I am so sad and a little frustrated that it takes the review of bullying in Parliament to again highlight bullying in the workplace.

I have been bullied; I was bullied for two years solid, in every way possible, until I nearly had a nervous breakdown.

Nobody stood by me, everyone looked on and said nothing. When I finally spoke out and sought help, I was asked to resign. I am now ostracized in the community I live in; I cannot get a job in the career I love so much, that is nursing. So, in seeking help I have been punished and I continue to be punished. I was in no way supported by the HR department for the company I worked for, and to this day, I had no real closure over what was a hideous, heart-breaking, soul-destroying time.

I would love to go back nursing, but would have to seek a job outside the region I live in. I lack confidence, and I sometimes get angry, and sad. I was humiliated by the bullying. I had things thrown at me. I had his enablers on my back all the hours I worked. They all set me up to fail and look stupid, but nobody HELPED.

I understand this, as people need their jobs and need to survive, but the feeling of bullying never ever goes away. What is worse, the bully still has his job, and I don’t.

The company – one of the major aged care companies – had education of sorts; they had written policies, and guidelines in their Health and Safety Policies, but these were not followed, and they played lip service to it. When I rang HR for support, I could never contact them.

Over the two years with the company I saw him bully not only me, but many others, and nobody put a stop to it. So, when I see six tips to prevent workplace bullying, I don’t have much confidence that these will do anything towards stopping bullying. You can give workplaces all the toolboxes you want, and bullying will still go on.

From my perspective, to fix bullying, the bully must be dealt with; they need to feel the consequences of bullying, and they need to be ordered to have psychological counselling, as usually bullies have troubled personal and family lives and have been brought up being bullied themselves. The man that bullied me was beaten by his alcoholic  father and belittled, hence the bullying; he also worked with prisoners and ran the  facility like a prison.

So, what do I do now? Through my own efforts and hard work I work part-time for an excellent, very reputable organisation, which treat me with respect. I run a BnB which I have developed over the last two years. I am involved in music, and learn musical  instruments, and I volunteer. I try and keep busy so I don’t think about what happened. But how can I forget, when it is not resolved for me?

The goal MUST be to treat the bully and the enablers, and they must be made aware of the consequences. There has been enough discourse; now we need action.


  1. I would just like to add a comment on the above article on bullying in nursing. I will call you Mary as I’m not sure of your name but what I read from you is very much my experience also and I work in a large DHB in NZ. I am from Scotland and have been here for 20 years now, the culture of bullying in society generally in this country is shocking.I like you have been silenced, had information withheld from me to make me appear disinterested or stupid. I have many years of nursing behind me in management, leadership and motivational positions, always at the heart of my career has been the patients. However if people are not taught to respect themselves, accept and learn from others, show kindness and tolerance and listen to each other, what chances do our patients or future generations have. I always hear it takes courage to stand up to an oppressive, hypocritical, covert workplace but I believe it is a basic human right to be treated with respect and fairness. This in itself has always given me courage to do or say the right thing, often falling on deaf ears or making life worse for me generally, however the stubborn Scott prevails and I keep fighting and do my best to lead by example and continue to defend or confront bad behaviors, I do see changes and it just takes one or two people to stand up, find their voice and encourage others to do the same. You are correct Mary, all these wonderful state of the art facilities and our DHB’s have “adopted” polices and procedures from other countries who are more advanced in emotional intelligence simply because of the age of their civilization and basic evolution. It takes generations for a culture to change, NZ is not there yet. NZ is psychologically and emotionally still developing. An ongoing influx of skilled workers has further dented the fragile, insecure ego of the collected consciousness here in NZ. This is such a beautiful country with fundamentally very good people who just lack self worth and courage because they have never been allowed to shine. We all need to examine ourselves, and be honest with what we find, we all have good, bad and ugly because we are human but lets focus on all the good and how we can all help make positive changes. You are doing that already Mary, you were always the good person with the right attitude, it is the system and these individuals who were wrong for all the reasons you site. You must hold your head high and forgive them, let it go. This experience should only make you stronger, kinder and more determined to lead by example. I’m sure the colleagues who treated you so badly will some day learn from their own ignorance, and possibly make positive changes themselves. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you are not alone in your experiences but it does take courage to tell us all about it. With love

  2. A few months ago I left a job where I was bullied. There were wrong things that happened that the nursing union was able to inform them the correct process according to the law. Fortunately for me I have a friend who is a psychologist and is specialising in work place bullying who has helped me. It takes time to recover from the bully’s ‘hits’ and it leaves a scar so you can find yourself in that place of self doubt again and need someone else to not let you go back to that dark place again.

  3. I too had the experience of bullying in aged care after having worked in a rest home for 24 years, I lost my job. No redress. It is very gut wrenching, but no one stands up for you because the bullying management will also pick on that person. It has been 3 years now. I’ve not been able to work in a resthome since due to pts. My life will never be the same. The person who did the bullying eventually left to go to another facility where she was sacked for the same behaviour. But now she has been employed by the same resthome group that didn’t protect me before. The cycle continues.

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