Helping You Cope With & Stop




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 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.


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40 Comments on "Being Ignored as a Bullying Tactic"

26 days 10 hours ago
This has happened to me for the last two years at my work. One person in particular has excluded me from every conversation she is a part of, has gone to every in our office to see if they wanted ince cream except me, when I was sitting in the cubicle right next to her. I have overheard conversations about gatherings outside of work and never been invited. Lunch time is the same way-she organizes where she and a few other coworkers will go to lunch and never ask me if I want to join them or want them to pick up anything for me. It's like she purposely doesn't ask me in case I might actually say yes and she wouldn't want me there. I don't get it at all.
1 day 10 hours ago
Don't care too much. She knows you care. Just do your job for the money that you need and deserve. Take the high road though you could blast her to the moon. The tables will turn one day... Or, leave
1 month 4 days ago
I had the most wonderful boss...or so I thought. He mentored me and was helping me advance in my career. I then began to experience subtle things like him winking at me. When it happened I didn't quite know what to do so I ignored it since it never happened before. Then thinks began to escalate and when I went to his office he would noticeably look at my body down, then up, then down, and up again. I had known him for about 7 years and nothing like this happened before. I felt self conscious and I didn't know what to do...he was my boss and it was something he could just deny. He began to do the elevator eyes quite frequently and he could see (at least I think) that it made me uncomfortable. One day in the middle of our work conversation he made a sexual innuendo and again I was shocked and again I didn't know what to do. I was afraid of retaliation if I said something because he is very intelligent and I was afraid of his "master mind". Thanks to his help, I got a promotion reporting to the same boss that he reports to and thus making us peers now. In my last meeting with him about transferring my work at the end of the meeting he said that me leaving his team just means he can mess with me more and then as I left his office he did the elevator eye thing again. Now that I didn't report to him any more and he made his intentions clear I avoided his office so as not to give him an opportunity to mess with me, but we still talked and joked around with our peers when we saw each other. Then I guess when he saw what I was doing he began to bully me. He began to copy my new boss on emails that she didn't need to be copied on making it seem like he was waiting on things from me when he wasn't. He began leaving me off of emails and not sharing information with me that would help me do my new job. He began to ignore my emails. He ignored my meeting invites. In meetings he would look at everyone when speaking, but he would not make eye contact with me. He would joke around with our co-workers and never acknowledge that I was there. Going from someone who was my mentor to what it is now is extremely hurtful. I try to engage in conversation with him, but he is short with his words and hurries off. I finally got the courage to confront him and I asked him if he was mad at me. He said no, why would you think that. I told him because he hasn't been responding to my meeting requests (about work) and he said that he must have accidently overlooked them. Keep in mind he never overlooked them before no matter how busy he was. So reading this article was so helpful because I was so confused as to what was going on and I can put a word to it now called "bullying". The bullying is still occurring. I don't know how to make it stop. I sometimes feel like saying ok...I'll start coming back to your office so that you can look me up and down just so the bullying and alienation will stop. I asked him again if there was anything that I did because I get a feeling he is angry with me and again he said why would you think that. In the meantime, he comes up with new ways to torture me each week even though I've accepted that he really wasn't my friend or mentor.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
1 month 3 days ago
A betrayal of trust is a tough thing to name and then manage. Perhaps you are still navigating through "how could he do this". A thought for you in wondering "why" he did this and "wondering about his current behavior": For now it looks like he is trying to save face. You will gain more power by naming what happened as opposed to asking him what happened, why it happened or why he isn't responding to your communications. Take the lead. Decide what you want and what you don't want and make direct requests for inappropriate behavior changes that you need to see happen in order to perform your job. He is also probably embarrassed and is projecting that onto you as opposed to owning his behavior (saying sorry). I would not look to be Friendly, Firm and not Familiar - lower your expectations. It can be hard as there is a loss "of what you thought was there". When you feel strong enough, you could approach him with what happened, how it made you feel and what you want instead AND I would add, if you could do this with strength and also not judgment this may then have a better chance of being heard. If the relationship is still important to you, then you could suggest a mediator "for the betterment of our working together" and that mediator would be able to help you get though what happened for you both, put it behind you and design a future set of expectations in order to build trust once again. The ball is in your court :) Lastly, if you still feel confused, I would recommend reading the Bully Free at Work book which you can purchase in our store on the website mainly for the step-by-step plan to help you avoid the mental gymnastics from having suffered through a betrayal. All the very best as you heal.
