). “Kay” only has two people over her (very nice, but ineffective, uninvolved men), and while we’re guessing they don’t like her, we’re also thinking that they’re not aware of how pervasive the problem is below her. Mostly after people under her have too much, they just leave. She targets people at different times, or will find a new victim after her previous one leaves. The managers she chooses as victims usually have a life circumstance that have made them vulnerable – a family member has just died, or there’s been a sudden illness. That’s when she digs in.

    The funny part is, is that she’s not very knowledgeable about her job – and manages to get away with it. Managers under her are always propping her up, enabling her lack of knowledge and ability. Her decisions are usually poor and a great deal of effort has to be made to “bring her around”. And this isn’t a secret. Everyone knows that she has to be “handled”. But no one will do anything about it. Except resign and move on. People are too worried about burning bridges.

    • Miranda says:

      Lisa, I think you worked in my office. The sad thing is that most people wouldn’t even believe the ridiculous nonsense that workplace bullies inflict on their subordinates (and sometimes their superiors). My supervisor doesn’t know the first thing about my job, couldn’t do it if a gun was held to her head, but constantly rides me about everything. Her own stupidity is her biggest failing. And, as someone else said in a previous post, she is incompetent, relies on procedure rather than logic or quality of work, and bullies and intimidates people so they’ll forget she can’t spell, punctuate, or capitalize the simplest e-mail. And she has a subordinate who grills the rest of the employees for information that is none of their business. Then she reports on us. When the boss is out, said accomplice keeps a document with every event that happens and every comment made and submits it to her first thing the next morning. The boss refuses to delegate, requires final approval on piddly staff meeting minutes (so there is no proof and she won’t get “caught” for all the things she’s said), and believes she knows better than anyone what their priorities are and what tools they need to do their jobs. I once brought up (for six months straight) the need for a new chair for one of my guys. She eventually acted like I never asked and put me off every time I did ask. When I finally mentioned sending my guy to the safety coordinator for a bad back due to the chair I repeatedly tried to have replaced, I miraculously got action.

      One day, the answer to a question will be yes; the next day, it’ll be NO – what were you thinking? Again, no logic, no sense to her decisions. She is the worst (and I do mean the worst) control freak bully I have ever encountered. What I see in books about bullies doesn’t even compare to her. When something goes awry in her personal life, her employees are punished for years. From my research, it appears that insecurity, OCD, and narcissism are the main problems.

      Although the abuse I suffer at her hands started roughly one year after I transferred to her department, I was REALLY targeted right after my father died (4 years in). She smelled blood and went after me. Accused me of a bunch of things that were completely untrue and has managed to “lay off” a more-than-competent employee who won a victory over the supervisor by striking first and reporting her evil behavior to HR. And, like someone else posted, what a mistake. HR is NOT there to protect the employees, but rather to cover unethical and illegal activities by insecure, unintelligent, and incapable supervisors and/or bosses. My particular supervisor is married to a company vice president, and her boss (a director) is scared to death of her and lets her do whatever she wants. My boss sure isn’t going anywhere, HR won’t do a thing about it, but I refuse to turn tail and run. It IS literally killing me – physically, mentally, every way possible. It’s ruining my home life, my relationship with my husband and my friends. I, too, feel like I’m walking into a battle zone every day because I never know what insanity is going to rear its ugly head next.

      The real bummer of it all? I adore my job and could not find a better fit. Except for HER.

      • Pixie says:

        you sound like you had my Boss. She left after 7 years of hell. You want to know why? because the new V.P was a bigger bully than her.

  24. Angela says:

    Many female managers think they have to act like men to get ahead but some just go too far. I have worked with male and female managers and, in general, female managers and co-workers are too much headache. Too many of them are incompetent, sensitive, insecure or just plain jealous. I have seen first hand how nasty some women can be.

    Never again will I work in a place where there are many female managers (or even many women, for that matter) – the environment is often toxic.

    • Anne says:

      Angela, do you work on the 22nd floor of a downtown office? I agree with you, by the way.

    • SandDollar says:

      Angela, I agree with you. I’d rather work with or for men (I am a woman).

      Not that all men are great, though. I did have one jerk of a male coworker on the job where an incompetent female boss was bullying me. He gave me some grief on occasion, but not nearly as bad as the female boss.

      I did have some friendly female coworkers who were laid back, but my experience has been that many women tend to get worked up over any thing and every thing (even small stuff), while most men do not.

      Most men let things slide right over them. Most of males don’t want drama or get caught up in it, nor do most of them nit pick or get offended at every little thing, like so many females I’ve had to work with or for.

      Some women, though, are addicted to drama and love to intentionally stir up trouble on the job, and they love playing head games with other people. Men don’t seem to care about or want drama (neither do I).

  25. BigMIke says:


    I am So Lucky That I found your blog and great articles. I will come to your blog often for finding new great articles from your blog.I am adding your rss feed in my reader Thank you…

  26. Holly3mil says:

    The employer’s most common response to the bully in position of power is to set-up the target as a scapegoat for the destruction by the bully by recruiting gang in office to all complain about same issue with the target after they intentionally set up a confrontation to trap the target and accuse her of being the problem.

    • Kristina says:

      I know this is about workplace bullying but it’s the same thing my daughter and I have gone through this school year with the school secretary.She has made our life as close to hell as she could.My daughter has excema so deals with flaky itchy scalp.I spoke to the school nurse last year and her teacher informing them of that fact.My daughter was repeatedly searched for lice humiliating her.We tried every product out there to stop it but she still had issues when the weather turned colder.I couldn’t keep her home because they did not accept excema dandruff as a reason to stay home and would report us for neglect if we didn’t send her.I have stood in the office being ignored until I almost called 911 to get an officer have them release my child to me for a doctor’s appointment.When someone else comes in then the sec does her job.My child was supposed to receive tutoring but nothing happened,we questioned that and asked to be transferred to another school,suddenly afterschool tutoring starts but secretary pulls down metal bars in front of my child and her tutor and lifts it enough that my 10 yr old had to put her backpack under the bars then crawl underneath them to get to me to go home.I report her actions to the superintendent,he says he will check it out,now we are ignored by teachers,everyone in the school.It’s like we are the enemy and all I wanted was help.I don’t understand how educators can treat children like this.I have to be at school early for my son to catch a bus to the high school and then we wait until the last minute to go in because my daughter doesn’t want to go.We have had to do this for 3 yrs now.Now,the teachers that park over there make a production of locking their cars and making them honk like we are criminals.We never bother anyone.I told the super,I just want her safe and I just want to be able to take her to school and know she will be emotionally ok too.The sec.’s friend is the new school nurse.Nurse is aunt to a former friend of my daughter.Now the group she used to play with doesn’t have anything to do with her.Parents act like they don’t want to be seen talking to me.I don’t even try to talk to her teacher.It’s like we are something horrible.I don’t want special treatment,I just want them to do their job.How can this happen?She’s just a little girl.Everyone used to tell me she was the perfect student,now she begs to stay home and her grades keep slipping…she used to have so many friends and go to sleepovers and birthday parties now she has two friends she relies on.How do I explain this to her?I don’t understand it.It hurts so bad that I tried to make it better and now it is worse.People told me that I’d better not mess with the school,or I’ll end up on a watchlist.I don’t want to cause problems I want all children to get the resources they need and know that the school is doing everything possible for the education and encouragement of them all.Why is that so wrong?What is your advice here?What do you do when it is the school office personnel terrorizing your family?

      • Lisa2 says:

        Dear Kristina-I quit eating anything with Gluten/Gliadins in it and began taking Coconut oil to help with my ‘skin’ issues. Maybe that could help your daughter? Also, I am reading this in 2012-but will lift her and you up in prayer-henceforth. Be STRONG for your little girl! (I know you ARE-I just want to encourage you)

  27. Dianne Sherratt says:

    Hi, I’m from the UK.. googled a search about workplace bullying and came up with this site, and I can relate so much to a lot of what has been written here.

    Up until October last year I worked for a construction company in the UK, as PA/office manager in a project office on a building site, where the staff were predominantly male. There were a small number of female admin staff who I would say made my life very difficult from the day I got promoted. I started as a temp secretary, and was promoted after a few months. I was happy to accept the job, but I had my reservations because I knew I was going to experience a lot of resentment and jealousy. I didn’t fit in with the culture of bitchiness, from day one, but I tried hard to get along with them..but I neither didn’t want to run with the hounds, so to speak. I could almost have written the script for them. Three of the women, who actually didn’t particularly get along initially, bonded after I got promoted, and deliberately tried to undermine me, posed problems for me unnecessarily, were petty and childish at times, and down right obstructive. If I took annual leave, or (heaven forbid) if I was off sick, they didn’t like it because they knew they’d be sought to do something that wasn’t on their remit, so I got the cold shoulder treatment when I returned. On a personal level, they made reference to be being menopausal, and a divorcee living with my mother, and the fact that I’m childless. It was all done very subtlely. For the most part I could let their behaviour wash over me, but I used to go home at night very stressed and upset. My line manager was a chauvanist, 58 and the ex gaffer of a coal mine, not used to dealing with women, and he put it down to a big girlie clash of personalities and didn’t want to know. Our HR advisor was a 24 year old woman with only text book knowledge of workplace problems, and she didn’t support me. He told me I was emotional and should count to ten more. I actually only showed lack of restraint once, when I snapped back at this particular woman, when she went to my boss over my head and pointed out a very trivial mistake I’d made. There was also issues of dishonesty I had to deal with, i.e. missing cash, opening private & confidential mail, doing work for subcontractors for gifts, etc etc. The final straw came when I spoke to the elderly receptionist about a malicious email she’d sent to one of the directors, alerting him that two people in the office (one who was a friend of mine) were having an affair. When I questioned her about this, she started to cry and had to be taken home, feeling ill (she’s 73). I then got a disciplinary hearing notice for unprofessional behaviour as I’d already been verbally warned for upsetting one of the other women. It seems to me that women cry to manipulate situations.

    I handed my notice in at that point, as I wasn’t prepared to try and vindicate myself. I suppose I could have stood my corner and gone ahead with it, but, at the time I felt totally upset and I wasn’t prepared to try and vindicate myself by talking about other people’s behaviour. I had support from other people at work, but I didn’t feel strong enough at the time to go for constructive dismissal, or lodge a grievance. I was also thinking about my reference, in my next job. I worked two weeks of my one months notice, then took the rest off as annual leave. Certain people were gloating and I felt I was being taken the piss out of.. People I liked distanced themselves from me as they were embarrassed. I’ve since had some contact from my bosses and work mates, which have been supportive.

    My self esteem took a dive and I couldn’t even begin to look for work again for at least 2 months. I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I actually loathed myself and tried to think of ways I could have done things differently. I think I was bullied, on hindsight.. but at the time I didn’t think I was. I realise now bullying comes in many different forms.

    best wishes to all of you

    Dianne xx

  28. Joy says:

    I work for the federal government, the National Park Service, and this issue of workplace bullying has never been addressed in the ethics classes we are required to take.

  29. Andrea says:

    I’ve got an idea – for anyone who is into musical theatre and script writing.

    “Bullied at Work – The Musical”. How about it?

  30. HO says:

    I think that most corporations have a culture that corrects for power imbalances between female supervisors and male subordinates such that the woman holds less power over male subordinates than she does over female subordinates. Naturally, a bully targets the `weakest` members of her team because she is more likely to get away with the abuses. So, both men and women bully and in this way the bullying is not gender specific, but women are more frequently targeted by both genders because they are more likely to get away with it.

  31. […] In fact this “Workplace Civil War,” as Ms. Meese describes it, is more prevalent among women targeting their own gender. Some stats and thoughts on the women bullying women are: 40% of bullies are women. Women prefer ‘their own kind’ 70% of the time when selecting a target.  Lots of thought-provoking arguments on why bullying exists in the workplace.  Check this out for more information. […]

  32. InGoodFaith says:

    I felt so alone and confused…hopeless! Until a co-worker told me I was the workplace scapegoat and getting bullied. I wanted help and found this today…I work in a non-profit org – faith based and get treated as bad or worse than a non faith based job. Help me!!

  33. ocdgirl2000 says:

    (I’ve been working in this place almost 5 yrs, this is our 3rd Nurse manager, we’ve already been through a hellish one before THIS one!)

    I told the male director of our Local Government Department of Health and Human Services, that the Nurse Manager was doing this to me for quite a
    while, in a sealed confidential email.

    I basically said it in a few sentences: “Bullying is not very good. Having a meeting alone in a room with the Nurse Manager is not very good either. I think we need to have a talk, I thought I could handle this by myself, but it’s gotten really bad, and I don’t think I can deal with this alone any more. Please don’t share this with anyone else.”

    I have never, in all the 5 yrs ever emailed him like this and complained. Goodness knows, I could have with the last Nurse Manager, and many times with this one. She has been working her way out the door anyway, but this has gotten out of hand, and now, who knows? With government te way it is..They always support the management first, no matter how incompetent.I won’t put anything in writing, it’s too risky, I will stay quiet, but inform him of what she is doing, because I know she is doing it to others, as well as our patients.

    This is the part that’s killing me. Our patients are the MOST vulnerable, and she speaks to them in such horrifying tones.When I get the chills from her voice, I can only feel what they must be feeling. This is HHS, Behavioral Health and Crisis Services, Paid for with your Tax dollars. You deserve better for your hard working taxes.

  34. Nancy says:

    I have worked at the Post Office for over 20 years. I have recently returned to work after 9 months off because the Post Office attempted to have me removed. My female supervisor harassed me, disciplined me repeatedly, followed me to the locker room while I was on break, gave me orders to stop walking, stop talking, listen to her, then had me removed from work. I won two arbitrations, I am waiting on full back pay, received an EEO cash settlement, but the supervisor is still there. The arbitrator ruled she could not be my supervisor. The return to work has been difficult, there is a lot of hostility from management, co workers, and union officials. I was a union officer and steward when I left, but due to my questioning the timeliness of grievance filings, I have been “black balled” by the local union officers and stewards who are mostly women. I feel tension from the co workers who will talk to me undercover. Some have been told by my union president they should not be friends with me because no one will like them and one was told she should not be taking breaks with me. I trust only a few people at work. It is difficult to deal with both management and co workers “icing” you out. Sometimes the win doesn’t feel like a win.

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Nancy, It’s justice that you sought. Until you’re paid and out of there, it is unlikely. Please put your health first and monitor the creeping onset of stress-related health problems. You deserve to work where you are not sandwiched between two groups that hate you. GN

      • Lynn says:

        With all due respect, it seems once the issue is identified as bullying, the remedy should not have to be for good, qualified people to have to leave their job.

      • Dr. Gary Namie says:

        Yes Lynn — targets having to pay the price (64% lose their jobs once targeted) is one of the great injustices that are part of the bullying phenomenon. GN

    • Traveller says:

      Nancy, I know that PO is a horrible place. I worked there years ago and quit because it was such a hostile place to work. I know others who quit due to the same reason. Now, years later, I work in another government office, which is as just as bad if not worse than the PO position that I ironic.

  35. Annie says:

    The first time I worked under a female bully, I thought it was a fluke. I was wrong.

    I worked at a major state research university for 15 years and witnessed constant bullying, half of it by women and virtually all of it against women.

    After being treated as a valued employee all my life, the university is where I learned the person most likely to stab you in the back is your supervisor.

    Human Resources is not on your side. HR and supervisors do not keep information private and passed on confidential information.

    The higher up in the system I went with my complaint, the less confidentiality I had. I took it to the top.

    I learned the purpose of the Office of “Social Justice” is to protect management, the same as HR.

    One supervisor went after me the year I turned 50. I won a major award and then my dad died unexpectedly of cancer.

    My supervisor, who only bothered to come into the office once a week, spread lies and rumors, degraded me to my co-workers and management.

    I applied for various jobs in an effort to get away from this supervisor although I loved the job and my work had been recognized by our funding agency in DC. I was well liked, highly competent, respected in my field and had an excellent reputation.

    I was promoted to middle management under a serial bully. My old boss continued to attack and undermine me (for leaving) until I threatened to take legal action.

    In my 10 years with the organization, I saw half a dozen women resign angry and bitter. With the rumors swirling about each woman, I thought maybe the women were the problem.

    And then I backed a whistle blower, another woman my old boss forced out. Then it was my turn. And it was relentless.

    My new supervisor increased pressure when my elderly mother was ill and went blind. I finally took six-months approved medical leave to care for my mom.

    I had been running the unit, but when I returned I was given secretarial work, left out of all meetings and emails and told I could not do any of my old job on work time. Assignments and supervisors changed day to day.

    I emailed our HR person traumatized and she forwarded the email to management.

    Then my mother had a stroke that put her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. When I returned from a couple days getting her situated, management gave me the choice of a 10 percent pay cut and two pay grade demotion or go into a “reassignment pool.”

    I began taking antidepressants when my died and by this time, the dose was doubled and I was also taking anxiety medication three times a day.

    I chose to go into the pool where we were promised new positions or the option of bumping an employee with less seniority — 20 positions in my field were held by people with less seniority but HR refused any action.

    The university refused to follow its own policies and found a loophole in the state law. I was told: “You don’t want to go where you’re not wanted.”

    I continued to apply for jobs and to interview — inside and outside the university. I didn’t know everyone in the pool was blackballed although none of the women I met had ever been written up for any infraction. More than 90 percent in the pool are women.

    The union represented four of us and requested information about sex ratio in the pool, rules and regulations. The university refused to provide information and the union dropped it.

    Meanwhile, I fought for my job, exchanging letters with ex-management via “Social Justice” and HR. They accused me of no documentation and I gave them 200 pages, including e-mails, a petition supporting me signed by my unit plus the names of seven women bullied out of the organization.

    The President’s Office for “Social Justice” closed my case without speaking to a single who supported me — they had more than a dozen names.

    I was placed in an HR unit across campus — all women. One secretary didn’t like me. I was isolated, not invited to holiday gatherings and the women averted their gaze in the hall.

    Women make comments about me and giggled after I left the room. The HR director allowed her trusted secretary to read ALL e-mails — no matter how confidential — which she then shared with all her friends on the hall.

    I offered to do any work. I begged HR for work, for another placement. I was treated as completely worthless.

    Both the male bullies I once worked under had their contracts canceled not for anything related to me.

    The entire unit rose up against the serial bully.
    I returned to HR and said: “Can’t you see I was telling the truth?” They said it didn’t matter.

    Despite a terminal master’s degree (tuition waived on merit by the university) I spent most of my last two years as a backup receptionist, playing Bookworm because I had no work.

    The last year, the HR woman placed me under another woman and although I outranked her in seniority, degrees and experience, I was given less complicated assignments than student workers. Nothing I did was right.

    It took me six months to arrange a meeting with these two women, despite e-mails, requests and the fact that one office was across the hall.

    Right after my mother died, the two women supervisors set up the requested meeting then “forgot” to invite me and laughed about it.

    When we finally met, I asked: “Don’t my experience, years of service to the university and degrees mean anything?”

    The women answered: “Not here.”

    I resigned two weeks later and was completely traumatized for a year. I’m better but have post traumatic stress.

    My humiliation and the destruction of my career were funded by EPA and USDA grants but it’s open season on women at that university. Bullies continue to rise to the top.

    As Karen Ann stated (above): “I have myself back now, but still need to get some self-confidence back. I am starting to hate & distrust humans so much I prefer to be in the company of my cats. . . I don’t trust anyone anymore. . . .

    “If I had known how the stress & degradation would effect me, I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I did; nest egg or not.”

    I was raped in college and it took decades and therapy to get past it. Being bullied was like being raped again.

    I’m 61 and I’ve been out of work for three years.

  36. KL says:

    Annie – I really do feel for you, three months into a probationary period I now realize that I was being targeted from about the third week.

    I have so much work to do and I want to finish it for the senior manager who requested it but my line manager is lining up a sniper attack.

    Have to go back to self employment, at least I know where I stand and feel sane.

    Hope life treats you better and don’t give up hope.

    • Maria says:

      I read your story, wow! I’m happy I stumbled accross this site but I’m sad because it seems there is no solution and there definately needs to be a law! My training class (we started with 5) was hit hard by the 2nd and 3rd week. One lady quit about 4 or 5 weeks into training. Another one quit after 6 mos of work. Two others are on probation. It’s crazy. Party of my story is below. I just don’t get it! More money is spent on training people. They just don’t care about keeping their investments! And none of this has to do with promotions but just trying to do work and being nice to people.

  37. Annie says:

    Thanks KL. It’s only in retrospect that I realized when I was first targeted.

  38. Maria says:

    On the job for almost 1 year where I work with mostly women. I was recently pulled in for a “evaluation” where my ratings were 100% and after the “evaluation” was then told (with a pointing finger and a hostile tone) that I am a nurturing, caring person, that likes to help people and likes to fix things and that this is a problem and that I needed to “take a step back!” among other things. (I chose not to retaliate, I kept quiet.)(Most of the time at this job I only help when someone asks for it but apparently upper management does not like this.)

    All because I tried to “silence” a cube partner’s cell phone while she was in the restroom…I’m still baffled.

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Bullying is irrational, so it never does make sense unless viewed through the lens of interpersonal power. GN

      • Maria says:

        Thank you Dr. Namie for your reply. I still have not told my manager that this other manager said these things to me. I have not told either of my bosses either, for fear of retaliation. I am not afraid of loosing my job. They pride themselves in not “letting people go” but they make sure they intimidate people into quitting. Since I’ve been there about 8 people have quit and others in process of looking for other jobs. I don’t know if I should speak up or not. It’s difficult…the good thing is that I’m like by my colleagues and my bosses…it’s just wierd, strange.

  39. Bruised says:

    I have spent almost a year healing and trying to recuperate from my experience with a vicious female boss. I have always had men supervisors and generally they were just fine. Before I always was offended when people would say women bosses were awful. I was a feminist and believed in the ideals of feminism where women worked and supported one another.

    Wrong. My young boss prided herself on a new MBA but no actual work experience, absolutely no management experience, and even ordinary real – life people skills. Consequently she truly believed that everything she says is correct and whoa be to anyone who crossed her path.

    She loved meetings but could just not get up early in the morning. So meetings would start around 11 or 12 and run til 7 or 8 at night, regardless of your schedule or commute or family life. She would give nebulous job assignments, you’d prepare for them with her specifications and timeframe and then she would rip them apart because she changed her mind. Or the appointment would be changed 3 or 4 times before she found the time to meet. Consequently time-sensitive information would no longer be correct for the changed appointment date and you could not revise it because the appointment would called in a few minutes time. I kept a file folder filled with 8 inches of reports she changed her mind on. She was setting every employee up for failure with her unprofessional behavior.

    She supposedly was hired for her zealous, kick ass attitude and a promise to bring in financial results. In one year’s time she made over half of her department’s lives miserable that they quit rather than be fired. I was hired at that point and was shocked on my first day to learn how many had quit because it was so awful. If I had known I never would have come there and in fact gave up 2 other job offers to come there.

    I was left alone to do my job for awhile when a few months later a new worker was hired with very, very few job skills. All the staff was asked to mentor her to bring up her skill set. As soon as she came on the scene, the destructive, mean-spirited gossip started, rumors were constantly swirling and our mature boss believed her because they had become BFF’s.

    For some reason I became their target. I do agree with previous posters about bullies targetting people with higher standards of behavior. What I wouldn’t do was gossip or join in their games. I think that infuriated them. As with others, then my work was called in question, then parts were taken away from me and miraculously given to the new hire.

    I developed migraine headaches due to the stress, couldn’t sleep, and on Sundays at 3 in the afternoon would get so depressed to know I had to go back and face this sad excuse of a woman the next day to keep my job.

    Within 3 months time I went from being a superior, respected employee to one who accused of gossiping and saying vile things, to then being let go without cause, in spite of bringing in substantial money.

    When the HR director came with me to my office for me to clean it out, she asked me to do an exit interview. At this I snapped out that it would not be paid any attention. She said of course it would and I said if that was the case then how did she explain that no one listened to the 15/20 previous department people let go?

    The next morning I woke without a headache and my chest did not hurt any longer. Of course, being let go in the worst economic depression since the Great Depression has not been good. She wanted to hurt me, she set out to destroy me and humiliate me and in many ways she has succeeded.

    As a footnote, a few months ago, the HR director was suddenly also let go and I heard that my former boss was involved in that one too!

    • Anonymous says:

      You know there’s a saying that applies to many bullies state-of-minds:

      Blowing out another’s candle will not make yours burn brighter.”

      The bully I have dealt with sounds a LOT like yours and you are not alone. I believe many bullies are threatned by people like us who are not only competent, but also have integrity and they don’t believe they measure up, so they take the easiest road and stomp on us. But what they don’t understand is that WE are sthe strong ones. We held our ground and our integrity even when it would have been easier to sell out.

    • Mary Anne Semoni says:

      What you have endured is unbelievable! However, you are far from alone. I will share with you an experience of mine. Some years ago, when dealing with the reality that I had a parent who was terminally ill. (This, was completely breaking my heart!) I had a direct supervisor who was intentionally setting me up for a possible demotion & firing. I weighted 100 lbs., and had completely lost my appetite. I needed information from this woman in order to do my job. Every time that we had a meeting, she documented it as counseling. Other people nick-named her the, “Till of the Hun”! Okay, I began to understand that. Other employees fell into the group think though, and played against me, along with her own sickness, and need to destroy at all cost! The situation was much more horrible, than I will convey here. She blocked my attempts for transfers, or promotions to other Departments, and had other Managers believe her BS. What I had shared with, the Union, that I was forced to pay. They back stabbed me too, by going to her Manager and telling exactly what I had shared with them. So much for paying the Union every week, and their lack of assistance! I realized, I was on my own.
      I finally organized a transfer, through a dear friend who knew me and my qualifications,& hired me. This infuriated this evil supervisor. But,
      LUCK-Y for me I was out of that TOXIC environment! L.U.C.K. Laboring Under Correct Knowledge!
      Some time later, since I was gone, this evil woman began to treat other employees left behind as she had once treated me. They began to call me, asking for my help. Interesting when the tables turn. You might wonder with the highest fire rate and demotion rate in an organization, just why others, including HR, and Upper Management would believe her BS? I was told by other HR employees that there was retribution, as her horse threw her, and she broke a lot of bones.

