Why Do They Bully Me?

Is it really bullying or an echo from your past? Sometimes we interpret one thing as something else – because our brain has made that particular link, or short-cut, for us.

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Q - I’ve had four jobs and each time I’ve been bullied. I was an only child and home-schooled because we lived in an isolated farm croft in Scotland, and so I wasn’t bullied at school. I don’t have many friends apart from those online. I’ve now moved into the city and I’m trying hard to fit in. Why do they pick on me at work and try to make me look small and stupid? I try not to let it bother me but it’s really upsetting me. I don’t want to have to keep leaving my job.

A - By now you have seen a pattern emerging – a drama is being played out with you as the victim. The cast of other characters changes but the outcome doesn’t.

It seems that you are the common denominator in the drama.

I don’t doubt that you want to stop being bullied and to do so it'll be helpful to identify what is actually going on and why.

Do you see other people being bullied at your workplace too? 

If so, as an observer, what is it that you notice about the victim and the ‘reason’ for the bullying (is it the victim’s appearance, competence, shyness etc.)?

Do any of these apparent reasons also fit you too?

It may be that other people envy something about you and your skills. Conversely it may be that you lack some social skills and the ability to make small talk and to bond with workmates with playful banter – which is the glue to most social interactions.

I really do empathise with you – it must be so confusing and hurtful to be treated this way.

It may seem like a strange question, but are you absolutely certain that you are being bullied?

By that I mean that sometimes we interpret one thing as something else – because our brain has made that particular link, or short-cut, for us from the past when you felt 'small and stupid'.

Would an objective observer describe your interactions with colleagues as bullying?

Your workplace will have a Human Resources section and an anti-bullying policy.

I suggest that you get in touch with them – not to make any report or declaration at this stage – but to read through what they consider bullying to be, and see how closely this fits with your own experiences.

If you are definitely being bullied then it has to stop! You should not have to keep leaving a job to put a stop to it…it won’t look good on your CV either!

It’s up to the company to unearth any bullying culture in their workplace and to meet with all parties to resolve it. 

I hope that you have made at least one friend there who will stand in your corner and support you in this. It’s hard enough to deal with any workplace relationship problems let alone having to do so all by yourself.

Please get the help and support you need – both online information and in-person too.

If you find that you are the cause of inviting bullying into your life then you need to look at the messages you’re giving out. The ones that you may not even have been aware of due to your limited time with peers during your early years and teens.

I can only wish you a speedy resolution to this problem to ensure that it’s shadow doesn’t continue to follow you around.

Here’s a link to an article I've written for Life Labs – some of which might strike a chord with you – it’s called Have You Given Your Bully The Slip Yet? 


Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR

www.maxineharley.com Where you will find FREE e-booklets and resources designed to help and inform you on your journey of self-knowledge, development and empowerment. There are also five online self-help courses including one called '3 Steps To Sort Yourself Out - without therapy!' - which will help you to identify any missing pieces in your personal puzzle and what to do about them

www.maxineharleymentoring.com - working with you to help you to understand and manage your emotions, boundaries and behaviours... to release and make peace with the past to bring you a calmer happier future.

www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk - a series of 10 online self-help workshops of Psycho-Emotional-Education - including ones called 'Understanding Yourself', and 'How To Be More Confident' (and assertive)

www.qpp.uk.com - 'The New Paradigm In Therapy' - which changes the deep-seated sub-conscious belief system to bring a new way of living and enjoying life!

Maxine Harley