Bullying…Not Just for Adolescents

These days if you’ve spent any time on social media you have either seen bullying, been bullied, bullied someone or felt the effects of bullying personally. Sadly, it’s not just something that kids encounter and it seems like it’s becoming more frequent.

I have been feeling the effects of bullying over the last 4 months at my job. It started subtly but has become more and more “In yo face.” as of late and has had me calling my husband near tears and contemplating finding a different job. Let me make this clear; I love my job! I love the patients I work with and I love the company I work for but unfortunately a few bad apples have left more than a bitter taste in my mouth.

About a month ago I had my 90 day review…no, let me rewind for a moment.

I graduated in May with my masters in psychology. This was a major accomplishment for me. I mentioned in my last post that my family is dysfunctional and part of that dysfunction was tearing me down and making me feel like I wasn’t valid, that I wasn’t smart, I didn’t count and would never do anything worth while. Additionally,¬† I have ADHD inattentive type and a learning disability in math. All of these made success in my life seem insurmountable. It took me 32 years of my life to gain enough confidence and motivation to begin my journey to success in my life.

When I graduated I had a GPA of 3.95. I worked DAMN hard to get to that point and when I graduated I had already looked, applied, interviewed and accepted the position that I currently have. I felt like I ROCKED at life. I had so much of my life figured out and from this I had gained even more confidence. I started the job and was continually told by my supervisors that they were glad I was there (Aside from my supervisors I am the only staff with clinical experience) and that they appreciated what I brought to the team. Coming from my background of no self-esteem all of this bolstered my confidence.

Now…let’s get back to this review. The supervisors pick a few staff members and send them an email asking for feedback on those who are getting reviews. Here is the positive things that were said about me by my co-workers:

  • calm and assertive presence when working directly with patients
  • Takes initiative well
  • Fast learner
  • Brings counseling experience with her to our team
  • Knowledgeable
  • Patient centered
  • Has quickly caught on to centers protocols

These are all very kind things to say. However, what came next was things I could work on. A majority of the feedback was that I came across as the know it all and one even went to so far as to say “She thinks she knows all things (name of center) but she doesn’t know all things (name of center).” These things hit me hard and after that I couldn’t focus on anything else. I went home and cried. I felt like 42 years of working hard to gain my confidence only to have it torn down in a matter of 25 minutes by people who don’t even really know me.

I came back to work the next day and sat down with my supervisor who assured me that I didn’t come across as a know it all to her. She told me that she hired me because I had counseling experience and that I was confident and knew my stuff (and was confident in what I didn’t know as well). That helped ease things a bit and I decided to move on.

At my job we have a high turn over rate mostly because it doesn’t pay well and the hours for new people are pretty heinous. So, we had a new person start about a month ago. The first couple weeks is basically online training and attending shift exchanges. Then for a few weeks they shadow the day shift crew and then they shadow the evening shift crew for a few weeks before they become “Legit.” So on Friday the new person was doing her first evening shift and it seemed that we got along well. She asked me for my number so she could text me and I gave it to her. We began texting back and forth and she sent me a pictograph she couldn’t figure out. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

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In her defense I don’t think she was trying to be rude and more than likely she had no way of knowing this was a sore spot for me but in my mind it seemed like someone told her about me coming across as a know it all. She did shadow the day shift crew for a few weeks and she is friends with two of my co-workers as they worked together at another facility before they came here. I know in places like this it can be ripe for gossip.

When I left work on Friday I was so pissed off. I called my husband and was shaking, yelling and crying. I told him that I wanted to quit because this was tantamount to bullying and at the very least it was extremely unprofessional. It felt absolutely insulting to me that people wouldn’t just let her decide what she thinks of me. It also made me feel very sad because I feel like people have been marginalizing me my whole life making me feel like I am weird and that my ideas have no merit and that I am over reacting anytime I have feelings.

Due to the fact that I am working towards licensure I have two supervisors who are providing education to me. One is my supervisor here at work and the other one is an external supervisor. I talked to my external supervisor on Saturday who validated my feelings and encouraged me to talk to my supervisor at work about this issue. So I did. Today.

I had supervision scheduled for tomorrow but asked her if we could talk since it seemed like we had some down time. She was very open to my feelings and validated them. We talked about my family and how this feedback resonates with me on many levels that hurt to the core. We talked about the lack of professionalism here (not everyone who works here has a formal education) and how some people are poison and that you’re going to have that no matter where you work. She also shared with me that she has gotten feedback recently from some people who were harsh towards me to begin with who had changed their tune about me. She said that some of them had told her recently that they have come to enjoy working with me.

Both supervisors encouraged me to lean on the people I know I can count on to be there for me and to steer clear of the ones who are toxic. I just find it saddening that I am 42 years old and three simple words can bring me to my knees emotionally but when you’ve been bullied by your family your whole life sometimes things are skewed.

I write this in hopes that if this is happening to you where ever you are in life that it has brought you solace in the knowledge that you aren’t alone. Your feelings ARE valid, you are NOT weird and your ideas have merit! You are amazing!

 

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