      For those of you out there who have, or are currently being bullied. Know your own strength, and wisdom. Do not let a Turkey get you down.
      Persevere, press on, and know that you have an incredible, individual uniqueness & value. We, the survivors out here in this World, do appreciate your loyal and dedicated
      professionalism. God Bless you and God Speed! Remember to take action, and do something everyday, that builds your own self-esteem!
      Life rewards, Action! Do it for yourself!

      Personnel Success is the best reward!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting this article. I am a female and I am currently in a job (I’ve worked here for 13 years) and for 10 years I’ve been bullied by one woman who has turned everyone in our small group, including our manager, against me.

    This has been an awful nightmare for me. I feel paralyzed and depressed. I used to be a productive contributer to the mission of our group and our company and I have been slandered so badly by this woman, as a result, I’ve been stripped of responsibilities and totally ostracised from the rest of the group (we are learning a new product to deploy to customers and I’m the only one not in the fold – this is what I do for a living). I have been accused of mistakes I have not made, I have been humiliated in meetings and made to look completely incompetent even when I didn’t do a thing to deserve it. It came down to my boss actually giving me a review in which I scored a 3 out of 4 (4 being the highest) and when he emailed me the review to sign (it is electronic) he lowered the score to 2 out of 4. When I asked him about it he just said, “well, it’s not a big deal.” It’s gotten to the point where I sleep for only 4-5 hours per night and I’m depressed, and I’m not that way by nature.

    If I were to even bring this up the retaliation would be harsh and relentless. I only wish the economy were better so I could move on, but I’ve tried applying for jobs and I have to ask myself, even if I do land an interview, how would I explain not including my current employer and co-workers on my reference list? This is a huge problem for me.


    • Anne says:

      Re: what to do about not listing the last job as a reference: — I think it is okay to acknowledge that you had “professional differences” and leave it at that. Everyone has had a bad boss at one time or another. In the interview, the thing to do is to describe what you learned from the experience / job. Remember, never trash the former job or boss, no matter what! You’ll be fine.

      • Dr. Gary Namie says:

        I add. If he or she is going to paint you as incompetent, make a pre-emptive statement such as: “when you call, you’re likely to hear that I was a bozo. But here is my record (provide objective accomplishments) that she for her own reasons chose to ignore. As you can see, I focus on the work and delivering excellence. Do you agree?” Then, you will have framed her negative comments in the box that “she’s a petty person.” None of this is a lie.

  41. Anonymous says:

    One more question I forgot to ask – is there some sort of online support group (this seems like a good group of people to participate!) for people like us?

  42. Anonymous says:

    I was a target of a woman bully for way too many years. I let her destroy my self-esteem, health, and relationships with others. As typical of a bully she ultimately fired me without cause because she didn’t want to work with me anymore. She targeted others before and after me and she proudly told very horrifying stories about how she bullied her own family members.

    It’s been several years but I have never been able to get full time employment again. Recently I was told my someone I know on the interview team that this bully’s negative, untrue comments about me again prevented me from getting that position. When is my sentence over? I feel like I’ve tried to remain positive and overcome her untrue legacy. Any suggestions for overcoming her unfair influence?

  43. Pamela says:

    I just recently quit my job due to bullying by my boss. I accepted the position knowing that this woman had held it before being promoted to CEO. I had a gut feeling it wasn’t a good choice before I accepted but I did so because the opportunities that the move to this town afforded my family were the primary motivators.

    The reasoning that bullies behave as they do in order to cover up insecurities and incompetence are, I believe, the reasons that I was bullied. My situation was not as extreme as some of the stories I have read here. It started with comments meant to humuliate when she didn’t like something I said in a meeting and unfair or false reprimands made in front of other staff. It was also subtle in that it was designed to make me doubt myself and my abilities before it escalated in mid December 2009. During a discussion in which I was told that my suggestion for a problem resolution was “silly” my apparent indignation at being talked down to was apparently license for her to go off and start attacking my personality (I am quiet by nature) and character. It was demanded that I respect her and if I did not than I would need to leave. At that point it became obvious that she was paving the way to fire me. I left the meeting and was in tears as I left the office. I spent a good deal of time agonizing over it and what it was that I did to cause it.

    Having worked for a horrible woman at the beginning of my career I was able to make the decision that day it escalated to verbal attacks that there was no way I would stick around for more of the same. I’m glad that I was strong enough to make that decision that day because if I hadn’t I might not have looked for a new job, which I am now looking forward to starting in a few days.

    My annual review was a complete joke. Positive comments followed with negative comments that seemingly contradicted the other. Multiple ratings of “Need Improvements” but when questioned to give examples she was not able to produce any concrete situation or incident. She was only able to struggle with putting forth some vague comments such as “other people are concerned”. When pressed she finally told me of one incident, which had not been previously discussed with me, that was brought to her attention by another member of the management team. However, she would only tell me if I understood that she would have to tell that person that she told me as it was told to her in confidence. Thus I learned that I was also working with a woman that was still in junior high mentally.

    When I was interviewing for the job that I am starting next week I was asked why I was looking to leave my current employer. I didn’t have to say much and did so in an indirect way but they understood rather quickly. The CEO of that company is a woman and before concluding our talk she made the point to tell me that even though her organization’s management team in predominantly female that they are all professional women and that there is very little, if any, drama. I hope that she is sincere in her claim. If nothing else, this entire experience has taught me what I will and will not tolerate in my working environment. I’ve also learned that I am strong enough to change the situation for myself.

    For any person out there struggling with the same problems please know that you do have the power to stand up and say “enough”. Sometimes that means your stand includes walking out the door. You health and sanity is not worth staying and fighting a losing battle. There is a need for legislation but until that happens fight it in a way that makes sense for you. Remember, “you can’t argue with stupid”.

    • Coolgrandma says:

      At my performance evaluation I was told I was unprofessional because “someone told someone else something that made her cry and she was in the boss’s office crying!”
      I asked who said it; “I can’t tell you” Who was it said to: “I can’t tell you” What did I say: “I can’t tell you”
      I said ” so I am to defend myself about a statement I cannot hear said by someone I cannot know to someone else I cannot know? And it is professional to go to the boss about me with a hearsay statement and cry, but I need to be more professional?
      What? (Am I in High School?)

      • jh75 says:

        Similar thing happened to me. I confronted my bully and ever sense then they have put in my file a letter of expectation that quotes a policy at my work place that says you are reminded to not act in an inappropriate way….otherwise I could be fired. They can never tell me what I did because I never did anything. They cannot file a letter of warning because I never did it. Instead they put this letter of expectation that implies that I did something. Nothing never happen. It is just a threat. I want to sue them for defamation of character. I switch division. And my new manager wrote in my performance review that I acted inappropriate. But not one can say what I did and when I asked them what I did they took it out. Is this a threat and can I sue them for defamation of character. Is this possible ?

    • Eva says:

      “Am I in high school?” says it all.
      May first review was all negative. Every written point, I disagreed with. Just so I had a record. But most of it was verbal. Mainly “Nobody likes you.” and statements like that.

      Next super was new. “I’m going to base your review on what your last super said.”

      Guess what??

      Document everything. And don’t send it home. Print it out.

      • Gabie says:

        I was fired as a substitute teacher. The school board had a private meeting, so no record according to the usd office. Apparently a high school girl said I said something so bad as to get me fired. What did I say, I asked. We can’t say, they said. Can I apologized, it must have been really bad, to get me fired.? No. We don’t owe you anything.
        Later, I find out that the boys at school were saying things that probably made this girl jealous. I’ll never know
        Thanks for being here, because at 50, I’m realizing how much a life time of bullying has hurt.
        My scar tissue has scar tissue.

  44. BillyV says:

    I am in the eye of the storm now. For 18 months I’ve been subjected to subtle and confrontational bullying. It’s frustrating to deal with HR because during the meeting to discuss the incidents, I felt he was short and angry with me. In the articles here it says, don’t trust HR. If not, who do I trust? My co-workers don’t want to risk being the next target, so they’re silent. The other manager is afraid too. I have no other recourse but to believe HR can make a difference. If I stand a 64% chance of losing my job, I’m going to lose my mind! What does one do???

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      BillyV, You have to go to the top. Easier in a large corp or agency. Read our 3 step for a full explanation. Inside the Target section. Click on the menu bar.

  45. Anne says:

    All I can say is “ditto”.

    My current boss (“Sue”) is a former friend, and began targeting me after I recieved favor in another department. She smeared me mercilessly for small things and weirdly for things that she herself still engages in. While it was going on, it was an open secret in the office, everyone knew. Some were dispassionate, some horrified, and some probably got their rocks off. Complaints to our common boss (above both of us) were ignored. Because of her continual attacks, my job changed. I was “congratulated” for my “excellent work” in the other department, and then moved back exclusively to her unit. I am now entirely under her thumb.

    I have spent at least 15+ months with my hair falling out, sometimes liteally trembling in bed at night, and feeling surrounded and afraid.
    For months I had regular intrusive thoughts of suicide and even had plans for how to make it look like an accident (to spare my kids).

    Humiliating does not come close to describing it. It felt like gang rape.

    I am now “between beatings.” Rather than wait for the next flare-up, I am moving on. Yet, I dare not speak a negative word, because it would follow me to my next position. I am silent. She won.

    Even writing this now, brings me back to those horrible days, the lowest moments in my professional career.

    By the way, I am a lawyer, and no weak sister. I am successful, well liked and I win my cases. In my humble opinion, the ONLY way to change this is to change the law to capture and punish this kind of behavior by making it a civil wrong, and by allowing money damages. The only way to do that is to turn over the rock and expose the worm. How? Say something to your State Representative. Send them a letter, direct them to this wonderful website, or send them a copy of this book. I am going to do just that!

    Thank you Drs. N. for your work in this area. And thanks for listening. Good luck to you all, I am rooting for you. Peace.

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Anne, 3 things. 1. Your account of the impact of these assaults helps others to link their bullying experience to the harm inflicted. It seems obvious except when you are going through it. 2. Assuming you are a woman and using the term rape, you have the right. Many have equated the experience to rape (clinicians comparing the PTSD severity to that of rape victims, plaintiffs describing the depositions at the hands of the employer’s attorneys, and the stigmatization). I am wary of saying it as a man, but it is a reality for both men and women. 3. For political action, visit http://WWW.HEALTHYWORKPLACEBILL.ORG and sign up. Apply your intelligence, experience and heart to becoming a State Coordinator, if it fits you. GN

  46. Blue Rose says:

    “If you miss out on life they win”. A quote I came across in a film I watched a while ago. I have been bullied on and off for about 7 years now. It has been a group bully constant scenario. It ripped me to shreds because initially I believed everyone except myself a tough lesson I truly do not require and unfortunately it did not pass me by. I guess you can call me a whistleblower if you wish to label me, what I did was ask it to stop without mentioning any names this might not have been the best way but it was the best I could do at the time. I lost a mass of weight, endured injuries to my back, unable to sleep, hair fell out, I have thrown up on the side of the pavement on the way to work due to the fear and horror I’d to face. A group bullying scenario is horrendous due to the fact when one bully leaves you alone you turn around and there is always another one to pick up the slack. The exhaustion I have felt is undescribable. Throughout this there was one constant I had in my life no matter how awful I felt and looked I always walked in with my shoulders back and my head held high & remained civil & professional. I did look for other work but I was unwilling to leave my job for a lesser job.
    If I was to leave my job I knew it was important to leave on my terms and not theirs because I would have only brought the effects of their repulsive actions with me. These days I feel a lot more positive I am in the same workplace, I distance myself from the cliques I have managed to get back a certain amount of normality in my life.
    I am truly glad I have never given up the person that I am, people will always look at me with a jaundiced eye and lack trust and there is nothing I can do about that, all I can do is to continue to conduct myself in the manner in which I was brought up and to lead by example. This note covers so little of what happened to me but I wanted to let other people know that you will be okay it’s definitely not easy, try and keep a few constants in your difficult time its kind of like developing a habit a good habit 1.Eat good healthy foods 2.Fresh air (does not matter if its only for 5 minutes) 3.Ensure to Sleep or Just rest 4.Draw a line when you leave work don’t think about it until your back in the next morning 5.Just say “STOP” out loud everytime you waste time thinking about those nasty people 6.Don’t waste one more second of your life on trying to work out why they are they way they are 7.Give your energy to those who appreciate it i.e. family, a stranger walking down the street. My best to all

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Blue Rose we commend you for keeping your boundaries intact and not letting the demons inside. Point 6 is my favorite and one I also share with people I coach. “Don’t waste one more second of your life on trying to work out why they are they way they are” You are a good soul. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here. Stay safe, live long. GN

    • Eva says:

      Good for you!

      You’ve given me hope. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the inspiration! I am so happy to have been directed to this website after typing in a more specific search.  I did not realize I was being “bullied” by staff.  I tended to think of this term as applied to students in school, or childhood memories.  My job sends me to different work environments, although they are all under the same category for my job description.  I work with male and female staff members as well as students.  My job can be stressful to put it lightly and team effort is essential for the best outcome for students.  I have had the same problems with competition, to the point of being bullied by women my age with the same job description. I am not a social “player” if you will, being pretty much a straight shooter when it comes to communication.  I am respectful, and ask for help when I need it:I am talented with the students I am blessed to work with and have developed confidence in my abilities over the years. I am intrinsically shy, but am outgoing and friendly with co-workers  and the students that I work with. Being in new situations year to year has its benefits and disadvantages.  Because I have in the past experienced a lack of confidence when being manipulated by women of my own age that are better at playing the game than I am, I have had to take a good long hard look at myself, and the traits I have that may be drawing these players like a magnet to undermine my confidence and reputation. I am like a child in that I trust both staff and students too easily, and that I am really very sensitive.  These can be good attributes but can also make you a puppet in a skillfully designed play without even realizing what is happening.  This plays into my insecurities and I begin to think maybe I have lost my magic touch!   Despite my intelligence and education I walk into these situations with blinders on, an easy target, until I am hurting, because these people are really manipulating me in order to gain a personal end of some sort.  Lately I am practicing a new approach.  I do my job, I am courteous and ask questions or offer info as needed, but other than that, I focus on the students.  I do not offer personal info about myself or family, do NOT talk about co-workers except in a positive light, and find ways to distance myself from the political goings on in the office that so often involve the pack order, status and likability factor so many women seek. It’s an ongoing process and there are still people waiting in the curtains to find and destroy!  I really get along better with most male co-workers. I don’t get how to play the game, I never will, and this will remain a naive part of my soul that I will protect!

      • Stressing in LA says:

        Jacquie – Your story is exactly like mine. I am a positive person and naive as well. I have never understood the games these people play. I have never been a part of the political games in the office. We have a shared lunch room where the management and co-workers eat together and all they do is talk about other employees and cut them down. Very hateful things are said and management shares with the co-workers sensitive, private information about certain employees. They are part of a clique. I could not tolerate eating there any longer. One day it was so bad, I got up and left before my lunch hour was over. One of the women said as I was walking out the door, “Don’t worry, we will talk about you too!!!” I told her I have no doubt that you will. I have never gone back there to eat since. A few of them would tease me if they saw me eating at my desk. I asked them why are they so concerned about where I eat my lunch and they would reply, why did I stop eating with them. I told them the truth. I did not like that they were saying hurtful things about their co-workers and I did not want to be associated with it. They didn’t like what I said, but I just did not care. I was so tired of it. They left me alone about the lunch room. Recently, another coworker has started pointing out my mistakes, loudly, and rudely, so that all in the office can hear it. These are mistakes that anybody would reasonably make, nobody is perfect, not even her. She has made the same ones; I have corrected them and did not say anything to her about it. I know she does not like my positive attitude and I feel very strongly about treating people with respect, courtesy, and understanding. One day she curtly asked me why is it that I go out of my way to help customers. I was so shocked by this question. I answered her with I enjoy helping people solve problems. I was thinking in my mind that “Is it not our job to help people to the best of our ability?” That is what our job is all about. I love helping people solve problems. I don’t know if I am correct in my analysis of this, but I think that she is comparing the way she handles customers with the way I handle customers. Her style is harsh, abrasive, and belittling people. My style is warmth, compassion, and doing whatever it takes to help them resolve problems. I think she feels threaten by this and that is why she is bullying me. All of this had made my stomach hurt. I have anxiety about going in to work and my blood pressure has gone up. I am frustrated with myself that I have allowed this person affect me and affect my health. It is a mind game and I am having difficulty relaxing when the conflict is happening. In regards to the mistakes, I am now so careful about my work I am double checking everything I do and it is slowing me down. I know this is counterproductive, but I am doing it because I am trying to keep the conflict from happening. I know that this is a defensive response to everything that is going on and I know it is not healthy. I just don’t know how to control my emotions internally. I am trying to not let her know that what she is doing is stressing me out, but I am sure my emotions are leaking through. Women can sense that sort of thing. I am glad that I found this site. Sorry for the long post. It is such a relief to find out that I am not alone.

    • Comment below!  Thanks for your wisdom!!

  47. Jane says:

    Lately, I noticed that my self-esteem is completely crushed. I mentioned it to my counselor (I am getting counseling for anxiety and depression). That got me thinking and talking about why? I was targeted by two workplace bullies, in two different workplaces, in the last four years. The first place I chose to leave, when I realized what was happening. I had been through an abusive marriage, and recognized the abusive treatment after 3 months, as abusive. The second place fired me (they couldn’t find a reason, and had to make one up). I didn’t realize that these two situations had messed me up so badly inside, until four years after the first ordeal, and one and a half years after the other. The workplace abuses messed me up far worse than my ten-year abusive marriage had. Maybe because I, and my society recognize and acknowledge domestic violence and the harm it does–but we think of workplace bullying as trivial. When I finally acknowledged that it happened to me, I didn’t talk because no-one would take me seriously. Also, I didn’t recognize the harm it did me until now. I don’t think my counselor is taking it seriously either. It helps a great deal, to see that it was out of jealousy–that the first bully felt threatened by my arrival. It was apparent that I was the most knowledgeable and competent, and that she favored all males, and especially those who were least competent. Also, it was apparent to all, that I am a very spiritual, highly moral person. I wasn’t trying to be obvious about it–I just naturally developed a very strong spirituality after a lifetime of abuse. Now I feel like the one who said that she distrusts humanity, and prefers the company of her cats to all other company. That explains how I feel. I too think human society is horrible, and have lost all desire to have any friends at all. The only company I want to be in, is that of my two sons, and my two cats. Now, I have a really important question–now that I recognize how broken I am. How does one heal one’s self-esteem from workplace bullying?

    • Annie says:

      Reading through posts, I began to read yours and thought: Did I write that and forget? I also saw a clinical psychologist-therapist. It helped.

      You mentioned people not taking your situation seriously . . . While I was bullied out of my position/career, my “work” was taken away. I was upset doing busy work or having nothing to do when I used to run the unit.

      Even some of my friends/coworkers said, “Hey, you can do nothing and collect a salary. Enjoy.”

      I said, “I didn’t put in 10 years learning this field and before that leave my son with baby sitters and drive across the state for a masters degree to do nothing.”

      I was taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication and seeing a medical doctor every few months at that point because of the stress.

      I started to think I’d die if I stayed. I bought many photo albums and arranged family photographs at night, putting things in order for my son. I updated my will.

      My next visit to the doctor, I told her I couldn’t handle it. My only hope for a future and putting in the couple years until retirement was a short medical leave of absence.

      She said, “I can’t tell them to be nice to you.” I felt betrayed. She was a long term doctor I trusted.

      I realized I was giving up my future security when I quit but I honestly thought if I stayed would die.

  48. Lila says:

    Where has this site been all my life? LOL…but seriously: I am so glad I discovered this site.

    For the past 10+ years I have direct-reported to a micromanaging, bullying, manipulative, gate-keeping, idea-squashing, soul-destroying control freak. This woman has driven many people out of the company, yet she stays. (Her own supervisor protects her.)

    Her arsenal of control tactics includes manipulation (she is the Manipulation Queen, and she knows exactly how to push her subordinates’ buttons); guilt-tripping; gate-keeping; keeping subordinates isolated from their colleagues in other departments; effectively squashing and suppressing every idea that bubbles up from below (always with a different excuse); shaming; nano-managing to the nth degree; making insanely unrealistic demands (e.g., refusing to prioritize conflicting, overlapping deadlines); drowning her subordinates in endless pointless meetings; giving the impression that, no matter how much one does, even above and beyond, it’s never good enough…and the list goes on.

    I work in a creative department. This woman should NOT be managing people — like most textbook-case micromanagers, she is all about processes, not people. In particular, she should not be managing *creative* people. She doesn’t understand creative people; she feels threatened by them; and she seems to believe that her mission in life is to break and destroy them.

    Most members of our team refuse to work for her. For a long time, only one other employee and I reported to her. The other employee (a man) decided he wasn’t going to stand her ranygazoo, so he complained to a sympathetic higher manager (now gone, alas). The higher-up laid down the law, so my boss, to protect her own hide, was forced to play it cool with this one subordinate. Now she concentrates most of her control-freak bullying on me. I am naturally self-doubting and guilt-ridden, so I am easily manipulated. She homes in on those weaknesses and goes in for the kill. She doesn’t scream, rage, or anything like that. Instead, she is covert-aggressive, employing extremely clever manipulation to break my will and get her way.

    I want to leave so badly. I’m nearly 59, and my husband and I have savings. Our house is paid off, our cars are paid off, and our two teenage sons are doing so well in school that they can probably get $$ for college. (Older son recently aced the PSAT, and he is being inundated with college offers.) I am dying to take early retirement. But my husband wants me to wait to get laid off, so that I can get severance and unemployment benefits. I don’t know if I can wait that long. (The stuff I do has a steep learning curve, and therefore the bosses seem reluctant to let me go. To tell the truth, they’d probably be just as happy with a kid fresh out of college, but the kid him-/herself wouldn’t be able to stand it and would be out the door toot-sweet. Not kidding about that: We cannot keep young talent; they know better than to stay in an abusive situation with no career path. We recently hired a freelancer who also direct-reports to this woman; this freelancer, who has her own successful freelance business on the side, is already talking about leaving, because the micromanaging is driving her insane.)

    In short, I feel trapped, and there’s nowhere I can go. My boss’s boss routinely protects her, so that’s a no-win situation. And HR is pathetic. Per upper management, HR cannot do anything about a horrific situation unless it involves legally actionable stuff like sexual harassment or discrimination. Last time I went to HR, I was told that this is a case of “management style,” and there’s nothing they can do about that. Management style, my foot. This is the Micromanaging Control Freak from Hell.

    Sorry for rambling on and on. Thanks again for letting me vent.

    (sorry I can’t give my real name)

    • Blue Rose says:

      When I read you felt trapped I felt concern. It is your management who are trapped. They will not act against their own, if they do they are admitting failure. Instead they look the other way thus demonstrating their actions are common and by no means unique. Create a mental detachment from your work environment by stepping back and realise any negative scenario from the micromanage person or any other manager (that only provides lip service and no correct support) is a symptom of a non existant management environment. When you realise how incompetent these people are it will help you to build your confidence and belief in your own abilities and hopefully, begin to enjoy the reasons why you started your job in the first place!-ALWAYS REMEMBER WHATEVER IS SAID OR DONE IT IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK DIRECTED AT YOU BUT IS A SYMPTOM OF NON EXISTANT MANAGEMENT-STAY DETACHED FROM THE SITUATION & I wish you well.

      • Annie says:

        I believe bullying is a personal attack as well as a symptom of poor management. Destroying a person’s emotional health and financial future couldn’t be more personal.

        I was certainly singled out. I wasn’t bullied until I was 50. I can’t imagine how bullied children survive. Heartbreaking.

        I believe most who has been bullied to the point of job loss, depression, anxiety and/or PTSD believe it was at least partly personal.

    • Eva says:

      I’m in your boat. In fact, in the last year, four people just quit. In this economy. Without other jobs lined up. They couldn’t stand it amymore.

      I can’t do that. Thanks for letting me share.

    • Miranda says:

      Lila, I, too, am in the same boat. In an atmosphere of a bad economy (thanks, George Dubya), the powers that be have NO clue (nor do they want to have a clue) just how much money, time, effort, etc., are wasted by allowing one incompetent, bullying, nano-managing person to run rampant over others. And their job is to look at the bottom line. Pathetic.

      We need legislation, and we need it NOW.

    • SandDollar says:

      Lila, you wrote that “I work in a creative department. This woman should NOT be managing people — like most textbook-case micromanagers, she is all about processes, not people. In particular, she should not be managing *creative* people. She doesn’t understand creative people; she feels threatened by them; and she seems to believe that her mission in life is to break and destroy them.

      Most members of our team refuse to work for her. For a long time, only one other employee and I reported to her. The other employee (a man) decided he wasn’t going to stand her ranygazoo, so he complained to a sympathetic higher manager (now gone, alas). The higher-up laid down the law, so my boss, to protect her own hide, was forced to play it cool with this one subordinate. Now she concentrates most of her control-freak bullying on me. I am naturally self-doubting and guilt-ridden, so I am easily manipulated. She homes in on those weaknesses and goes in for the kill. She doesn’t scream, rage, or anything like that. Instead, she is covert-aggressive, employing extremely clever manipulation to break my will and get her way.”

      That sounds exactly like the toxic place I used to work, with the incompetent computer illiterate boss I had. You have my sympathies.

  49. Jusna Begum says:

    I would to write a book on workplace and its effects psychologically and address these issues GPs,HR, Occupational Health and above all the medial and the real reason sickness absence within the NHS.

  50. Ana says:

    If you are an insanely beautiful sexy woman, you are 500X times more likely to get bullied by other women in the workplace. It has nothing to do with your work ethic or job performance. The average fat/ugly girl is jealous and hateful and will make your life a living a hell. They will even scream and yell at you. Especially if you’re a nice girl. TRUST ME. If you are a raging bitch, they still won’t leave you alone, so that doesn’t work either. You will have to quit.

