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Office Mean Girl: Memories of a Workplace Bully

FlourishAnyway is an industrial/organizational psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

An Office Mean Girl made my dream job a nightmare, but slowly I learned to flourish anyway.  Workplace bullies get away with their behavior because management allows it.

An Office Mean Girl made my dream job a nightmare, but slowly I learned to flourish anyway. Workplace bullies get away with their behavior because management allows it.

There She Is

The loud laugh was unmistakable. While shopping in a department store, I heard the voice of my former bully as she rifled through sales racks with her son. Although her back was turned towards me, spotting her took me back to that awful place five years earlier.

The Dream Job—With One Small Catch

Since I was a child, I had yearned to work for a particular Fortune 500 company that was well respected in my community. When I scored a job in their Human Resources (HR) department, I believed it was a dream fulfilled.

I was pretty sure that Betty, the Office Mean Girl, had fangs.  Never let the bullies win.

I was pretty sure that Betty, the Office Mean Girl, had fangs. Never let the bullies win.

I Was Simply Next in Line, but for What?

However, HR has bullies, too. What I didn't know when I signed on was that my coworker, "Betty," had a track record of tormenting coworkers whom she found threatening.

Worse yet was that she seemed to have management's consent. Betty had chased my predecessor off in less than a year using petty personal attacks and uncooperativeness. I was simply next in line.

Bitter Betty: Bite on this. For some people, being mean comes easy.

Bitter Betty: Bite on this. For some people, being mean comes easy.

Betty had worked for the company for nearly 30 years, having risen through the ranks from an hourly production employee to the maven of the company's HR computer system. She effectively "owned" that system, making it hers by customizing it so highly that no one else understood all of its intricacies.

There was no user manual and no formal training. There was only Betty, Office Mean Girl (OMG). Within six weeks of joining the company, I sorely regretted the move.

I was hired partially because of my knowledge of other systems, as Betty's system was coming up for bid. This automatically made me a perceived threat—strike one. Both my predecessor and I were external hires at a company that valued promotion from within. Strike two.

Betty also frequently commented on the fact that she had achieved so much in spite of having only a high school diploma. It was a touchy issue for her, and no matter how I recognized her contributions, it just wasn't enough. My predecessor and I each held graduate degrees. Strike three, according to Betty.

Welcome to Hell

On my first day of work, neither she nor our manager could find the time to take me around the office and make introductions. I finally did it myself on day two. Betty later couldn't find the time to train me, even though my job depended on my knowing the system inside out. She cancelled our training sessions at the last minute and was too busy to reschedule. Our manager, hating conflict, permitted this and made excuses for her.

Bitterness and Attacks

Making an honest attempt to get to know her, I listened to Betty's family crises and her rants about being passed over because of age discrimination, nepotism, and not giving in to sexual harassment. She assassinated the characters of coworkers and executives alike.

Although she was very charming to coworkers, behind their backs, Betty described them as unmotivated and incompetent. She called them "pond scum" and "stupid." She and our manager frequently joked that it was "time to drain the pond." No one was immune from her ridicule, even those she considered friends.

Being a new employee, it was hard to know just what to believe. I wondered aloud what names Betty called me when I wasn't around. She chuckled, tilting her head back, as our manager sat there, smug and silent.

You know these mean girls?  You work with them?

You know these mean girls? You work with them?

Struggling to Make It Work

As I struggled to make sense of my ill-defined job and the bully in the next cubicle, I worked late nights, took work home, and often cried at night from the stress. I was determined to somehow work through this.

I had wanted this job too long and wasn't going to let someone like Betty defeat me. I struggled with migraines and flare-ups of Multiple Sclerosis, both exacerbated by stress.

Betty the bully was unrelenting in her thinly veiled hostility. As I became more competent in my role, Betty dumped loads of work in my lap.

She sent emails to the rest of the department that pointed out how they weren't using the system correctly and then referred them to me for questions. She routinely pointed out my errors (real and imagined) to superiors and clients, both in public and behind my back. She once even off-handedly accused me of stealing, then laughed it off when I objected.

Office bullies may belittle you behind your back—or even to your face.

Office bullies may belittle you behind your back—or even to your face.

It Got Worse Before It Got Better

My bully increasingly "forgot" to include me on key emails and meeting invitations with clients and left me out of projects and lunches with her small clique. I often did not have the necessary information to do my job and felt ambushed with surprise findings during meetings. I even overheard her and my manager describing my husband as "ugly" after they had first met him at a social event.