1 month 6 days ago
This is going on with me right now we're I work. Its making me hate my life , my job and even getting up everyday. I want to quit but I can't afford it...I hate this
10 days 4 hours ago
Hi Kyle, I am going through the exact same thing. The anxiety I had about having to face another day caused a sleepless night last night and I am home sick today. I hope things will get better for you. Take care of yourself
1 month 7 days ago
Wow this has hit home. I too have been recently ignored completely at work by 3 female colleagues. The worst is that we used to be friends but it seems I have done something awful directly to them which I have no understanding of. It makes me feel awful as I am not used to this. I also don't like confrontation so I have been avoiding asking them if I have done something to offend them. I just try carry on and do my work. I recently moved my desk to a quieter office that was not occupied which I think upset them even more. My husband works with me and they started off ignoring us both but now for no set reason they are starting to include him in the conversations again. I don't want to think it is because they want to isolate me futher but it's hard not to. This article has made me feel a bit better about it all but it still hurts.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
1 month 7 days ago
Exclusion is one of the hardest things to face and feeling hurt is very understandable - especially if you value team work, connection and harmony. It's hard to say "why" this is happening, but gently nudging can sometimes help as opposed to a direct confrontation. You (could) try "Hey, do you have a minute? I was wondering if there was anything I could do differently in order for us to work together?" This (might) help and it (might) at least let the person know "you know". It won't likely help if someone is envious of you - they will usually did their heals in even more. If this is the case, start protecting yourself and remember to be "friendly, firm and not too familiar" ... and lower your expectations (as hard as his might be; it seems to be the best boundary plan). All the best to you and know it says a lot more about others when they choose to exclude than it does about you.
1 month 10 days ago
Isolation was one of the tactics used on me by a bullying co worker and exacerbated by a couple of 'wannabe' types she recruited to back her up. They focused not only on ostracising me but on conducting whispering campaigns against me with other colleagues in other departments. Suddenly, people with whom I have worked happily and successfully for years were being distant and unfriendly. The only link I could make was that they had suddenly become friendly with my bullying co workers. I had to have time off with stress due to the nastiness of what was going and on, and it was only then that I managed to research what had happened to me and to get a handle on why. Oh, the relief of finding out that I wasn't alone! And knowledge is power: now I knew it wasn't my fault I was determined to stand up for myself. These inadequate people had dented my confidence so much and I was determined to get it back. I decided not to take official action though I was told by my union that I had a case. It was obvious to me that the bullies wanted me gone - our department is under financial pressure and there are rumours of redundancy. But I decided that I had a right to do my job, and the best way to deal with it was to go back and do those things they really hate me for: being good at what I do, and being a friendly, happy person. No support has been forthcoming from line managers - they know what is going on but are too reliant on the bully to act - but while I was off, a couple of other colleagues got in touch, said they had seen what had been going on and now they are my wing-women! This has made all the difference. They make sure I am not alone on breaks, and occasionally, we whisper and burst out laughing together. This visibly discomforts the bullies. No nastiness - I am not going to sink as low as my tormenters. But the bullies have got the message - and if they try it again, I will know how to deal with it. Having said that, they could well scupper me professionally if they really tried as nobody is perfect, and no one can do a good job in the constant fear of being professionally undermined. So I am about to start seeing a counsellor, and am also job-hunting - but I am searching for a job that is better than the one I have, so that when I do go, I move up while they stay put. I have no doubt they will turn on someone else when I am gone. I can only hope it is on each other! I am not quite recovered, but I do feel lucky that my friends came to my rescue, and I am on the road to recovery.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
1 month 7 days ago
What a wonderful response! Thank you for sharing your resilience plan. Yes, you are not alone and yes, this was wise of you to get back on your feet and see the truth. Keep shining and once again, know there are many people who are in your corner! You might want to read our other article with regard to "really good people" getting bullied at work. All the very best to you and may you stay protected. Click Here to Read the Article
1 month 11 days ago
Thank you for such a wonderful article. I no longer feel alone! I will now purchase your book which my co-worker has read twice!