    • Annie says:

      I’ve actually never seen anyone bullied at work because they were good looking. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen.

      I’ve seen many women bullied out of jobs — other than being women, the connecting tie was age. Virtually all were over 45.

      I tend to think overweight women are more likely targets than beautiful women — just as out in society. I was treated better when I was young and pretty.

      But there are a lot of bullies out there any anybody can be a target. It’s not a rational thing.

      • SandDollar says:

        Annie, I was abused by the horrible female boss when I was in my late 20s and early 30s. I was thin and attractive.

        The horrible boss who harassed me and other people was in her 50s, she dressed dowdy and unfashionable (always in pants, I never saw her in a dress/skirt), and she was not attractive. She had super short ‘butchy’ hair, wore glasses, and looked like a troll doll.

    • Miranda says:

      I completely disagree. I am overweight (but not ugly), and my nanomanager is thin and not ugly. I’m sorry to say this, but I think you’re grasping at straws with this short response and have no idea the extent of abuse and trauma we’re experiencing and discussing.

  51. Susan says:

    I am 56. I went to Catholic school: we spent an extra half hour in school every day to take Religion class: turn the other cheek, love thy neighbor & thine enemies. My grandmother believed in “noblesse oblige”: if you have advantages (monetary, social, intellectual, or educational), they should be used to assist those less fortunate. I am a pacifist and believe compassion is one of life’s basics.

    As a self-confident creative artist, I have spent much of my working life in supervisory positions with non-profit Arts organizations. I have worked with hundreds of volunteers, wonderful people who needed little more than encouragement, good planning, and some assistance with creative problem solving in order to exceed all departmental performance goals. As a team, we often rescued other departments during their peak periods. The organizations prospered, yet our team success was routinely punished by women working higher up.

    Two of these women were having personal relationships with the Directors of the organizations, and were directly responsible for driving over a dozen very capable women out of the workplace. The third woman had convinced her Director that without her all the funding would disappear when, in fact, many of the financial contributors were supporting the organization in spite of her and preferred to deal with her assistant (a position known to be the worst job on offer). The happier the Directors were with my teams’ performance, the more bullying I experienced at the hands of their malicious “pets”. I put up with it for years: 6 years with one, 8 with another and 12 with the third, in order to support the very worthwhile work of these groups and to protect my teams. I believed these women would be caught, and corrected, but it never happened.

    Since voluntarily leaving these organizations, along with many other fed-up employees, I have moved on to do satisfying and rewarding work in other areas. All three of these groups have since experienced poor financial performance and non-stop internal chaos. They have revolving doors on their staff entrances. Talented & experienced people will not stay with them. The Directors have no idea why this is happening, but it is explained to them by their “pets” as the fault of “this person, get rid of her” or “that person, get rid of him”. Everyone sees the truth except the boss.

    A complete lack of understanding at the top of these organizations is destroying decades of hard work by dedicated people. Workplace bullying is not a case of personality conflicts or disagreements about management styles: it is a destructive form of rot eating away at the foundation of any business that does not actively seek it out and eliminate it.

    Until it is made clear to the CEOs, CFO’s and COOs who ignore, support or even encourage workplace bullying that it damages their bottom line they will continue to dismiss the problem. The cost of hiring, training, paying severance packages, and defending against “wrongful dismissal” lawsuits is enormous. Lost productivity wreaks fiscal havoc. Do they think the bullies have the time & energy to do their own jobs properly while they’re plotting and maneuvering against the women who are usually the most productive workers on the payroll?

    A clear picture, preferably in numerical form, showing the financial damage done by high staff turnover and lost productivity due to sabotage, high stress and stress-related sick days would be helpful in persuading business to take this issue very seriously. They are certainly not responding to the thousands of hard-working women who are being mercilessly hounded and harassed while trying desperately to support their families in a very difficult economy. The shame belongs to the perpetrators and their enablers, not the victims.

    “Nice guys finish last” should be a giant red flag, not an incitement to wipe “nice” from the face of the earth.


    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Unfortunately, most corps are immune to the “business case” about fiscal impact of bullying. However, I take your call to preserve humanity in our work as a philosophical one. Point well taken. GN

      • Coolgrandma says:

        I noticed several posts were from nurses or those working in health care. I also read that the problem of bullies, in the form of screaming and rude doctors was now being addressed as it was found to negatively affect patient care.

        I see articles about nurse bullying in the workplace. I hope this is the beginning of a positive trend.

  52. Marie says:

    Many of the stories here are so familiar, in that they are very similar to personal and friends’ experiences. I read, nodding my head many times.
    Thank you to the Namies for writing a very valuable book and I have put some of the advice into practice with success!
    I once had a job where I learned much too late that a particular individual had been talking to my immediate supervisor when I wasn’t there. Someone confided it to me after my sup. fired me. While I worked there I just let that individual’s overt rudeness fall off me like water off a duck’s back ie. taking the high road. I was performing very well, exceding expectations, impressing those at head office. The rude individual was not even paid by the same company so I thought I was untouchable.
    At first I was angry that my informant didn’t tell me sooner, but many people are too afraid to speak up for many reasons while it is happening. But I am grateful that she did because in retrospect knowing why I was fired meant I could go about restoring my own empowerment. I sought to learn how to deal with such covert manipulation to try and ensure someone else of that ilk doesn’t push me out the door again.
    Lesson #1, turning the other cheek & taking the moral high road is sometimes not the best way to protect oneself.
    Once again, in the past year I have encountered a bully or two.
    I work in a very good company. I did my homework, applied, and chose to accept the job because of their values. I have found out that they truly stand behind and enforce their claims. Rare, I know!
    So, yes, it is incredibly important to have an employer who takes bullying seriously and will not tolerate it. I got support after filing a complaint. Before that, I approached trusted people & asked careful questions without naming names and got valuable answers & learned I wasn’t the only one.
    But I also realize that the game-playing will not stop. I can’t control what someone thinks and what they tell their workplace friends.
    But! I can change how I react to it.
    Here is some of my own personal formula.

    How would you support a friend going through the same thing? I gave myself the same compassion and support.
    Just as a healthy diet, exercise and regular checkups maintain a strong body, a healthy “diet” of helpful info, along with daily reminders, keep things in perspective and promote a sound mind.
    Read and reread helpful info. For me, such info also helped to sharpen my intuition since it is now easier for me to recognize harmful people eg. many bullies can appear very charming. I pay attention to even the slightest discomfort I feel around anyone. I have learned intuition never lies!
    Bullies are the minority. I ally myself with those who are genuinely kind. It diminished the bully’s impact.
    See the bully for who they really are.
    As Dr. Namie says, bullies are chickens!
    Try some creative visualization.
    Pretend the bully is one inch tall and talking like a highpitched munchkin, then squash them with your foot.
    Write notes at home to remind you. Here are mine.
    I created these acronyms:
    B-benign U-unevolved L-lazy L-lousy Y-yellow-bellied OR I-immature E-empty S-sadsacks.
    “Bullies are small”
    “A bully has not evolved from long-ago hurts or from being the schoolyard terrorist. That makes them pathetically childish. What’s to admire?”
    “It matters more to the bully than it matters to me.”
    “I remind the bully of something they think they are lacking”.

    Good luck to all, thanks for sharing.

    (FYI to Dr. Namie: “Marie” is a pseudomyn, should I give my real name? I need it to be hidden.)

  53. Anonymously says:

    The Executive Vice President of my organization is a woman and a bully. The President (her sidekick) is amused by her treatment of me and views her behavior toward me to be a rivalry between two women. This is not rivalry but a superior officer of the organization bullying a subordinate both of whom happen to be women. The Vice President (the bystander) conveyed to me the President’s view of the situation. He continues to stand by idly even though he has the ability to say something to make this behavior stop. I am actively looking for a new job but it has been tough in this down economy to make a transition quickly.

  54. Curtis says:

    I have a friend working for the state of Illinois. She is a beautiful black woman and smart too. Ana’s comment in nmbr 50 is so right. When my friends mother died in November that is when she was most vulnerable. While she was out her employer hired another black woman (overweight, not so smart and at twice my friends salary) to come in and the only job she has is to make my friend her target. We thought the state was in a budget crisis but I guess they find money for this kind of stuff. The woman even went about their office bragging about getting the call directly from the governors office to come take the job. The other people in the office know what is happening to her and so do the legislators. They are timid about getting involved because it is election season. So where does my friend go for help when the bullying is coming from the top? Unfortunately, it seems like there is a trend in hiring someone of the same protected class to do the dirty work, if the company thinks they could possibly be sued for discrimination. Even worse is there are people who are ready and willing to take a job to be a bully without realizing that the tables could easily turn and probably will. I think when people sign up to do that kind of work, first is is already in their character and second they themselves have major personal deficiencies.

    I told my friend to keep record of everything because I think she already has a book in her.

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      Curtis, Tell your friend to contact any government worker’s best friend in Illinois, IAMG — Illinois Association of Minorities in Government. Jonathan Lackland may be able to get out the word to shame Gov. Quinn who ordered that our bill there — SB 3566 die or be amended so much as to be unrecognizable. Have your friend help expose how Quinn acts when the state is in budget freefall. G. Namie

  55. Coolgrandma says:

    Luckily, I had a long history of being respected for my work and ethics. Perfect target according to this information. I thought the main reason my young, new, female boss bullied me was explained by the Jerry McGuire movie. Remember when the football player wanted, not just the money, but the Kwan? That is, the adulation, respect, love of the fans. I think that is what the boss mostly wanted and tried to take. Any moron should know that is something that is developed over time by one’s own actions. It is always, always, always specific to the person. She, I think, was so jealous about that, she tried to destroy me on so many levels. Just for fun and to confuse her, I made up my mind to be the best employee in the place. I was so good. She was furious when I left. I was recruited by someone else. Why? the Kwan, baby. Mine all mine.
    Seriously, though, I just realized the other day, that I was P.O.’d for the 3 years I worked with her and for 2 years after I left. I mean furious. It affected me in multiple ways, but ultimately I came up with a much better plan for my future work situation, one I love. I am learning to take the long view. These people come into our lives for a reason. While it is hell and a huge challenge not to succumb to all the negativity and stressful beyond belief while it happens, it can spark motivation to change and look for something better.
    The old boss, by the way, I understand, now roams the country trying to get someone to buy her as the next great thing. Never gonna happen. Funny thing is, I knew EXACTLY what she should do to get the recognition she sought. She did, of course, take credit for everything I did the entire time I worked there, but I realized she was not a creator, only a taker. She hired a staff of yes people, so no creativity there — she will NEVER get what she wants, she is not creative or a visionary. She does have the skill to see it in others and steal their work. Another thing I realized: I am much better than I thought. If this woman can steal my stuff and build her mini empire, it must be great. I really should stop underrating myself. Now I am not so free to share ideas or processes. I learned a valuable lesson.
    God love all of you who are suffering in your personal situations.

  56. Jack says:

    I am a male bullied by two women in my department; my tenure here exceeds both of them put together but they have set me up as the scapegoat for their own mistakes. I have had my work taken away without warning, false information and harmful gossip about completely false accusations spread about me throughout the company, our colleagues, and other people in the industry. They upsurp my work responsibilities; they reprimand me publicly when I do something I have been instructed to by my boss. My boss (who is not one of the bullies) is poor at management and cannot or will not step up to the confrontation that needs to be done. I cannot quit my job or leave it–I have been doing it for 25 years and have no other place that I can go.

    I have just begun receiving anonymous email threats plus threats on my blog (non-work, about comic books) that reference events at work, so it is clear they are from someone at my company. One of them was a suggestion that I hang myself in my office. These two women are minorities (one Asian, one gay) and I’ve been told action can’t be taken against them because of this. We are a medium sized company of 300-400 people and we have no HR department.

    I have some of this documented but in many cases it is “she said/he said.” I’m 48 and have worked at this company all my life–I have little or nowhere else to go in my industry, especially since one of the bullies has strong connections with other companies in the industry and has spread malicious and false derogatory gossip about me.

    And I have just been given a reprimand by my boss that if my behavior of depression and panic attacks continue I will be fired.

  57. […] One male is stronger than any one female. But no male is stronger than many females. As women, we tend to isolate ourselves. At the office, we backstab our female colleagues and women are mostly bullied by other women. […]

  58. Women against violence – be more bonobo! – Lola ya Bonobo says:

    […] One male is stronger than any one female. But no male is stronger than many females. As women, we tend to isolate ourselves. At the office, we backstab our female colleagues and women are mostly bullied by other women. […]

  59. Claws says:

    HR are about as useful as a fish on a bicycle in these situations – biggest waste of time and money! Next time I get back in the workforce (studying at the minute), I will ask in the interview if there’s an HR representative or department. If there is, I will walk out of said interview, – they have made my life hell at work making decisions on workloads they know nothing about, and rabbiting on about perception.

  60. Susan says:

    I had a boss with severe narcissistic personality disorder who worked for the State of California. This man was unbelievable. Typical bureaucrat who even told us his objective was to be on vacation as much as possible till he retires in a few years. Made it clear everything we did had to be for him. We were not to make more work for him by doing anything but the minimum. He used intimidation, threats, insults, and bullying. In fact, this is how this agency works–the entire agency works by intimidation and bullying. I just could not take it anymore. They kept him in his position despite MULTIPLE complaints against him. I went to my union and just as I was filing a grievance against him, he announced he was leaving–to go to another state agency where he went on vacation for two weeks immediately but at least he was gone. People THANKED ME when he left. (Co-workers, not management). I was so happy. Finally I could do my job. His replacement turned out to be a friend of his, a psychotic woman prone to rages, who told me she was not going to “let up” on me and she proceeded to go after me so brutally, it culminated in her taking me into a room where she lost it and began screaming at me to the point where I was fearful and left the room. Of course, I was not the first. I was later visited by other employees who had been subjected to the same thing–these people all beaten down to nothing. Very sad. The whole experience of working for this agency still traumatizes me. I quit which is what they wanted me to do, of course. Now they are going after my unemployment. I am 50 years old and the age discrimination is terrible and this was part of why they outed me. I also refused to act unethically and was pressured to do so.

    All I wanted to do the entire time on this job was do my job and I was very good at it.

    This agency is run by a board that itself has been charged with corruption. Nothing has changed.
    I am aware of their new target….another middle aged woman.

    I think if attorneys advertised for class action lawsuits for employees who have left the State of California or been bullied out, they would have a few class action lawsuits fairly quickly. There are a lot of us out here, mostly middle aged women.

    Our governor right now, however, is a brutal heartless bully and it is apparently being transmitted from his office to senior staff to treat people so heartlessly or they are just getting it through osmosis.

    I am still looking for an attorney if anyone has suggestions. I am talking to a few right now. While I would like to put this behind me and move on, I am too angry at the incredible level of injustice and cruelty I was subjected to, it needs resolution. I think many organizations in this country are sick. The good people leave while the dysfunctional ones enable one another and repress and deny there is anything wrong. This is tax payers money they are wasting. Healthy fully functional work places serve the taxpayer best, not ones in which sick people prop one another up and drive the real talent OUT.

    This is a real problem and my heart goes out to the victims. These people are sociopaths with no capacity for compassion at all. Watch out.

    Thank you

  61. Marylander says:

    Having a female at the top of a male-dominated business does little for the rank-and-file women. Even having equal male-female ratio in management does little to change the workplace environment. These are myths, too. I can tell you from my own experience. The female is there to provide the ‘lipstick’ so the organization can say, “see, we’re done; we’ve made it equal.”

    The women came up on the same stereotypes as the men and are not immune to gender bias against their own, because they have a view of their gender as generally inferior. The token doesn’t t want to lose her feeling of being special, so she does not welcome more women with open arms.

    The token usually loses her idealism in favor of the male standard once accepted into the group.

    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      This is so true. For a female CEO to be stereotypically benevolent, she has to lead a female-dominant culture. Studies show this. There is tremendous pressure on “tokens,” the first to serve in any non-traditional role.

  62. MARY says:

    I work for a small company where there is no HR Department.

    In fact there are only 5 of us there including the Manager.

    All of us are experiencing bullying by one of the 5 five people.

    The yelling screaming, making up lies and threats.
    This is also one of the few women I have met that brags abouts being violent with her children and

    The Manager always gives in and gives her way,
    from my point of view she appears to be afraid.

    I have tried talking to the Manager about it and all I can get is “ignore her” or “have as little contact with her as possible”.
    Difficult to do when she gets in my workspace when I’m trying to work and refuses to leave.

    Anyway, I’m documenting everything.

    Anyone have any advice?

  63. Tara says:

    Thank you very much for this information. I have been devouring it for the past several months. I am a female professional with a Master’s degree in Urban Planning. I was recently driven out of my job by a bully.

    I tried many times to address the bullying in my office. I had a young female boss who was the golden person of our nonprofit organization, basically untouchable.

    I am a very conscientious person who always wants to give a person the benefit of the doubt, and so originally I attributed the way I was being treated to my manager’s lack of experience managing (I was the first person she had ever managed). Being an empathetic and forgiving woman, I bent over backwards to try to help make her job as easy as I could. I was a model employee.

    However, eventually I began to feel as though it was impossible for me to continue giving her the benefit of the doubt. I noticed that she would glower in meetings when my accomplishments were noted by the Executive Director. She would take projects away from me for no reason and finish them herself, usually projects that had the potential to make me look good. She would focus on petty details in my work and refuse to give me positive feedback. At the end, she had stripped me of all of my duties. I literally had no work to do.

    Despite the fact that I complained formally, both to her and the Executive Director, and informally, to trusted co-workers, nothing happened. The bullying actually intensified.

    I quit on Monday. I believe that I was driven out intentionally by my boss because I was perceived as a threat and a potential whistle blower.

    Though I thought I left with my confidence intact, and that I was better off, I am concerned that I may be experiencing some PTSD. I could not sleep last night, and I began experiencing some very intense emotions–I oscillated between extreme crying and numbness for a few hours. Thank God I have the most supportive husband in the world who sat with me through this night terror.

    I do believe that I will seek some counseling to get through this. I just hope that I can find one who truly understands this phenomenon.

    I truly believe that the bullying I endured for the past year was fostered by the organizational culture. Although I was the only one who seemed to experience this treatment from my boss, most of my co-workers admitted that they had been treated badly by the Executive Director, also a woman. I believe that no one feels safe coming forward, because they fear the abuse will intensify if they do and they do not want to lose their jobs in this challenging economic climate. Many of them also have families and small children to support.

    I am just disgusted at the fact that organizations, especially nonprofits that pride themselves on civil service, can treat their own staff this way.

    The day before I left voluntarily, I wrote up a 13 page report documenting the emotional abuse I endured. A coworker suggested that I give it to a board member, but I am afraid.

    I am meeting with one of my mentor’s from my Master’s program, a very conscientious woman, on Saturday to discuss my experience. She was the one who originally recommended me for the job I left and is on the Steering Committee for the organization. I do not believe she has any idea what is going on in this organization. At this time, she is the only one that I feel safe talking to about this experience. I feel that it will be therapeutic for me to tell someone, even if only this one person, about what has happened to me. I have to do something. It is difficult for me to do nothing in the face of injustice.

    Thanks again for this info. I hope those of us who have gone through this can somehow effect broad change together.

    • Kristina says:

      That is what I can’t wrap my mind around;how can injustice prevail?In my childhood,I always believed that good triumphs over evil…what happened?

    • Mary Anne Semoni says:

      Dear Tara,

      For some strange reason, women are often, jealous and insecure. I have witnessed, and endured this too. Both in professional,& career settings and in sports, such as golf.

      In one instance, in a professional setting, where some women in the position of power who had hired other intelligent, attractive women. Eventually,
      the hiring female became very jealous to the point of building a case to ultimately either try to run
      the other female out, or fire her for no apparent reason.

      In relationship to sports and especially golf, many women become so serious, and rude. That they
      take the fun right out of the sport. I refuse to
      play golf with those individuals. I used to get sick to my stomach before playing golf. Now, I break a hundred, and have a blast!

      Tara, while what you endured is much different than this, there are similarities. I hope that
      you shared this with others who truly listened, and for those who were in a position to take action. That they did! I hope, that you and many who have written, and shared on this site, become advocates and get involved and stay. We should have a higher purpose and consciousness within our culture! I, as a woman am appalled at the treatment of women to one another. I have always had a great respect and admiration for other women and their accomplishments. I was shocked and very disappointed to see the cruelty, and deceit shown, by women through my career, social settings, and sports. Once again, through research and reading material available. Often women are jealous, and insecure. Not at all the mentors that are often suggested readily available in the workforce. It was a real shock for me to see just how mean spirited a woman could be. I never give up, and look for the the best in all! If, I do not find it in one. I look for it in another. Sometimes the earlier contacts come around, and mellow out.
      Ultimately we all have our circle of influence. Why waste any more of our valuable time, on someone, anyone who does not appreciate it?

      I see, by the heartfelt experiences shared here, that I am far from alone.

  64. Gorbachev says:

    I think a socially systemic pattern is being searched for, when a sociobiological one suits occam’s razor much better. In my experience, females have *no* loyalty to each other and their social instincts are, simply, much more brutal than those of males. The “sisterhood” is nothing but wishful thinking.

    I think women know this instinctively.

    Males contest directly and seek power. Women seek power, but their contests seem to be less direct, and hidden. And their jealousies go way beyond their competition for men. The capacity to be jealous among females is way, way too pronounced for it to be mere coincidence.

    What I find interesting is that when women are the bullies, it’s not the women in particular that are blamed – instead, systemic problems are fingered. These ultimately blame men and “maleness” in some form – for selecting belligerent women for supervisory roles, for creating an abusive culture, etc. This is interesting, but it appears to be an ideological response and doesn’t reflect reality as I’ve seen it.

    It’s something to think about.

    I’ve worked in mostly-female and majority-female environments for much of my life, and have had many female supervisors.

    As a male, I’ve noticed that women have usually treated me as well as male co-workers and supervisors. I’ve also noticed that women, in the last 10 years, are generally treated well by men. So the difficulties between genders seem to be retreating (albeit slowly in some cases) in my experience.

    However, one thing women seem loathe to admit but that appears to be a near-universal:

    I don’t think it’s male social structures that are causing intra-woman problems.

    Boys are bullies and can be physically brutal. But there’s no brutality like the casual, vicious cruelty that young girls dish out to each other. They can destroy with a single word, laser-like, coldly calculated, meant to destroy a target’s ego. The object is to socially obliterate their opponents. They do this to acquire social status not with men: They do it to acquire social status with each other. This is an entirely Female-Female phenomenon, and has no male equivalent or justification.

    Take other mammals: Male dogs can fight, but they’re direct and confrontational. And they rarely fight to the death. Female dogs may appear supplicatory and nice, but dog trainers know that female dogs are dangerous to keep together; often one female dog will simply turn on another without warning, and in cases where death is involved, female dogs are usually the culprits.


    They remember slights; they calculate and coldly measure their moments, and when they go in for the kill, they don’t hesitate or feel remorse. And they kill. So female dogs are more dangerous to keep together than male dogs.

    Male dogs establish a hierarchy, and leave it at that; if it’s contested, it’s a short fight.

    But let’s be straight here: it’s no male environment or patriarchal force creating the WOW bullying phenomenon.

    A pretty, young woman who moves into an office environment knows that her greatest enemies will be other women. She’s seen this all her life.

    All of my female compatriots who have “enemies” at work all say – their enemies are female.

    I think this quest to find a male-centered reason for this effect is disingenuous and dishonest.

    There’s a much simpler and much more realistic explanation.

  65. Gorbachev says:

    I worked at a company once, where there were 6 women and two men (one me) in a large office.

    One manager was female (about 45-50); the rest were in their 30’s-40’s. I was 27, my male coworker 32.

    One of the women was a nightmare to work with. She was 41, and was formerly quite pretty (being 41, no longer so much). She was bossy; took huge amounts of attention; monopolized the attention of my male coworker (who was attractive), and, while loud, tried to avoid any work responsibilities.

    From the first day I was there, she went on about how everyone was exploiting her and was insulting. While she gave about 45% of the effort of the rest of us, she complained incessantly about everything. I do mean, *everything*.

    The manager was terrified of her, because she was exactly the type of person likely to get her fired. So this woman got away with murder. She was frequently late, missed deadlines, was haughty and demanding.

    The manager was one of the most professional and upright people I’ve ever met, male or female. She was a joy to work for. She was also highly competent, and not a pushover under normal circumstances, and her list of credentials was impressive.

    But the disruptive 41-year-old woman made snide comments *all* the time; but only to the other women. One, 31 years old, was quite a stunner and sweet to boot. This 31 year-old was literally tortured by the 41 year-old. It was merciless, but very, very subtle, and it continued until, at one point, the young woman went home in tears.

    Inevitably, the 41 year-old filed a harassment and abuse complaint. The lawsuit took 2 years to run its course, and the company ended up paying out $250,000 to get rid of her. She wrote up a 22-page deposition on how the company had abused her.

    I must say this: once she was gone, the office started to work and hum along nicely.

    It’s odd, but the woman who had filed the abuse complaint was easily the most abusive, judgmental, trigger-happy narcissist I’ve ever met. She made life living hell for the rest of us. And yet, many women supported her (those that didn’t work with her; she was good at forming alliances outside the department).

    Every situation she was involved in became poisonous; she was like social arsenic.

    She had a grotesque air of profound entitlement about her.

    While she complained of bullying, she was the biggest female bully I’ve ever met. And with the least justification: she was a mediocre worker, at best.

    When she spoke with her friends, they all supported her. “Yes, it’s terrible”, etc. – they all backed her up and told her how awful this environment was.

    It’s impossible to know exactly what’s gone on in a situation based on what people write here. I can’t come to any conclusions about what other posters have written. I can no longer take complaints at face value.

    Far too many people have issues with feeling too entitled.

    One thing I’ve noticed: there’s a tendency to posit better motives for women than men in all situations. Somehow, women are a priori seen as “purer” or, like a form of chivalry, “morally better” than men.

    This is an error, in my experience. There are as many venal, abusive, power-hungry and amoral women as men.