As a ringleader, Betty also recruited several others to her bullying cause. They had previously been mere bystanders but joined her in whispered gossip sessions. Word usually got back to me, however, via sympathetic coworkers. When I addressed Betty's behaviors with management, my concerns turned back on me.

Eventually I flourished, with the help of others.

Eventually I flourished, with the help of others.

A Funny Thing Happens

Then, in spite of Betty, I started to succeed, relying on trial and error as well as the kindness of other coworkers to learn the system and the company culture. (They weren't the "pond scum" that she claimed.)

Reaching Out to My Predecessor

I also reached out to my predecessor to compare experiences. Betty and our manager had described my predecessor as very headstrong and hard to get along with, so I didn't know what to expect. Meeting with her over lunch, I discovered parallel stories— an office bully and the timid leadership that allowed her to get away with it.

Sure enough, Betty had used the same bullying tactics with my predecessor, except my predecessor did not put up with the behavior for as long as I had. She had bid on a job in another department within a year, leaving behind both Betty and the ineffective management that enabled her.

Mean girls grow may change location but their tactics stay the same. They're neither cuddly nor nice.

Mean girls grow may change location but their tactics stay the same. They're neither cuddly nor nice.

Seeing Her for What She Was

No longer worried that there was something wrong with me, I finally saw Betty as the insecure, jealous bully that she was— nothing more. She was an adult version of a middle school Mean Girl.

As a result, I became savvier in dealing with her. I learned to either brush off her snide comments or respond to them directly. I found support from others both inside of the department and out. Even without Betty's help, I developed my own expertise.

I remained business-like but limited my interaction with Betty to only necessary conversation. Out of self-preservation, I stopped engaging her in any chit-chat and isolated myself from her negativity. Biding my time, I put up with our manager's excuses and uneven treatment, such as cancelling my vacation requests because Betty wanted to take the same week off.

Moving On and Not Looking Back

Then, when the time was right, I applied for other jobs in the company, competing with outside applicants to interview successfully for a mere lateral transfer to another department. My new job involved the same pay, a longer commute, and considerable overnight travel away from my young child.

My manager tried to convince me to stay put by asking what would be the effect of all that travel on my six-year-old child. He also dangled the remote possibility of promotion if I stayed and disparaged the managers in my new department.

Regardless, I left Betty the Bully behind . . . as well as her cowardly management enablers. I loved my new job, and there was no looking back.

Then, the Office Mean Girl was gone.

Then, the Office Mean Girl was gone.

Buh Bye! Gone, Betty, Gone

Betty took early retirement during a round of voluntary downsizing shortly thereafter. I was not surprised when I was not invited to her company-sponsored retirement dinner. Finally, after three years of working with her, the Office Mean Girl was gone.

Part of a Wider Phenomenon

I thrived for several more years in my new role, then resigned from the company after becoming safely pension-vested. Throughout my ordeal with Betty, that had become my goal—to survive long enough to be vested in the company pension. Because of my experience with this company-sanctioned bully—and because later I saw that so many other employees had their own "Bettys"— I lost trust in the organization that first created and then tolerated Betty's hostility for so long.

And Then I Saw Her in the Store

When I saw her in the department store that day, memories of Betty the Bully came back to me like a scab, ripped away to expose a bloody wound of rejection and self-doubt. For the first time in several years, she was only 15 feet away. Should I acknowledge her?

I steeled myself and finished my transaction at the cash register, making sure to speak loudly enough to the cashier so that Betty could hear me. No hiding here. I decided that Betty the Office Mean Girl did not merit even artificial niceties from me.

She had already done enough damage. As I turned to leave, I knew I would continue to move on—flourish even—being stronger now and ever resilient.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

She-Ra - Be loyal to yourself and your health and be pursue happiness, whatever that means for you. I wish you well.

She-Ra from U.K on January 26, 2020:

Thank you for responding FlourishAnyway... I know... and perhaps this is my 'issue', that without all of this going on I have an incredible job that I absolutely love, we have some really exciting things for the future, and I want to be a part of that. And wonder why I should leave unless it's my choice, not having my hand forced??

I also consider that I don't want to feel like I'm abandoning the rest of the team (my direct colleagues/ line manager and the rest of the team I manage). I am also well aware of how the rest of the team have been treated over the years by the core few who work for their own advantage.

