Helping You Cope With & Stop

WORKPLACE BULLYING

RESPECT • CIVILITY • ACCOUNTABILITY

b3

Think of a time when you were ignored. Think of how you felt. Hurt, sad, puzzled, stressed… Did you think, “What’s wrong with me?” or “How come I was left out?” Or how about when you were brave enough to reach out and ask ‘why is this happening?’, and were met with a polished answer from the person that left you with more self doubt and no answers?

Now think about being ignored, left out and pushed aside…day after day…after day…after day…This repeated ignoring is one of the worst types of bullying known.

Social or interpersonal rejection occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from an interpersonal or peer relationship. A person can be rejected by an individual or by an entire group of people (mobbing). Furthermore, rejection can be either overt, with acts of aggressive bullying; or passive such as ignoring a person, shunning or shaming.

Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic: Being overlooked can feel distressing; we’ve all felt this from time to time. Being perpetually ignored feels rotten. To the degree a person is important to you, or to the degree you have expectations of that person that are not met, the more pain and rejection you will likely experience.

Being perpetually ignored is a bullying tactic and it involves what might appear as slight brush offs to the target in order for the bully to gain the upper hand. Remember, when these ‘slight brush offs’ happen over and over again, they evolve from slight to deliberately drastic from their continual impact of isolating the target. Examples are:

  • Not making eye contact with you in a meeting, but making eye contact with everyone else;
  • Walking into a social situation and reaching to shake another’s hand but brushing by you; not giving you the same level of interaction;
  • Engaging with others in conversation, asking them questions, perhaps joking around, then being tight lipped, formal and professionally polite for appearances sake, but by no means displaying the connect-ability they have toward others, toward you.
  • Leaving you out of email loops, formal information sharing and informal information sharing.

Have you ever been the last person to find out about the holiday schedule or have you ever been going about your work happily and you see a flock of co-workers discussing something in an unofficial capacity, but you were not asked your opinion; you were not invited in the first place?

But Wait, There’s More: How the Bully Further Isolates a Target:Skilled charming bullies will quickly double up their social interaction and attention they pull away from you and deposit it into others in order to gain favor with others…against you. Has this ever happened to you:

  • You have friends at work and you see the bully talking to these friends; joking around, really connecting and you are not invited.
  • The bully starts to create social situations, even talking casually at work, but always with you absent.
  • The bully shares ideas, jokes, social time with everyone else but you. There is an event; everyone is invited except for you. Everyone else thinks you couldn’t make it, but you know differently.
  • The bully starts to spread false innuendos about you to this group, further isolating you.
  • People that don’t even know you, start to believe what is being said. Ever heard of ‘group think’?
  • These new people start talking about you to others based on what they’ve heard and think to be true.

Why is This So Painful? Rejection is emotionally painful because of the social nature of human beings and our basic need to be accepted in groups. Abraham Maslow and other theorists have suggested that the need for love and belongingness is a fundamental human motivation. According to Maslow, all humans, need to be able to give and receive affection to be psychologically healthy.

Psychologists believe that simple contact or social interaction with others is not enough to fulfill this need. Instead, people have a strong motivational drive to form and maintain caring and respectful interpersonal relationships. People need both stable relationships and satisfying interactions with people in those relationships. If either of these two ingredients are missing, when they could easily be present or they are present for others then most people will begin to feel lonely and unhappy. Thus, rejection is a significant threat. In fact, the majority of human anxieties appear to reflect concerns over social exclusion.

The experience of rejection can lead to a number of adverse psychological consequences such as loneliness, low self-esteem, aggression, and depression. It can also lead to feelings of insecurity and a heightened sensitivity to future rejection.

So How Can You Cope?
 Many people will advise you to ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’. Most of the time, people say this because it makes them feel better to say it! What about you? Your feelings are real; the bullying is real. It can be very difficult to ‘just get over’ being ignored, isolated and abandoned from expected social interactions.

But your big question might be ‘but why me’? Excellent question. It is not fair to be perpetually ignored.

So, here are my top 5 suggestions for coping with being perpetually ignored:

  • First of all, practice acceptance of the reality, not necessarily the behavior. The more resistant you are, the more pain and anger you will feel. If you accept the fact that you are being ignored no matter how good of a person you are, it will make it easier. Even if you don’t agree with it, acceptance is the first step.
  • Put a time limit on the time you devote to trying to figure out ‘why this is happening to you’ and then have something else you can focus on; this really works!
  • Know you are not alone. This can help one feel connected to the 1000’s of others who have suffered as well and to know that you are not being isolated because of anything you did…it has more to do with the bully. Every negative feeling the bully has about others is really a reflection of the negative feelings they have about themselves. What drives bullying? A need for control over another, rooted in envy. This is about the bully, not you.
  • Seek out a community or group that you can feel love, acceptance, kindness, generosity, tenderness and support. You might wonder if such a group exists. Try http://emotionsanonymous.org. We are all in recovery as human beings!
  • Stay plugged in and protected. Keep learning so you are empowered. If you haven’t walked through the Bully Free at Work exercises and self-tests yet, be sure to do this soon! What gets measured gets treasured; you are a treasure; don’t forget!

I’ll leave you with this: some things we will not understand. Some things we will be unable to change. One thing we can change, protect and empower is ourselves. Keep protected. The truth will rise to the top and keep shining.

 

*Note: Your name and email will not ever appear, it is strictly used to prevent spam comments.

167 responses to “Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic”

  1. stummee@gmail.com says:

    It is tough when you are left out on a continuous basis and people take credit for your work. It damages your ego and it is hard to move on. If I didn’t have to pay the bills and have a family to support, I would quit. Apparently I try to look at things lightly and praise my own accomplishments. They say you are your worst enemy.