    You don’t need a systemic Male-Domination theory to explain this effect.

    Many women are abusive and are jerks. That’s it. jerky people often get things done or seem like they do. Like men, they advance.

    Women don’t make better social environments based on the fact that they’re women. Far from it: evidence I’ve experienced seems to show that female-dominated workplaces are often easier for cruel, brutal and vicious women to manipulate and dominate. And such women have far fewer ethical limitations than their equivalent in men.

    Until women can see without the blinders of male-domination ideology, they’ll continue to be victims to each other.

    Sisterhood is wishful thinking.

    • cubicledweller says:

      Your post was interesting, but you said,
      “One of the women was a nightmare to work with. She was 41, and was formerly quite pretty (being 41, no longer so much).”
      At age 40 (female) I’m just as attractive now as I was in my 20s and 30s. People do not suddenly lose their attractiveness when they turn 35 or 40 or 45.

  66. Pat says:

    As a teacher I work mainly with women. I can tell you that women can be vicious beyond belief and it is acceptable in VA (Fairfax County Public Schools)..The admins and upper mgmt is mostly male and they love to pit the girls against each other and do’s like dog fighting..they enjoy it.. Personally, I lost my job after complaining and have been suicidal as a result. For 17 years Ihave been a teacher and now I can’t find work at all because of FCPS.

  67. Anne says:

    I have to agree that administration creates the environment where workplace bullying not only survives, it thrives. Until there are viable and acted upon penalties for cultivating this type of workplace atmosphere, I don’t see it changing. Women who target other women are often insecure and in need of constant affirmation…one of the ways they get that affirmation is by targeting another female worker, undermining that worker’s efforts, and thus promoting self, and indeed, they do not work alone. Especially with women, there is a mob effect being utilized, and the mob is often stirred up very covertly and coercively from the office of the bully. The bully is often in a position that is crucial to the well-being of the workplace, and the contributions of targeted workers are increasingly undermined in an effort to enhance the importance of the bully’s role in the workplace. Often, if you stand up to the bully, you are labeled as a trouble maker, unstable, or difficult. There is little to no defense or support, and the amount of lost productivity is astounding. Women who do this to other women need to be identified, forced into counseling, and monitored for future regression into the same patterns of abuse. One of the worst cases of female bullying I have witnessed is a woman whose own husband does not respect her, and her only source of real power in her life is in the workplace where she derives power from undermining the work of those she targets. The bully seems often to be convinced that her perception of reality is the correct perception of reality, and actively recruits her minions to carry out her directives against the targeted individual. Pathetic really.

    • SandDollar says:

      Anne said: ‘Often, if you stand up to the bully, you are labeled as a trouble maker, unstable, or difficult. There is little to no defense or support, and the amount of lost productivity is astounding. ‘

      Very true. When I eventually began standing up to my female bully in verbal and written form, and both in private, in front of another boss (a male), and in writing, she would turn it all around to make me look like a trouble maker, she would say I was not a “team player.”

      Apparently, when these jerks abuse you, you’re supposed to just sit there and take it. If you defend yourself, they try to make you look like the guilty party or instigator, and that, in my opinion is even worse than the actual bullying.

  68. Kimberly says:

    I have just come to terms with the fact that I have been bullied for the past year by my manager. I just recently reported her to HR, and have every statement documented. I have a fantastic memory, especially when it comes to negative attacks. The sad thing is, despite being intimidated to come forward with my verbal abuse; I actually felt bad for her. I always sensed this insecurity that seemed to fill her snide hateful remarks. I feel such relief now that I have a voice though. My company currently stands behind me, she cannot retaliate. I do have to work with her this week. I feel empowered though to know that she is threatened by me, and I am actually as skilled as I once believed I was. I am now determined to see justice prevail. She will get what she deserves. I am now not willing to risk my well-being any longer.

  69. Lisa A says:

    I am just coming to terms that I have been a victim of bullying in the workplace for much of my working life. I grew up being constantly bullied in school so this is just more of the same. I’ve been fired from jobs for vague reasons that amounted to a personality conflict. I am technically skilled and educated in my line of work and have some great references but some not so great. The great one admire my work ethic and dedication and quality of work produced. The not so great ones all reference personality and inability to “get along”, clashes with coworkers, and interpersonal relationships. I am now certain that previous and current management would rather ignore the problem than deal with the bullies. The mean girls always win. No one messes with them. They motivate others to join them in their attacks and eventually, the victim is run off. I’ve put up with personal attacks, sabotaged work, humiliation in front of coworkers and bosses, teasing, cruel words. Much of this catches me off guard and I was unable to defend myself so it was “proof” for the bully. Friends promised loyalty but split for the bully’s side when it became apparent the bully held the cards. Working hard, offering your help, going the extra mile just gets you taken advantage of by the bully. My current bully has an ego that is unlimited. She is technically skilled but acts as though she must be in control, the control freak, everything must be done her way. She considers herself superior to the other employees. She demands worship from coworkers and manipulates those above her. I’ve witnessed her lying to bosses but when she is near getting caught her accent gets thicker and she talks in circles to the point of confusing and convincing bosses that she is truthful.

    I’ve complained to my supervisor about her behavior but nothing ever happens. The demeaning ways she treats me and speaks to me, often in front of others, demanding that I perform my job in the way she wants done even though she is not my supervisor in any way. I’ve tried catering to her ego, standing up to her (disastrous) and even ignoring her. Ignoring her just made her gather support from other coworkers to gang up on me. Standing to to her amounted to saying “Mary, stop!” and she melted into tears, was absent from her work station for 45 minutes and the end result was she cried to the boss that she didn’t know why I was being mean and was given time to get her tears under control and go back to work. I got called in to explain why I was treating her “mean”. By simply saying “Stop!”. My defense was not heard and and that her behavior was due to her simply “trying to help”. Perhaps I should be more cooperative. When I gave specific examples of her digging at me the boss said I must have misinterpreted her and that is not what she said happened. Of course her tears got her everywhere. One time the boss said since I have had problems at other jobs, it must be me. I really feel defenseless against the women (always women) who choose to bully me. I don’t have trouble with guys other than that they recognize what is happening but prefer to stay out of it. One guy told me guys enjoy watching women bully other women, that it is “sexy”.

    Is there any reprieve? I’m becoming convinced that I need a job that I’m the only female or better yet, that I work alone and can just do my job in peace. My self esteem is trashed and I have a sense of hopelessness that no matter where I work or how much I go above and beyond to make life easier for my coworkers, nothing will help. There will always be that mean person who is cool and I will always be under attack.

    • Lisa M says:

      Amazing….I feel your pain. Your story is exact same as mine. It amazes me how the bully gets people on their side. I know the bullies are saying something really bad about me to other people. They think I am the one who attacks people and lose it. They even convince all the new people that came to our group. I am so tired of the mess. I will eventually leave. The upper management thinks I am this crazy person too. I have never did anything out of the ordinary. I just always keep my defenses up. That comes from the bullies bullying for over 2 years.

  70. MS Michigan says:

    Work at a College in oakland county.
    Unfortunitely Female bullying is rewarded.

  71. MS Michigan says:

    Have been a successfull employee with employer for a very long time. Always great reviews!
    New female gets hired all of a sudden ,she constanly lies about me. And management believes it.
    what can a persom do?

  72. Gina says:

    Empathy to all of you out there, like me, bullied, bullied, bullied! My bully was a female co-worker who was obviously jealous. I was the new kid on the block, brought in for my specialty in computer programs. In addition, I was admired by the big poo-bahs and not hard on the eyes. I am conservative by nature so probably seemed aloof since I chose not to participate in office gossip. She was a huge gossip and what she didn’t see, she made up. Things that happened to other people that were none of her business became a priority for her to discuss with everyone she met. She criticized everything I did or made fun of me. She really went crazy if my boss or any of the other higherups gave me pats on the back.
    And, yes, she went about trying to gather others with her. She would pretend to be talking to someone but her voice would be louder so I could hear.
    The day I walked out of that office was when she had coached a young impressionable secretary to go to my boss with some made up tale that I was doing something seriously wrong.
    I stood up from my desk and with an imposing voice, told the young thing off while looking at my bully.
    All the secretaries were embarassed for one reason or another and I picked up my things and walked out, never to come back.
    Thankfully the bigwigs really did like me and I was given another job at another site.
    What a huge relief to get away from her!

  73. Lori says:

    Many of the comments state that the bully is “jealous” of the person being bullied. In my cases being being bullied by women, I have attributed their behavior to being insecure in who they are, what they can really accomplish, and their position in the organization. I have always viewed jealousy as something different. I was curious about the differences, so have compared definitions…

    jealousy is “feeling resentment against someone because of that person’s rivalry, success, or advantages (often fol. by of ): He was jealous of his rich brother…

    insecurity is being “subject to fears, doubts, etc.; not self-confident or assured: an insecure person”

    Based on this I can see how workplace bullying could be based on jealousy. If the bully applied for a job within the company and I am hired to do it instead, or get promoted instead of her, jealousy could be the reason. I suspect, though, that much of the bullying is based instead on insecurity. It has been in both of my cases. My impression is that I am confident in my abilities and ususally very calm (even under workplace stress), and these very smart but insecure women are afraid of losing their status, or in the case of someone new to the firm not being able to establish it. Perhaps they are afraid of being “found out,” that they are not as good as they portray.

    In my case, I have remained strong and tried not to let the bullier know that I have been affected. For my situation about 10 years ago this type of harrasment was not recognized, and my HR department was no help — even though there were multiple people who without the knowledge of the others had discussed their situation with them. In my current situation, the woman has had other incidents – aparently serious ones – during her 10 year tenure. Yet she is still there, and has been promoted multiple times. She is technically smart but for some reason feels she must set the pecking order and that is her fall down. Ihave been to HR and this time I have been told that I have the option of filing a formal complaint, and that by law will be protected from retaliation during an investigation. She won’t be my manager for much longer due to a reorganization, but I am going to file the complaint anyway.

    It’s really a shame that this type of behavior is permitted to happen because it is so counter-productive and financially costly. Our childrens’ schools have anti-bullying policies. We’re all just big kids, so it follows that bullying is possible in the grown-up world of work. Perhaps similar programs should be implemented in our companies…

    I wish everyone well in their usually silent battle against the workplace bully. Stay strong! If you weren’t smart and confident you would not be a target.

    jealous. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved November 20, 2010, from website:

    insecure. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved November 20, 2010, from website:

  74. Natalie Kladd says:

    The worst scenario is when the office bully is in control of processes. Our bully enjoys changing the rules, and then revels in showing the executives how stupid we all are that we can’t follow the rules. She often stoops to changing the rules and not communicating the changes. We are set up to fail constantly. She also keeps track of our errors and publishes a chart of them! When someone racks up enough demerits she publicly calls them out and makes then go back to training class. She is incompetent and uneducated, and has low self-esteem. It gives her joy to criticize the rest of us, most of whom have advanced degrees. Many has complained to HR but nothing is ever done about her bullying. The first time I met her, she screamed at me so everyone could hear her. It was very embarrassing and unwarranted. I don’t understand how she got her jog or how she manages to keep it.

  75. Carol says:

    Reading all of these entries made me realize that my situation is not unique, but commonplace. My boss also fits into the bully category. She is insecure, jealous and petty. She blows up without the least provocation and she changes the rules daily. On one occasion during my review she stated, “At least your staff loves you.” in another instance she stated that I acted like a victim.
    I have never been written up, nor have I had anything put in my file, yet she continues to try to shake my confidence by berating me for not performing tasks that she never informed me of. At this point in time, I have repeatedly asked for assistance from HR to no avail.
    Her behavior has led to many people leaving over the years. When I first started working there, 3 years ago, the HR director reported that in the previous 5 years, 76 employees had left the company, both voluntarily and involuntarily. The company only has 60 employees, about 25 of whom are staff and the ones leaving. Not only is she allowed to make the staff’s lives a living hell, but the company turns a blind eye to the amount of money they are losing with each employee walking out the door.
    I am desperately looking for a new job, especially since she told me she would be bringing up performance issues in my review. Even though I am a direct contributer to our company’s success as I bill my hours, she, a nonbiller, is allowed to run rampant with her yelling and demoralizing attitude. In our small department (5) only 1 person has been there a year – her anniversary was Monday.
    I wish everyone good luck and positive energy in their search for a position where they are respected and treated in a professional manner.
    Do not let the mean girls get you down! It is unfortunate that some people never progress past grade school, but I have worked with enough great women bosses to know that they are not extinct.

  76. Beckster says:

    This is a very informational and helpful site, thank you!

    I am in the midst of two years of continued bullying by my female supervisor. She is a thirty something as am I, she is childless and recently moved to CA to marry a man she fell in love with on vacation a few years ago. She is originally from another division of our company in a socio-economically challenged, socialistic, eastern European nation; and this is her very first job in the US. my guess is that she has been sponsored by one of the higher ups that are not willing to admit that it was a bad decision to re-hire her after she left the other division and re-applied here in CA.

    The bully has overseen my department for 23 months as of Nov, 2010, yet claims she has “well over 3 years experience” in customer service. Not one person in my 10 member dept. has any less than five years experience in customer service positions, at our current location, with this company. Strangely, the only two members of the department that she has targeted are both female thirty somethings just as she is. In fact, we are the only two other female thirty somethings in the department. All others are either male or well older, and clearly no longer threatening to her.

    The best part of the story is typical, she has not made even a good faith effort to learn the tasks involved in our positions, nor the functionality of our computer systems, in her two years with the company. She inherited the role of evaluating each members’ performance with the supervisory position. Yet, unlike the previous manager, has no ability to evaluate the workload of, or act as back-up to ANY of her constituants.

    As the saga continues, I’ve grown immensely and learned a agreat deal about myself and office politics throughout all of this. That is the silver lining I’ve arrived at in order to NOT allow her to completely destroy me, my wellbeing, and my carrer. To others in this situation, I say look within to find your inner strength. You are NOT the problem!! There is likely no ‘winning’ outcome, but do not internalize it. Believe in your personal value and abillity to do your job very well.

    In my situation, I’ve realized that I will never move any mountains, but I must endure. Despite my ongoing complaints to managers and HR representatives at all levels, my extensive documentation of emails and daily accounts of her absurdity(well over 6 inches thick), my claims filed with DFEH & EEOC, or their Right to Sue Letter (which apparently is required in order to pursue further legal assistance), it all boils down to my choices. I have the choice to do things her way and spend my time compiling evidence of my work, so as to provide her with tools to sound knowledgable when speaking with upper management regarding my productivity, to include a majority of items that she has no knowledge of or ability to perform. Or, alternatively, I can chose to productively continue to focus on the daily workload that comes accross my desk, at the risk of appearing unproductive, and getting fired for being “difficult, un-trustworhty, un-reliable, unable to manage time wisely, and cannot prioritize appropriately”.

    The irony of it all is poetic. Life is way too short & karma is the ultimate equalizer. I know the bullies will get they dish out sooner or later.

    In fact, the DFEH came to the resolution that my case “does not fall under their agancy’s definition of harrassment”. Now I’m not sure, after what I’ve learned from reading this blog and others like it, that my circumstances will fall under anyone’s definition of harrassment, but my own. Perhaps with the exception of those that have experienced the situation themselves.

    • J says:

      The DFEH, excuse my french, is pretty damn worthless. I had this confirmed by a lawyer, by the way. He told me they are, “a complete waste of your time.”

      I filed a complaint with them, met all of their timelines, and they lost it several times. I went in in person to their office, had it DATE STAMPED, and over the next several months received emails from them to the effect of, “We have your complaint, we will serve it, but we are understaffed this week and need to type it.”

      Fast forward several months, I receive and email from the DFEH saying that they cannot handle this after all, and I need to talk to the EEOC. The EEOC, by the way, had pushed me over the the DFEH and year prior to this, saying it wasn’t their jurisdiction. At this point I asked to speak with the DFEH’s supervisor, and insisted they handle it.

      I received a call a week later from a DFEH investigator (not the one I was assigned), saying she was handling it and was working towards “conciliation” for me. WTF? They go from handling it to not handling it to handling it again?

      Anyhow, she was rude, short, unsympathetic to my case, and interrupted me more frequently than she ever let me speak.

      The end result of all my troubles?

      The perpetrator of my harrassment agreed to put my “rebuttal” in my file. Mind you, this is a legal requirement. And I had to fight tooth and nail for that. They were initially trying to deny me the chance to have a rebuttal placed in my file, and get me to sign away my rights to sue. Completely illegal and unethical, but what can I expect? Talk about a culture that protects bullies. If I was a supervisor/bully, I sure as hell would feel protected by the DFEH and EEOC.

  77. Anonymous says:

    I have always had employment problems. It has always been jelousy or being too nice “weakest link theory.” I am 46 and look younger than my age. I find the women hardest to deal with are the young ones. Twenties-early thirties. They are ruthless!
    The most recent job I had was working at a CBRF {assisted living facility}. I was a med passer/caregiver with a phlebotomy/med-lab assist. degree.
    I was written up for touching bread with plastic gloves. They said I should have used wax paper sheets (cabinet wax paper) to spread butter on bread. Here is the catch we didn’t even carry it! My supervisor started supplying it after she wrote me up.
    My next write up was for supposedly diagnosing a resident. The said resident had a anxiety disorder and was on Lorexapam. She was having an attack so I started rubbing her back and asked her a series of questions. I asked her if she was feeling anxious, because I used the word “anxious” and she had an anxiety disorder my supervisor considered that “diagnosing” and wrote me up.
    Now for the finale’ I was passing meds on Christmas eve and I was working with one of her little snitches. The snitch I was working with was also a med passer. It is ruled that if another caregiver is med-pass certified you are allowed to give them the keys to the med cart if they need access {upon your own discretion of course}.

    While I was popping out meds for one of the residents {and there were alot of meds for this particular person). The snitch came in and told me that one of our diabetics was soaked in cold sweat and acting drowsy. I gave her permission to grab the keys out of my pocket, so she could obtain the finger sticks and glucose monitor to immediately check her blood sugar. Meanwhile I was finishing my med-set-up for my next resident. I locked the cart and went to put the keys in my pocket and noticed they weren’t on the cart. {Obviously the snitch didn’t give them back}. I immediately called her on the walkie-talkie and asked her where she put the med keys. She said “I gave them back to you.” I then proceeded to tell her that it was impossible because I hadn’t left the med room since she took them and I didn’t have them.
    I waited for her to return from taking care of the diabetic. The residents blood sugar was low so i instructed a cookie and orange juice and told her we would repeat the blood sugar in 15min, call the supervisor and then check it again before dinner.
    After returning from the diabetics room and giving her the sugar snacks she asked if I found the keys. I said “No, I was waiting for you to return before I left the med-room because you had them last.” The snitcher then told me to take the meds to the next resident while she looked in med room for them. Needless to say she couldn’t find the keys and I had to call the supervisor in on Christmas eve to unlock the cart so I could finish my med pass.
    The keys were found in a residents room on the floor by the snitch. Here is the catch–
    Remember the meds I was doing for a particular resident when she took the keys? The room I hadn’t been to yet when the keys were missing and I waited for her return to find out where the keys were before giving the “said” resident their meds? Well that was the room she “supposedly” found them in.
    Well that cost me my job.
    She also took the diabetics blood sugar sheet out of the med book and I was blamed because I was med pass person.
    I was totally set-up!!!!!!!!
    I never gossiped, was asked to snitch on people by the supervisor and i said no because i would not partake in breeding hate at work. I always did my job very well and there was just so much more but running out of words!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  78. Confidential says:

    I currently have been the recipient of bullying for 3 years now by several supervisors and co-workers, in particular an person who was my co-worker and is now the supervisor in the department I work for.

    The staff has been quickly reducing as a results of her bad management and inability to treat others with respect. The staff members that quit when this manager was hired, were here for many years and did express that, if in fact, she did get the position permanently, they were going to leave and so they left as a results of her getting hired for the position. We, the staff, had made several attempts to get upper management to look at the problems existing and chose to ignore it.

    The department hired on three new people to fill those slots that were quickly abandoned, 2 were hired in September and left in December (lasting only 3 months) as a results of her micro-managing, poor interactive skills and poor management, in otherwords bullying. The 3rd person that was hired has now become somewhat of a confidant to this manager, which he does not directly fall into her chain of command so to speak and she has discussed a lot of information with him that she should not. Lack of sharing information, spreading rumors, playing a forgetting game or claiming she has given or shared information (which she hasn’t) and ridiculing staff members in front of other co-workers is her MO (modus operandi). I have a list of things she has done, have documentation of daily non-sense that consists of 10 pages or so as well as another co-worker who was forced to leave because of this managers poor management and bullying. She has at least 15 pages of documentation. She has this hidden agenda and she covers her inadequacies with intimidation tactics and verbal abuse.

    We have contacted the Union and HR and they choose to do nothing. HR did a “Tempurature Check” to shut us up and nothing was done. If I had the money to sue for mental abuse I would have. This has been going on since 2008 the very first week I started working in this department.

    I have 19 years and 6 months to retire from the military, I left my home town to look for better opportunities and coming up here to this state, I thought would be a good change, but am regretting every minute of it, WHAT A NIGHTMARE and I could have retired from the USAF Reserves in 2008. I have never been treated so poorly or even thought that this kind of behavior is tolerated at the State leveljob. Why am I paying Union dues when they will do nothing? It creates a lack of respect for those in positions that could do something when this negative and destructive behavior is allowed to happen.

  79. Jennifer says:

    I just want to say that reading all of these posts, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. Something that is important (but hard) to remember is (a) we are no alone (b) we did not cause the bullying. And yet every time it occurs, the first things I feel are alone and at fault.

    I am in my thirties and am going through my third incident of bullying in the workplace. The first time was female on female and occured in a law enforcement environment. The second time was in nursing school, which I learned is an environment ripe for bullying and burn-out. The third time, most recently, is still ongoing. It is a male supervisor who is bullying me. Every single one of these incidences has not been isolated; the environment or bully in question has a track record for low morale or toxicity.

    Most recently, I started a student position under a male supervisor. I traded with another female, and was only told after we traded that she was trying to get away from him as quickly as possible.

    The first day I started, my supervisor was joking with a colleague of mine. I tried to be friendly and join in and he said, “I extend a professional courtesy to (them) because they have been here for over a year. If you can’t show up on time and serve our customers you have no business being here. We don’t need you and I could do your job.” This occured in front of all the other employees. As expected, it only went downhill from there.

    In the next couple weeks:

    My dress and appearance were criticised numerous times, despite my attempts to correct it. (Other employees, by the way, dressed more casually than myself and nothing was said to them)

    When I took time off to move, I was asked by my boss to provide documentation/proof.

    Any attempt I made to speak with my boss was treated with coldness and hostility. If I said hello or good morning upon coming to work, my boss would not say anything in return and just glare at me.

    When I would ask my boss simple questions he would roll his eyes and respond in a hostile manner, generally just treating me like I was stupid.

    Despite my bosses incessant harping on “professionalism” he brought his dog into the office and had the office area cordoned off with toys on the ground. I had to step over a gate and dog toys to get into my work area and annotate my hours. I seriously doubt I could have gotten away with bringing my cat to work.

    I was working at another (very friendly) work site with a supervisor I am friends with. My boss emailed her, telling her to “watch me” and my hours. When I came in to log my hours, my boss accused me of lying and overstating my hours. When I attempted to defend myself and explain any possible miscommunication (I had a solid story), he wouldn’t hear anything I had to say, claiming I had a “recurring problem” and that “lying is a serious thing”. This incident was so confrontational that another employee felt the need to get up and leave the room. Yes, this occured in front of other people. My supervisor never had the basic professionalism to dress people down or address problems in privacy. At this point, I felt too stressed to return to work, saw not much to salvage in the job (he already clearly wanted to get rid of me) and called his supervisor, saying I was no longer comfortable working around him for these reasons.

    A family member of mine had experienced severe health problems and I looked forward to seeing them over the Christmas holidays. I annotated my leave on the calendar, following the procedure I was told to for taking leave, and returned a few weeks later. When I called my boss to discuss my schedule he declined to talk to me, saying, “Call back later”. I learned from a friend of mine that my computer access was gone and I wouldn’t be coming in anymore. I confirmed this via email with my boss. He never even told me I was fired until I asked.

    I am still waiting to see how this turns out.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Shortly after I started working at a large company, I noticed that my coworker (also a woman, about the same age) started snapping at me for no legitimate reason (I’m thinking that it’s a hormone imbalance).

    However, I started to notice a trend in these outbursts. Whenever I did something that would draw psotive attention to me, the coworkers outbursts became more frequent. I would just continue to act professionally, and not lower myself to her level.

    I then debated if I should bring this to the attention of my manager, which I did, only to find my manager really didn’t take me seriously because my coworker was also a first class brown-noser to upper management, and they chose to believe her over me. This continued even after we changed managers.

    When I received my review, my manager would also throw in some vague comments on things I could do better, so I would ask for specific examples, but my manager would never provide any…it was like I was found guilty (in his eyes) wihtout given the opportunity of giving my side. Turns out he was protecting my nemesis, who was the source of these lies.

    Thankfully, after another manager change, it’s now coming to light, and she was finally written up by HR.

    I truly believe she feels threatened by my knowledge and intelligence, and can’t stand that I’m taking some of what she had always thought was “her” spotlight.

    Bottom line is my bully is a insecure, manipulative narcissist. I only hope she comes to realize that she is the source of all her annimosity because you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

  81. ocdgirl2000 says:

    The last time I posted here, was Nov.3, 2009. Since then, I found out I have advanced cardiovascular disease, and a complete 100% blockage in the right coronary artery. The rest of the arteries don’t look so hot either…
    I’m a Nurse, so this was kind of surprising, especially since I was also an aerobic instructor for so many years in my youth..I’m 57 now, not elderly, but not quite ready to retire!
    Anyway, The doctors were kind of surprised and told me they don’t usually see it “this advanced” my what they said after the inital CAT SCAN..then after getting the catheterization, which confirmed everything..well..the rest is just icing on the cake.
    cardiologist couldn’t put a stent in, it was too far gone. was aggressive medications and exercise, diet, etc..OH.. and NO STRESS. HA!
    After being abused for 11 yrs in my LOCAL County Government job, that will be a good trick~ Let’s see if my lazy co-worker will be happy about not having a part-time RN she can count on to dump all her work on so she can go on continuous vacations, work another job, call in sick on the days I’M scheduled to come in, and in general…just have me to do all the “general bulk of the work!!??”..
    OH..that’s going to be great now that “BULLYBOSS Nurse Manager #3” was just thrown out!

