[Submitted by Tracey] It has been three years and six weeks since I left my job of nearly twenty years and yet I am still haunted in my dreams by the terrible four months that ended my successful career, devastated me personally and financially, and completely tore my heart open. It has had a lasting effect on my relationships with family and friends. There are no easy words to describe the impact bullying in the workplace has on the lives of people who have been targeted by these modern-day Jekyll and Hydes.
Just last night, again, I dreamed I was back in “that” workplace. The players were all the same only they weren’t as silent as they were when I was actually being bullied. I have learned from various sources that my then “co-workers” and “friends” have been fired or left their positions for other jobs. They say that one has allegedly been arrested for embezzling over $60,000 from the department. In my dream they are all still there, yet their failures and infractions had all been forgiven. They aren’t afraid to tell me that I need to “watch out”. Some say, “I hope you have a good lawyer,” while others snicker and whisper. I am still alone in my own pain, wanting someone to understand and help me with this awful injustice and humility.
I awoke this morning exhausted. My eyes were puffy; my cheeks were red and swollen. I had a headache. Days like today I feel hopeless about having a better future for myself. I no longer dream of the home that I will own because that has already happened and is gone. There isn’t time for that anymore. I spend my days working on healing my pride, ridding myself of shame, guilt and fear. I hope that one day I can feel the overwhelming satisfaction of seeing a bill passed in NY State that will hold employers accountable for the behaviors of their employees. Bullying in the workplace, like bullying in the school yard, is unacceptable. The psychological harassment is so abusive and rips into a person’s soul in ways that no one can understand unless they have felt it first-hand. Let’s not let this continue. We all need to get involved and be passionate about this bill, and lead the way for our kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids. I am sick to my stomach every time I hear of a child who has been harassed at school. I am outraged at the death of Marlene Braun because of the abuse they endured at their workplaces. This is not about me, it is about all of us and all the futures of those following us.
I know how hard it is to share the humiliation of being bullied at work. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my lifetime. Once you start talking about it, the healing will begin. It takes time, it takes courage. You will cry and many people won’t understand. That’s okay. When enough of us talk and cry, perhaps we will all take pride in the fact that we are acting out of love for ourselves and for the protection of those people in the workplace currently experiencing harassment, isolation, humiliation and destruction. I look forward to you sharing your stories because your words can changes things. WE understand. Let our combined voices build that understanding.