BYE Work Bully; 4 Tips to Make You Unstoppable

BYE Work Bully; 4 Tips to Make You Unstoppable

I know that I’m not the only one who has dealt with a work bully, but after sharing my story about becoming the woman and the leader I wanted to be in this post, I’ve had so many people reach out to me, saying that they also identify with this situation. Say what??? So, I want to continue this conversation and chat about what happened to me, how I dealt with it, and the way I used it as motivation to start a business.

The work bully treated me and the rest of the women in my workplace with extreme disrespect and even emotional abuse. She loved to put me down and humiliate me in front of peers during meetings, lock me in her office and go down a list of all the things she felt were wrong with me, micromanage every little detail of projects that I worked on, and make fun of me to my face (and behind my back). Once, she screamed in my face to stop asking questions about a task she wanted me to do.“Don’t think, just execute!!” she roared. I will never forget the time we were in a work meeting and she was flipping out about a coworker, screaming that the woman “doesn’t know what she’s doing and must be someone with SPECIAL NEEDS.” Um, I used to teach special needs students, and this bothered me on an entirely new level.

For a while, I chalked her behavior up to the “culture” of the organization, and assumed it was just how things were. After taking a leadership course in my MBA program in 2014, though, I realized that this behavior was NOT typical. The sick part is that I thought all of this was normal, simply because I didn’t know any better. After I realized that it wasn’t acceptable to be treated like this, or to witness others being treated like this, my fight or flight instinct kicked in. I started to figure out a plan B.

For a year and a half before I finally left my job, I had to deal with this work bully. It wasn’t easy and there were times that I felt defeated, but having made it out alive, I wanted to share some insights and tips for anyone else who is going through this.

you have the power to be who you want to be

  1. You have the power to be who you want to be. Just because someone tells you that you are X, Y and Z doesn’t mean that it is true. You have the power to DELETE that negativity from your mind. Don’t let anyone creep into your thoughts and tell you who you are.
  1. Bite your tongue. Yes, it might feel good to go off on a bully and tell them how you really feel, but it’s important to control your emotions in the moment if you are dealing with someone who is mentally/emotionally unstable. Anger will just add more fuel to the fire and make things worse. It’s better to be the bigger person in the moment at least and keep your thoughts to yourself. During one time when this work bully locked me in her office for an hour, I was literally biting my tongue while meditating.

bye work bully, see ya later!

  1. On that note: meditate. I got very into meditation during this period of my life because I didn’t want the bully to see me weak or crying. I would start meditating during meetings when she was attacking others. I’d meditate when she was going down her list of all the things that were wrong with me. I’d lock myself in the “private room” and meditate for 20 minutes if she was getting to me. Focusing on the breath and clearing your mind of all thoughts is life changing in this type of situation.
  1. Use your moments of darkness to guide you to a brighter future. Always remember that you are in full control of your own future; you can take your situation and use it as motivation to create change. My experiences with the work bully motivated me to create a safe space for women to connect, and my negative experiences fueled my passion and my mission that has become Style Collective. Essentially, I am trying to change how women treat each other, one person at a time. If you have a shitty day, Style Collective should be that place you go to find brightness, motivation, or inspiration to create a future that is full of happiness and purpose.

bye work bully, see ya later

My experiences with this bully shaped who I am today; without going through all of this, I don’t think that I would have started a blog, realized the need for a community/business, and worked to create Style Collective. Talking about my challenges is therapeutic and healing for me; I am no longer bitter or upset about this work bully, but I want to share my story in a constructive way.

You are not a victim and you are not limited by the labels that others place on you. You do not need to stay where you are; you can escape and be happy again.

I launched Style Collective with no confidence, no experience, and really, no idea what I was doing. But that’s the beauty of it all: you learn as you go. You don’t need to wait for the “perfect time” to do anything; just do it. You are in control of your destiny, not the bully. You can be who you want and achieve what you want to achieve.

tips for dealing with a work bully to create a brighter future for yourself

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  • Obsessed10000 about this post! Seriously out of darkness always comes light and I truly believe this to be true! It’s picking yourself up and knowing this isn’t the end of your life and seeing it as a pit stop on your way to your purpose in this life. You’re a true testament to this statement

  • Kait Elizabeth

    You hit on something in this post that genuinely bothers me, and for some reason it’s socially acceptable: “doesn’t know what she’s doing and must be someone with SPECIAL NEEDS.” It’s completely unacceptable to EVER say that or someone should be on the short bus, or anything along those lines. I have no qualms calling people out on it. Great post babe and GREAT look! Hugs, Kait
    http://www.baskinginburgundy.com

  • Emily Soto

    Thank you for this post! These are great tips for dealing with bullies in general.

  • shannon shipman

    So great Annie!!! Loved reading this and love how postive you are! And love style collective!!! ❤

  • Farida

    So awesome Annie! Really enjoyed reading this. I have dealt with several work bullies that just made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. So glad I read this!

  • This post is great! Unfortunately most of us have experienced bullying at some point in our lives. It’s so important for people to realize their self worth and not let anyone bring them down! Such an inspiring post.