    Yes, folks, it was so bad, that my “documentation” to the director finally took her down. But she didn’t lose her job..she just got thrown at some other R.N’s who will experience her wrath. Too bad for them!

    So, my lazy co-worker, who was never bothered by the past Nurse Managers, because, well, let’s just saaay, they were too afraid she would go to her local “consulate” and complain of not being treated like a human…they allowed her to do whatever she wants!(And they still do, at the highest income in the county, even though she has no College education whatsoever!!)
    Meanwhile, she was advanced to the “acting nurse manager position” after the last Manager was booted out, figuring I would work more hours to “HELP HER”..which immediately I DID. Which is when she began her string of VACATIONS…and I began to get very tired, run down..and sick..
    But the director felt sorry for usual..and I kept doing the work of 3 usual..and I kept getting sicker, and sicker..until she came back again, and had MORE vacations, and finally I had enough and told the director EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING….that I was doing all thee work, and everyone took credit..and I was no longer going to put in 39.5hrs/wk at a part time benefit package for vacationing FT Nurses, and I was no longer anyone else’s “maid”..I was sick, and I needed to see a DR..
    and co-worker got very ANGRY!! She was so used to getting help! She felt GYPPED!LOL! But the director learned an important lesson from me.
    He understood that I was being abused for a very long time and didn’t speak up for fear of losing my health insurance..
    You see, I have a disabled son, and he is on my health insurance plan, and it is EXCELLENT. It covers RX’s at 4/8, and opt out specialists..he sees up to 10 specialists for his congenital condition since he was born 28 yrs ago. No, medical assistance won’t do..He goes to Hopkins and he sees the BEST. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    I’m a single parent, I took care of my parents, as an only child, buried each of my parents alone.,and took care of both of my kids alone.yes, the stress will put you through a thing like PTSD when you have BULLYBOSSES who make you feel like you’ll lose your job..and mine always did.
    To this very day, I always feel like my job and health insurance are always at risk. My co-worker STILL tries to take advantage of me, as does my director…and she is going on a 6 week vacation in April. I don’t know who they think is going to cover for her..I am still in cardiac rehab for 6 more sessions..

  82. Jane says:

    Dear All,

    I am new to this website and to this world of workplace bullying. I work in a university, and we recently got a new upper level administrator who is trying to make my life miserable. I am in the middle of a grievance process, but I know from my predecessors (who went through the same thing), that it is ineffective. I have a senior-level administrator who is on my side, but the big boss has created this environment, so I do not think it will change. I would like to bring litigation to bear on the situation, but I need some informed legal advice. Does anyone know how I find that? I need to know what my options are.


    • Dr. Gary Namie says:

      W-o-W situations are impervious to legal challenges, mostly. Most important are the difficulties that accompany a legal battle. Please listen to the audio track called “So You Wanna Sue” on our audio page.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Jane, and Everyone –

      I, too, just discovered this website. I’ve been an employee for the federal gov’t for 23 years, and have spent the last 8 years stuck in a remote place where bad management, bullying and favoritism have been allowed to run rampant. I’ve applied to other jobs as they come up, but they are few and far between. The last 3 job announcements I applied to were cancelled due to budget issues.

      My supervisor (management) and the president of our local union (of which I am a member) are good friends (both male) and they work together to figure out what they can get away with legally as far as selecting their friends, and friends’ girlfriends for positions of which they are not qualified, and to try to destroy (through bullying, gossip, lies, etc) the people whom they don’t like, hoping to force them into leaving. There have been a number of good, qualified, hard working people who have left because of the disfunctionality of this place, but some of us are still stuck here.

      I, personally, have been the recipient of sexual discrimination, racial discrimination, discrimination based on my political beliefs, retaliation, and bullying.

      A few years ago we went through a re-organization which opened up several opportunities for me to advance in my career, but because of the animosity toward me from my supervisor and his few friends, every one of those opportunities has vanished.

      Privately, my supervisor consistently gives me “outstanding” performance appraisals and also monetary merit awards. Publicly, such as during staff meetings, he never says a word (good or bad)about what I do, he acts as though I don’t exist, operating on the theory of “if I ignor her long enough, maybe she will really go away”, but behind my back he bad-mouths me and gives out a very bad impression of me to his superiors, who don’t know me. His friends do the same thing.

      Filing a grievance is worthless. Others I know have gone that route and nothing changes, if anything it gets worse. Since all of the opportunities for me to advance have vanished, I now feel that I have nothing left to lose, so I, too, am looking to file a lawsuit. However, I keep running into dead ends, as it seems law firms do not want to go up against the Big Bad Federal Government. I too would like some legal advice and would like to know what my options are. Can anybody help me? Thanks.

  83. Blacklist-Ed says:

    This site is amazing. I started out researching the reasons that nursing has countless openings, even in this miserable economy. I’ve found out the information, and more.

    I also have a horror story over a female supervisor who was miserable, hostile, and vindictive. I worked as a Corrections Technician at a halfway house. My ex-boss had no college degree, management skills, or just about anything else. But she had burning people down to a science. With only 4,000 characters available I can’t go into all the details of several of my co-workers’ misfortunes, but shall detail mine, along with some tactics I’ve learned because of them.

    One of the major things workplace bullies do is sabotage your work, to make them look better by making you look worse. My ex-boss burned me on my performance evaluation, finding something wrong with everything in every category that I did. Her actions prevented me from getting my 3 month raise, as well as any chance of promotion into Case Management. I live in a non-unionized right to work state, and had no options but to request a follow up and transfer to another site. The next day (when off duty to work the graveyard shift that night) she calls me up and doesn’t leave a message. Being half asleep I called back. She then began yelling at me on the phone. I finally lost my temper, yelled back, then hung up. She then called back and left a message telling me not to report for work and to call her boss the next business day. I did so, left a message, and never received a call back. My final paycheck arrived the next week. She got me fired, claiming poor performance.

    Another tactic bullies do is use public humiliation like a weapon. It’s ok for them to yell and scream at you repeatedly, but should you lose your temper and yell back they can claim they felt threatened and get you fired. Most co-workers will not back you up, out of fear of getting the same treatment “while she’s bullying him she’s not bullying me!”

    It is very important to document these instances, even if it’s only via time stamped (or emailed) letters. Keeping a safe deposit box, then mailing the letters can help, as the postmark can be used to verify approximate dates and times of the bullying. Keeping a small digital recording device on your person (cleverly hid on your clothes/bag, etc) is also an option. The tech they have nowadays is amazing.

    I find it distressing the way that society tends to glamorize “mean girls.” Apart from the popular movie, country music contributes to this trend. A few years ago Carrie Underwood managed to glamorize trashing a guys car to get back at him for cheating. Do two wrongs somehow make a right?

    Unfortunately, victims of workplace bullying have few options but to either take it or get out. Due to the economy, many have to take it for an infinite period of time, sometimes causing PTSD and other health issues, both physical and emotional. One possible option is to tie the health issue to workplace conditions, although that can be difficult to prove. Another is to start using conventional stress measuring devices to “rate” individual worksites, then publish the results. I mean law enforcement officers get all sorts of benefits for taking stress, why not nurses, who in many ways have a tougher job, not only having to deal with sick and injured people but also a severely disfunctional management system?

    An old friend of mine by the name of Samuel Clemmons (more popularly known by his pen name Mark Twain) had a famous saying. “Always take the high road. You’ll surprise some people and astonish the rest.” I guess he’s been forgotten too.

  84. Rhonu says:

    From the time I started working at this agency 15 years ago, women have tried to bully, harrass and intimidate me. Oftentimes trying to push me to react in an unfavorable manner and I knew that they were tying to sabotage my career; to hijack it. They’ve called me crazy, psycho and that something is wrong with me behind my back. This is a weak management that would rather employees fight among ourselves while they make decisions that don’t do any of us any good. But I did know from the beginning that I was not going to let ANYONE run me away from career. I was the first in my family to go to college. My parents were farmers, poor and didn’t have money to give me. So I had Pell grants and work study. I never had a student loan. I graduated sum cum laude. Now here I landed; working around women who haven’t set foot in a college, can’t write, poor oral communication skills, afraid to learn anything new. And these women want to undervalue me! Underestimate me? Marginalize me? Make me abandon my career where I’ve worked hard? I DON’T THINK SO. I ignore these women with these mostly overweight and insecure sick bodies. They can talk over me…fine because what they say/think does not determine what I think about myself. They can tell others to not talk to me…they’re doing me a favor because I don’t want to talk to them anyway. They can tell others to not speak to me…fine, then I don’t have to be bothered with them. To me, they mean no more to me than a paper clip on the floor. I also continue to do my job well that management can not ignore my contribution. I understand that working for a public agency; it’s harder to terminate an employee (the bully or the one being bullied). So I don’t expect management to do anything but I do report what I see, so to “make management aware” of what’s going on no matter how small the matter may appear. I document everything I see, when these women come in to work and leave, when they leave for lunch and return, when they’re hanging around gossiping. I am always seen with my note pad and these women know that I write everything down. So if any of them start with me, they will have to explain their actions, and I’ve done this several times. I also provide my manager with a monthly report of my work activities so no one can say “we don’t know what she’s doing”. I avoid women who will take anything I say out of context or lie on me. If I’m working on an assignment, I complete My objective is to be proactive and not reactive. And I don’t carry myself like a scared puppy, but rather if you start with me, I will finish it.

  85. Barb says:

    I am so glad this website is here.I am being bullied at work,I now understand the mobbing that is talked about on this site.I am having panic attacks and migraines.I am going to a counselor soon.The lies, and other co-workers joining in is unbelievable.Why are there no laws against bullying.Do people have to die first,just like the kids bullied in schools. Thank You And God Bless

  86. pckat says:

    I found a really helpful website that helps you combat bullies. this website defines what type of bully you are dealing with and gives non-combative ways to deal with them. Or learn to take away their power from them. I hope this helps.

  87. TLB says:

    My bully finally got caught after many years of psychological torture. She would blame others for her own mistakes, take credit from one person and give it one of her “favorite” employees, spread nasty rumors and lies about her targets, and was extremely cruel. It got so bad that it was causing physical pain and fight or flight adrenalin pumps that was causing her targets to get physically ill from her discriminatory business practices. In the company I worked for, there were alot of managers to cover different departments. She coerced some of them to gang up on her targets. I was hospitalized because I had a panic attack that I thought was a heart attack. I have asthma and it caused my asthma attacks to become more frequent and more severe. It was very painful and instead of trying to understand that I was sick, she bullied me more and I got PTSD symptoms. Finally, when I was at my breaking point and I looked around and saw that I wasn’t the only one who was suffering, I called the labor union. Unfortunately, the business got shut down as they ran an investigation. I still haven’t heard from them and it’s been over a year. I’m not sure if it will be continued to be covered up and swepted under the rug or if they’ll actually make the employees that were harmed to be made whole again. I still have problems with stress and depression because of her. She cyberstalks me when I’m online and tries to discredit me on blogsights and bullys me there. Apparently even her getting fired for setting me up and having me fired didn’t break the cycle of her abusive behavior. It doesn’t go away over night.

  88. BD says:

    It is helpful to read this information and all the comments. My situation is far less severe than many of yours. But I want to address it in its infancy in hopes of keeping it from escalating. I am in a bit of a quandry, though, about one particular thing and am hoping for some advice.

    The situation involves two co-workers with very different motivations, from what I can tell. One is the stereotypical status- or image-driven motivation, and the other is a desire to work as little as possible and to whine about how much work the position involves while simultaneously delegating the tasks she does not like to co-workers. The latter situation has been mentioned directly to our supervisor by many of her co-workers but has not been directly addressed by management.

    So the most recent incident involved her once again asking me to take care of a task that she was supposed to complete because she had the following day (the project deadline) off. I did so, but I was very clear with her and with our supervisor what the situation was and that I expected that she would take responsibility for her own work in the future. The supervisor was really pleased with my work and in our next meeting asked me to take responsibility for the entire project. I stated that my intention had not been to take over the project and that I had done so much work on it as a favor to my co-worker. I later felt badly about turning down the opportunity without explanation and emailed the supervisor to let her know that I appreciated her vote of confidence and my reasoning was that I felt that my co-worker had a great deal to contribute to the project and the project would benefit from multiple perspectives. The supervisor agreed, and there are no problems with that relationship. However, my co-worker has begun gossiping about me in a way that seems like an attempt to negatively impact my reputation, describing me as attempting to monopolize the project. I was at my desk a few cubicles down from her and the other co-worker without them realizing it, so I over heard them talking about the situation, essentially saying that I had plagiarized an article written by one of them and attacking me regarding my efforts to maintain boundaries regarding my workload.

    Even though I am a non-confrontational person by nature, I fully intend to address this with them face to face (hello, Xanax!). I plan to explain to them the situation: that I’m not attempting to monopolize, that what they may perceive as ambitious is actually passion for the work that we do and a desire to do it well, and that I value their contributions to the project and would like to work together in a more positive manner. I feel outnumbered though, and really uncomfortable having this meeting without a neutral witness. And because our supervisor (who is the agency director) always participates in meetings regarding our joint project, I want her to be present for this discussion. Would it be inappropriate to include her, though? I don’t want it to come across as me trying to get my two co-workers in trouble… Ugh!!! I don’t know who at work that I can ask for advice about this. Any advice?! Thank you!

  89. Courage says:

    Wonderful site! I didn’t even have a name for what I have been experiencing the past two years at a school in a small town where the politics are nasty. A dear mentor told me that I had been experiencing “workplace bullying”. I was being nitpicked, avoided, mentally-harassed, made to jump through continual hoops. I witnessed 9-year-olds being harassed/abused by a particular theatre manager, and when parents and teachers would complain to the school board, they were denied a chance to talk or only given 3 minutes. Many people have refused to deal with this particular woman. I was told to shred my complaints and not say anything. I regret that. I should have gotten representation and told management immediately what was going on and that I would not put up with it and come up with other options. I elected not to get representation, just “dealt” with it, and ended up doing something childish to stand up to this woman’s terror, and of course, I got suspended for 2 days, lost $400. I have learned that I have to stand up for myself early, calmly and contiually.

    This is the 2nd major time on the job where I have been cruelly picked at by other women. The first one ground her bones to the paper and had me fired. Co-workers said she was “shooting” me in front of the others as a way to intimidate them. It’s amazing what others see. I stood up to this woman too and am very proud of that.

    Hang in there everyone.

  90. Jill says:

    I stumbled on this website by accident and am amazed by it. I am currently the target of bullying in the workplace. I have been employed with the state for 11yrs now & my bully is my current supervisor. She is a miserable person trapped in her position and taking her misery out on myself & her only other subordinate in the office. I am her current target. She is lying off the other co-worker since she had a stroke in the office. Now I am the target of her rage. She is a control freak and nothing is ever right. No matter what I do it’s wrong. She is your best friend one minute & then stabs you in the back the next. I am now learning that I need to keep a journal & document everything. For the longest time I thought it was me. Now I know it’s her. She is in the process of writing me up for my work but everyone in the office is backed up & has piles. Thanks to this and a few other sights I now know how to deal with her & give myself back to my family & can stop being miserable at work & home. I won’t let her get the better of me. Now I know how to fight back. Thank you. I’ve tried the union & the director and they have done nothing. I try not to bate her and have now learned what not to do. I thank you. I hope it helps. Things have been nasty and I thought it was me.

    • raven says:

      Jill…are you me or what! lol for years now I thought it was me because I am the type of person that stays to herself until she can adjust to the workplace culture. Have you ever came across a person that sings the words team player but when it is time to be a team divides? She would tell me I would start working on a particular type of job duty and then never bring it up so I would go to her and ask her about it she would brush me off. This is not the first time she’s done this. Now I don’t pay her any mind because she seems to want to control and belittle me. Things are getting better because I don’t allow where I work intimidate me nor the people.

  91. CML says:

    I am glad I found this… I work in small office environment where 2 other girls are Hispanic and I am not(I am Asian.)

    At first this Hispanic girl “A” and I were only ones in the office. Shortly after my hiring she began to dump her shifts on me whenever she felt like, without notifying the boss so even he was surprised to see me in her time. That behavior stopped after I complained. I don’t know if A knows that I complained or not.
    Once the other Hispanic girl “B” was hired things began to change. They began to isolate me talking in Spanish(even in front of clients) all the time. My work is NOT Hispanic-oriented business – in fact my work has very well mixed client ethnicity. Since so, (and even without so) I personally believe workers should not be chatting in foreign language unless they only dealt with clients with certain nationality. So I did not like their conduct, and it just happened that a client gave a bad review on internet about their behavior around same time. I think those girls got some talking since they stopped doing so(at lease in front of clients) but somehow they seem to think that I blew the whistle on them. What a twisted idea, that I(or anyone) would take a client’s name and damage my work’s whole reputation on the net?! Anyway, so both of girls are not talking to me for some months now. No greetings and no talking at all, unless they accuse me of doing something wrong(and they make sure that the boss doesn’t hear it, but they’ll do it in front of the clients if they can.)
    It sounds cruel to mention this but I am happily married and the others are not(one is divorced and pregnant and other other one is cohabitation with child and a guy, where the guy is not the father.)
    In fact, they boasted they they have tough life and laughed at me for not having same experience.
    In fact they are both younger than me and they often say “oh I hate people who boss around just because he/she is older.” well in my case I am being tortured by 2 younger ones(I am only older by a few years.) Upon hearing what I had to complain, my husband said that they are jealous which I do agree, but since I didn’t cause their misfortunes in life I do not deserve all this! I am just hoping that once the pregnant one “A” leaves things will get better. I DO would like to mention to my boss that he shouldn’t hire another Hispanic girl since “B” is also used to ignore and harass me, which will be pass down if he hires another Hispanic(he seems to prefer hiring young, cheap labor and then train them than hiring professional and mature ones.)
    I really would like to say that he should either make it firm to use English only at work or try to keep 1 Asian 1 Hispanic and maybe 1 just plain American(or whatever other nationality). But I am afraid that I would be accused of being racist if I said that.

    • CML says:

      (clicked “submit” by accident”)
      So my questions are, should I go ahead and tell him(of course in private) about my concerns and suggestions, leave the job whenever I can?
      Also do you think race/culture is part of my problem? I do treat them politely, although not overly friendly for obvious reasons. Unfortunately those girls think they are lowlifes and they seem to blame their race, and the fact I went to college properly and have a normal married life. They are trying to drag me down to their level or just make me suffer to make themselves feel better. And since the main bully is pregnant I don’t want to confront her and get blamed for any bad happenings.

    • admin says:

      We’re glad you found us too! Be sure to check out the WBI Forum also, which is a great way to get more feedback about your situation. Hang in there.

  92. Moi says:

    I was a political nit-wit. But then my company hired a “hatchet woman” to “shake up the place” for the higher male types who didn’t have the stomack for it. Several people left or were fired and denied unemployment compensation on trumped charges. I have been bullied and tormented (repeated loud, sharp noises–so I now have mild PTSD and insomnia–screaming, hang-up phone calls at home and at work from caller-ID blocked phones, some mobbing, glaring, threats of possibly being shot, and even a few ageist remarks, to ice the cake). I’m exhausted. I’m beyond annoyed. I’d rather be healthy and have my peace of mind back. I had a good last job review. I’m not sure how to handle my coming departure, but I want a “voracious” employment lawyer and some solid advice and some stunning results : ) Am looking forward to being released. I feel like I’m a prisoner in Gitmo. I hold my employer accountable, but at this point, who cares? Thanks for the blog!

    • Trish says:

      Moi, I am sorry to hear of the bullying and harassment you have received at work.

      Build your case for constructive dismissal well.

      Document everything.

      Who said what.

      When it was said.

      Who witnessed the verbal attacks.

      Keep copies of all harassing and bullying email at home.

      Best of luck to you.

      Remember, the bully has the problem, not you.

    • Trish says:

      Further, the threats of being shot are disturbing.

      Did you contact the police?

  93. Kim says:

    Just recently, I stopped working and have filed for disability. My fear and anxiety reached a level where I could no longer go into work everyday and face my bully, who happens to be the CEO of the company. Only now am I beginning to understand what has been done to me and how I can get help. Thank you for your website; it has been invaluable to me.

  94. Trish says:

    I was employed by a Canadian legal association for more than 10 years. In October 2007 Joanne the bully was hired as my new boss. She bullied me from day one and was the worst boss I had in my 30+ year career.

    She called me “Miss Rich Bitch,” odd and strange countless times in front of staff. She repeatedly threatened to hire someone else to do my job if she didn’t like my work. She told me many times prior to my vacation in July 2011 that they wanted to see how well they could get along without me.

    She bragged to me about a previous job she had where she forced more people to quit then anyone else and if people weren’t willing to change they needed to go.

    She shook her closed fist in my face while yelling at me as I was seated at my desk because I had a conversation with a colleague. She yelled, “Was I not clear to you? Was I not clear in my instructions to you?” When she started at the association she had given instructions to the colleague and me that we were not allowed to speak with each other and that the person had to go through her if they needed something from me.

    Although I sat in silence at my desk and worked, she told staff to ignore me or tell me to stop talking.

    She was hostile and yelled at me on a regular basis and I mistakenly thought if I kept my head down and quietly did my work I would survive her bad moods and hostile, toxic behaviour.

    Sadly, I was wrong.

    Her harassment and bullying of staff was remarkable and appeared to have approval from senior management, as no effort was made to stop the abuse and bullying. The office has an extremely high rate of turnover.

    She once told two women in the office that “whores don’t wear nylons.” They were reprimanded for not wearing nylons.

    Joanne called one of her assistants her “Photocopying Wench.”

    She made staff cry and I was not the only person she had fired.

    She was called dragon lady by staff and was feared by most.

    In June 2011, I made the mistake of speaking to HR about the bullying and hostile work environment. I also said, “I really needed the long-term disability insurance because of the tumour and would never be able to work again after surgery to remove the tumour.” The HR person laughed and said, “It’s not so bad you’ll be fine.” I told her “No, they will need to remove part of the nervous system along with the tumour and that I was at high risk for death and paralysis with surgery.”

    I had an MRI on July 12, 2011 to check the growth of a tumour and was advised by my former employer on July 13, 2011 that I was “terminated without cause” and my medical and dental benefits including long-term disability insurance were terminated. My former employer was well aware of the serious nature of the ganglioneuroma and its location on my sympathetic nervous system. Not providing me with advance notice so that I could arrange medical coverage was callous.

    Thankfully, the tumour has not changed and I do not yet need surgery. When I was fired they said that I should immediately arrange for medical insurance.

    I would have quit years ago because of the toxic, hostile work environment and only stayed because of my need for long-term disability insurance, which I no longer have.

    In hindsight, I should have quit on her first day.

    I learned a valuable lesson through this experience.

    Quit, if you work for a hostile toxic bully boss.

    Life is too short to work with such an abusive person. It is better to leave.

    One colleague who was also fired by Joanne said, “He felt sorry for her because she must be an incredibly unhappy person. A happy person is kind and considerate and does not treat people badly.”

    He also said, “there are a lot of happy healthy work environments.”

    He was right, there are better places to work.

    The bully has the problem, not you.

    Best of luck to all who are bullied.

    • Melizien says:

      Maybe it is just me but I am seeing a pattern here. For the Person who wrote this with the Tumor…You needed to and probably still can CALL A LAWYER. You can sue this company and probably get the money you need and tons more> I understand the bullying and the victim speeches here on this site however I don’t think enough was done on the “targets” parts to defend yourselves either. To ignore obvious and blatant discrimination in the workplace and to get denied medical benefits is really making me feel like no one is knowledgeable of their rights and never even tried to find out. If you are reading this….and this happened to you rather recently you need to stop calling therapists and call a work or civil lawyer instead. Also leaving the job is fine for small insignificant jobs with little pay….after that you need to fight as hard as you can, and if this involves getting the outside world to help you then so be it. HR is laughable. Telling them you are coming back with a lawyer is not. Lawyers know what to fight for and they will teach you why jobs like this should never get away with this. I went through some bullying days in the workplace as well and sexual harassment. Later I found out my rights and went back at them full force. Later not only was the situation resolved, I was moved to the higher managers office and then got stellar reviews for my true performance and work ethics. Please keep trying to fight instead of quitting the job. Report it to their other managers, or bosses because eventually someone of equal rank will see what they are really doing and then stop it at their level. It helps to team up with past and current victims in the workplace to show it is not just you but an ongoing pattern. You need to fight especially when there is nothing to lose. If you are going to quit then do so, but not before calling a lawyer. Sometimes people call a lawyer. Then document everything. Quietly get witnesses on paper. Then quit and suddenly the lawyer calls the office and guess what they have? A pending lawsuit. And you? You are already working at a new job but you will be there for settlements or court dates. Watch their jaws drop!

  95. Trish says:

    Update: September 20, 2011

    My former bully boss (Joanne) lost her job.

    Her contract was not renewed.

    There is hope for people who work for bully bosses.

    Hang in there!

    • Trisha says:

      Trish,  I am glad that you got some kind of justice, albeit late.  I am still looking for a new job though.  My bully was related to the bosses and initiated her friends on the job into organized group bullying. 

      Although my boss decided to lay me off, I am still on good terms with her.  The bosses there were aware of what was going on and were trying to protect me for a while.  It is a small company and they were also worn out by this too.

      It has been hard, I think they were afraid that if anything happened to me they would be faced with a lawsuit as my family and friends knew what was happening to me in the office. 

      My former boss knows how her relative is and that there is a bad lot of people in there. 

