Belfast Telegraph

Work bullies are doing my head in

Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona Hurley answers your problems

Dear Fiona, Some of my colleagues are being totally negative towards me although they’re clever enough not to do it in front of our manager or other workmates.

Unbelievably, one of them warned me about the others when I first started, saying they were incompetent, controlling, untrustworthy, devious, and widely disliked.

I witnessed this same person intimidating the workmate she spoke the worst about but I was disgusted and stood up for her.

Now they’re acting like best friends and are hell bent on making my work life a misery.

What should I do?

M, Belfast

Dear M,

The most effective way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them but don’t resort to their playground tactics. Often bullied individuals are so relieved when the negative attention is redirected away from them that they ally themselves with the bully to intimidate someone else.

What you’ve seen at work is probably this defence mechanism.

These colleagues are attempting to exert dominance over you as bullies victimise people they feel threatened by or who make them feel inferior.

If they don’t back down, you may have to speak to your manager but chances are he’ll be totally clued up.

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