  2. KP says:

    let them go out to lunch every day and get fatter. Be glad to be you and find the positives in having your own time to work out and eat healthy while they are stuck dealing with each other. That is how I connected bullying and this reply. Yeah it hurts fir a minute but at least you are not an insensitive, bullying ass

  3. Riojoanz says:

    Human beings are very flawed creatures therefore none of us should be surprised that this negative behavior is prevelant amongst us. Recognize it, acknowledge it but promise yourself that you will never exhibit this behavior to others. Be kind and speak to everyone. If they fail to return the favor- oh well. Life will keep rolling right over all of us. Remember this: you are at work to collect a paycheck. As long as another person’s foolishness does not impact your bottom line, nothing else matters.

  4. Amanda says:

    This sounds exactly like what is happening to me. I started working at the place almost two years ago and have noticed one coworker in particular goes out of her way to ignore me for no reason. I would like to know what I did that might have pissed her off so much but the more I find things out the more I realize it’s not about me, it’s about her. She is jealous for some reason and has to be cruel about it.

  5. Upset says:

    I’ve asked Jesus into my life, oh, several thousand times. My life still s*****. People still bully me, etc. I have had several such trauma over the past year. I am a Christian. Please don’t say such things, because I thought that before I become Xtian, and what a rude awakening to discover that it doesn’t change ANYTHING– at least, not in this world! BTW: how does one deal w/ people not returning emails when one needs crucial info? Thanks.

  6. Mish says:

    My husband and I were invited to a work dinner by my husband’s boss. I didn’t know anyone, except for the boss and his wife and one other co worker . Well I introduced myself to about six other couples and did small talk everything was going well till I went over to talk to the bosses wife that was fine for a short while, then the boss turned up, things turned cold and the wife ignored me, even though I was talking to her,, there was no eye contact. The boss was shouting drinks and asked every single person at the table if they would like one, everyone except me. This was obvious and a bit embarrassing, that his wife blurted out oh such and such would like a drink too. Needless to say I accepted my drink and then walked away and I enjoyed the company of an elderly couple with no airs or graces. Towards the end of the night I noticed that everyone, but one couple had deserted the bosses table and his wife was looking bored and lonely. I still don’t know why they cold shouldered me?, but me and my husband are of a different ethnicity and social status ( meaning where not rich), but we are honest , decent and good workers, what the hell is wrong with them, why are they like this?. I’ve never struck this before and I’m over 50.There’s no need to be cold or indifferent, life is too short.

  7. Silvy says:

    I worked in a place for three months than I left because my boss at the beginning was very kind with me, then he started to ignore me: he came into the shop saying “hello” to everybody with their names but he completely ignored me; I felt like invisibile, like a ghost. That made me feel so bad. After 3 months I left and I never understood the reason. I felt like if he didn’t want me anymore. I asked to my collegues if I did some mistakes but they said “no”. I couldn’t be so brave to ask him why. Some people are very strange. I hope it will return back to him and I hope he’s still feeling sorry for his nasty behaviour. Amen

  8. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Yes, it can be so difficult to try and understand “why” – to the point of having these thoughts consume us at times. If your co-workers said there did not seem to be justification, then this can serve as some support. An insight (might be) in some cases: where someone wants something from you and they haven’t told you. Then when you do not end up by giving it to them, they ignore you – and you didn’t know in the first place! It could be something such as attention, praise, or time. In addition it could be having you agree with them and when you do not, they turn on you. These unwritten requests are usually things to do with the other person – and they are a form of passive control. Yes, control can happen by being passive – needing someone to act a certain way, and when they do not, they are ignored is a form of control. Hopefully you can feel better in knowing this happens so so many good people – you are not alone and I am so sorry you had to face such a puzzling situation.

  9. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Hi there, you questions are good ones! Yes, being Christian can provide assurance that we are loved and “God has our back” so to speak. I believe the Bible is full of stories where it was really really difficult for Christians (and all people) with betrayal (the Joseph story) being ridiculed (the woman at the well) etc. It isn’t easier with regard to the people we have to deal with, but I believe if we search (and yes that’s hard to do!) we will find a peace beyond all understanding even though “they act that way”. If you are doing all you can, then at least you know it is not you. I will ask you if you have studied this area: how to bully proof yourself – this might help you – it might be your time to really be able to protect yourself so you do not have to suffer. I will be honest, even though I study and teach coping with and stopping workplace bullying for a living now for over 10+ years, I still experience very difficult forms of rejection and hurt as well. Now, however, I have a plan and it might take a little while to come around, but my resilience is stronger. Maybe it is your turn to turn hurt into hope? Wishing you all the best in your search…

  10. Vika says:

    I use to get bullied a lot but I just ignored it I guess… I was oblivious to it and that was what protected me from pain. I made my first friend in high school, just because I pulled a Neville Longbottom, and that’s when I realized I had been bullied. I was ignored by my ENTIRE family except for my great grandmother. My own mother ignored me. I never met my father until a few years ago. I grew up in adult situations and never seemed to crack once. I handled them as if it was the norm (and for me it was). I was always seemingly happy but seemed a little lost. I never knew what people were talking about and why I was ignored. Honestly, I didn’t care. I’m a bit of a loner, now, and don’t even contact my friends or family that now plead for my attention. I was like a shell filled with a ball of love and happiness. I didn’t care if they didn’t like me, I never plotted for revenge and I never got angry or cried I just was like, “okay,” and walked away. I mainly played by myself in corners, I guess because I felt supported by them. I prefer to be surrounded by things than be in the open. I use to have the ‘deer in the headlights’ stare, which people just say were mini seizures, but I remember just staring and letting my mind go blank. It felt calming to me to just let everything get drowned out by silence and darkness and alone-ness. For the three years following my great grandmother’s death when I was 11, I felt no love in me nor happiness. I was just the hard shell. After that I was swelling with feeling and the shell broke. I was in tenth grade and realized I had been bullied my entire life and I am now affected negatively during arguements with my husband my husband. I honestly think it was because of her showing me how to be alone without me getting hurt, training me to use my ignorance as a shield, that got me through it all. I unknowingly adapted to live. I think people should not bully, but take life with a grain of salt as I unwittingly did, and be happy with what you have and love with all you’ve got, being oblivious to the negativity, even when it is directed right at you. As said above, I just “brush(ed) it off.”