  96. reputation management…

    […]Woman-on-Woman Bullying | WBI[…]…

  97. danielle says:

    Wow, after reading most of these comments I realize I am sadly not alone – I am fifty one and still considered quite attractive to the opposite sex although I am sociable, I am definately not a flirt, I am respectful and respectable. I am gentle and soft spoken and I do turn the other cheek 95% of the time. I have been ostracized, gossiped about, insulted and mocked my entire life by other women, I have always gone through terrible garbage because of jealousy both in the work place and social situations – my husband says I seem to make other women very insecure. I don`t get it – and never have – I find people very mean spirited and my only trusted friends are my husband and two dogs – I have not been able to find a friend who didn`t become jealous and turn into Judas for one reason or another. People are incredibly jealous and disloyal – It is sad! Women are pitted against each other in our society and that is really obvious! I have been working since I was seventeen years old and I have never been treated well – every single place I have worked I have been through hell with other women – It is to the point that I am afraid of other women as it is not a matter of whether they will turn on me, it is a matter of when. Don`t get me wrong – I still give everyone the benefit of the doubt at the beginning and I try very hard to see the best in others and give many chances for repentance – but time and time again – I am treated like garbage by other women. My present supervisor is a woman and she treats my really badly, she has done a tremendous amount of evil to me and she has slandered me to my Director so I have no place to go to for help – I am biding my time – I need my job – so I keep a low profile , yet it is getting to the point of emotional and physical exhaustion – I used to think there was something wrong with me – why do women hate me all the time was my constant question – Now at 51 I know that they are simply hateful people with petty ways and it has nothing to do with me!

    Hold your head up and stay close to God – He sees all and one day there will be justice – if not on this earth – after – remember this life is just a very small part of eternity – this too shall pass.


    • Robin says:

      Danielle’s experience sounds like it closely mirrors mine to some extent, only I am not considered physically attractive for my age (46) and always blamed my less than perfect looks, specifically my frizzy hair, as one of many reasons to be considered a target for workplace bullying. After reading all of these posts, I now realize that looks, age, and gender are across the board as far as being considered a target. I had been a target on every single job I ever held, especially the nine years I spent in the active duty military. I think that after 26 years of on the job torment, I am finally experiencing PTSD in a mild form. I am now unemployed and am seeking the help of a therapist, but I feel no relief. When I’m employed I’m frustrated, stressed, and exhausted and when I’m out of work I’m still frustrated, stressed, and depressed for not having a job. I, too, have noticed that other women can be particuarly vicious. I feel I’ve tried every “trick” in the book to prevent myself from being targeted. I’ve tried to make friends with other women by inviting them out to lunch or by offering to pick up the slack for their workload if I’m not too busy. I’m ashamed to admit, but I had even tried to be the bully in some cases so that I wouldn’t become the victim for once. Of course I only end up quitting after six months or so due to unbearable social situations with co-workers. Supervisors usually end up compounding the problem if I bring up the fact that certain co-workers are being emotionally abusive. I’m shocked at how widespread bullying in the workforce is. I always thought that I was a unique case and am somehow flawed as a human being for not being pretty or smart enough. For some reason, I have rarely noticed others being mistreated. It’s sad how rampant it is, and it seems like the abuse appears to slip under the radar. I now recognize the fact that I am the most vulnerable when I accept a job in which my duties require extensive on the job training. So few co-workers have the time or patience to train others it seems. I think the only solution to workplace bullying is if congress passes laws in which to discourage this type of behavior. Thank you everyone for your courage in telling your stories.

    • Nirvana's Journey says:

      Hi Danielle,
      I am sure that you are as beautiful inside as you are on the outside and hope that and I stop trying to be less of anything just to fit in. I guess if someone thinks you are better than them, their probably right! As Malcolm Forbes says, “If you want to judge the character of a man/woman, watch how they treat the people who cannot do anything to them or for them!

      Best of everything beautiful,

      Nirvana’s Journey

    • plainme200 says:

      Your life sounds exactly like mine.  I”m 54 now and it still never ends….women have never liked me and the men do.  I do not date and have lived alone for 20 years.  I have NO trust in women and next to none in men…being in several abusive relationships..since childhood and up until 6 years ago.  I just thank God that I have my animals.  They are never evil or hurt or point a gun to my head.  I’ve been through it all and nothing surprises me anymore about EVIL people.  My only sister has been that way to me too since childhood.  She is one year older than me and we are EXACT opposites.  I always built her up….self-esteem and encouraged her to go to college…telling her she was smart.  I am the only one who attended college in my family and have earned four grad degress and my BS in Elem ed.  I feel so alone because others are jealous of me….and FOR WHAT???  WHen someone tells me that I’m pretty…I argue with them and say I AM NOT…I”m a plain person who is honest and loves life with my animals.  I don’t think it ever ends BUT…..Karma DOES happen!!

      • tvergo says:

         plainme200, i wouldn’t say that you’re pretty.  I say that you are Beautiful!  The fact that you showed your sister Love by trying to build up her self-esteem and encouraged her to go to college and told her that she was smart. 

        The fact that you and your sister are so close in age may factor into this somewhat.  If she was a one year old when you were born,  her needs were put second to yours as you were the new baby.  On some level she may have resented it because her needs as a young child were not met, she has been in pain too and probably took it out on you.  Neither of you are at fault, it’s just life.

        True beauty comes from within.  It does not matter what what you look like on the outside.  Realize your own self worth…If some one tells you that you are pretty, just say “Thank you”, smile and change the subject quickly to something else. 

        I know that when people give compliments, it can make you uncomfortable, a quick thank you and changing the subject will suffice.  You could kid around with them…Yeah, you should see me in the morning without my make up, before I have my coffee in a light funny way.

        When I was a younger woman (I’m 55 now), people used to focus on how I looked and although they meant it in a complimentary way, I used to feel very uncomfortable, and then get mad because I felt like they were only seeing my exterior when as a person I had intelligence and a good sense of humor.

        It is hard to be a sensitive soul in this world…You are a very accomplished person with your education and you should be very proud of the hard work that you did to achieve that.

        Don’t give up on people.  There are good people in the world, but we are all works in progress, we all have our good days & our bad days.

        Enjoy your pets…

    • victory777 says:

      You are a blessing from God because I am also in this situation.  Women in the work place especially female supervisors do not like me because I am confident, attractive, and humble.  Although  i am not slim, but overweight, I carry myself in a way as if  I am slim.  I dress well, and I wear my hair in a  funky curly hairstyle lol. When i  enter the room, I own it. I never allowed my weight to define who I am. Women defined what is considered beautiful due to society.  Women in the job place see that men are attracted to me, so they think i  get special treatments.  I work with females who are small, and they feel why they are overlooked. I learned over the years,  it is about how a woman feels about herself. If you love yourself,  it will show,  and  men do gravite towards it. Women in the work places spend too much time on how a women looks, dresses, and the  attention they receive from men. This causes jealousy, so  this leads to female supervisors to abuse their authority in the work place. What I also learned that  supervisors are liars, and they are too personal. The female supervisors would used their authority to discredit your name and job performance. This is their motive, so they will have all the supervisors gang up and obsteracized the suborinate. 

      Through the storm, their will be sunshine cause Jesus knows and sees everything that is happening. I perform my job efficiently. The truth always reveals.  Always be ahead, and cover all grounds, so they have nothing on you.  (supervisors hate that tiacs) Keep your head up and keep smiling. Do not let them take your joy from you Danielle.


    • Hi Danielle

      I think, you have described pretty much what my life is like too. Kinda lonely isn’t it… I also ask what all the envy is for, because surely people can get on with doing something they like, and try to get the things they want, instead of punishing those they think have it easy. This is what people think about me. They think I have a charmed life of leisure, as many of them don’t know about the work place mobbings that happened in almost all the jobs I had. And, you are right, bullying by others also happens in social situations. It has made me wary of people in general, and as you put it, I don’t ask myself ‘if’, I ask myself ‘when’ about the friends I make.

    • Seriously, this has been my whole life, and I too thought it
      was me. I even considered suicide because I just could not figure out what was
      wrong with me, why did women hate me. I have had so much trash done to me I can’t
      even talk about it. Women are mean hateful, spiteful bosses. I even lost my unemployment through lies
      from my ex-employer. I was raised as a genteel
      southern woman so I never said anything to take up for myself, suffered silence,
      did not even know this site existed. After 31/2 years I decided to go back to
      work, I am 62 and on disability but I needed the extra money. I got hired by
      Costco’s demo management Co., Club Demonstrations’ prayed this job would be
      different, but sad to say it was not, it started at the very beginning. I
      worked 2 months and quit, I could not take the bullying any longer, then I decided
      to go online to find out all I could about workplace bullying. This website described it to a perfect
      T. I am considering filing a complaint
      with EEOC? Any feedback with that course would be helpful.

  98. DC says:

    Very important to remember (speaking from experience) all of “us” victims are “employable”. All of us!!! The worst thing that can ever happen to us, is the Bullies write us up, fire us, lay us off (in same cases it’s a joyous event). Sometimes facing and accepting that “fear” is the key piece. It gives you power to fight back. If my bully comes for me, I take aim and fight back. If I get fired, so what? I go find another job. Not super easy, not super healthy… but do not ever give up your POWER or Happiness to your bully. That’s what they want. STAND up to them. I’ve had two recently (both women) that I just went into a rage on the phone with (not normal, but I ENJOYED IT!) but I’ve had peace and quiet since. My boss doesn’t know what to do with me, but I don’t care (b/c I am employable) I’m sure they will try again- and I will give them the horns (mess with bull you get the horns). Be ready, bullies come when you least expect it.
    Also “FEAR” = False Evidence Appearing Real! Remember that too…

  99. KatieM says:

    I deal with WOW bullying everyday and I am at a loss as to what to do about it. It really affects me mentally and I go home crying almost every night. It isn’t right that people do that and my fiance has told me that it is affecting the time that he and I spend together and it really is. I just don’t know what to do about it. I never has any sort of anxiety or worry until I started working there.

  100. Suzy says:

    It is so painful for me to read the comments as I am relating to them. I have had similar experiences at almost every job I have had to the point where I am subsisting on benefits, barely getting by and no savings for my retirement, not to mention nothing for vacations, or other nice things. Housing has been very difficult as I was bullied by a landlord and the tenants he paid to harass me. It was as if I was living in a combat zone. I had to learn to trust no one and looking back there were people that I thought were supportive may have been going to the landlord or his attorneys behind my back. A good therapist I had told me that perpetrators always put protection in place for themselves. How can I do that? Protect myself. I feel defenseless with in organizations and as I get older do experience discrimination mainly from younger people. After leaving that horrible apartment I had series of temporary places,in one year was illegally evicted both times by women. One time was in a huge snowstorm.
    I lived in a really terrible place with rats inside and young drug addicts who stood right outside my door. My then therapist was of no help as she didn’t think getting my phone line cut, having bottles thrown at me or not being able to sleep due to the noise and fights in front of my windows were any problem. When a young man said at 4:00am, why don’t we shot her, I told the therapist who had no concern. Her constant rant was we don’t help w/ housing. going to that therapist was the most destructive experience of my life and I have been through hell. the moral of the story? be careful who you place your trust in. I am now living in a wonderful place but have the same issue of how do I make a living in a non toxic, healthy workplace?
    I don’t tolerate abuse in my friendships, if I feel that someone is being judgmental or cruel towards me, I terminate the friendship.

  101. Sara Nunez says:

    I’been bullied since 2010. I don’t know what to do. The billing is increasing as the days go by. I have reported it to my manager and HR but nothing gets done. If anything my manager is siding with my bullies. All ways protecting them. Call me crazy but some time I even think that she puts them up to antagonize me. These women specially one had spread rumors that I was making it a “Spanish ans black thing” Must of my coworkers don’t talk to me any more. That’s because the majority are black and are friends. People that still friendly with me tell me to be careful and to ignore them. But is so hard when they making me all day long and make you feel like the clown of the office. How can I ignore!! when even my manager is a part of this insane situation.

  102. Jani says:

    I have been the victim of Bully Bosses thru out my 30 year career with the company i work for..I always wondered why me i am one of their top performers, now i see that is who they pick on..Even though my health is suffering i am reactive type you step on my toes i am not going i document document document i did go to the VP of my billion dollar company he read my email didnt respond but fowarded to the VP of HR of course it down trickled to a first line who basically did nothing and investigating made the bully even madder at me. She removes my name off work i completed, she writes me up when i went in her office to tell her i was going home sick i had logged out and was going home she says WAIT i need to discuss work with you she ragged on me til i left crying saying i dont feel well thats why i came in to tell you since you didnt respond to the IM i sent you telling you i was she writes me up for crying…mmmm didnt i say i wasnt feeling well and held it together til she attacked me…i will prevail thanks for the tips and this website it makes me feel i am NOT alone

  103. Male observer of WOW bullying says:

    In the 12 years I have served at my current workplace I have witnessed more than a dozen younger women systematically bullied by a single older woman in a higher position, J, each finally quitting or leaving under emotional fatigue, distress, and disappointment. Some women lasted only 6 months, others 3-5 years but, in the end, each and every one left for the same reason: they could no longer stand working for this one person, J, and were no longer able to justify the abuse with the work they loved doing.

    For many years there was no HR to go to, and since our upper administration has changed three times in the past 12 years, there has been no one to remember or keep track of the turnover and loss. Furthermore, no amount of complaining and reporting to upper administration has been effective because the perpetrator, J, is deeply entrenched in the institution in ways that provide needed revenue. Thus, the management has never been able to justify getting rid of her or even transferring her to a non-supervisory position.

    What also complicates matters is that the perpetrator is very personable, outgoing, and capable in some areas while at the same time unconsciously treating her underlings like children and acting like a child herself when confronted. Her likable personality, plus her position that generates revenue, allows her great room for manipulating people around her.

    I have worked in her department ever since I began here and have experienced first hand her irrationality, mistreatment of others, selective forgetting, haphazard organization skills, and manipulation of the truth but, as a male, have been spared the worst of it. I chose to transfer to a position away from directly working with her but still work with those who continue to work under her direction. It is clear that she favors males, especially older males, but males in general, and that younger females suffer the most under her.

    I feel that I too have suffered emotionally as I have watched over a dozen highly capable and talented co-workers get chewed up and spit out of an abusive workplace environment that they didn’t know they were getting into. I have been in the role of helping others cope with the abuse, have had meetings with them, listened, and given background and advice. But I have had to watch these talented young women get beaten down to the point of giving up since all attempts to change the situation have so far failed.

    • Jennifer says:

      You are right except for your first sentence.  I am a single woman and have had ALL races, all genders and all status people bully me at the workplace.  WHEN CAN THIS CRAP STOP?

  104. Mia says:

    All my life I wondered what was wrong with me that people targeted me at work all the time. I always suspected it was because they were jealous because I was smart, attrative and popular with people outside the office. There were many times in my life I wished I hadn’t been born attractive and I even started to dress down and be self deprecating in the office so I would be better liked. I still endured bullying. I worked at a college for 25 years and moved from one office to another and it was the same scenario wherever I went. There was always a bully in every office I worked in. Even tnough I worked harder than anyone else and felt I was the most loyal, I was the one who was always called on for petty mistakes that were brought to my attention in front of the whole staff as a way of humuliating me. No one ever to my defense. In fact, they sometimes ganged up on me. I was so glad to have found this site because it made me realize that I am not alone. Now that I am retired, I am willing to do whatever it takes to have laws instituted to stop this from happening. Maybe tonight I can go to bed without thinking about all these nasty people who have hurt some much over the years now that I know it wasn’t me who had the problem, it was them.

    • Angela says:

       Your not alone, neither am I now that I ran across these articles!  Same thing has been happening to me too Mia.  Except, when I dress down, they make fun of me more.  I went to HR with the Top Boss to “Verbally” complain and expose my woman boss to the bullying.  They just dismissed it all and said I was overqualified for the job and too sensitive.  The HR lady even made fun of my jacket I was wearing to look dumpy!  I showed all the documentation and pointed out the facts.  I pointed out how my boss was counterproductive and that I was a team player and she wasn’t.  How my boss was losing money for the company with all these episodes.  I followed all the advice….and got nothing but more ridicule.  So, I’m looking for another job.  I reckon I will just have to move from job to job until I’m exposed at a job as being another “target” to which my work ethic lands me in.  This has been my life, even when I was in school! The only difference with school was as a kid, I was able to knock
      someone out if they gave me any trouble! One can’t do that as an adult, even though I dream of it!  The only time I had a great work experience was when I worked alone!  (I got laid off from that one.)  When I worked  for men, I was sexually harassed.  When I work for women, I’m bulled.  No, I’m not going to blame myself as I used to. No more therapist that just take my money and make fun of me more!  True! I had one therapist say I was just an arrogant “bit…..”!  Sometimes I think I have a “hate me” curse on me or something.  What I did find is successful is to get another job until I’m “exposed”.  Keep up on my hobbies and remind myself that I’m a good person after all.  Realize this world is a hard world to live in and just get’s harder the more we know in life.  Hope my experiences have helped someone.

      • I loved your expression “Sometimes I think I have a “hate me” curse on me or something.” because I felt the same way! Reading all these stories have restored my morale! I realized I have allowed this to happen because I needed the job or money. I have also realized I’d rather be poor than be bullied by as*&^% another day!

    • ditto,ditto,ditto,ditto,ditto,!

      Seriously, this has been my whole life, and I too thought it
      was me. I even considered suicide because I just could not figure out what was
      wrong with me, why did women hate me. I have had so much trash done to me I can’t
      even talk about it. Women are mean hateful, spiteful bosses. I even lost my unemployment through lies
      from my ex-employer. I was raised as a genteel
      southern woman so I never said anything to take up for myself, suffered silence,
      did not even know this site existed. After 31/2 years I decided to go back to
      work, I am 62 and on disability but I needed the extra money. I got hired by
      Costco’s demo management Co., Club Demonstrations’ prayed this job would be
      different, but sad to say it was not, it started at the very beginning. I
      worked 2 months and quit, I could not take the bullying any longer, then I decided
      to go online to find out all I could about workplace bullying. This website described it to a perfect
      T. I am considering filing a complaint
      with EEOC? Any feedback with that course would be helpful.

  105. Mia says:


    OMG, your story is so much like mine. I would love to meet you and talk. I read your story after I posted my remarks. Dr. Gary Namie, how can we make this happen?

  106. Dee says:

    Were do you get help? I live in rome, utica, syracuse,and used to work in mahattan, brooklyn, and bronx. How can we set up a diffrent agency to reprsent women who are been bully. I hope the create a outside agency a with lawyers and ditective private from a community to represent bullying. I finally see this not just happen to me. Thank you for all your response because when speaking of this they would look at me with three headfs to i’m insane. God is good i tell you my answer to my question have been answer I”m not the only one. I’m his panic and been judge by my education, skills, culture, and others. How can we put a stop to this behavior especially in place were people use their personal influence, power, association against others????? anybody Please dont tell me to talk to equal opp. un. of hr in the company because this is long process and sometimes its to late. They need to have independent aGencies just for this with lawyers, and dectivities who are un bias to reslove thes issues. This happens when there is a diffrences in culture, layoff, downsizing, and others. If you ask those who are unemployed or on welfare they would tell you the injust done to them but instead of fixing the problem they rather send you to welfare and give you medication and make you think you have a problem.

  107. graham wheeler says:

    I’ve found that bullies of both sexes, tend to have legal problems. may help some. Local legal aid groups can provide sought after info. Bullies who profess to being ,
    “the co. person”, often have their co. omitted, oor a competitor listed as a “favorite”, on FB or other social networking sites.

  108. Susanmundy says:

    The article about who gets targeted, as well as the “wow: article are incredibly supportive and therapuetic.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, I must say that I’ve analyzed the problem the same way the articles do.  Maybe it’s just that the articles confirm what we’ve experienced or seen in the workplace.  What’s frustrating is that it’s hard to find someone to actually talk to about this problem.  No one analyzes it as supportively as the articles do although people will agree that the boss is a jerk.  But that’s always as far as it goes.  The tangible, in person, help just isn’t there.  The worst part is that most people don’t want to even listen to the victim, who is , ironically, the best expert on the subject.  People who are victimized by bullying the most are often shoved aside, as if their perspectives aren’t worth blankety-blank. 

    Listen to the victim.  She/He is often the one who is experienced and proficient at the job, and is also the one who has ruminated or mulled over the problem in the workplace more than anyone else.  She knows what she’s talking about.

  109. Southart7 says:

    Hello, Mia’s story sounds the most like mine, though I can relate very well to all the posts on here. I have had problems from the very beginning of my work life, and I am now on disability from all the stress of dealing with work and my family. I am a reserved person, until I know the people I am dealing with, and I am attractive and young looking for my age. I had a female boss who would literally drag anyone away from me who talked to me, and would lock me out of the office, make fun of my outfits, and then had the nerve to tell me that I did not know how to get along with people! At another job, one of the other workers told me that the female supervisor had her sights on me because she was afraid that I would take over her supervisor position, and I had only worked there two months! I just went ahead and quit. At another place, I was a whistle blower for fraud, and I ended up getting ‘mobbed’ by several other female workers. They liked the person who got fired and held me responsible. Now I am working for a small creative association and already am having trouble with – what I believe – is a narcissistic personality. Extremely charming at first, but I saw the cat underneath. Somehow the fact that I can figure out how to do anything, and am very good at what I do, and have a funny, intelligent personality is really upsetting her. Even more, the fact that I am honest, and an independent thinker, and am not  bound by her flattery to let her control my life, is making for a stressful situation. What started out as a fun way for me to use my talents is getting very depressing, and I just hate the fact that I am always the one to run when the bully gets to stay. It isn’t fair that someone who tried to be honest and do a really great job has to choose between their mental health and being able to contribute.

  110. catarina says:

    wow.. I am 52, and am being bullied by a co-worker, female, who originally I thought was my friend. And my male boss sides with her. Everybody else LOVES her, and if I ever said something about what was happening, no one would believe me, despite having evidence to the contrary. And in fact I have been labeled a whiner, deadbeat, slacker, and now a drama queen, because I’ve objected to the verbal abuse that takes place, sometimes to my face, but mostly behind my back. I found emails that contain all the proof I needed. If I realy was all those things, I would be the first to admit it, but after a long self-examination, Im not any of them. I trained this woman, she went behind my back and lobbied for a job I wanted, and got it, and then immediately was overwhelmed by it. she complains alot and gets alot of attention by playing the martyr. But here I am, doing my job efficiently and well, and get no credit for being a competent worker. The fact is, she doesn’t do her job well and then complains that she has “too much piled on her.” But somehow, when she goes on vacation and I take over for her, I do her job, and my own without any problem or being overwhelmed. I dread going to work, I am stressed out and drained when I get home, spending my days off in bed, exhausted and crying. Im trying to find another job but not having alot of luck, as my field is quite narrow. I’ve also applied for other jobs in my company, but somehow, this woman always gets the ear of the person in charge of hiring, and all of a sudden, Im out of the picture. And no one will look me in the eye for days. If I was that bad of an employee, you would think I would have been fired a long time ago. But … you cant fire someone who is good at their job.
    Thank God I have a wonderful boyfriend and a good life outside of that place or I would be in a mental institution. I am working on plans to go back to real estate school and get my license, so I can escape that awful place.
    I sympathize with all of you ladies and wish you all the best. 

    • Njlowe187 says:

      WOW I am 57, and I have also been bullied at work. Just yesterday I guess I finally had enought. And let her know about it,she went running to the supervisor and told him she felt like she was being harrassed so now HR will be paying us a visit Monday. She also has gotten load with other co-workers. I could go on and on about this person. But it is just to overwhelming. I am thankful that I have found others in the same situation.Wish me luck on Monday.

  111. Luvleleo123 says:

    What do you do when your bully is the owner/boss of the company? She has had tantrums throwing keyboards and phones. The business has gone from 35 employees to 14. I am now being targeted because i took up for myself, and told the bully how i felt. I looked her straight in the eye with no fear and do not regret it. However, since doing this i have been giving tons of extra work and my fellow co-workers have pretty much alienated me.

  112. Djpj Group says:

    I see the light!!! It’s great to know that we are alike and not alone.  I’ve worked for many years in the Oil and Gas business, so you can only imagine what other women do if you are sharp minded, look your best, do great work and are liked by management.  It always seems to be one women that we start out helping.  I feel so liberated and excited and appreciate all the information on the site.  Hope to use to it at my meeting tomorrow.  I really have to tell my husband how wonderful he is for staying the course with me.  A saint he is, because we deal with my ADD on top of being bullied.  Please keep helping each other.  We can change the workforce, it will take some time and hard work, but we’re all use to the hard work!!!  D

  113. bulliedatwork says:

    I teach school and was bullied by staff members last year.  I met with the principal and 3 of the 4 bullies.  I thought we could talk it out and get to the bottom of it…..I was called a bitch before they walked out.  All summer I worried about going back to school.  I went back and tried really hard to smile and forgive.  We have a new principal and the bullies have “attached themselves to her”.  I am sick, worried, and could die…………Let me finish by saying that the staff members came into my room to bully me.  NO ONE CAN HELP!!!

    • Trisha says:

       bulliedatwork, No job is worth taking your own life over.  It’s not you.  It’s them.  Just remember that. Get out of there as fast as you can.  Even if it is a non-teaching job, just get out of there for your own sake.I know, I’ve been there too & I hear you.  You are in my prayers.

    • Hygienegirl1966 says:

      I’m so sorry I know how you feel. As a grown woman, I wonder why we still are treated this way, and as a grown woman how anyone could act this way. I was hoping once I was out of school this would stop. I hope this turns around for you.

  114. bulliedatwork says:

    I wish we could change the bullying in the workplace , but we can’t stop students from bullying each other.

  115. bulliedatwork says:

    I don’t think I can hang in there!

    • Trisha says:

      bulliedatwork, I felt the same way. It was so bad that I was having suicidal thoughts…I told a co-worker.  The next day I was laid off due to a downturn in business.. It was a relief because I couldn’t go on much longer with out cracking.  I am on good terms with my former boss though, she knew what was going on.