1 month 24 days ago
I work in a small company. I work directly for one of the owners. His wife works in a different part of the company and formerly had my position. I don't know when I offended her but for the past 2 years she has ignored me and excluded me. For the last 2 years I haven't been invited to the company Christmas party. The office was painted....all of it including a bathroom in the warehouse, but not my office. There was a picture hanging on my wall that belonged to the family so she came in and took it out...that is fine...if you need it take, but she waited until I was gone and took it. When I receive a phone call and she answers..she will buzz my phone and hang up. I try to be pleasant and professional because I love my job and my boss is good. He doesn't seem to have any complaints with least he hasn't expressed any, but I can't go to him and tell him what she is doing...she is his wife...and I have to think he has some idea of what is going on. When the office was being painted he told me to clean off my desk for the painting...when I came in the next day I asked what happened...he said they were there so late they ran out of time and would be back in later to finish...which I knew was not right since he had me pay the bill for the painting...which you wouldn't do if the job wasn't finished. I can deal with some of it, but it's getting to the point where I'm having a hard time dealing with. I've had to put a reminder in my office to be kind.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
1 month 24 days ago
It sure can be tough and especially working in a small company. In my book, Bully Free at Work, I talk about envy being at the root of most bullying. And even though this hurts (I can't imagine anyone enjoying this type of dynamic), it says a lot more about them then you. However, you are probably wondering what you can do to help change this. The "wondering" what you could do to change the situation or have this woman like you might be tough to change - envy is hard to change if it is that. What you could do is be very clear as to what you want instead. IS she threatened by your abilities, competence, even good looks or connection with her husband? The only thing I can suggest there, and you are probably already doing this is to honour their union wherever possible. YOu could consider approaching your boss and sharing your thoughts and then asking his advice. Does he acknowledge this is a challenge for you? BE sure to have "what you want instead" clearly outlined before any chat to not risk putting your future plans in someone else's hands. All the best to you and so sorry this is happening - stay plugged in and supported - you (might) find it will bother you a (little) less.
1 month 24 days ago
My boss is a nice man, but I have no intention of coming between the two of them. I have my own husband to deal with. She is 20 years younger than me, so I don't know why she would be intimidated by me unless it is my work. All the other employees are young men (20 somethings) and they talk to me. Maybe that is her problem...she likes to be the Queen Bee.I do know that just putting this on paper makes me feel better. I know it's not me and I don't intend to let her run me off if that is her intent.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
1 month 24 days ago
Good for you and it sounds like you've got a good sense about this. Sending you support!
1 month 29 days ago
I understand fully how this can be a pain in the neck. I am definetly the target of this at my work place. The very things I am accused of is tranferred to me. I have tried to be friends they talk about me and have convinced others to the same way. I was told to ignore them. I go a couple of days and when I return to work its the same toxic environment.I have a great job and will not be leaving. I agree accept and do not give relevance. HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE. These people have felt these same feelings that is why they are comfortabel making me feel bad. My rule is if you throw a punch be prepared to take one.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
1 month 29 days ago
Good for you. And yes, it's not easy for sure. A great movie that gives some hope is "The Pursuit of Happiness". Seeing what one man goes through - gives one the feeling they are not alone.
2 months 5 days ago
I'm being bullied at work. I'm in an office with five others. My male co-worker and I were friend for 6 months, talking, laughing and sharing, we were all a big family. Then we all had off for Christmas holiday and when we returned, his attitude and persona change and he was ignoring me. I kept calm and confronted him and he got aggressive and raged about all these things I apparently did, that he's decided he don't want to take any longer ex: talking about my sick mother-in-law, making jokes, managing the assistant. So I tried to apologize and asked how I could change (I apologized to keep the peace and for unintentional effence or confusion) and he said he didn't want to accept my apology and from that day til now it's been one month of non-stop silent treatment. I've been nice and thought I was giving him a cooling time but it's gotten worse. He appently told the other co-workers his side and even rallied everyone of a group lunch that completely excluded me. Which makes me feel outcast and hurt because I thought this issue was between us (I haven't told anyone or acted differently) but now, it's the elephant in the room between me and my 4 other coworkers. The only one that doesn't know is the 1 boss and she's in and out. I cried all day today, I'm so hurt. My back story at work is I'm a top performer and this guy was bottom and the boss always uses my work as what to aspire to. We got assessed right before Xmas break and I think that has something to do with his change. He's now Mr. On-Time and I get all my work done now. He's redecorated his room and brings cakes and whistles because he's so happy at work now...while he's also bullying me and turning the others into a mob. I feel helpless. I see him and want to throw up. I sit quiet and do my work while everyone is laughing at his joke in the hall in front of my door. I feel like I want to quit but I have a contract and a work visa that I need to stay in the country. I live outside of the USA. My work is suffering, I'm trying to be a rock and get on with it but I feel alone and depressed at work. Do I tell my boss? When he finds out will he act worse? Do I ask him to stop? Do I talk to the other workers?