  • Truly POWERFUL post <3 <3 I've never dealt with bullies, but I have dealt with difficult people that crushed me to where I questioned my worth and life itself. Because of them. I actually grew confident, which I'm grateful for! I guess it is true that hard times build us to where we are. We need to go through them to learn and flourish so that we can become AMAZING, CONFIDENT, AND STRONG 🙂 You look fab in your power outfit, and you're doing outstanding with Style Collective. Thank you for creating this community for us!!

  • What a cute look, I love dusty rose and grey!
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

  • This post was so powerful and resonated on so many levels for me. I too had to deal with a work bully during one of the worst times of my Personal life and biting my tongue and not crying took a lot as I was mentally very fragile at that time anyway. meditating and using the situation as a learning experience helped to see things in a different way and not be rattled by it. Thank you for creating the Style Collective Community. It is amazing to be a part of a community of amazing Female entrepreneurs who are all so supportive.

    Ellie
    http://www.scotchandstilettos.com

  • Rachel Barter

    Loved this post, Annie! I luckily have never worked with a bully, but I have heard so many terrible stories. You are so inspirational and I’m so glad you were able to turn a bad experience into something so amazing!! You have so much to be proud of with Style Collective and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the group!

    xo Rachel | http://www.thesassroom.com

  • Love this! Speaking from experience, people only do that when they are either threatened or just have low self worth. Totally not about you even though it directly affected and hurt you! Way to go with how you handled it!

  • Beatriz

    Love this story! You handled yourself so well and like a true boss! Very inspiring 🙂
    xx Beatriz | http://www.livelovewearit.com

  • Alyssa Walls

    This is so inspiring! I can’t believe how some people can be so cruel, but you handled yourself so well. You are the bigger person. Also, just joined SC and i LOVE it. My birthday is also in February 😉 Congrats on 1 year!
    xo
    Alyssa
    http://www.teddybearsandlipstick.com

  • I really enjoyed your post Annie! I was in this kind of horrible atmosphere back when I was a Drill Sergeant. A lot of my peers did not make the new, challenging job easier for me and I felt worthless. Just when I was about to give up on my road to success, I truly felt a divine intervention. I owe it to God to help me through my journey because I almost did not make it. The Bullies were the worst part of those two years. I really wish I had some of this insight during that dark time but I glad you shared your story that will help someone else going though this. That job showed me that how cruel people can be and I learned a lot from that experience. I came out of the assignment successful and I guess thats all that matters, I can only hope I never have to deal with so much negativity like that again.

    -Brandi Kimberly
    http://www.cutebrandik.com

  • Brittany Steinkamp

    This is an amazing post! Although not to this extreme, I did deal with a demeaning work environment right out of college. It was emotionally draining and it does take work to get out of that “funk” and realize you’re more than what that person makes you think you are. Looking back, I now believe that is the reason for my strength in my current position and what has guided me to blogging! I’m truly obsessed with the positive community Style Collective has created – so thank you!!
    -Brittany
    http://www.agneswright.com

  • fifideluxe

    Hey Annie, What a great story. You are really inspiring and it’s great to be a part of a community that support and lift each other up. Thank you and a huge congrats on your amazing business. Thank you xx

  • Jodi-Kay Edwards

    Ah girl, this sounds so horrible. I’m so sorry you went through that. Some people should not be managers. To get respect you have to give it and this person definitely did not understand that concept. I always feel like those people have a deep sadness inside if they treat other people like that. I love your tips and they are definitely helpful with any rough or stressful situation you may deal with in life. xo!
    http://www.lifestylefinesse.com/anything

  • Fly Girl

    This post resonates with me SO much! Just when I had finally found the perfect job, with decent pay, after being broke for a while….I was forced to quit my job 2 1/2 weeks ago due to being bullied in the workplace. At first, my boss started by throwing things on my desk (piles of paper), and told me to go shred them for her. Or, she would slam things into my garbage can every time she walked past my desk. Next, she started interrupting any and every conversation she saw me having with co-workers. No one was allowed to talk to me. Soon, she was looking for any reason to call me into her office and scold me like a child. She would pull in a fellow director to our impromptu meetings and get them to join her in ridiculing me, regardless of whether they knew me or not. Mind you, none of her ridiculing sessions were related to my job performance. Just petty things like, timing me if I went to the bathroom and saying that 10 minutes was too long. Before long, I noticed that she was copying everything I wore and how I did my hair. Thankfully, I was told that the department was restructuring and that she was being forced to relocate to another state. I was so relieved to hear this, I thought this was the answer to my prayers. But, as the bullying continued I found out 3 months later that she somehow had talked her way out of having to relocate and was staying indefinitely. I was heart broken. My self-esteem was at an all time low from being abused everyday. After I resigned, I realized that this was a sign from God to follow my true calling and launch my fashion and beauty blog. I vow to never allow myself to be in a demeaning situation like this ever again. A big thank you to Annie for sharing her story, it truly gave me hope! 🙂

  • Meditating is my SHIT. Serious game changer lover.

    Thanks for sharing the shit that people NEED to read.

    LOVE YOU!
    xo
    Krista
    http://www.hundredblog.com