Wednesday, 31 December 2014

How To Deal With Bullying In The Workplace & School

Ok so this post is quite a serious one but I thought that I'd share an experience I had a while back which impacted upon me both physically and emotionally. With it being the new year, why not have a new start? I'm slightly nervous about sharing this but I feel very strongly about this. I'm sharing this as I'm hoping by doing so I can help anyone who feels the way I did. This will also be relevant to relatives, friends, colleagues and peers who have witnessed bullying whether it is in the workplace, school or wherever it may be as bullying can occur in any place, anywhere and at any age.

Bulling can be verbal, physical and emotional and can be done through various means. Bullying isn't actually against the law but harassment is under the Equality Act 2010. 

It was very naive of me to believe that bullying stopped once you left school. I would never have expected it to happen in a professional workplace but it did. I found myself being targeted for my age and gender which sounds completely ridiculous and I still don't understand it myself as I had earned my place to be there. I was put down on a regular basis about my competence and made to feel on edge every second I was in the building. I'm not going to go into the extent that this went to but I'd like to share with you the impact.

I went through a self doubting stage where I believed that I was useless and maybe I shouldn't be there. I lost all self confidence that I had and I become very reserved. I then was targeted for being too reserved. It was an endless cycle. I then began to think why me, what's wrong with me?  This sent me into a spiral of believing that noone else would like me so why should I bother. I began to feel anxious and would start vomiting every morning. I would cry the second I left the building and the second I would wake up. How could one person reduce me to this? I'm considered an adult so I felt extremely ashamed of myself. 

I let this continue for a course of four months until one day I thought that I deserved better. And you know what, I did deserve better. Here's what I did:

1. I made notes of every single thing that was said including time and place and who was there. This proved very handy later on as it was a log of what exactly happened, not leaving anything to memory.

2. I found the confidence to talk to someone about it. This was beneficial as I realised that this wasn't an isolated case. I realised that I had been trapped in a bubble. I hadn't been looking further than myself as it turned out I wasn't the only person who had been on the end of this.

3. I then plucked up the courage to say something. I reported this to my manager and actions were taken straight away to handle this. This is where the notes came in extremely handy.

I was of the conclusion that if I reported something, everyone would think I was a trouble maker, a liar or just dismiss me and tell me to deal with it. I was wrong. I was concerned that I would have to face that person following a complaint and that I'd face more bullying but I was wrong. The matter was dealt with extremely well and I was able to continue my time there not facing any issues. My confidence grew back, I was able to have fun and I was able to be myself without worrying and that is all I wanted.

I did some research for a paper I was writing at uni and statistics showed that a high percentage of bullies have been or are being bullied themselves. I'm not making a sweeping statement but I just thought that I'd put it out there. I think it's important if you are experiencing bullying not to become the bully yourself. 

My advice is:
To write a journal/diary of extent, talk to someone who you think can help or keep an eye on things, you could talk to the person themselves or if you don't feel comfortable speak to someone in charge. If they don't listen go further. Someone has to listen.

Gov.Uk state:

What employees should do if they’re bullied or harassed

Employees should see if they can sort out the problem informally first. If they can’t, they should talk to their:
  • manager
  • human resources (HR) department
  • trade union representative
If this doesn't work, they can make a formal complaint using their employer’s grievance procedure. If this doesn’t work and they’re still being harassed, they can take legal action at an employment tribunal.

Bullying in school
 Gov.Uk state:

1. The law
  • violence or assault
  • theft
  • repeated harassment or intimidation, eg name calling, threats and abusive phone calls, emails or text messages
  • hate crimes
Schools and the law
By law, all state (not private) schools must have a behaviour policy in place that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils.
This policy is decided by the school. All teachers, pupils and parents must be told what it is.
Anti-discrimination law
Schools must also follow anti-discrimination law. This means staff must act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the school. This applies to all schools in England and Wales, and most schools in Scotland.

Click here for a great website with advice and support around bullying. I hope this has helped at least one person. If you are being bullied, just remember you deserve better and there is always someone who will help even if it doesn't seem like it.
Have any of you dealt with or witnessed bullying? I'd love to hear your tips as this shouldn't be brushed under the carpet!


  1. When I read your blog I was so sad to hear about the extent that you have been bullied and the pain it has caused but I just wanted to say well done for sharing your experience and you have raised some very interesting points.I have been lucky that I have never been bullied but I have had to deal with one of my children being very badly bullied at school and have witnessed the devastating results of that.It sounds as if you are a stronger person now because of what happened to you.Keep smiling Sophie and thanks for being very open and sharing your tips, love and hugs, Bev xxx

    1. I can't bare to imagine my little boy being bullied when he goes to school. It can have such a huge impact on someones life hopefully more can be done to intervene early. Thanks for sharing your story too

  2. Sorry to hear about the bullying that you endured.
    Thank you for sharing your story and I'm sure that it will help others too.
    I had an awful time when I was a high school with people who made my days there not the nicest. It still make me feel sad when I think back to those times.

    Rachel x

    1. Thankyou Rachel, it can have a huge impact upon someone especially in school. I hope things are better for you now, it can be really difficult to forget things that hurt you

  3. Bullying is horrible to experience, I know myself how difficult it can be. Your very brave and inspiring for sharing!

    Aimee xx

    1. Thankyou Aimee! It is awful to experience. Thanks for commenting I know how worried I was typing this post so for people to comment and share their experiences means a lot

  4. I think it's great you've shared this - well done! I'm sure lots of people experience this and feel there's nothing they can do and aren't sure how to handle it. You definitely did the write thing keeping notes of it all and hope you're much happier now. I'm sure more people will benefit from this then you realise! xx

    Sophie Elizabeth

    1. Thanks for the comment Sophie. I'm definitely a lot happier now. I hope you're right, I'd hate anyone to feel like they are stuck so I hope this does help!

  5. Sophie, this was a brilliant post and it highlights how prevalent it can be. I experienced some 'discomfort' - I wouldn't go to say it was bullying but it was enough to affect me mentally and physically too. Handing in my notice was the best thing I did and sometimes it's not worth staying somewhere that causes so much misery xx

    1. I agree with you, you've got to put your health first. You're brave being able to walk away like you did, you should be proud of yourself! Thanks for commenting

  6. I always read your blog anyway, but while just checking out someone else's blog, I saw that they had referenced this post so I decided to check it out as i've been going through similar. This is such a well written and informative post, i'm glad you managed to get it sorted in the end and its great you feel good about yourself again!

    Lucy x