  11. Miller says:

    Very excellent ideas. I have encountered similar situations at my current workplace. My manager was very friendly and acts nice to everyone. But then after he promoted, he does not reply to emails, phone calls etc. Then I decided to find new job because he agreed for my job exit. After, I confirmed with him that I got new job and was leaving next month, he became even more arrogant and intentionally ignored me. Then I acted the same. I don’t make eye contact or say hi or goodbye. It gives me a better feeling than if I were to greet him or smile at him in fake manner.

  12. Rob says:

    I’m being ganged bullied at work and yes it’s painful and hurts me because I have lies said about me, now I could report this and get them to talk with me but do I really won’t people like that my life I think I’m better off without such bullies.

  13. Alex says:

    what is the best way to deal with this at work ?now i work in a busy hospital and im feeling like im being bullied most of my team ignore me they dont even make eye contact or communicate with me, i asked google which lead me to here,im just wondering what i can do about this one, do i go to my managers and make them aware or do i go higher to get it resolved ?

  14. Morningstar says:

    This is a wonderful article and it has helped so much. My situation is a bit different from others. My sister has ignored me on numerous occasions. From reading this article and thinking back, she has done this and continues to do this, as a power play. She leads a stressful life and when things go wrong and she’s hurting, she strikes back by ignoring others who are happier and more successful. Her actions tell me that she could be a sociopath. She exhibits all the symptoms.Thank you for writing this!Morningstar

  15. Zelda says:

    Me right now at work.

  16. Randomlol says:

    Don’t go the manager but instead work YOUR hardest so that you can succeed obviously there is something about you or your work ethic that they envy!!! 🙂 I have the same situation with my friendship group at school

  17. sadsoul says:

    There is this girl in my school doing this when i hv done completely nothing wrong to her i even approached her to ask her and she just ignored me. Some people say its because im too ‘serious’ i understand that maybe they want to be so called more yolo but im trying to help her not to do the wrong thing and she finds it annoying. Argh what do u even do..

  18. Regina says:

    Ok yes! There are definitely people called bullies. However, they are the ones who need do these things to feed an ego that is WEAK . They often feed off people who are attractive, healthy, good looking and do their job easily, drawing rings around the the bully. That’s why they plot with other workers to bring down a person who has great work ethics and who is passionate about what they do. It’s called envy, jelleousy, hate and a threat to how good they think they are at work. It’s their MOJO and they’ll do what they can to recruit other workers to see it their way. I can say I was treated horribly in a preschool but was so well respected in other school settings. I will not get into my story it’s too long and yes, very horrible . As a respected teacher with lots of experience I am going to try an implement a teacher professional workshop on bullying of teachers. After all we teach children not to bully. It’s a BAD THING!! All teachers must attend professional workshops. But I think all teachers need to attend this particular one on bullying. This,way they can sit and listen to the devastating effect it has on the performance of teachers in school and sadly at home. The feelings of total rejection no matter how applied to the victim is deliberately planned in hopes they’ll leave their position. This just feeds their frenzy to stay at the top. It’s how they feed what they really lack in life. It’s called empathy. Empathy, caring, sharing, saying hello and thank you to someone are the very first things we teachers make sure young children learn first in order to be socially accepted in society. The bullying mentality of these so called teachers need to be called out. They must take a good look at themselves. attending these workshops will help expose this problem and hopefully wake up school teachers and their administrators. I hope to contact groups of professionals who run these workshops and I am almost certain they’ll help me in this endeavor. Good luck to all the hard working people who go unnoticed and are mistreated. You’re the best of the best and do not forget who you are and what your purpose in life is. God bless

  19. tisha says:

    Don’t worry, just be yourself, you are a child of the Universe and just think that bullies are loosers. Your situation is in the school and mine is at work place. it was about this guy who has a wondering eyes, he tells his friend that he was engaged, still he likes to flirt with me but I don’t response with his flirt. And now he ignored me completely when I’m sending him a business emails to approve, wanting me to see him first in person before he give me the answer. I can tell this his ways of manipulating woman and ways of bullying. I will just tell him to his manager but I will stay firm for who I am, confidently beautiful with a heart and a proud woman.

  20. tish says:

    Bad behavior from others is always around us, don’t let them get you down. Some people they are in denial and refuse to accept that others are more successful than they are. Therefore, they are jealous, envy and sort of things, that makes them weak in their brain. And for me I am happy when I see people are successful.

  21. Beverly Young says:

    Social Isolation is one the the cruelest forms of bullying there is. Thank you for taking the time to explain it so well.

  22. anastasia says:

    easy answer they’re are human attached to bad spirits aka reptilian. No human being would act so cruel towards other people if they had a heart.

  23. Ash station says:

    Yes, that is very true, being socially isolated at work is the most hurtful feeling possible.I’m in this situation, all this because a female at my department hates me very much, to the highest degree, I haven’t done anything to this person. But she has spread rumours, that are not true and she becomes very good friends with my friends and turns them against me and goes out with them too. Everyone is invited except me.Isolating a person is the worst bulling in the world, and people get a thrill out of hurting a person and do it multiple time to feed their EGO. I am the thrill ride at work. She is very popular at work, she has the power to fire me, but instead she keeps a close eye on me using other people and every now and then hurt me very hard. Using my supervisor, giving him wrong information to come and tell me off. She manipulates other people to do her dirty work and gets away with it as he is the cute hot chick of the company. She has invite people and has gone out with them and I’m left alone. I wish she would ask to fire me as I will feel relief and stress free. When every there is a party and she is there, people choose her over me. I’m trying to leave but I need my job as I have family to depend on me.