My stubbornness is something I need to get over. Although there will be fewer jobs at my level my other half is more than willing to move areas, both of us could work anywhere so I'm certainly not trapped.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on January 26, 2020:

She-Ra - In the grand scheme, this is just a job. Think of your health first. Be well.

She-Ra from U.K on January 26, 2020:

Hi FlourishAway,

I found this trying to relax and find some answers - ‘relax’! But I relax by trying to understand.

I suspected I am being mobbed but I have at least 1 bully who I line manage. I remain at work (just about) facing (just off the top of my head) -

- constant open and covert questioning of the majority of my decisions

- gaslighting

- aggression

- insubordination

- poor performance

- increase in my work load due to the above (almost as if they know that by giving me too much (essentially of their) work to do to start managing their performance formally... I’ve been chipping away at this informally and gaining evidence ready to progress to increasingly formal mngt - I am constantly conscious this could be interpreted as me not performing at my job!!)

- being watched and scrutinised

- multiple complaints regarding my practice/ integrity/ HR related but all anonymised (I commented on one of your incredible HR posts about a month ago).

I really want to see this through, their behaviour is very long standing (Just like toxic Betty) and others have suffered before me. I have allies , I am concerned that it’s getting worse and worse- it would appear that they gain energy and validation for every investigation I am put under (where non have been substantiated).

My health has been suffering because of this escalation (but not helped by severely delayed processes and essentially processes not being followed):

- insomnia

- complete loss of confidence (I keep asking and double checking my decisions with my direct colleagues and boss)

- complete loss of resilience

- inability to concentrate

- nervousness (not yet anxiety)

- fear of my actions being wrong

- tearful

- emotional - as in I have diminishing control over emotion in/ out of work, crying over things I wouldn’t. I feel generally like I am going crazy.

I recognise the above, senior HR are aware and I am hopeful we can work through this together. I keep thinking of others that are or have been a target and that I want this toxic environment to cease. I feel that I (with support of my line mngr and HR) can do this but (and it’s a big but!) I am mindful of my health and a little fearful of just how extreme their bullying has reached, and wonder just how far they are prepared to go.

If needs be, I may need to consider moving (my boss has given me options to consider for my well being) , or just leaving IF the cost to my well being is too much even though their behaviour will just revert back.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 08, 2018:

Jay1987 - You did what you could with the tools you had at the time. Don't look back. Learn and move forward. All the best to you.

Jay1987 on June 07, 2018:

FlourishAnyway , thank you. part of me wishes I had been more proactive at the time and stood up for myself. But it's in the past now. All I can do is learn from it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 05, 2018:

Jay1987 - You're welcome. I encourage you to open up to someone you completely trust when you feel the time is right. You didn't do this. They did. Don't let the shame make you feel unworthy.

Jay1987 on June 05, 2018:

FlourishAnyway - Thank you for your support and understanding. I've never really talked about it with anyone before. Parts of it felt so unreal as it was happening.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 05, 2018:

Jay1987 - That's so awful. Shame on those so-called women. I'm glad you got out. I appreciate you telling your story so that readers know how bad it can be for some people and they understand that recipients of this treatment can be male or female.

Jay1987 on June 04, 2018:

When I was about 23, I spent a year working in an office that had a rather toxic environment. I was very shy and timid and not the biggest guy physically. I got targeted by a few female bullies in the office who were a bit older and would verbally taunt and undermine me, and whisper and gossip behind my back.

As unbelievable as they may sound, one of them(who was bigger then me) would sometimes pin me down and sit on my chest to humiliate and torment me, for what could feel like ages.

Glad I didn't stay there longer

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 28, 2018:

Sherry - Good for you. People don't change significantly unless they are motivated to do so, and even then it can be very challenging. It's easier to change situations than to ask a person to change. Glad you're happier.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on April 27, 2018:

My boss at my last job had a lot of those characteristics. I ended up leaving because it just wasn't worth the misery and stress.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2018:

Firewalker - This is terrible that you're being treated this way. I hope you find a resolution! All the best to you.

What matters most is how well you walk through the fire. on April 27, 2018:

I was the target of a bully at my workplace. More employees joined in. The typical bullying, talking behind my back, leaving me out of everything ,Not talking to me Lying to the boss and making up stories about everything I did. I was hauled into the manager office multiple time the first year and told that I needed to change. Not once did they believe that I was being targeted. This resulted in leaving my job in an ambulance and having a mini stroke. I am still at my job and they still are doing most of the same thing.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 24, 2016:

James - Thank you for your insights. I agree with you particularly about such bullies having personality disorders as well as the need to call bullies out for what they are. While they often have their enablers, someone must be brave enough to say that it must stop. My experience as an investigator is that even when the first or second complaint isn't validated with a ruling of "substantiated," management eventually begins to see that there's a lot of noise around a particular person. Where there is a pattern, it gets harder to deny that the bully is creating an environment that is at minimum very unpleasant to work in. This is especially the case if there are multiple complainants. Thanks again for your comment.