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
2 months 4 days ago
It sure can be tough when we do not understand "why" and I am so sorry you are experiencing this exclusion - especially when you are not sure what your next step might be. A few thoughts for you might be to: 1. Continue to study exclusion, being ignore and bullying. Be sure to sign up for our weekly message on our website. It can serve as a form of not only information but inspiration and implementation as well. 2. Assess who you feel you can trust at work and who you might not be too sure of who you can trust. Align more closely with the trusted and be "friendly, firm but not familiar" with the others. This means not sharing and even lowering your expectations of connection. I'm not saying this is easy, but perhaps know this happens to many people (you are not alone) and that it doesn't feel good and in fact feels unfair. If you could decide the boundaries rather than thinking some people will come forward, this will give you some empowerment. Reality of the situation will help you instead of hoping and waiting. 3. There is the notion of "why is this happening to me" - this makes sense to want to know. You (could) attempt to ask "have I done anything to offend you?" to one of the people ignoring you. Be sure to do it alone and not when they can scoot away. If you are standing and they are sitting - even better. They may or may not answer you directly - expect that. May you be protected!
2 months 6 days ago
I am a teaching assistant and when i first joined that school i was a very pleasant and polite individual. The bully at that time tried to get me to gossip about the entire staff which i didn't, except for a few people who were mean to me at that time. The bullying really started when i took over her class and the children grew to like me more than her. She started gossiping and turning people against me. Co workers who weren't my boss were dishing out work for me to do and ordering me around. I just stopped interacting with everyone altogether and kept to myself.The principal was very ineffective and did nothing to resolve the issue. it's so demotivating to go to work there. i have six more months to work there. not sure if to stick it out or leave.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
2 months 5 days ago
It's tough going to work when we do not "click" with others in a way that would energize us. Perhaps more difficult for some more than others. If you are wondering if you should leave or not, it might be an idea to get as informed as you can with regard to what is possibly happening around you. Studying "workplace bullying" what it is and what it isn't (but one can still feel hurt/sad/angry) might be a way in which you can then make a "great" decision that if you go there are no regrets and if you stay, perhaps there might be something you can do to lead the facilitation of a change. I'm not sure if you've had the chance to order "Bully Free at Work" from our store. It has a step by step process of making a great decision so that you won't look back or carry the hurt. Here is the link (just in case) and in the meantime, sending you support.
Bully Free at Work: Valerie Cade
2 months 11 days ago
Yes, being ignored can be a bullying tactic and sometimes it is the "style" of some people to be less responsive. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell. You might want to refer to our article "Workplace Bullying vs Difficult People" in order to determine if it is intentional or not. Nevertheless, it can be difficult for those who are more responsive to be around those who are not. Here is a little video of encouragement that might help a little and in the meantime, know we are in your corner. Click Here
Kay Jaye
2 months 25 days ago
The two people I sit between do not talk to me at all during the day. If I say something, I am totally ignored. If they want to talk they will engage me which is rare. I am very upbeat, but it brings me down and makes me hate going to work. I know one of them is being moved and I will be glad. I did not realize this was an actual bullying tactic. It makes me feel much better now that I realize that. They can go an entire day and not say a word to me, barely make eye contact, etc. I was training a woman and she noticed it. She said, "don't they ever talk." I said, "Not to me." She then said, "That would drive me crazy." I told her that I am not use to that other places, but it is what I get sitting beside the two people. I noticed that they don't talk with each other either. It is weird to me.I decided that I have to scale back my friendliness. When they engage I should not. I like my job, but often feel ignored by some people. It is sad that people who are grown act so immaturely in a work environment.