  24. Ashley says:

    Yes! I have been Isolated in my department Because 2 people find me boring as a social person because I don’t drink alcohol, but I cannot because I have diabetes, so they have excluded me out. People like that are spoilt and need attention and to feed their Egos by picking on the simple down to earth people. If you make them special, that is enough to feed a bullie’s ego. Find people that would like you for who you are. They want to be the centre of attention and popular in the workplace. And they identify you as the non-important person that is not welcome. Another problem you face is they are always right and you are wrong. You cannot change them as they don’t care and was raised like that. So you will find a big difference between you and the ego fed bullies insecurity is another problem they have. Ego fed cannot understand the meaning of kindness. I can see an Ego fed person a mile away as they love themselves.

  25. Angela says:

    Bless your heart!. I’m so sorry you are going through that right now. Please, Please continue to look for another job. Do whatever is necessary to get another job. Remaining in this situation impossible. My heart to yours.

  26. Bryan says:

    I was in a situation where i was working and due to political issues my colleague put all the blame of the overcoming bad naming to me as the one who came up with the bad-names.They spread the alleged rumor everywhere and where ever i go people use the names to me,which hurts very much,how they spread it i don’t know.No one has ever approached me to inquire whether its wrong or correct.My husband also joined to ruin me with those hurting words, then i took to Priest Andrew for help to make everyone around me realize that i was innocent of all the allegation as people were avoiding me as a bad person and i know deep inside me that am a good person. So i couldn’t allow my name that i have worked so hard to earn been destroyed, and am glad to say that Priest Andrew really did what i asked for as i was called back and apologize to while my colleague was fired to clear the dirt on my name for people to know that i was innocent. Based on this note, i will boldly recommend Priest Andrew to anyone facing difficulties in his or her work as he could be of great help.

  27. Robert Paul Paul Hingston says:

    I work in catering 30 years very hostile environment like prison in some ways , I get everyday someone making up lies be behind my back and people ignoring you for no reason bullying tactics and physically threatened to fight me people accidentally kick in the back of your foot to wind you up or rub up against you, I don’t even go to the manager any more because this is so “normal” it all happens in a Kitchen and yer it not nice but sadly it’s something I have to not take personal..

  28. tiko says:

    I started to work in a company introduced by the “boss” as starting with a small side project for them. I accepted a series of compromises, seen my girl pregnant needs we do this step. From second week all my department started to ignore me completely, totally like i do not exist. My work never evaluated and considered, kept out all meetings, all events, pushing me to leave. Now i have been offered another contract, ending the day my child will born. – Hamburg

  29. PettyPink says:

    It is no exaggeration to say that women, including women’s influence on men, results in more deliberate ignorance of other people, particularly towards sensitive men. Many women can’t bear to be regarded as less in tune with emotions / raw creativity as a man.

  30. PettyPink says:

    Two times people have said to me ‘I didn’t used to be a very nice person.’ It took a few months in each case to realise STAY CLEAR of these psychopathic people who will use countless superficial charm, layered upon layer so thickly that most will never care to see the cracks. These people seemingly run hot and cold, they often have great creativity but not quite the emotional sincerity to do it justice as their core burns cold – only to continually seek out whoever is the most powerful looking in the room and to get the rest from what they regard as weaker prey by sob story or subliminally creating guilt. Their danger is they genuinely become either incredulous or totally uncaring at any criticism or similar behaviour in return.

  31. Barbara Coghlan says:

    I am being Ignored in work, I have worked as a para-educator for 17 years. We have a nurse in the classroom and when she first came was nice. She befriended the teacher and then started ignoring me, she is on her cell phone constantly and thinks she knows everything about our students. Examples Oh Jane look at this, Oh Jane you know what happened, I am sitting right there doesn’t acknowledge me or make any eye contact. It stopped for awhile and it has started up again. I have been nice and inclusive toward her, asks how her family is etc. The teacher and other assistant in the classroom all joke around, but I am left out, I could go on and on. So I have started to only speaking to her when I have to and going about my job, I used to love going to work, now I hate it. I must add, the teacher and other assistant I have known them for 10 years and they allow this behavior which makes it that much worse.

  32. jenny says:

    helpful reading this. workmates – not one asked how i was after breaking my wrist – i had posted about this on facebook – dont understand why – they message each other.

  33. Allison says:

    Hi Barbara, this is happening to me right now. A new woman started here at my job and she was so kind and friendly to me. I had a bad day not too long ago and was very stressed out. She decided to start ignoring me after that happened. It’s feels like she is using my bad day as a way to prove to people that I’m crazy. I try to ignore it, stay professional. I don’t have to deal with her very much but this is very painful. Her friend, who quit a few weeks ago, also treated me like this. It makes me feel like I really am crazy.I hope it helps to know that you aren’t alone. I think if you are kind hearted, people see you as an easy target. You are probably also very smart and she is intimidated. I hope it gets better for you. Good luck.

  34. Holly says:

    I am a female in a male dominated profession. I have a job as a welder and maintenance worker.From day one, I was given the short end of the stick when it came to terms of training. The senior employee assigned to work with both I and another new trainee, immediately favored the other person and invested more time into getting him trained. Meanwhile, I still struggle learning the ropes because I was excluded by default. Due to my struggles occurring from lack of proper training, I immediately gained the reputation of being an incompetent idiot. I have been called dumb, have been questioned if I am on drugs, and am a target of daily jokes and teasing. Recently I have been denied of driving a company truck as well. Mind you, I have no general nor company traffic violation history; I am squeaky clean. Therefore no documentation or records at work suspending me of driving privileges. I still have my truck key. My supervisor told me that I was too short to be driving those big trucks. Even though my coworker is THE SAME HEIGHT AS I AM and drives all over the property. Once I acknowledged that…. My supervisor had no response. He just has this guy feeling I shouldn’t drive.I am the runt of the litter and the only person on the crew not permitted to drive…. And it’s humiliating and degrading. I am grown with a drivers license just like everyone else.

