You can choose not to be a victim but that doesn’t necessarily stop the bullies. I was bullied, not in school and not as a child. I was an adult working in a large corporation. My bully was not bigger than me, was not ‘tough-looking’ or even overbearing.
My bully didn’t use physical force or cruel words.
My bully was a mature woman, a senior manager in my corporate institution. Instead of ‘leaning in’ she leaned on and tried to squash me. Or perhaps, tried to force me out. I still can’t make sense of her reasoning to this day.
Glass ceilings and feminine sisterhood were irrelevant. An ugly dynamic developed, a passive aggressive war of emails and manipulative antics prevailed.
I was no direct threat to this woman’s position – but it seemed that our ‘personalities’ were a ‘mismatch’.
I was not the ideal corporate woman, ready to be moulded by inspiring corporate programs. To this day I still can’t understand advising woman to have professional headshots done – complete with make-up artist. This seems like such a contradictory message to me.
So we were never on the same page, this perhaps leading to the tension in the first place. Should this have lead to bullying – most definitely not.
As I mentioned, despite my bully’s antics, I refused to be her victim. I stood my ground and held strong to my beliefs. After addressing the issue with my seniors, she was prohibited form dealing with me directly. A short-term solution, but it was validation that I was not being overly sensitive.
So if I was not the victim, perhaps you ask why I am writing about this now. It is because I was unaware of the long-term effects of this bullying.
I recently submitted my first written piece for publication following a break for my parenting duties.
I didn’t realise that my confidence in my own writing had been shaken, but it had. I was so uncertain about publishing my own work. My bully still had some tricks up her sleeve, long after her initial actions.
You see, she had blocked the publication of my first ever written piece, harassing me with emails and phone calls telling me to take it down. It was ‘simply not good enough!’
That piece was subsequently published and remains so to this day: A workforce accessible to all is not just right, it’s good business.
And now – despite not knowing this story – my new director has been nothing but inspiring and supportive, restoring my confidence in myself. And my latest piece is now also published: Consent in the maternity ward: Women’s rights falter.