10 days 4 hours ago
Kay, I admire your attitude. You sound like you have a very mature perspective. I am a temporary employee working with about 5 people who ignore me all day. 2 are best friend. I wish you well and I hope to learn from people like you who are sharing.
Me too 2
26 days 15 hours ago
I have the same issue at my job. I work in a small office that consists of my boss (the bully), another woman (who he has befriended, let's call her Jane), another lady (who is sweet and the only saving grace of that place) and me. Boss and Jane have a very close and inappropriate relationship in my view. It's to the point where some others in the building who do not work directly with us, but who we interact with, have asked if they're sleeping together. I don't engage in that kind of gossip, but the fact that others have seen their relationship and wonder about that speaks for itself.My boss has massive issues and I'm not the first person he's frozen out. There used to be another woman in the office who he did the same thing to and it really bothered her. She wasn't able to accept it. Given that I've seen his tactics, I'm aware of what's going on and I accepted it for what it is. Frankly, I'm glad he ignores me. I really don't care to have any interaction with him beyond what is absolutely necessary. Jane also ignores me sometimes and I think it's because she's so tight with the boss, she wants him to see her not interacting with me as well. It's all bizarre. I'm really lucky that I've been able to accept it for what it is. That comes from a lot of previous work experience and also from working in the mental health field. I know what this is, I accept what this is, and I just don't care that much. Sure, it gets rough sometimes, I won't deny that. I'd like to have a congenial, fun atmosphere at work. But that's not what I have and I got OK with that awhile back. I can interact with people in other departments who are much more friendly. It's almost as though I work in the morgue and then I go and visit the pediatrics floor, where the walls are colorful and the staff try to make it as pleasant as possible for the kids. So there's that. My recommendation is to do anything and everything to better the situation - befriend others in different departments, take up a hobby you can do on your lunch hour, something that takes the sting out of not being included at work. Remember too that you are there for a paycheck so you can live the life you want to live. Keep that in mind and let go of making friends at work. Keep your head down, do your job, and send out resumes if it becomes too much. Good luck to everyone else in this situation, it's not easy, but you can survive it!
Edna Horn
1 year 8 months ago
Hi, nice article. I really like it!
Darol Dean
1 year 9 months ago
I always take the bus to work dailey I do get frustrated at time but I sacrafice my time going to work as I enjoy working there. This is a turn around what I have to say, for I have been an employee for 15 years in 2011 now it is 2013. what I mean by turn around is what happened to me in 2011 my 15th year at my work place I have been acused of bullying. Nothing has happened to me all these years. Not only bullying for on the paper it also mention I said "tick-toc". I asume what some of you are thinking; what's tick-toc? I am a quiet person a little fear in me. Here's how it started. This new employee has sasked my how long I worked there , I answer 15 years. " do I enjoy working there? have I thought of looking for another job?" she asked me. I took it as just talk. but then it has been mentioned to me again from the same person as time went by. I got a little frustrated but just went on to not let it bother me. But then came a time I had to use help for of we were getting busy, when she came in the area I hear her say "I can be in here and not ask for help." When I heard them words I had to step out of the work area go into the office I could hardly talk I had to almost speak with my teeth shut to control myself. I asked just talk to her and leave me alone, I tell the office I don't want her in trouble, just talk to her please. 2 months later I am asked to the office to sit down and read a paper, on it mentioned I bullyed fellow employees, said "tic-tock". the tic-tock still bothers my mind, it is a words a 5 year old would say. As I ask my question of who have I bullyed and what did I do. They tell me the victums I bullyed don't want their names mentioned, I think to myself if I bullyed them I should need to know, "refresh my memory" I think to myself. And not being told what I did. I am told by someone it is called a payback for when the moment I asked for help. I've been working there for 15 years and suddenly it happens. I get wondering who is outhere as I see other employees in the break room or in other areas. Who is it I wonder. It has been 2 years now and it still gets on my mind at times I went to the EEOC for answers, I'm told they poisoned my mind. Who's the one who was bullyed?