  35. Ismail says:

    Ash I feel for you, you have to know and believe that you are a good person. She is evil. Evil is when you deliberately hurt someone and enjoy it. You must not respond to her, you must carry on being the good person you are. Concentrate on your great family life and the good friends you have. Be happy, never let her near you again. Never trust her. You are a better person. Remember it was she who came to you, not the other way round. She is weak, not you. Truth does not need company only misery does and she is miserable and always will be.You on the other hand are a bright and good. Nothing can harm the good and happy soul.

  36. Ismail says:

    These are not the type of people you want to befriend, if you do then do it with caution. I used to make friends with everyone until I was targeted by a bully in adulthood, then I realised I should stick with my old friends and only trust new people if they were worthy of trust. I’m still friendly with everyone but that’s as far as it goes. Making new friends is easy but making GOOD new friends is hard.When similar thing happened to me with a bunch of new friends I light heartedly commented on how they never even enquired about my injury, realising all the time that my real friends and family had so I was emotionally covered and really didn’t need the support of these so called new friends. They were a little shocked and apologetic even embarrassed at their lack of concern, may be people are just too caught up in their own worlds and problems and just need to be reminded that caring about others actually will alleviate their own worries.

  37. Ismail says:

    I love the article it’s wise and informative. My bully has tried all the above tactics enlisting the help of several helpers to isolate me, but I have to laugh I’m afraid because although the whole of my immediate Asian community are ignoring me my oldest friends are not, my family isn’t and my English friends aren’t so they can huff and they can puff they can never blow my house down. I feel sorry for them really that over the past 5 years they have spent so much time doing all the things in the article and they’ve only managed to get a laugh out of me.Sure the first hundred times people look past you and don’t return your greeting, people who were so ‘nice’ before it hurts you but you soon get used to it when you realise buying into the bullies malicious gossip is their own weakness and continuing the bullies work just shows how horrible and mundane their lives must be to resort to such behaviour.

  38. susan says:

    This good article

  39. Drew says:

    Ever think the one doing the ignoring is escaping the drama and gossip.

  40. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Interesting point for sure. There is then, a fine line between dismissing one’s need to be included, considered and acknowledged and outright dismissal, denial and refusal of one’s need to connect. This article’s aim is to shed light on the times when people use ignoring as a tactic of control in order to intentionally hurt another. If someone would like to escape the drama, and that is certainly a situation that comes up, indeed, then I’d suggest that person do so while still maintaining the dignity of those around them who may need to either connect, clarify, talk etc with a simple, kind explanation of why they are choosing to not engage. To outright ignore someone who is trying to, in good faith reach out to connect or understand another is not classy behaviour.

  41. Ashley says:

    Bullying the worst bullying ignoring I have done a lot of research on bullying, and I discovered that I myself was also a victim of the worst form of bullying at a workplace, I was constantly bullied by these bullies that loved ignoring me, that is the worst type of bullying in the workplace, it’s the cruelest action in bullying.But I also learnt that if you ignore the victim everyday, this is what you call repetitive bullying. The bully will also spread false accusations and bad rumours and also make friends with the victim’s friends to turn his friends against the victim and further more the bully will socialise with the victims friends en-order to further isolate the victim from others to achieve maximum mental control of the victim being bullied, that alone is the worst workplace bullying. Ignoring is a very cruel method of torment, it’s a hurtful aggression to the victim, it can cause, psychological metal damage, depression, bad health issues and no sleep to the victim being bullied, and can cause death from suicide. Further more by using other people, the bully will try to keep the victim under observation, another form of controlling the Victim being bullied. Keeping the victim under constant servelance by using other people to control the victim being bullied but not exposing the bully.The only way out for the victim being bullied is to be as far away as possible from the bully to remove the threat of control and isolation.I learnt a lot out of this experience.The bullies are the best at it, a professional, that can get away with it. I had no chance in fixing any friendship as it was planed to happen or should I say setup to happen.So the only way out is to leave the company. Bully problem resolved.Also when the bully receives a message from the victim, the bully reads the message and picks the points that hurt the victim and puts pressure on those points to further hurt the victim to send the victim a message of aggression or hate.As the victim leaves the workplace, the victim is still being bullied by servelanceSo anything beyond this point is for the authorities to deal with.I’m a male the Victim, The person that bullied me is a female that I like very much and care for and that’s the painful part of it all. The other bully is her male friend that she thinks highly of. He is bulling me for his interest in her.

  42. Sharon says:

    My co-worker desk is pretty close to mine. She doesn’t have any children and is married but always out with her friends. I left early and took a sick day the next day due to my grandson being ill at school. When I returned she won’t say a word to me. This is not the first time. She is selfish, has no clue what it means to be a parent and have responsibilities. Then she tries saying loud enough that everyone is crabby. Oh my, she is also a diabetic and not in control of it. Mood swing Barbie for sure. I don’t have a problem standing up for myself, but how would you even approach this. Listen woman you are selfish, and disrespectful. I was there when her sister was dying, being understanding, listening. I don’t know why I even bothered because when someone is sick in my life she is the biggest tool and couldn’t care less.