  116. Trisha says:

    bulliedatwork, I know that I couldn’t, but I had bills to pay.  It was so bad that I mentioned to someone that I had suicidal feelings over the abuse & boom the next day I was laid off, (due to a down turn in business,  which was also true)

  117. Hygienegirl1966 says:

    I work at a dental office. Ive been there for 6 years. The bullying started after 3 months. I was told I was always late. My hair was a mess and my scrubs were messy. The people who know me thought it was a joke. I hate being late. In fact I would show up at least 30 min before my first patient. I have always put my hair up nice!! And my scrubs were always nice but I went and bought new ones and now I buy them every year just so no one can comment. No one else buys new ones every year and some even wear the same ones from school. I get written up or called into the drs office at least every 2 months. I get pulled out from my op and away from my patient to get berated in the hall frequently. The one dr has even tried to get me crying and so upset that I would quit. I told him I was not a quitter. There are a couple of girls there that treat me as bad because they can. The other dr now has joined in. She hasn’t ever been nice but now she is so rude to me that now the girls that do like me have said that it couldn’t be anymore obvious. Our office now has been closed due to damages to the building. The dr called everyone to inform them what was going on. We aren’t being paid and we aren’t sure when we will be. She called everyone except me. I sent her a text just in case she didn’t have my number and I still didn’t get any thing. We have meetings 3 times a month. Recognize people who go above and beyond. I never get any recognition. I asked a couple of girls why I never get mentioned. They told me that they take me for granted because I do act like a part of the team and when the other girls do it’s unusual so they get thanked. I was told that I was passive. I was told that patients have complained about me. When I asked who they wouldn’t tell me. When the other girls found out that my production was higher than theirs my schedule changed drastically. They used to give me the harder procedures, they didn’t want them but they bring more $ into the office. Now they change the schedule around so they have them. We all have certain patients that only want certain people who they want to be with. I have people who only want to see me. I recently had a patient in my schedule that only requested a certain person, not me. I apologized for the mix up and he said he hadn’t ever made that request, he said he didn’t have to have any specific girl. At the end of the appointment he made it a point to tell me and the receptionist to take her name off and to please put my name in. I have patients who have rescheduled their appointment because they weren’t seeing me. I do my job. I do my best. I greasy people with respect. I am very loyal to the drs I work with, even though they treat me bad. I have so many more examples. Even the girls that are rude and belittle me have made it a point to let me know they see that I am treated like the red headed step child. I know that I should have left long ago. I just prayed and thought it would change. Now that the economy is poor the jobs aren’t their! This is what scares me… I am scared to leave there, what if I am bad? I used to love what I did and now I find myself hating it. I bring it home and recently it’s caused so much trouble my husband and I were separated. Now he is back I just don’t cry or complain in front of him. I don’t know what I have done to make them hate me. The girls that like me say they are jealous that I am thinner and prettier and nicer. I don’t get it, I am older and I am very quiet. I don’t brag or flaunt myself. I wear baggies scrubs, but! They are new and clean!! I wear makeup but not a lot. I have even tried to put out there that I am not happy and my life stinks outside of work. I even tried to let them know that they all feel more like my family not coworkers. I can’t win! I don’t wanna be better, I just want to be apart. I need my job, I just don’t know how much longer I can take it…i am very embarised by this, but even a patient witnessed the treatment and wrote a bad review and called the dr out. Thank God he didn’t name me, just wrote what happened. We all knew it was me. She never said anything to me and I was sad that she didn’t apologize even if she didn’t mean it, but I was also thankful in a weird way. I just want it to stop. I don’t want anyone to get into trouble. I am tired of hoping I hurt myself so that I can’t work anymore. I am tired of looking like a fool. I don’t want to be the laughing stock. My husband thought I wasnt proud of him because I wouldn’t bring him to our mandatory Christmas party… It was humiliating to have to tell him I was mortified to have him see how I was treated. I am so sad. What do I do…how do I get over the fear of this happening at another office?

    • Herstory says:

      Their yanking your chain! Just say yeah right whatever, dont you have something better to do than to worry about what I am doing? Go to work, that is if you call this a job and not a micro-management station.

  118. I am a professor at a college in Canada and the bullying from my female colleagues is becoming progressively worse.  I waited 2 years to transfer to another campus because of the toxic office environment created by my female colleagues, but that has only been a temporary solution.  What is ironic is that the main perpetrator is a PhD in Female Aggression/Bullying and has been appointed chair of our research ethics board!  Like many respondents on this site, I too have been told that I am too sensitive and must have misunderstood my colleague’s actions.  While I attend therapy to help manage my chronic stress, her circle of influence and authority increases because she is a pathological liar and management sees her as a leader. I’ve been fighting many incidents for 8 years now and to no avail.  My complaints are seen as personal attacks and she ends up receiving all the empathy.  I’m afraid there is no winning in this situation.  The article is absolutely correct about the problem being an institutional one.

    • tvergo says:

       Enlightenment, I am so sorry that you are going through this, for your own sanity & peace of mind get yourself out of that place, you are right in saying that there is no winning in this type of situation.  No amount of money or perks of a job is worth it when your life is made miserable by people like this.  You have a lot of things going for you, unfortunately this makes you a target.  They are miserable envious people.  There are other opportunities out there and you will be able to put this behind you.

  119. Jen says:

    You can tell when one of your enemies is having a bad day.  The misery on her / nowadays his face tells a story when you smile at them.  Even worse when you tell him or her to have a good day and THEY HATE IT.  LOL….  SCREW EM!

  120. Gingernewbauer says:

    I work in the health field, and I have for most of my life, but I have not worked now for over eight in a half months due to being bullied, threatened, and discriminated against.  For months my manager and supervisor (both women) allowed and tolerated the bullie’s bad behavior. They probably did more bullying than the bully who threatened me.  As far as women bullies go, I feel mine was out of retaliation, and their own personal insecurities.  I thought the psychological torture from the bullying was tough enough to deal with, but I think having my home go through the foreclosure process after never being late or missing a payment in almost twenty years, and to have my excellent credit score no longer exist, the creditors daily calls, losing my husband’s own personal bussiness, etc.  The bullying didn’t just effect me, it did major damage to my family as well.  Anyways, I see a therapist for depression/anxiety and PTSD once a week, but I am not sure I will ever be the person I once was.      

  121. Coalsasha says:

    Oh my gosh, I have been trying to make sense of why I quit a wonderful opportunity I had at an internship for a year now. A female-co-worker-bully. Honestly, I came into the environment as a third year college student looking for her place in the world. I did what I was told, I tried my best, I took notes, I hoped for the best. It all boiled down to one older woman who had it in for me. I don’t know if she was jealous, maybe…But she definetely did not like me. We rarely spoke…she wasn’t my boss. Ok ok ok, the entire workforce consisted of men, men, and young men. They would compliment me on something, and I would catch her rolling her eyes and scoffing. It really hurt. I’m not a mean person. I was never rude to her. BUT she loved to humiliate me in front of the office. I dreaded coming to work…I started crying as soon as I got home. I honestly think she hated me, really hated me. Until I realized that, if it was so horrible why not quit? So, I did. And from some other co-workers I heard that she almost threw a party and was telling everyone how happy she was. Really? A woman in her early fourties prancing around that a 19 year old student quit her internship? A woman in her fourties, yelling at, making fun of, spreading rumors about a 19 year old who has no idea what to expect. This was my first true introduction to office work/life, and if that is how it goes, I’d almost rather not work. The funny thing is I had a fellow intern who was a college intern as well, and she actually ended up sleeping with him. I don’t really judge her on that but how interesting that she should yell at me for being too “girly” and tell people how much of a ‘slut’ I was and go do something like that. Oh well, terribly confused. Do we kiss up to these women? I need to know!!!!! Thanks for hearing me out.

    • Herstory says:

      Older women calling younger women whores or sluts is outrageous, if I
      were in your office I would of probably told her off for you. No- do not kiss up to this type, tell them they are projecting their inadequacies on you and you’d appreciate they find more productive ways to manage themselves because their personal problems are not yours to bare. Say it firmly and with certitude. Then go on as if nothing happened, thats how men handle this stuff anyway. And yes, I’ve endured teasing but its really bullying and its mostly always from men who get a sick thrill for negative attention since thats how they like to start bull-poop to get attention in the first place, but women do it too and when they do, its been because of envy over looks and talent, ability to get along with others, etc. Also will get the ones that dislike you if you have social skills, by saying so and so is too nice. Hog wash, kindness is the highest form of intelligence, some folks simply lack it so they turn everything into sexualized harassment because they are educated to not know any better.
      Two great reports to consider:
      This entire social structure we live in depends on theft of womens labor, their lineage, children, talents, dignity, all of it stolen for the glory of egotistical greed.
      They tell us to look in the mirror, but never acknowledge the harm their doing by creating divisive wedging, obscuring truth with so many distancing mechanisms and omissions, women never surface to realize and confront them with the fact that without us here collaborating with one another, nothing as we know it would exist or be possible. Think about that, that is our divinity.

  122. Connie B says:

    You know, I could have written your stories myself.  There are SO many similarities in all of what you all say.  I’m surprised, but I shouldn’t be.  I was always treated differently by my mother and sister who were plain but I was the blonde, with the big pretty eyes and the hourglass figure.  I was born attractive; not my fault.  I’ve always felt uneasy around a lot of other women, especially aggressive ones who can be very cut-throat.  So I haven’t always had many women friends.  They would sooner stab you in the back than be good to you just like my mother and sister are and were.   Now, I’m61, unmarried, and don’t speak to them anymore.  My best friends are Lana and Suzanne, who never make me feel they are jealous or want to compete with me, nor do I feel that they seem threatened by me like mother and sister do.  And, I have my gorgeous dog and cat for day-to-day company when my friends aren’t around.  But don’t kid yourselves, men can be absolutely horrid, horrid people too.  Here’s what I mean.  Just last night I had a male friend over for dinner.  I wanted to treat him to a good meal because he had recently been good to me by changing the tires on my car, and he has been helpful in a couple of other ways too.  He’s not my boyfriend and we don’t have a physical relationship.  After dinner and some wine, I suggested we could play cards, watch TV or a movie or listen to music.  We ended up playing Backgammon at my dining room table.  He drank too much but I didn’t really watch that closely.  When he started to suggest we play for sex I was disgusted but thought it was a joke.  Then he suggested that the loser of each match took off an item of clothing.  (We never got any further than a sock.)  Later, he began to tell me how he has such a strong sex drive that he masturbates twice a day every day which I really didn’t want to hear about.  I asked him to leave finally when he came up with a proposition for me:  he would pay me $20 each time, twice a day for a total of $40 if I would do the deed FOR him!  And he topped it off by saying, “Never discuss this with anyone else, this is between you and me.”  He left, I locked the door behind him and our supposed “friendship” is over.  As you can imagine, I am wondering WHY would someone I trust and wanted to be nice to, would turn and treat me that way?  But I can answer my own question:  It’s as my “ex” used to say to me when I wondered why my family treated me the way they do.  It’s because I’m alone and don’t have anyone there to defend me.  I’m vulnerable to bad treatment.  These things do, on some level, break my heart, but not so much any more.  At my age, and having seen so much of this kind of thing, I am able to see people for the scumbags that they are, and move on to better people.  I hope that you all will never be treated this way, but if you are, have the courage to stand up and get the creep out of your life!  Peace and strength.  ~ Connie

  123. tvergo says:

     JamieKelly, God sees everything and you are very loved too.  Don’t lose heart there are good people out there…

  124. Ramona Anderson says:

    Yes that is what I seem to have discovered-bullies have deficiencies.  I have learned that the y are perhaps intimidated by people like myself- similar to how you have described yourself.  After so many times I  myself have learned to pick them out and know to immediately began setting boundaries, cut them off as soon as you can-but they can’t stand that you ignore them-so then there is the chance of escalation of their behavior.  What I did was recount their scenarios in writing, then ask them to explain why they had that behavior towards me.  I will see how that works.  they are very empty people on the inside-childlike behavior.  But they have a great influence on all the other “sheeple ” in this society ; that why you or I’ve been so alone in my fight against bullies.  Some o the at which I’ve read here will help.  But I still don’t know how to handle HR while continuing to protect myself as much as possible.

  125. ” all in the name for what? I don’t know. ”

    That is similar to a comment I often make. The things the bullies bully for seem to be not all that worthwhile. For sure, some things they claw each others eyes out for are nice and flattering to get, but that is all they are, and they lose this quality if bullies are around ”competing” for the minor honours and treats.

  126. Eliazbeth Stanhope says:

    I’m here because my sadness seems to be deepening into something like a longterm, chronic, painful depression I would characterize as a mixture of self-hatred and anger that I don’t know what to do with. I am a teacher working in a continuation high a school, a highly stressful environment as I am working with kids who are damaged. I ended up here because I witnessed a male principal sexually harrass a teacher 9 years ago. There were 11 of us who witnessed this abuse. We mistakenly went to the district officials to tell what happened. They had a “third party” do an investigation on the incident and mysteriously found that nothing wrong happened. Following this, the boss set out to systematically disenfranchise several of us who remained at the school (cut positions, bad assignments, ignoring, marginalizing, etc.) He personally caused several people to retire early from the profession. They had formerly been under more humanistic principals, and just couldn’t deal with this sociopath and the district’s protection of him. He was promoted, and responsible for hiring and managing subsequent principals and vice principals at the school, so these new bosses became his proxies and the retaliation, much more difficult to prove at this point, continued for me. I had to leave the school when I was hit with a door by an administrator hired by my former boss, now her boss. I got an attorney, and I also had student witnesses!! And try made it seem like I had a 51/50 at school. They called the police to the school to get me, but I got in my car and drove away toward my union office, seeking help. They helped me get this new position at current school where ostracism and bullying continues to this day. I have a mark on me I can’t shake. Former boss was promoted all the way up to assistant superintendent, and I have been marginalized, ignored for positions I tried for, and basically sit with an unfair reputation that affects my work, my interactions with new bosses, and worst of all, my new colleagues. At this point, under all this history, I see that everything is connected back to that moment I was a witness to the sexual harrassment of my colleague years ago. Currently I am so low, so done, I started thinking that it would be ok if I just didn’t wake up anymore. I recognize this as severe depression , and I ended up here because I am seeking some form of help. I do want to live, but I am heading for a fall that I’m not exactly strong enough to bear AND teach the neediest kids I’ve ever met. Anyone have any advice?

    • ballerina1024 says:

      Dear Elizabeth,
      I am so very sorry for the most unjust position you find yourself in, sadly I “get” it…There is so much I could, would & need to say to you, however first things first…You MUST immediately seek assistance from a trusted professional, and such individuals are everywhere. Not knowing your exact personal situation (i.e. family, spiritual, friend support, etc.), but it really does not matter, for you just need one person to link to immediately who can facilitate getting you to a professional individual. A few of your statements above are concerning (ok, if I just don’t wake up any more, & the fall ahead you cannot “bear”), and must be addressed ASAP… Coming from a survivor of nurse manage bullying, please remember, “this is not your fault,” so do not own it, that only fuels the destruction…focus on your students whom you describe so eloquently. It is vital that you put all your energy and passion into what you do well, teach as you put it, the most neediest students you have ever met. Know it is no accident those are the students you currently are assigned to teach. Therefore, use that powerful opportunity as your guide, strength, and reason to return each morning. In doing so, you must accept despite your best efforts you have NO control over the issues highlighted in your post. Remind yourself often, those who design, plot and deliver despicable disgust meant only to sabotage the good work and will of others are 100% responsible for their actions. From one who has been there stay true to your values, beliefs, and convictions no matter what, never allowing the evil of others to dictate/define who you are…It may not change the final destination of your current situation, but as a professional you role
      ach day, both in the good times
      even in the worst of times, you must do your best job each day for those entrusted to your care,
      after all that is the reason you get up each day,
      This is where your energy must be focused for the time being

    • April says:

      Dear Elizabeth – I know I’m a little late responding to your message but I just found this site. I sympathize with you b/c years ago I was sexually assaulted by an executive at a large corporation; reported it to HR; they did an investigation; said they found him guilty; wouldn’t let me return to my job b/c he was still in-place; put me in another unrelated job and I was eventually laid off (due to cuts). I was very depressed also and felt I did nothing wrong but b/c he was Mr. Executive, he kept his job. I did seek legal advice but all the lawyers wanted money up front which I didn’t have so I just dropped it and moved on. I refused to let it take me down. I learned a lot from that experience like speak to an attorney first before cooperating with any HR rep. I hope you have found some peace since this post and know that others out there have suffered injustice by trying to do the right thing.

  127. Gin says:

    Hi Eliazbeth,
    I wanted to let you know you are not alone, and I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I experienced some of the same sort of stuff in the workplace, and I believe it’s all very inhumane. I’ve come to believe bullying is just as prevalent in the workplace as it is in the school district for our children. I was threatened with physical violence by a male coworker after I went to management with a complaint about his work performance. I worked in a hospital, and on several occasions I witnessed my coworker make some very vital mistakes which jeopardized our patients safety, as well as their privacy. Management allowed and tolerated a lot of the bad behavior in my department. When I went above my manager with these complaints I was told to drop it, or I would be let go for insubordination. Things only got worse from there, and the retaliation from my male coworker and management became unbearable. My case goes much deeper than this, but I would prefer not to go into it, as it triggers a lot more than just bad memories. To make a long story short. After almost four years of bullying, discrimination, intimidation etc. I began to suffer from anxiety attacks and depression, and I no longer felt safe at work. I ended up having a nervous breakdown, and I eventually lost my job. I know my story doesn’t sound to encouraging, but please don’t let it discourage you either. I needed to seek therapy for how I was feeling, and that’s ok. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you need it most. I guess the best part of my story is I’m still here, and I didn’t totally give up. My mental and emotional strength is becoming stronger everyday, and I haven’t lost track of the good values and decent morals I was brought up with. In fact, I decided to take charge of my life again, and fight for my own civil rights. I will fully heal from this experience, and I am sincerely determined to advocate for others being bullied in the workplace. Please know you are not alone in this, and someday soon I hope to make a difference for the better.

  128. Wiseowl2020 says:

    My issue isn’t “good looks” but simply being happy personally, good professionally, and passionate about my work and home life. My bully is a bitter 56yo divorcee, an admitted drunk (She said, “I’m a drunk, alcoholics go to meetings.), anti-social, and angry.

    She bullies by repeatedly playing “gotcha” with me as her target in staff meetings like calling out my sales results and demanding to know why our results aren’t “better.” (Our supervisor sits there like a bump on a log and doesn’t call her on her catty behavior.)

    She’ll whine and complain I’m “too loud” on the phone, laugh too much, and am “too happy.” Unfortunately, she sits in the cubicle directly across from me and I can’t get away from her. I have to work with her to do my job and she is supposed to work with me. (Ha!)

    She will not eat lunch with any other woman in the office (she gets up and leaves if someone sits down at the table), flirts shamelessly with the married men on our staff, any male client she perceives as having any money, and puts in “appearances” at company picnics, parties, and our annual awards banquet like she’s too good to stay.

    She’s also repeatedly said out loud to other staffers AND clients, “I don’t want to be here.” Just recently she pointedly told our boss she “didn’t want to be a team player.”

    She has insulted clients and sent them out of our office in tears. She decides who she will work with and who she won’t and no one calls her on it.

    Despite this, I’ve decided I’m not going to be the one putting my personal items in a cardboard box and starting over somewhere else. I’m holding my ground. I recently let her paint herself into a corner in a staff meeting with her catty comments, and I now have an assistant who has been a godsend which has defused some of the bullying. I’m hoping she gets sick of the rest of being happy and liking our jobs and personal life, and leaves.

  129. DillieDallie says:

    I hate that foul wicked mess. You can spot these type of trouble-making women right away by their phoniness and arrogance, and they always have a self-entitlement of “me me me”. It’s even worst for minorities too, when the females in the office the majority of them are 90% bully-mentality and love, LOVE picking on women of color and trying to make them loose their jobs or harass them to death when they know automatically the other ones will come flocking to the bullies aid, especially when the bully acts like the victim. I was watching two females, educators, pull the same degrading mess. These two women were recently hired and were already butt-kissing the boss, in return they were secretly gossiping about another employee who was left on vacation and, their next target, was me because that employee happened to talk to me. These women do very little to nothing on their jobs the entirety of the day but got paid livable wages, so it unfortunately was a perfect breeding-place for gossip, slanders, and bullies.

    These women were working non-benefit jobs as well too, so they were even more desperate to kiss up to the management for benefits and enjoyed festering on the weakness of the other staff, even the audacity to blame the victim they were targeting as the perpetrator.

    The problem with the past employer is that not only do they allow bullying but they too are bullies themselves. Other employees have complained about treatment in the past but were either too afraid to speak up. Combination with the fear mentality and aggression, it’s time for employee who have been mistreated to stand up for their right to work in peace without having to endure harassment. It’s a shame too when this type of mentality happens in places of education. They would never treat the parents or those outside the job like that, but they like to do it to those working in the jobs.

    Women LOVE gossiping about one another behind their backs, and the favorite tatic of the bully is to get really close to the management, then start spreading rumors or slanders to get others to side with them and turn against the victim. These bullies are opportunist and lie in wait for weak-points or ‘moments’ so they can jump in and claim the ‘prize’ even by sacrificing others by turning them into victims.

    “If I can screw this person over, i’ll get a promotion from the boss! Maybe I’ll BECOME the boss one day too!” Is the mentallity. It’s especially worst for minimum wage workers, who have to deal with the hierarchy of brown-nosers and stunt-pullers who always happen to be in a position where they are either pretend supervisors, or close to the management. Not only is it highly unprofessional, destructive, but any employer that permits and allows bullying is putting itself legally at risk of being sued should the victim ever realize that they have employee rights no different than anyone else on the job. The functions may be different, but under both state and federal law an employee still has the right to work without being harassed.

    I’ve seen spineless employers take advantage of the economy because of the fear of loosing income for those that need it. These are the worst vampires in our society and their all over with their capitalism in the media. I am glad organizations like exist, to help employees who are trapped in the hazard-zones created by either their employers and encouraged by the employer’s employee boot-lickers. Bullies LOVE to pick on people who are quiet and gentle, because they view these by personality as easy meals. The constant materialistic comparison in our society does not help, instead of having women be supportive and encouraging of one another, we have become our own worst enemies by pulling down and destroying each other.

    I’m a young adult woman, and I have to deal with jealous women slightly older or around my age and also women that are middle-age that carry the ‘slave’ mentality disorders. Our society has turned into trash, people are mean and arrogant because we have allowed and fed money as a source of prime happiness along with fierce competition as being ‘okay’. If anything, our competition should be shown to other countries that actually DO pose a threat to our livelihood like the middle-east, instead of showing our evil to our own neighbors on our own soil.

    Bullying does not create progress, what it does is leave many victims. I hope companies that embrace this type of mentality will eventually fall down and expire, because no one should go to work and have their job threatened without a valid and SOLID reason, not by some fool’s personal agendas. If a person is doing their job, is friendly, then it’s the petty-minded people who become jealous and are the result of nothing but leeches in our society. I wish in our country we could send these types to do some hard labor out in another country that doesn’t have all the glamour and necessity that we do. Hopefully they will come back more humble-minded of their fellow-man instead of self-privilage and spiteful. Physical labour would shake the majority of these bullies out their whims, because a bullies power is the power of their words and actions but rarely is the bully capable of surviving without their bully networks.

    The bosses sit back and let their croonies do all the work, knowing good and well their participating and supporting a hostile environment. Any management that does this are idiotic and are putting themselves at risk along with their companies. Intimidation, slanders, and lies will only work for so long. Bullying is the modern world’s slavery.

    What it has done was cause me not to trust people, and not to put up with people’s nastyness anymore either. The problem is that the bullies almost always win in these situations,were managers will automatically side or jump to the bully’s part without even considering the ‘other-end’. It’s like whatever the bully says is true in solid gold. I’ve seen teachers bully parents and kids, I’ve seen bosses take advantage of employees by throwing their animals at them for free baby-sitting services.

    Jealousy and disloyalty, back-stabbing is rampant. It’s time us, decent women, start protesting the negative culture that’s been created through greed of money, and start demanding that decent role-models for both women are circulated. It’s not just by success that someone is a role-model, it’s always how they treat others that should be a prime consideration too.

  130. Loraine Hanna says:

    The recap of an occurrence minutes before end of day Friday, July 18, 2014.
    After picking up print outs of my day’s work from the work room, my supervisor call me into her office and informed me, due to the outcome of a prior incident that happen a few weeks ago, one of my fellow co-workers had been let go, and as an experienced employee, she was asking me not to discuss it and don’t make comments. There was also a gesture made with her hand toward her mouth, (as to say, lock my lips) and I shouldn’t take it personal. I was unsure how to react, in fact, I was puzzled. Even though. I realize she was doing her job, I did take offend to what she had suggested because at this point into the conversation, I began to sense this was not the reason she was talking to me; could it be someone had spoken to her earlier about something (????).

    My response to my supervisor was, because of the incident that happen two weeks ago, I felt as if I’ve had to walk on egg shells within the office and this was very uncomfortable because this is not a third world country nor is it a communist country and I don’t think anyone deserves to be subject to such an un-healthy environment and local management should do something to improve it or I would take it to upper management and if no action was taken for improvement, I would seek help from EEOC.

    I went back to my work station still puzzled and began to clear my desk and prepare to go home.
    Within minutes, I was approached and verbally abused inside my workstation by a fellow female co-worker. She made the statement, if, I had something to say to her I should say it to her because she had heard me make little comments directed at her. At this point, I felt intimidated and violated. I said to her if she did not respect me, respect my age and don’t speak to me in that manner. At that moment, it became clear to me why my supervisor had spoken to me. I asked my co-worker, had she spoken to my supervisor and why did she feel she was so important to me that I would make comments directed at her. She proceeded to tell me but I walked away from my workstation and went directly to Human Resources. The staff members of Human Resources had left for the day, but there was one staff member still there and he asked me if he could help. I said yes and told him I needed to speak to someone, he asked me about what, and I said “harassment”. The gentlemen told me to come back on Monday, July, 21st and ask for Jeff R. I thanked him and returned to my workstation, logged off my computer and left for home.

