I am a painfully shy person. I don’t like confrontation and I keep away from interactions. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings like anyone else.
I work in a publishing company and my job is to read through hundreds of scripts to find something worthy for our company to publish. I don’t have to unnecessarily talk to any of my colleagues except my boss and that suits me fine.
I came from an abusive family and when I was eleven, I was taken away from my parents and placed in a foster home. For years, I have transferred from three foster homes. Those kinds of experiences made me who I am. I just don’t trust anyone easily.
I was happy in my own world, loving every bit of my job before Alison joined the company.
She was mean.
She’ll rally everyone in the company just to make fun of me or at least be a spectator while she makes fun of me. She’ll devise pranks like replacing sugar with salt when I make my tea to see me rushed to the sink to puke it out. Or she’ll take away my chair and leave me hunting around for a spare one. Or as simple as putting her foot out front when I’m walking by, so she can trip me and watch me fall. Yes, she’s really mean.
She started a rumour about me and my boss having an affair. It wasn’t true. I knew she’s the one started the rumours because she will take every opportunity to taunt me over it.
The rumours have gotten so big that even our competitors knew about it. In the end, my boss resigned (his fiancée heard the rumours and wasn’t happy about it despite being false) and I didn’t even say anything or denied anything.
It was horrible. It’s like I wanted to defend myself and him but no words came out. I’m like trapped in a nightmare, screaming on top of my lungs but nobody can hear me.
When my boss left, Alison started calling me names like slut and whore. Nobody in my company stopped her. She knew I wouldn’t go to HR so she got bolder and bolder. My colleagues just think that she is being overly friendly with me and they think she’s humorous. What they didn’t care was that the humour is at my expense. It hurts so bad.
I wanted to leave my job so badly that I didn’t care that I love what I am doing and it’s hard for me to find another job like this after those evil rumours. There was a couple of times, things got so bad that I contemplated suicide because I don’t know why I am living in such an ugly world.
I cried myself to sleep every night until my roommate, Bethany got fed up and confronted me. I couldn’t help myself but put out everything to her. It was a blessing in disguise.
I don’t condone what Bethany did but she saved me. She marched up to my office the next day and called out Alison. She threatened her with lawsuits (Bethany was working as a paralegal) if Alison ever bullies me again. Bethany was loud enough to be overheard by one of the senior partners of the publishing company and resulted in Alison getting herself fired.
Life went back to normal after she left. Some of the nicer colleagues came up to me and apologized for not standing up for me. HR also started a non-harassment policy with termination consequences.
This incident is 10 years ago and I have put it firmly behind me. Yes, I’m still with the same company doing the same job I love. Until this day, I still don’t know what I did to provoke Alison to hate me so much.
*This story is shared with me anonymously
Looking for more workplace bullying articles? We’ve got you covered here:
Guest Post: Workplace bullying – The silent epidemic and the long term psychological damage. by Sudhir Suvarna
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