  43. Cat says:

    I’ve been working for this company for 6 months. This a new position that corporate created because they felt that the operations manager (my boss) needed help. He has stopped giving me work and I have sat in my office every day all day with zero to do. When I ask if he has anything that I can help with he tells me no. He doesn’t answer my emails (strictly work related) and he never says good night. I am beside myself as to what to do or how to approach this. He is a very passive aggressive person. I did talk to him about my concerns of being laid off due to lack of work and the only thing he said is that he hasn’t heard anything about that from corporate. Any suggestions?

  44. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    When there is a disconnect with someone, we can guess why it happens, but it is only a “guess” until we connect and see for sure. We may never know why. What you can do is to share with her how her (whatever the behaviour is) makes you feel. You have correlated you being gone for your grandson being ill created her being upset. I would suggest you focusing only on the behaviour, not guessing why. It might not have anything to do with your grandson, but maybe more to do with having to do more work while you were away (which isn’t necessarily your fault – it could be misplaced anger and frustration). Something like, “When I returned to work the other day, it seemed like you didn’t want to talk to me” (give example) – “I was just curious if there was something I had done?” Then see what she says. Then at least you focus on your issue. She may choose to deny what you experienced, this would be self-preservation. You could then ask again, “is there anything I can do”? This extends the Olive branch, shows your concern (she may have a legitimate concern but has not chosen a great way to share it?) and you are the leader in that you are being civil. Continue being the great person you are – to change your care and concern for others might not be what you really want to do 🙂

  45. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    This is a tough one. As long as you are “doing your job according to what your boss wants” then this would be the first line of “duty”. “They” may have hired you to help, however, he might not want your help. If there was a way in which you could somehow let it be known to someone her up that you are keen, ready and able, without doing an end run on tour boss, that (might) be an idea. In the meantime, look to serve, be helpful, and trusted with all you come into contact with – this will help to secure your connection with the company as opposed to only your boss.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I declined an invitation from an acquaintance because a work colleague asked to talk to me. By them she was busily engaged in another conversation with a different person – another topic altogether. I reminded her of the fact that she had asked to speak with me. I felt it was rude of her to expect that I had nothing else to do (I did). I will not be so patient in the future. She was rude and kept talking with the other person, even though she introduced me. I let her know that I had forgone another invitation in order to speak with her. She finally stopped talking to the other person and turned her attention to the matters we had planned to discuss. While this is not “bullying” per se, I found it presumptuous, dismissive and tactless.

  47. Gili says:

    Thank you for this article. I have a coworker on my team that completely ignores and avoids me and it makes my job hard dealing with him and stressful especially if we have to work on a project together and I try to avoid the project at all cost. This person admitted to being in love with me and is very immature and needy so any small rejection on my side can lead to this silence tactic. I already had a situation with him before that he did not say a word to me for 2 weeks and drove my stress levels through the roof. We used to be good friends outside of work for a while but it’s just too much for me anymore. It got to a point that I had to block him on skype because he was bombarding me with long messages, he gets really annoyed if I don’t respond to his messages and throws a verbal tantrum and tries to spin it back at me that I am causing the drama. It’s very frustrating and exhausting and I look forward to the end of the day each day now because he’s sitting right in front of me and I have to face him all the time while pretending he doesn’t exist. He also uses the tactic of being extra friendly with other workers he doesn’t even like because I was his best friend and he must feel isolated now that we don’t speak.

  48. Heartbroken says:

    I had a good relationship with everyone at work until the day my coworker blatantly lied to me. (she was also my closest friend and my job requires us to work very closely together on a daily basis) I shouldn’t have been too surprised as she often used to tell lies and speak badly of various people, yet she was the type of person who could sell ice to eskimos and was friendly with everyone. (to their faces at least) As a result (yes I realise it was a bad decision) I sent this lady a text letting her know that I was not at all happy with her. I also took a few months off work to sort out a medical condition and when I returned to work I apologised to her. It has become very apparent that whilst I have been away this person has told a lot of people about our argument. What has resulted is very hurtful as not a single person has asked me about my health and I am being ignored, excluded and blatantly talked about. I could understand it and accept it if it were between just my coworker and myself, however it involves 10 other people in the workforce. It is a very strange culture where I work and I believe that mediation is required. Absolutely devastated and trying to be strong, although my heart is breaking, I have a knot in my throat and tears sometimes flow from my eyes the entire day.

  49. Ashley says:

    It’s a hard situation, a relationship with a coworker at a workplace is a number one golden rule, never get involved with a person at work, it will end up being a disaster. I believe you both need to talk things through outside of working hours democraticly with a third person there. To work responsibly for your job sake. He needs to move on from you and you need to move on from the situation. Work together strictly work related, there are lots of girls outside of work, he can have a relationship with but not at work. I myself have been in this same situation but worse. And I am still dealing with it as the person I’m dealing with is very difficult to talk too. Refusing to talk to me and refusing to accept I exist in the world, and is trying to isolate me from the whole company, treating me like I’m worthless animal. It hurts very much. Don’t let it get too far as I did. To resolve it you must talk together about it with a third or forth person there to control the conversation so it doesn’t get out of hand.Good luck

  50. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    Oh I am so very sorry to hear of this situation. When I read your post I could almost feel the sense of betrayal not only from your one co-worker but the others now as well who have only heard one side. Imagine an angel watching the entire scenario – how would they vote? They would have the full perspective and probably support you – for coming forward, for caring, for worrying, for apologizing. Unfortunately, your co-workers do not know your story and your heart. A good friend said to me one day: The truth will rise to the top. Gosh! So what does this mean? A strategy (might be) to choose one or two people you could know on your own first – ask them about them, choose the “best ones” you connect with. Then expand from here. Over time, people (hopefully) will see your true colours. (If) there is an apology to made to anyone, come forward and do so – this is often a nice surprise and refreshing. After that, there isn’t too much you can do. Then (and this can be difficult) be sure to focus on you, your future and your true connections. Many people (and I’m included int his group), rely on good relations with others in order to gain satisfaction in life. Of course we’d like that at work as we spend so much time there. Keep shining, lower your expectations for awhile, keep serving. Get replenished in other circles (sounds easy, yes, but it is not a bad idea to make a decision to choose a group of great people or one or tow people that can give you good support, energy, love). A saying is to become, “friendly, firm, but not familiar”. And, if it is still not manageable, then you might want to change where you work. I know this is a hard one – but you might survive it rathe than “sticking it out” if it is too much. And you would not be less than for feeling this way or wanting to do that. One last suggestion is to check out emotionsanonymous.org or EA. A really great support group for people that are hurting like this – and those that hurt are not weak, they are usually meek – big difference – you sound like you just desire to be accepted, cared for, and loved – and this is not unreasonable. Just know we are in your corner 🙂

