Stéphanie, 26, is an active young woman who hopes to one day stand on her own feet. Hypersensitive, she lived a very withdrawn childhood of which she kept the stigmata but, she passed the hardest part. Braver than ever, she now continues her fight through Omena, which she joined in 2020.
If the very thought of going to work hurts you psychologically and emotionally, it’s because like me, you are probably the victim of emotional abuse and bullying.
I’ll rac o nter my experience, what I felt when I myself was a victim of bullying at work.
Bullying at work can take many forms and to prove it, here are 7 sentences that have deeply marked me. I preferred to start from there to explain things and their contexts because most people experience bullying at work without even realizing it.
1- Abuse of authority: “I don’t get along with you at all, but I’m not going to make you get fired,”. Why would being a superior give someone the right to decide whether or not you deserve your place just because you don’t feel like you are in harmony with them?
2- Humiliation: I barely had time to go through the door when I heard loud and clear shouting with such anger “Tsy miditra fotsiny ohatra ny ny omby aty!” or to put it simply “We don’t come here like on a farm, learn a bit to say hello!” in front of everyone, at lunchtime. How to hope to be integrated even with all the effort in the world with so many prejudices.
3-Depreciation: “You are kidding me, I hope!” that’s all I get as a response when I speak out. I can see, however, that this is clearly not the case for everyone.
4- Exclusion: “You have nothing to do here if you are not like us!” It is quite natural that we are all different and yes it happens even within a company. Each has its own value. The problem is that the line between professional and personal is often very blurred.
5- Unjustified criticisms against me and that of my colleagues: “Aza miveravera fotsiny ao amin’ny reception ao ianareo” to say “Stop hanging around your desk and go out and chat with customers!”. No customer has ever complained about my welcome or the way I work. On the contrary, the administration has always praised me on this subject.
6- Orders devoid of all respect: “Stéphanie, come closer, come over!” [waving two fingers of his hand]. Everyone had already remarked to me that my boss addressed me like one addressed a dog.
7- No leadership from your superior: “Print this… invoice this… reply to this email” and so on. He makes me do absolutely everything while he sits at his desk quietly playing games.
These sentences came out of the professional framework because each of them sounded like a personal attack on me.
After that, I never had any desire to be in the same room as most of my colleagues again, I avoided all discussions where these people were present and I limited contacts to what was strictly necessary and useful for my work. I was also totally afraid of my boss and I was doing everything not to cross his path, so a gap widened between us at this level because communication was no longer fluid. I much preferred to keep my ideas to myself and keep quiet for fear that my actions would always be misinterpreted, judged and criticized to the point of making things even more complicated than they already were.
I certainly lived there in a climate of emotional and morally heavy insecurity.
These sentences would no doubt have been interpreted differently in another context and by other people, but this was about me! It is difficult for me to express myself objectively on bullying at work. I would just say that every experience is subjective and you have to learn to recognize the signs in order to be able to act on it.
(to be continued)