2 years 11 months ago
I never really knew whether what this guy does was bullying. It hurts all the more because I know what a nice person he can be. Basically we have a group of about 4 people and what continuaally hurts me is that with the other two he jokes and stuff and then with me he is super cold, not showing any eye contact, ignoring my attempts to talk to him. When I talk to him about it he bursts angrily, like really agressive and angry. The things he has done hurt so badly - ignoring me when we are supposed to work together, joking with everybody else, referring to me in third person as if i am not in the room. when ever i approach him and ask have i done something wrong he says no blabblaa blaa. I have often thought it is only me being sensitive and that he does not need to like people he simply doesnt like but everyone else in the group has realised it. it is horrible because one day hes nice with me the next day he blatantly ignores me - this is just to me! he doesnt want to stay alone in the same room with me and tags along with other group members who had to go and look for something. any conversation i try to have with him ends up in an argument. the thing is we need to get along because we are meant to perform a play together, yet every practice session we have is emotionally draining an often ends in tears because i feel like a bad person in some way :(
Call Me Brian
3 years 3 months ago
I have been with a company for more than 4 years, and have been constantly ignored and ostracised. Tasks that should have be given to me have sometimes been intercepted and passed on to others less qualified (or not even qualified) to do, and this has become more frequent recently. Sometimes these tasks that I can easily do have been asked of others right in front of me! For anyone reading this, take my advice: DON'T waste your time complaining to HR! They are there to PROTECT their company, NOT YOU! My complaints to management (even working my way up the ladder to the General Managing Director) have gone nowhere! The only thing that happens after this is that they get rid of you! It is much easier to replace a low-level employee than to replace a manager! What job do I do there? I'm the only IT Engineer there. The same thing happened to me also with a previous company, when I was in a different line of work, where the manager there wanted to give my job to a friend of hers that wanted to quite his job where he worked so he could be given mine. I fought tooth and nail to show that every allegation she made about me and my work was false (and I proved it every time!), but in the end the good ol' HR department gave her the choice of sacking me, which she did. Oh, and here's how: On the FIRST day of my holidays they sent me a registered letter telling me that as of that first day, my position was made redundant. How's that for nice...? DON'T EVER TRUST HR DEPARTMENTS!!! EVER !!!
Michele B
3 years 9 months ago
I wish I had known of this site last week, I was hired for a clerical position in a mental health clinic. I lasted only 4 days due to the stress of being ignored, isolated, rude comments about patients and one doctor who actually stated in front of me "this is so and so and she knows everything, and this woman (me) here knows nothing". I was floored, that was at the beginning of my shift on the fourth day and I only worked 4 hours per day. Each day at that job was worse than the previous day but I told myself to hang on, it had to get better. That rude doctor's comment to his teenage patient's father sealed my departure from that clinic. I went to HR about that office and was talked too as if I misunderstood the doctor and was over reacting and very sensitive. I handed in my resignation that day with a very sad heart but I have to much stress in my life with a hostile divorce and than I take on more stress with that job. I would assume they felt HIPAA was a joke....
mary f
4 years 5 days ago
Just found your site this morning. I'm finding mega info on the web about workplace bullying. I was fired Oct. 2010 for the first time in my life at age 62 by a bully boss. Had I not been fired I would have stayed and endured until retirement but it took being fired to realize how stressed I actually was. The relief I feel far outweighs the anxiety of being unemployeed. I am going thru this loss as though I am in mourning. First disbelief, then anger,a feeling of great loss and now I am working thru depression. I intend to advocate for the passage of legislation to include bullied employees in the protected class of harrassed employees.
4 years 5 days ago
My experience is like Helen's comment ' March 9th, 2011 at 6:41 am'. I was falsely accused of ignore, Then bully turns around and amps up social activity with everybody else. Its bitterly cruel. Theres more than one bully and its not the first time. Then I didnt know whats happening so I tried keeping up. Now this time I have shut myself off.