  51. Mark says:

    I’m constantly being left out of social situations at work. In fact one of my colleagues is getting married and even though I’ve know her a lot longer than most people at work, I wasn’t even given an invite to her wedding. The bullying has even got so bad, that when I was cooking for the children I look after, she went and ordered dinner for her and two other colleagues and didn’t even bother to ask me. Yet when when I challenged her about this she said that she thought “I’d already got some”.The bullying is making my life hell and I’m really struggling to cope. I’m a 40 year old male and I’ve even had suicidal feelings about this. I try my best to get on with my job but this is just awful.

  52. Jean says:

    I am not generally a person that reaches out, but I have a question because I’m really feeling isolated, left out, and have been given impossible goals that are not work related to get any further at my job. I work within a team of 6 individuals. There are three of us at my level. There are two managers and one director. A client was in town and I knew they would be in office, however I didn’t know that the ‘entire’ team was invited out to two very expensive dinners, a baseball game and another activity. Well, everyone was invited but me. Not only did I not know that any of the outside activities were occurring but one dinner they all went to without me entailed the director bringing me all their leftovers. (blink, blink was I supposed to be ok with that? I don’t eat other peoples food.) The director of the group flat out ignored me and paraded the client through the office while my co-worker at my level showed up and asked me why I didn’t want to go to the baseball game.(I had no clue that they were going)Can anyone tell me why people are so messed up? I know I haven’t done anything to deserve this but if I were to go to our HR director, he’d dismiss it as being overly sensitive. This happens ALL THE TIME. I would just quit, but I have a family that relies on me to keep a roof over our head…This is bullying right? I’m not delusional am I? What is reasonable to combat this?

  53. Joanna says:

    1.5 years ago I started to work for a small not for profit organisation. I really enjoyed it at the beginning: great ethos, friendly people. It seemed like a never ending honeymoon period. But there were a few things from the beginning which made me think not everyone wants me at this place but I wasn’t offended first. Some of my women colleagues often discussed their plans outside of work hours in front of me (like celebrating their birthdays together, etc.) but hey never invited or included me. I thought maybe they don’t know me well enough, this will change with the time. 1.5 years later I feel most of the time extremely discouraged, anxious, angry, feeling sick when I approach this workplace. Now even my highest boss, the ceo is totally ignoring me, making decisions and changes behind my back and not even communicating these with me. 2 months ago while I was on holiday they moved my stuff (without telling me anything) to a new desk, which is facing the wall and everyone else from the office in such way that even if I would try I wouldn’t be able to build up relationship with others. I don’t have the chance to greet any of the volunteers, I even can’t greet my ceo as I am with my back to all the other desks and the entrance door. This makes me even more isolated. Yesterday he left for a holiday and when I turnt and I wished him a good holiday he looked at me with anger on his face like I shouldn’t know about his personal life. But he discussed his plans loudly before with every member of staff. It seems I am the only one who is not allowed to know anything, I should close my ears while sitting there. I don’t want to enter in details but I am the only foreigner in this place and this might be the reason and I am good in my job. My manager is lovely but she is hardly there so there is no one to protect me and I don’t think she would really believe me. I think this is the danger of being bullied. It looks like everything is only your imagination and it’s not real. There is one lady who coordinates all this mess and the ceo is acting like a puppet now. Maybe there is a reason for this, a love affair between them as I picked up many strange, very unusual signs. I don’t know what to do. Do I really need to walk away again and let the bullies to win? Or how could I stand up against all these nonsense which destroys me inside? I don’t think they could find anything to sack me as I work harder than anyone from there. For the last half a year I started to question myself if there is something wrong with me that all these people are rejecting and ingoring me. I am a quiet person with lots of life experience and I do my job quietly while others discuss loudly every step and decision they make. But I would really struggle to start to work making noise around me just to be in the centre of the attention. If I leave what is the assurance that the next workplace will be better? Now I spend my days, weeks, months analysing what is going on and trying to find a solution. But obviously this affects me inside and in the last few months I could see how much affected my concentration level. I started to make basic mistakes in my job which is unusual for me. There are a few people who are still very kind to me but only a few left. How is it possible we can do great things for people in need but we destroy each other? Why do people need to have always personal agendas and need to find someone to push it to despair? I don’t know what’s happening behind me, I don’t know the discussions but I can see I am left out not only from their personal lives but from work related updates as well. I would really appreciate some thoughts. Thank you. I write to you from outside of USA.