  131. Di-Stressed says:

    I am off work right now, and it is amazing to see the similarities of how bullies get away with what they do. Bullying is the one issue that workplaces have never addressed and continue to ignore.

    It is incredible that the gossip of (usually) lazy and not very skilled women can get to the point where a workplace becomes toxic, and starts to get expensive to run.

    The situation I was in was like a live version of The Apprentice. From the time I started there, I was fingered by a truly ignorant woman with a huge sense of entitlement. I got a promotion that she had also competed for. She placed after me and therefore would be placed in the next available position after me. She was extremely upset. I overheard her talking to people about it. Her spite was palpable, and her immaturity is laughable. It’s not like she didn’t get the job. Sh just didn’t want to wait.

    This little snake, over the next year and a half, blackened my name and trashed me to the point where many stopped talking to me. It’s a large office, and this woman has been openly rude to me ever since she met me. She has attempted to set me up on several occasions in order to make a fool of me or get me into trouble. She has called me stupid and retarded in front of many witnesses, and has done her level best to humiliate me and make my life miserable.

    It was quite well known that this woman hates me. The whole office was buzzing about it. She started insulting me, right in front of the manager who was responsible for training us. I dropped out of all training (this is actually allowed) because I couldn’t stand being around the woman. She was verbally aggressive and never cared who was around to listen. A manager even asked me what was going on before training took place. I told her, but it wasn’t documented. A couple of days later I visited my union office to have my conversation with the manager documented, just in case.

    The short version of this story is that the Director, after having been warned by HR and the manager who promoted me, decided he didn’t want me to fill the job. Instead of one permanent position, the job was re-created as two temporary positions that were to be filled by me and my “friend”, the bully.

    I was barely trained for the position because this little snake managed to ingratiate herself with both the director and the supervisor who was in charge of training us. She also pulled a nice con job with the Director, who is known for being an incompetent fascist who runs the place like it’s a prison camp. I saw her at work one day immediately prior to our “promotion” – she was standing off to the side of the office with him, running her fingers down the sleeve of his shirt. I gathered this succubus had been quite busy and wondered to myself if there were any sexual favours involved.

    When I started the job with her, I was subject to mobbing, gossip and “special” treatment, denied work and given “make work” tasks. The snake was quite successful in isolating me from anyone who could train me. By the sixth week in, I complained to the manager who promoted me, but nothing was done.

    I lasted two months before breaking down, so depressed and demoralized that I was getting physical symptoms as well. I have a disability and this will help me when I file a complaint with Human Rights – right now though, I must go through the process of having the issue investigated through the union. This in itself is a joke it will take two years after I return to work to go to arbitration.

    I am in a better position than many on this site, but I still must tread carefully in order to win this thing. In Canada, some groups people are protected under human rights legislation, which will be very helpful if the worst should happen.

    All of you here are wonderful, decent people who deserve justice. You are in my prayers. Throughout N. America, we must unite to officially rid workplaces of this scourge once and for all. There is too much at stake to ignore this issue

  132. annie women’s susan (bone

    Woman-on-Woman Bullying | Workplace Bullying Institute

  133. Pwok says:

    I think that even though there isn’t much I can do to alleviate the discomfort of my work situation(other than leave) I feel the need to share the story of how unbelievably cruel office bullies can be to people they hardly know.
    I began working as a receptionist in a medical office a little over a year ago. I was new to the area and and anticipating a good experience. At 58 yrs old I had spent most of my life excelling at my work. This job was like nothing I have ever experienced. There is a bully ‘group’ of 4 or 5 that makes up the majority of the office staff. The training was almost nonexistent and there was constant chaos. As a result, I had a rough start and made a lot of errors. That’s when the humiliations started. This in turn caused me more stress, which led to more difficulty doing my job. I tried to ask questions but everyone expressed irritation at me and wouldn’t help. Shortly after that both my brother and my father both died within 10 days of each other. No sympathy from my fellow office workers at all. Instead I was cheated out of 2 days of funeral leave because of the closeness of the deaths.
    2 more months down the line I found out that I had breast cancer. At first the bullying let up slightly but no sympathy or empathy was ever expressed and before I was even finished with my radiation treatments(which I did over my lunch hours)it started getting worse than before.
    1 year after starting I finally feel confident in my knowledge and ability to do my job but I still occasionally make an error during times of extreme stress and multitasking. This is something that everyone there does because we are understaffed 80% of the time. I have heard the others helping each other out by quietly pointing out their mistakes so that they can correct them while mine all end up being reported to the manager. I also hear them making fun of me behind my back.
    My approach to deal with it so far has been to work diligently every minute of the day and treat them with kindness and dignity. It’s not working.
    It is bad enough that other staff(one other office worker and some nurses) have taken the time to tell me that they have noticed this situation and sympathize with me. They agree that at this point the quality of my work is equal to theirs.
    The bullies are not stupid and lazy. They are skilled at what they do and show a pretty decent work ethic. If they weren’t always snapping at my heels like a pack of coyotes I wouldn’t be able to fault them for anything.
    I’m incredibly stressed and cry every day. I am concerned that this will manifest physically, causing the cancer to return. The anxiety is almost unbearable.
    What makes people want to gang up and kick someone when they’re down? I’ve worked with other women for over 40 years and never encountered anything close to this.

    • April says:

      Pwok, that is very sad. I firmly believe that some people are so insecure and unhappy with themselves that it makes them feel powerful and good about themselves to demoralize others. Keep your chin up, keep a smile on your face and kill them with kindness. If anything, it will definitely make you feel better and show them you are better then them. Don’t let them take you down their path of negativity.

    • Durango Joe says:

      Hi Pwok- I just discovered this website yesterday and I got goosebumps reading your entry.You could be describing every job I have had since I moved to a small town in the mountains of SW Colorado 23 years ago. Before I moved here at 24, I had earned a degree in Bus mgt with a minor in Finance from a pretty good private university. I worked construction and in a meat packing plant during the summers. I was hired at a job fair, and by lots of hard work, overtime, and sacrifice, I was the manager of a crew of 35 guys who worked in the field and a store with 6 employees. The family that owns it said they would hire me back in a heartbeat just 6 months ago. I got married, and we moved to a tiny town for my wife’s job. I thought I could just repeat my employment process somewhere else. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The whole time I have lived here, I have worked for one company after another like the situation you described. No training, under staffed, a group of 3-7 women in the office who hated me, and the owner and half a dozen cronies who hung out all day but never did anything but flirted/harrassed the young woman who was answering the phone for that quarter before the office women ran her out. Not much support from my wife, her job is the reason we moved here and she thinks there is something wrong with me- lazy or stupid or something. 6 times I’ve brought business’s back to profitability from the brink despite no training,no support, people milking every mistake I’ve ever made, owners didn’t care, etc etc. After I was laid off after 5 years as the credit manager at a ski clothing manufactoring place the place was bankrupt in 6 months. I ran into the CFO and he said I single handedly kept that place open another year. He used to tell me stuff like “you need to collect $138,000 by Thursday or we can’t make payroll.” The 3 owners and their 8 friends who described themselves as “sales” would only bother coming in 3 times a week and spent their time hanging out in one of their offices bs ing, reading girlie magazines, bathroom humor, etc. these guys were in their 30s and 40s. They hated me because I would cut off credit from somone who hadn’t paid us in 2 years, for example, and finally got me laid off after 5 years. 5 more of my 23 years were wasted as a credit manager for a chocolate manufactorer. My boss was a women in her 60’s who was less educated, less personable, and less skilled than I was at my job. She used to stand behind me while I worked at my desk and rub herself on my shoulder and back & grab my butt and stuff like that, and when I told her to knock it off, would start screaming at me about what a terrible employee I am. More than once she cleared my desk and broke personal items of mine. Coffee cups, pictures, etc. I caught her trashing my office and messing with my car. She used to interupt and contradict me at meetings to the point of looking drunk or crazy.

      At all times I have had to cya more than I actually do any work. Colorado is a right to work state and the employers here act like this because they can, frankly. If you sue an employer, however valid the reason, you better get enough money to retire, because everyone in this state runs a check to see if you have ever sued a former employer. Most people I have talked to about this either look at me like I am insane or laugh at the thought of a man getting sexually harrass. Thank you for affirming my sanity and work ethic!

  134. anon says:

    I’ve seen it in a previous job with one lady being bullied by not only her fellow female managers but ladies that reported to her. I believe these individuals knew they could intimidate her and they were correct they could and on so many occasions it was obvious she was afraid of them. One lady that reported to her used talk down to her, ignore her and shout over her at meetings. The manager in question was afraid of this individual and everytime it happened it made her look weaker. Other managers used shout down to her, undermine her decisions and be unhelpful. Again they knew they could intimidate her and that she would not fight back. It was terrible to see because you then begin to build up a file in your head that this person is a weakling and sadly more around me when i was there built up the same opinion. It’s sad because others there know that it doesn’t take much to bully her into their way and sadly she is too afraid not too.

  135. […] WBI also has resources and more articles on women on women bullying and what can cause it.  […]

  136. […] WBI also has resources and more articles about women on women bullying and what can cause it.  […]

  137. Lynn B. Deung says:

    I was in a terrible situation at my previous job. Not only was bullying going on, but so was racism and preferential treatment. The turnover rate at this particular place of business was astronomical. They actually got to the point of not training people until they could see if they were going to stick it out.

    (For your info, it was all women at this place.)

    The bully has worked for the company for 8 years and had followed the boss to a few different locations. This woman could do whatever she wanted, and when confronted about this fact, would lash out, even in front of the boss. One time she didn’t like my reaction to a particular situation, and verbally harassed me for 2 days. I brought it to the boss, and was forced to hash it out with this woman right in front of the boss. (the bully’s best friend…)Needless to say, she was allowed to verbally abuse me, threaten me, and then walk out of the office without another word while the boss just sat there. If the roles had been reversed, I would have been fired for offending the bully. 4-5 other women left this job after they found other empployment, and stated the reason for leaving was this bully and her behavior. The bully received a promotion.

    I didn’t have another job lined up, but I quit anyway. It took me 2+ months to find another job. It hurt my family financially and emotionally, but I am in a place where it seems a little more respectful among workers.

    • Katie says:

      I am enduring the same thing right now. My manager was hired by the previous regional mgr because they have been friends for a long time. When I first transferred into my position, the mgr loved me. She treated me to lunches, sodas, leaving early, etc. Once she had me hooked, she started passing her tasks on to me stating that she didn’t get incentive or commission therefore, she was doing me a favor by giving it to me. Because I have bills to pay I let it happen. Now I am overwhelmed doing my job and hers. She complains (after sitting at her desk playing on her phone and computer) that a manager should not have to work this hard. I have been the top producing employee in our office but have been thrown under the bus twice when I said I couldn’t take on anymore. We have lost 9 employees since I have come to this office 3 years ago. They all documented their reason for leaving was because of her on their exit interviews. I begged the regional manager to read these but she said that they just wrote that stuff because they were “disgruntled” and leaving. Most recent, another one of my coworkers left. I was given her workload and told I had to work her weekend hours as well as my own. When I brought this to my mgr’s attention during an office meeting, I was told so what. Then she proceeded to go behind my back and say that I was being obnoxious. She walked into my office shortly after with her hand on her hip and said, “listen, Missy. I’m sick of your attitude. I’m the boss. You have to listen to me.” The next day I was called to the corporate office for a conference call about the situation. My Manager told the Regional Mgr and HR that she did not want me back in the office because she didn’t know what I was capable of and she was so afraid that I would do something drastic. I just sat there and listened to these words with tears coming down my cheeks. I honestly thought I was going to be fired that day. I was told that I could not talk to ANYONE about what was discussed in the meeting that day or I would lose my job. The Reg Mgr and HR said that they would look into it but its been 3 weeks and I haven’t heard another word. Meanwhile I have to work with this person every day. The words ringing in my head on how she made ME out to be the Monster when its her. I cry driving into work every day and I cry driving home. I love my job, I love what I do. But I can’t take the stress anymore. She gives me this fake “Hi” and fake smile every day. She knows she has me broken. Its just going to get worse. Why won’t upper management do anything?

  138. April says:

    I’m so happy I found this forum if only to get this off my chest. I work at a nonprofit that is run by a woman & funded by the taxpayers. She hires retired law enforcement and treats them like gold, as if they are her own personal security force. They get better pay and benefits while the rest of us (women) are treated like crap with lower pay and benefits. She demoralizes all the women in the office and even fired a woman recently who is a pregnant wife of an Afghanistan war vet who has PTSD b/c she took too much time off for medical reasons. When dignitaries come into the office she introduces and gloats about her personal security force and no one else. Her husband works at the agency and is in charge of the finances and he is retired law enforcement. The turnover in this place is incredible. She drops the “F” bomb all the time when talking amongst her security force. The security force spends 50% of their day BS’ing but if she hears a peep from the other side of the wall (where the women are located), she immediately heads over and starts calling the women out on what they are doing and why they aren’t working. The women have to punch out for their lunch hour (and don’t get paid for 1/2 of it) and the security force doesn’t have to punch out for lunch and take an hour or two. All of the women need their jobs so they can’t go to the EEOC for fear they will lose their job. The women are stuck and miserable while the security force lives a life of luxury. With all the employment rules and regulations in this day and age, it is sad that some employers get away with this type of behavior b/c people are being held hostage by their need to work and pay their bills.

  139. Jane says:

    I think I am being bullied at work but wanted to get some other people’s opinions, if anyone has time. There is a woman at work (co-worker with a slightly higher position than mine, but not my supervisor) who is usually (not always) rude and nasty towards me. I’ve actually been working with her for a few years and it didn’t start immediately, but has gotten progressively worse over the years. It’s hard to point to 1 specific thing, but often it’s just frowning whenever I’m around, disagreeing with me about just about everything (even when it’s something trivial or unimportant, and even to the point where if I change what I originally said to agree with her appraisal, she will then change what she said to disagree with me again). She constantly tells me “It’s not about…” and then proceeds to tell me that whatever I just said was unimportant or irrelevant because it’s not as important as this other thing. She subtly criticizes the way I do things by loudly stating why it’s better to do things her way and not my way (she doesn’t usually directly tell me that my way is wrong, but just makes a general comment). She “tells” me what to do rather than making a suggestion (even when I did not ask her advice or opinion). She says things to make me look bad in front of other staff or clients, and/or to try to make herself look better. I definitely think she may feel threatened by me (I am better-looking, smarter, more talented, more well-liked, very high morals, etc.) Not trying to brag but I think most people would say that. I’m thinking maybe she feels threatened because I am in a lower position than her and still have all of these things. Mind you I do not brag or even bring up any of these things to her or anyone else. If anything I bend over backwards complimenting her and agreeing with her so as not to have to experience abuse. Sometimes she will be nice and then sure enough there will a subtle “dig” and I’ll feel horrible. I don’t believe any of the stuff she says but it still feels terrible to be treated that way. My supervisor and pretty much everyone else there is either friends with her or intimidated by her and would not back me up, I am sure of it (although some of them do tell me they have experienced or know of nastiness from her as well). Does this sound like bullying, and if so, any advice? I’m guessing it’s going to just get worse but confronting her will probably make it 100x even worse and then I’m positive I will have to leave the job and it’s a good job that pays well and I’ve been there 8 years. I’ve been bullied/abused a few times before in my life; guess I just have that sort of personality where I’m a frequent target.

  140. Joseph says:

    (The connection had to be reset so I’m resubmitting this hoping that it is not a double post.)

    The causes of bullying are as varied as that of humanity. But one thing is a certainty: bullying can either strengthen or weaken your character.

    I’ve written about tell-tale signs of bullying and means by which people can protect themselves and others from this type of behavior.

    The article is Bullies: They’re Not Just A Schoolyard Problem

    If the moderators would be so kind as to publish my comment, I hope the article will be useful to anyone who reads it.

    – Joseph

  141. Lena Deal says:

    I am getting a new job. The bully was demoted and I got her job after being there for 6 months. She had followers that bullied me, too. I will be leaving soon, yay!
    To be honest, I wish I could pulverize her. lol She is bigger than I am but boy would I like to whip her butt! And I could and would! It’s not worth it, none of it is. I will move on and let it go, can’t wait!

  142. Patricia says:

    This article really made sense of so much for me. Women need to learn respect for other women! For much of my life, I was considered the stereotypical “dumb barbie” by petty,mean females. As such, WOMEN have been nasty, abusive,until I stood up for myself, gave notice, etc.All I wanted was acceptance. Camaderie. I rarely found that with women. Females wil never rise in this world until they stop fighting each other. Stop being jealous!!

  143. Starry says:

    I find that women are the worst bullies in the workplace and I am a woman in 25 year career. Not that men can’t be bullies, I have dealt with that, too, but women- the worst. The only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to them, report them, give them the cold shoulder. No amount of money or humility is worth your psychological heath and well-being. Everyone who has crossed me has gotten their Karma. You really got to use mind power.

  144. […] to Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute, women comprise 40% of the bully population; and of their […]

  145. Disgusted says:

    What’s the point when people are set up to abuse me, handled to turn on me. Incredible funding, techniques, disinformation.
    Anything I do, want to do, anywhere I go to, anyone I get into contact with – they send people. Plant stories & more. Insert their people, ensure I’m out. It can get as elaborate as they need it to be, they have the endless funding, people, the ability to keep going, the control & influence of so many aspects.
    See, so many take action based on beliefs they make for them & walk to the trance of their tune. To mount effective change it requires a decent understanding of the situation, which is precisely what they strive to deny. Instead they form illusions, by which to manipulate. How to solve the scenario & develop an effective strategy given all that goes on & the circumstances. So challenging.
    Actors & lies all made up on the fly, with a serious tactic to take someone down, in anyway they can, to keep covering up all they’ve been doing for so long.
    I have nothing to do with funding or working for these people. Nor do I have ‘relationships’ with particular people or anything like that… Anything of that nature of the past was pretty much a set up that I was not aware of. Now I’ve worked quite a bit of it out, they are going to great trouble to destroy me.
    These kids are placed in particular situations, their lives curated, they have no idea of their sheer behind the scenes advantages they are given. How contrived it all is. How brainwashed they are. A voice is not allowed to others, not of their systems. They go to so much trouble to mislead & are mislead. Their charity is a lie & cover for abuse. Attempted indoctrinations, religious fascism, purposeful calculated malevolence.
    Bullies are not a minority, this society insists on & rewards such behaviour in a hierarchical criminal warfare scenario. (I’m totally anti-hierarchy myself. It doesn’t work.) Those in any position of note are often likely to be one. They try to make out another is what they are & believe in some ridiculous neoliberal nonsense of value being about money. Having no idea, that it is the very compromises they make, that destroy the situation… I can’t believe the attitudes they hold….
    The amount of effort they have gone to: interrogating, intimidation, ‘testing’, set ups/staged events, countless stalkers, reviews of anything going on, reports on everything, mass media lies, horrific spying, incredible detail, endless smear campaigns, scapegoating, psychological warfare, occult warfare, creating”accidents”, poisoning, starvation, drugging.. Trying to destroy my memory, gaslighting for decades. So much to supply their operatives. Incredible false enormous narratives weaved about the entire situation & those within it. Diabolical.
For example, took the Bonobo idea, that I was looking at, in trying to solve the larger picture issues (like so many ideas), so long ago. They took it to mean what they wanted it to, in a way that suited them. Without a proper consideration of many other factors. Being stolen from, exploited, targeted & abused is not working for someone, it’s being enslaved. Then people lied about me as being in positions or doing things, that I have nothing to do with. I have no mental issues, have not gone after anyone, yet would be accused when defending myself or others. I have been subject to brutal bullying & harassment in every place I lived in, renting a room in a house is not working for or with someone – I was given an entirely different account of events in so many of these encounters – that was a fucking lie too.… They make people sick on purpose. Sabotaging anything positive. They turn what I discovered about them & the people they used, to attack me.
    I’ll come back & post some more… I can go through & refute so much posted here, however it would take me a while. Religious cultic doctrines, elite corporate interests, secret societies & services & so on, are so destructive to everyone involved.

    (please post this one)

  146. Disgusted says:

    (Please note, see how in the second edited version – my post got hacked in the copy & paste process somehow.. With fake grammatical & typing errors inserted, they do this kind of thing to me all the time.. If you can fix that, I’d appreciate it.)

  147. Jenn says:

    After working for 20 years and having been employed at many different places, I see a pattern emerging that is a common thread to any of the hostile workplaces I’ve been subject to. They are always managed or directing by someone (man or woman) whose ego is fragile and feels that others need to be punished for their insecure perceptions of the world. These people are respected not at all for their ethic or professional valuable. No. They are respected out of fear. Fear that they instill in people around them through their terroristic actions. I have learned that that fragile egos use gossip, slander, defamation, suggestion, and incitement of all the previously mentioned in order to terrorize and sabotage those whom they feel deserve punishment. Very punitive and fixated. The common thread is a fragile ego and his/her method of terrorism is incitement of hatred against their target(s). I have also noticed that when the target is a female, the fragile ego has an extremely easy time of encouraging others to go harass and bully her. I think that must be because there is a societal predisposition of hatred for women in general. Especially good looking women.

  148. […] her that way. After all, this character is as much a crude stereotype of the modern workplace as a real pattern of behavior tracked by […]

  149. base business

    Woman-on-Woman Bullying | Workplace Bullying Institute

  150. Edith Felker says:

    Do not forget to add men with female brains, women with male brains and some men doing the bidding of females.

  151. Edith H. Felker says:

    I never allowed these bullies to watch me in the privacy of my own home and it has been ongoing for ~4 years over money, possessions and power… I have no privacy whatsoever including in the shower, attempting to make a living, grooming myself – even my genitals – making love…you get the idea. They abducted me and are bossing me around and I have never had anything to defend myself with. They try to defend their crimes by committing more crimes and coercing me to say I allowed them to do this when I NEVER DID. I never joined them, I never took an oath and I have never seen any of the things they use to abuse me. THey starved me nearly to death when I was in great shape (they ruined my looks – I look like I have aged ~20 years during this time). They have drugged me, attempted to murder me on multiple occasions, hired a hit man, entrapment and false prosecution of a non-crime lasting for more than a year, sleep deprived me almost to death, tried to ruin my marriage, ruined my reputation, raped my life for ~40 years.
    THEY KNOW THEY ARE WRONG…they use high tech and secret frequencies to abuse…yet they continue and the powers that be say I have to sue to make it stop.

    • Edith H. Felker says:

      This is Edith – they allow me to go out in public to prove they are not abusing me and I get to do a fun activity. They lead people to think they are helping me but this always changes in what should be my most safe place – my home (not one shred of evidence exists of their help – it has only been talk for ~ 4 years – and they know how to make their hurt look like help). My sister, Tirrell, isolated herself and died of a drug overdose. She told me before she died that her medicine was not working and her husband told me that she had a week’s worth of medication left over and it was all gone when she died.

  152. […] have an extraordinary talent for finding ways to inflict misery that you’d never think of. The Workplace Bullying Institute says: woman-on-woman bullying is the […]

  153. Lavendar says:

    Last year, after enduring 2.5 years in a toxic workplace where bullying, racism, sexism and favortism were rampant, I was driven out of my job. I was one of the highest performing employees, bringing lots of positive and even national attention to an organization that had a history of scandal.

    My direct supervisor was a woman in her 60’s (I’m in my early 40’s). As a social worker, she liked her reputation as being, “nice,” but if she did not like you, she would do/say all kinds of nasty things when nobody else was present to her victims and lots of passive aggressive garbage that was often not apparent to others, unless they were paying attention and aware of the tension.

    When I first started my position, she seemed ok. I started to have successful projects, at first she was happy, until it caught the attention of her boss, the head of organization and then it suddenly became a problem. She became very jealous, and would do things to slow down or undermine my work. I was the team lead and my team liked me… this also became a problem, she wanted them to go to her, but when they went to her with concerns or questions, she would misguide them, due to her incompetence. So, instead they came to me. Instead of understanding that I was an ASSET to her, she became even more determined to not like me due to her own insecurity.

    Meanwhile her favorite employee, an incompetent, butt-kissing, bully herself had our supervisor wrapped around her finger. She not only supported this person, no matter how many times she screwed up and how much $ she cost our organization, but when this cw was actively screwing up MY team’s projects and I spoke up about how I would handle my own project to ensure integrity of our work, that’s when things came to a head.

    That cw reported me to HR for, for wait for it… bullying! The same cw that had been bullying everyone else in the dept, and most of all, ME! Supervisor supported her pet employee, lying for her and throwing me under the bus. Worse yet, the HR director a shady character with no integrity, gleefully joined the pile on. They all knew that I was the head of organizations favorite (and I was up for promotion, but there was nowhere to promote me). I was accused of having, “poor communication” and told I would be punished for it, I was also told over and over again by my supervisor that I was, “intimidating.” Yup! The bullies were calling ME, “intimidating.” When my other cw heard what happened, they could not believe it, nobody felt I was intimidating, they felt that the incompetent cw was the one who was intimidating! I submitted my notice the next day. HR and my supervisor were shocked, they thought that they could kick me repeatedly and I would just take it. I was afterall, doing the work of two people and the one bringing positive attention to the organization, when I quit, nobody knew what or how to do my work. They were too scared to tell their boss, the head of organization who was told almost a WEEK after I put in my notice and requested meetings with me right away. I told him that this had been going on for a while and he asked why I had not let him know. I told him she is vindictive, which is exactly what happened at the end. He understood, tried to get me to stay by offering me a different job (lateral move that I didn’t want in a different dept with an equally screwed up mgr), and offered his support, yet he did not follow through with the support offered while I was job seeking, so I felt doubly betrayed.

    A month later, my ex-supervisor suddenly announced her early retirement. When I left, another team member left and the project fell apart. Several months later, without her to cover her ass, incompetent cw was fired. I got a new job, I love it and am glad I left a toxic employer. However, the new supervisor hired, also insecure, went after the last competent person in the dept, accused her of being, “intimidating.” My cw quit, it’s just toxic!

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