James on December 24, 2016:

Unfortunately, those types of people (bullies) never change. As a psychiatrist, I believe it it tied into a deep personality disorder (usually bi-polar and/or borderline personality disorder). Even sadder is that these people are wired this way, and their harmful actions are almost second nature to them. Interestingly, they also seem to always know who they can target and in what manner that lets them get away with it. There is no help for any helpless victim here because they know exactly how to manipulate, scare and/or intimidate even those empowered to stop this (bosses, managers, supervisors), and they are masters at gaining support form others (such as Unions) that often protect them. The only way to rid the workplace, or any other organization of this sickness is to institute and enforce measures to address the problems in the environment itself, and provide protective measures for those employees that report these types of problems (whistle blowing protective measures as well as guarantees that the problem will be addressed and documented in a timely manner). Once the bullies start getting a legitimate paper trail with Human Resources, they will usually cease (because they are most afraid, more than anyone, of losing their jobs). This type of organizational system also appeals to the good side of those that manipulated to support the bully. Once a bully is called out, good people will applaud and feel happier and more secure knowing that they are protected too, and that they no longer need to feel they need to appease a bully in any way just to keep the peace for themselves also.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 15, 2016:

Dear "Hello" - I'm sure sorry you can relate to this and appreciate your stopping by to read and comment. My husband used to joke that "Betty" (a 30-year employee) must have had naked pictures of someone high up in management, meaning basically that she knew all the dirt on people. She did have the dirt and was glad to share it -- about VPs, anyone, just to let you know who really ran the place. It's easier to pretend something doesn't exist than to solve a problem. I hope you find your way out from your situation, too.

Hello on December 14, 2016:

I can SOOOOO relate to this! Thank goodness you got out! I'm truly baffled as to why management tolerates such toxic employees.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2016:

fpherj48 - The woman I wrote about was absolute poison and even though it's now been more than 10 years since I first met her, I'd still refuse to cross the street to save her from choking. She was so evil. I've seen her twice since her retirement, once in a shopping mall (as in the article described) and another time in the waiting area of a local business provider. I ignored her both times; she is dead to me. Mean people don't deserve the respect of recognition.

fpherj48 on September 23, 2016:

FA.....Oh the office "sweetheart." Long behind me now, I can still recall the chaos & nonsense that went on too often from 9 to 5. There came a time when I had to realize we were lucky to only have 2 bullies rather than 6 or 7!

What is it that these annoying people are looking for when they come to work each day specifically looking to create havoc? We really have to wonder and learn to handle it without bringing ourselves down to their level.

Isn't it an inevitable guarantee? Think about it. No matter who we are, where we work or what our job is.....There is always that "bully" in the mix! I've never seen it fail. You were wise and I applaud your tenacity. Great hub!....Paula

Anon on September 23, 2016:

Yeah good idea because I had to tell with a bully and managed to get that person to back off. That way we have common ground.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2016:

Anon - If she trusts you, try having an open and honest conversation with her over coffee (outside of the workplace) where you present the behaviors you see in others, in her, and the impacts that you personally see in how she comes across as a manager (her effectiveness, authority, credibility) and as a human being (describe "nervous" behaviors like cracking her knuckles, avoiding eye contact, etc.). Emphasize that this comes from a place of concern and you want to help. At the same time, however, realize that she needs to take ownership of the issue and its solution. It obviously pre-dates this job. Listen above all else and ask if there ways you can help. Ask if she has talked with HR or management about the bullying. You might also read the following book then suggest it yourself if you think it's as worthy as I believe it is: "Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst." She might also consider seeking counseling from the Employee Assistance Program. Your empathy and willingness to help are laudable. I wish more people were as kind as you and willing to get involved.