  54. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    For everyone to be invited but not you is exclusion unless there is a reason why you were not invited. You could simply ask: “I’m curious, I noticed everyone was invited except me – is there a reason for this?” You have the right to ask. When you ask, be straight, calm and wait for the answer. Then go from there. Thy could be ‘acting out’ and this is a poor way to send a message, it could be an oversight (but it doesn’t seem like it, but you never know), it could be a control tactic (likely) and there is another issue they are not being forward with. Nevertheless, also know you have the right to feel hurt and upset as being excluded is part of separation anxiety – and most people would feel as you do. If it happens all the time, document other times so you have ammunition when/if this person back peddles when you ask. If you do not get a straight answer ask: “is there anything I’ve done to offend you?” I hope you are able to get a straight answer in which you can go from there. If you do not, then as hard as this is, lower your expectations, know it say more about them than you, stay plugged in to empathetic and supportive people (this is so important) so that self-doubt does not over-ride your confidence. Sincerely wishing you the best…

  55. Dean blears says:

    I’m also getting bullied.3 of them.dont speak to me always talking about me behind my back as soon as I leave my bench to go to the toilet.always trying to pick faults with my work.look down there nose at me.snappy also to me.i do most of the work but they take credit for it.its horrible

  56. Mary Hart says:

    Great article. My social isolation is in my family, my sibs, which are particularly important to me as I am the caretaker for my 2 handicapped kids. Again great article, learned some important techniques.
    I believe that these behaviors can be contagious in a Malcolm Gladwell kind of way. A dominate person may start them and others follow unaware of what they are doing.

  57. Hong says:

    Wow, this article is pleasant, my younger sister is analyzing such things,
    thus I am going to tell her.

  58. Maynard says:

    What’s up, just wanted to say, I liked this blog post.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!

  59. Charli says:

    I enjoy looking through an article that will make people think.
    Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  60. Joe says:

    I am experiencing this situation at work from the past once year.I have no idea why I am being bullied in a way I feel I am of no use .I was ignored for any discussion,no business task shared with me.People are looking at each other if try to speak anything.I am feeling horribly bad.My personal situation doesn’t allow me to resign and find another job . But I do believe in Lord Christ,I know he will comfort me .This makes me roll my day.

  61. Thank you so much for this article. I really felt relieved to know that I am not alone. Thank you so much. I thought that I am just over analyzing things.

  62. nlj says:

    This article was helpful.. Especially the suggestions, of which I will use. I need to accept what I can’t change, refocus my energy, and work on changing myself.

  63. Angela says:

    It feels so isolating at work to be ostracized and ignored. The bullying, by the female manager, has been going on for some time, but jobs are hard to get and the actual work does bring me into contact with nice clients. More recently the bullying has been even harder to endure as my mother died and my husband died. Then my closest female friend (from my school days) also died unexpectedly. I have no children and so now feel lost with all my best (outside of work) supporters now gone. I am not old enough to retire yet but I know the manager would not give me a reference that would help. So I am at the cross roads and feeling as if I have no support. I think the bully thinks she has completely ruined me as she has now started bullying two other staff. I guess I feel lost and utterly unsupported. Other team leaders who could support me turn a blind eye to any bullying and make out it does not exist. There have been several men who have left the workplace and two of them said they would never stand in the same room as the bully ever again. One person did say to me last week that the current workplace is the worst place they have ever worked in ever. The work is well paid, but I would not recommend anyone ever work there. I am sorry I ever came to work in the place. Despite the bullying the manager does tell me that I have great work skills. But then she says I have no people skills and if I suggest something she pours scorn on it. Then six months later introduces it as a “project she has been working on” – so I have given up offering suggestions unless I do so at a full team meeting. Then at least maybe someone will recall that it was first suggested by me. My Manager’s superior and the CEO are no better – they all seem to revel in being bullies.

  64. David says:

    I’ve been in my job for 5 years and I’ve had to put up with bullying from the beginning. I find its worst when its a woman who forms a partnership with a guy against you that things become toxic. The first couple of bullies was really bad and so obvious that any comments they made lost credibility, their performance reviews of me were disregarded. However, it wasn’t until I wrote an honest and professional performance review of the woman and she asked to read it and it was enough to make her resign and my managers admit to me that they were planning on letting her go anyway. The guy stayed on much longer but the atmosphere was much better and I was much happier like a dark cloud had been lifted.

    Unfortunately, it’s happening again, with a different pair, however, this time the woman and the man are popular with management. They are much smarter in how they bully me, for example we once had a seating change and I’ve bee asked to move so I am now sat almost completely on my own. I’m more likely to be left out of work events and made to look bad in team meetings. On the positive side, it is nowhere near as bad as the first pair and I can have a nice conversation with them, its more subtle and tactical to bring me down slowly but I know its a lost cause as when the big work issues occur, then their true colours show and its me picking up the pieces.

    I love my job and unfortunately in my life it does not matter what job I do, bullying seems to be present at one point or another. I use it as motivation to study, to eventually start my own business so one day I can escape it once and for all.

  65. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    It’s never easy to be on the receiving end of bullying and I”m so sorry that you’ve had to experience this many times. It is good that you are looking to learn more and that will be your rock. After awhile, and it can take awhile, many targets realize and experience that that bullying might not go away, however, how one experiences the situations may change – by coming to the realization that bullying says a lot more about the other than you. It is awful to be excluded – one of the hardest things to endure as a human being – may you be protected, find a few tribes where you belong in order to fortify you and be the “light” wherever you go.

  66. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    You are very welcome – you are not alone 🙂 AND know that you can stay plugged into the support here by learning as much as you can. This will help your mind to be at ease – a daily reconciliation. All the very best to you.

  67. Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade says:

    I am so sorry you have had to experience this kind of separation from others – it is never easy no matter how many books are written, stories told or others who have experienced the same. You mentioned your faith – yes, a good source of support for sure. Jesus was “perfect” and look what they did to Him! Learning to handle dishonour with honor might be one of the toughest things to do. Know that you are not alone – wishing you peace and support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to http://www.BullyFreeAtWork.com

© Bully Free at Work. All rights reserved: All trademarks used or referred to on this site are the property of their respective owners. No materials on this site may be reproduced, altered, or further distributed without Bully Free at Work’s prior permission.

Valerie’s Latest Articles Delivered to Your In Box!
Get Articles