4 years 6 days ago
My bully situation was unique; so I can't reveal all details. I was a clerical assist person in an HR dept. I was well aware of bullying; encountered it two other times in different environments. My 'bully' had an office but I did not report to her/him (gender details might be too revealing) I was clerical this one had an office and administrator 'title' yet this one who came to dept 'just a few weeks after me' would do clerical work. Never asked me for assist (I conclude, that being new - this one did not know her job or why I was there) She didn't know how to ask; without seeming to 'not know' so she simply did filing herself. (this is not the procedure I was told at hire) I spoke to dept. head stating: "if so and so is maintaining personnel files as well, fine, but all accountability for correctness is now off me." New administrator stopped maintaining personnel files. This bully would enter in a.m. and say HOW IS MY BOSS today (to dept head) as I stood in same room. When 'the boss' had a birthday the first month for both of us being there, I 'stupidly' agreed to sign one card with me and co worker (one card signed by 2 in a 3 person dept? is 'cheap'... if there were 10 people ok; but 2? Now that I think of it; she may have had others sign card; I never saw card after I signed. Anyway, she presented card in my presence and then 'the two of them hugged as I stood by watching' / I didn't care if I was not part of the hug fest by the new co worker per se; but I saw this as very 'poor' in the social grace area. 2 administrators hugging inn front of 'the other' in a dept? Any comments? I could go on...but won''s been one year since the job ended / ended because of 'rant' in face as though I were a 'child' or 'dog' and not the first time. I ignored many such 'pick a fight' baiting to me...this time I verbalized to boss 'why that tone?' Dismissal was forthcoming a week later. I should note there is an ethnicity difference between me and the other new worker in same dept. This shouldn't matter...but I believe it does.
4 years 15 days ago
I worked for Timberland the boot company and was bullied by my manager, talking to Timberland HR, I that this had been going on for the last 20 years, Timberland chose to do nothing about the harassment by this manager. Timberland supposedly prides itself on (very publically) on being an ethical company that cares for its employees. Publically Timberlands message is clear that harassment is not tolerated. Sadly what I found out the truth that Timberlands ethics policy is nothing more than a marketing tool to trick the consumer into thinking the corporation is somehow better for the world and hence buying their product supports that model that a corporation can be ethical and profitable, and most people in the world fall for it. btw- I'm handicapped Want more information or if I can help =
4 years 21 days ago
I ordered your ebook today and the extra bonuses too. I printed them all out and have read a bunch already. It may be too late for me in my situation but thank-you. I sure wish I had come accross this like about 5 plus years ago. Long story short I need to turn everything around by Wednesday, well from now through the next Tuesday March 15th I guess, otherwise I am not sure what will be going on. Again I wish I had your hand to hold sooner but maybe I can still salvage something out of the mess by reading very very fast. I am continuing to read on but wanted to thank-you so far.
4 years 21 days ago
Thanks for this, I am at the moment being actively ignored by a 'charming' young woman who is so socially adept it is almost unbelievable! She can be very nasty but because she is attractive an very charming to everyone else it makes me feel that it must be something about me. However, I know it's not and I just ignore her back. I have thought of saying something to a senior nursing manager but I know that she is the 'teacher's pet'. What is the best way forward? I should mention that I am also attractive and intelligent. I am 20 years older than this person. What is really shocking is that she is a nurse!
4 years 21 days ago
I really liked your article you wrote. The one I received this a.m. I'm going to save it and I may re-post it on my blog at a future date. It is related to what I am trying to do -- coach those who are or have been through toxic or discriminatory workplaces. Your work has caught me eye. Thank for your email this morning.
4 years 21 days ago
Everything I receive from you is correct in my personal experience. I always am loyal to reading your emails Thank you
4 years 21 days ago
Hi Valerie, Thank you for your most recent installation. I have been struggling for about a year now with this precise issue. The bullying survey instruments were giving positive results, but the overt stuff ended at about that same time. . . a year ago. I was struggling to convince myself that being ignored, and the on-going “backstabbing” really qualified. Fortunately, this person is not my direct supervisor. I am wondering if we could talk about pricing for doing some consulting. I would be interested in one-on-one and perhaps some group presentations, if my boss buys into it. Thanks in advance.
4 years 21 days ago
FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC, VERY, VERY HELPFUL! I will use this in my high school classes. SO glad somebody has finally put this down on paper and is doing something about it. Your work is very appreciated and valued. Keep it coming.

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

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