Anon on September 23, 2016:

I think I do, it's not that easy,a and it is affecting her work and ability to be seen as a strong manager. it's just she gives an aura of been afraid. Like last week I came back from a meeting and she asked me would I do a complex task as another girl done the last 3 and if she asked her to do another one she would beat her. She was genuinely afraid, I would say no. I said yes of course, she then went thanks and mentioned again the other girl would beat her. All she had to say was the other girl done the last 3, I will give you this one and we will help you if you needed it. Another time she was called a weakling on front of another manager and some of the team because she physically was unable to carry some files from offsite, again she struggled to stand up for herself. I am fully sure her management peers also spotted this but use it their advantage.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 23, 2016:

Anon - You should find a way to report this bullying behavior before it gets further out of hand. Bullying ruins lives. It's obviously interfering with her job and making her upset.

Anon on September 23, 2016:

I have seen several females bully my smaller weaker manager. Its awlful as she is afraid of them and afraid to stand up for herself. One manager in particular is constantly throwing work at her, she would look over and go x is at her desk, she'll do it, giving her no choice. Once we were at a meeting and a new process came up and she went that is x's responsibility. X just sat there looking around nervously. The same manager was having a group general chit chat, x stood up and asked what they were talking about the other manager was closest to her just scrunched her face up and asked the person to repeat what they said. To avoid humiliation I told my manager. A few days later the other manager was in conversation with another manager and girl on low fat food. After a while x stood up to join in and mentioned about low fat yogurt. As she spoke one manager just turned around and went back to work. The one that ignored her earlier just went mmmmmmmmm turned around and got back to work too. Thankfully the other girl did talk to her. One lady worked on another team that went to the same school as her and I noticed the girl was never friendly to my manager, would be like talk to other girls in the team not her. Eventually the girl left and my manager told me she went to the same school as her. she told me , she was afraid of her in school, she would always keep out of her way, if they were in the same class she would sit up near the front where the girl couldn't pick on her. I asked how did she feel with her working there. She said that she was afraid of her still. What is upsetting is this lady in all instances is afraid, afraid of her bullies and afraid to stand up for herself.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 10, 2016:

Deborah - I love your comment! Have a great day!

Deborah Demander from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on March 10, 2016:

Great article. This is exactly why I work for myself. Every day is employee appreciation day.


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 14, 2015:

Poetryman6969 - There are some real venomous, malicious people in the workplace (they've gotta make a living, too), and I feel sorry for the folks who are their customers, coworkers, and supervisors. Shame on those who didn't screen them more carefully before hiring. I'm all for more rigorous selection.

poetryman6969 on December 13, 2015:

I have seen some modern day Nazis in at least two places I have worked. And by Nazi I don't mean disagreeable opinions or hoarding resources. I mean people who stated out loud that certain races were unacceptable to them. In at least one place the petty manger and his neo-nutzi henchmen also made it known that during the hiring process they gave extra credit to women with certain physical attributes.

The stunning thing about these individuals is that they made sexist and racist opinions known publicly.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if there were undercover HR personnel who ran around companies pretending to part of the unit just long enough to make sure the minor bosses and sub-level supervisors weren't running some kind of bizarre fiefdom.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 01, 2015:

Susie - Thanks for reading and for your kind words. In the end, I think the mean people get what they deserve.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on May 31, 2015:

I have never had to face a bully in a workplace, thankfully. But, I have had to deal with some of these buttheads. You sound like a wonderful person Flourish, and one smart cookie too. - Up votes!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2015:

Suzanne - She was a horrible person and probably still is. I was most disappointed in the senior leadership that allowed it to occur. That woman in your workplace will someday find herself on the losing end. They eventually do.

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on April 23, 2015:

"Betty" sounds like a thoroughly nasty piece of work. It was especially mean of her to make comments about your husband, really shows what a piece of sh*t personality she was. I have had one mean girl tell my boss that I slept with a guy from the office. I hadn't. I was retrenched the next day even though I hadn't done anything at all (not even kissed him). This was a girl who had been bullying me since high school. I am lying in wait for that day to get even with her, it's not going to be pretty! Voted useful and up. x

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 22, 2015:

Savvy - Betty is someone else's problem now. Executives often feel personally invested in those they hire so I'd wonder if that fair haired fella in your office wasn't some executive's relative or personal project. Oftentimes, it only comes out later why people protect these bullies. After doing a little digging on how he got to where he was and what problems he had with others previously, I'd immediately correct any wrong information and most especially look for allies. Figure out whether you seek to have him change or leave (or just don't care). He probably has enemies in the office that are facing the same problem.

savvydating on March 21, 2015:

Unfortunately, every office I've worked in has mean girls. They are the most hellish women and I seriously feel sorry for their children and husbands---not to mention all of us co-workers. You hit the nail on the head---it all stems from insecurity. Well, I'm glad you finally figured out what to do about evil Betty. I am currently dealing with someone who is passive-aggressive. If things don't go his way.... it ain't pretty. Yet, this person is perceived as "the darling "of the office. Oh brother! I came here to get some tips, besides the one's I've got up my sleeve. Ha! Voting Up & useful.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 30, 2014:

techygran - I don't blame you for making a good choice for yourself. You've got to protect yourself, whatever that involves. Sometimes it's simply leaving. Thanks for voting, pinning and sharing. Have a great week.

