May 14th, 2014

Let’s Talk with Kalola: Bullied to tears

Dear Kalola,

I was a victim of bullying in more than one of my jobs.  Always being scheduled the same times with my bully.  The boss bully made sure of it in both cases.  Does it wear you down?  Yes.  My co-workers would say one thing to my face and then quite another to my boss.  I would try to deal with it by sometimes becoming quiet during my shifts, while trying not to cry.  My work schedules were very demanding and arduous.  By the time I was near the end of my last job, I was completely overwhelmed.

Physically,spiritually and emotionally, I was a wreck.  Crying at the drop of a hat and no one was supporting me.  I knew that if I took management on, it would turn uglier for me.  I found out much later, if I had gone to the labour board, it would have to be in a certain time period.  I knew the boss had kept a special file for me and had plenty of facts to make, him/her alone, look good.  I am a year and a bit until my retirement. I would love to have a new employ, but will absolutely not allow myself to be bullied again.  I’ll walk away first.  Self preservation.

If you have some assistance in getting help in your situation, do it and make sure you have positive support.  I just didn’t know where to turn.  There’s nothing good in feeling like you are trapped in a circumstance which is not healthy.

I pray and wish the best for all of you.  Persist and press on and remember, you are not alone.


Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for writing in to “Let’s Talk” and sharing your workplace story as well as your advice to workers.

Some of the health symptoms that targets often say they have experienced include:  anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, uncontrollable crying, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea and/or vomiting, weight gain/weight loss, sleep deprivation, etc.  Have you had a health exam recently?  If not, make and appointment with your doctor and tell your doctor what you have been experiencing at work and how it is affecting you.  Ask your doctor for a referral to a licensed or registered mental health professional who can help you to cope more effectively with what you are experiencing at work.  It really helps to talk with a mental health professional or therapist.  If your doctor is unable to give you a referral to a licensed or registered mental health professional, the Workplace Bullying Institute has advice on how to find one at their website

You are under a lot of pressure at work.  Explore with a licensed/registered mental health professional why you cry so easily at work.  It is okay to cry on occasion but not all the time.  You can’t effectively do your work when you are crying.  It is not easy to see through tears.  People who observe this will wonder what is going on with you.  It is only natural curiosity to wonder why someone is so upset.

When you feel so stressed that you feel you are on the verge of tears, take a moment and do a quick relaxation technique.  Sit down and close your eyes.   For a moment think of a beautiful, peaceful place.  Now focus on your breathing.  Take a slow, deep breath.  Hold that breath for just a moment, then exhale slowly.  Repeat this several times until you feel your heart rate slowing.  This technique can actually bring down blood pressure.   There are so many beautiful places in your province and in your country.  Perhaps, you might think of the beautiful Butchart Gardens near Victoria on Vancouver Island or the peaceful ferry ride to get there or the majestic Canadian Rockies.  During your break time or lunch break, leave the office and go for a walk.  Getting away from the office and getting a little exercise will help relieve some of the tension you are feeling. 

Here are two websites to learn more about relaxation techniques:


The bully boss is micromanaging you by closely observing you, and controlling your workload.  It would be difficult for any of us to do our work when someone is looking over our shoulder.  Be confident in your job skills and the work that you do.  Ask your boss questions if he/she is hovering over you.  If she/he is questioning what you are doing, ask for his/her suggestions.  This way, you will know what is on his/her mind rather than to wonder.  Do the best job possible under the circumstances that presents itself, and that is all that any of us could do under similar circumstances.

Though easier said than done, try to ignore your co-workers who may or may not be talking about you.  Do not share any personal information about yourself to your co-workers.   This information will only fuel gossip.  A person can still be friendly to their co-workers without engaging in gossip.  There are some individuals who have a social need to gossip.  Little do these gossipers realize is that other people will go out of their way to avoid these talkers and time wasters as they steal away our precious time when we are trying to get our work done.

Did you report to your employer how you were being treated by your boss?  Your employer can’t help you if the employer doesn’t know what is going on.  And, if the employer or the bully boss retaliated because you spoke up, you can report the employer or the bully boss to WorkSafe BC.

On November 1, 2013, new anti-bullying legislation took effect in the province of British Columbia (BC), Canada.  The legislation was incorporated into the BC Workers’ Compensation Act.  The new health and safety policies define workplace bullying and harassment, and the duties of employers, supervisors, and workers in preventing and addressing workplace bullying and harassment.  Workers have the added responsibility of reporting workplace bullying and harassment.  WorkSafe BC is dedicated to promoting workplace health and safety for BC workers and employers and enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.  For further information on bullying and harassment, BC workers can go to the WorkSafe BC website

How to get support?  You have to reach out and ask for it.  Talk to a close friend who is not connected to your workplace or to a family member.  Now here’s the thing, don’t make a habit of always sharing your problems with the same friend or family member all of the time.  Over time, no one will want to hear your troubles. To have friends, one must be a friend.   It takes time to nurture and maintain friendships.  When your friend has troubles, you will need to take time and listen and care.  Do something nice for the person who took time to listen you and who tried to help you. 

When you are out and about, do something nice for someone else.  It could be holding the door open for someone or simply saying hello to someone and giving them a smile or letting someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store checkout stand.  If someone says to you, “Hi, how are you?” quickly say, “I’m fine and how are you?  You have to be quick and you have to mean what you say.  So often a person may ask the question, “how are you?” in passing but they don’t always wait to hear the answer. 


There are two big forces at work, external and internal.  We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain.  What really matters is the internal force.  How do I respond to those disasters?  Over that I have complete control.”  … Dr. Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998)



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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 at 7:00 am and is filed under Let's Talk with Kalola. 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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