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on October 29, 2014:

FlourishAnyways, this is another one of your fascinating, totally relate-able hubs! Brilliant! I observed a lot of in-fighting and power-struggles in various jobs, but generally quit if I felt like I was in a situation that would result in some sort of health issue if I continued. Cowardly, yes, but it did save my sanity. I have encountered 'mean girls' in other situations outside the regular workplace, such as at church. Yes, isn't that sad? We are a toxic race of beings. I'm happy that there is now a "No Asshole Rule" functioning in some corners somewhere. Yay! Voted this hub up, useful, awesome, pinned and shared!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 28, 2014:

Lilleyth - You've got that right! My sentiments precisely. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Suzanne Sheffield from Mid-Atlantic on April 28, 2014:

Oh yes. Apparently Betty still thinks she is in high school. Reminds me why I choose to be my own boss.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 28, 2014:

Shyron - Don't ever let the bad girls (or guys) win! Glad you're a tough one in the end, too! Thanks for voting and sharing!

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on April 28, 2014:

Yes Flourish, I have had many a bully try to take me down or out. The best way to deal with them is stay as far away as possible and avoid all none job related interaction.

Glad you survived and flourished anyway.

Voted up, UAI and shared.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 28, 2014:

Jo - My former employer implemented a workplace violence policy and they tucked bullying in, congratulating themselves for being so compliant and forward thinking (because bullying is not against the law, unfortunately). In reality, if it's not based on some equal employment opportunity factor like race, national origin, etc., you are often left to your own devices to navigate the problem if you have poor management like I did. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on April 28, 2014:

Flourish, a lot of people will be able to relate to this. Bullying, unfortunately, still happens far too frequently despite most places implementing a workplace bullying policy. Bullying can have long lasting consequences as you've shown, this is an important share, excellent hub.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2014:

Rebecca - I'm glad you've never had to deal with this. I never imagined I would!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2014:

Inspired Heart - Yes, bullying even happens in HR (perhaps especially in HR, not sure). I appreciate your reading.

Yvette Stupart from Jamaica on April 27, 2014:

Thanks for a great hub, FlourishAnyway. The personal experiences you shared really placed a "face" on bullying in the workplace.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 27, 2014:

Well expressed! It's too bad we have to put up with these types. I have had pretty good luck with not having a bully coworker. But I have sure had some bullish bosses!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2014:

Faith, Betty's type is all around us -- people who are miserable and unsure about themselves inside, so they aim to make others' lives miserable, too. I'm sure Betty's habits are continuing in her retirement in other environments outside the workplace -- church, social groups, family. Thanks for voting, tweeting, sharing, and commenting.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 27, 2014:

I am so glad you flourished anyway, Fourish, despite the "Office Mean Girl" ...this is a sad reality here. Those "Bettys" are really sad souls. Love that one photo there!

Voted up +++, tweeting, pinning and sharing

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 26, 2014:

ologsinquito - Thanks for pinning! Have a terrific day!

ologsinquito from USA on March 26, 2014:

This is going on one of my bully boards, because I know it has the potential to help so many others.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 11, 2013:

Crafty - Good! No one should have to put up with a bully. Positive thoughts sent your way.

CraftytotheCore on December 11, 2013:

Hi Flourish! I'm just getting back here from the last time I commented to you. The problem seems to have subsided. It appeared to be a one-time thing. I'm still not sure why. But I will certainly email you if it happens again. Thank you for your support my friend!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 24, 2013:

Sorry to learn of that. Email me the details. I'm interested in knowing more if you want to share it.

CraftytotheCore on November 24, 2013:

Normally, I would ignore it. But they did something damaging off of HP. I'm not quite sure why they chose me. That was stupid on their part as I have private investigator training! I know who they are, but I don't understand their relationship to me. They have quite a following. Maybe they feel threatened? I don't know why that would be the case at all. I'm not in competition with anyone.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 24, 2013:

Crafty - It makes no sense that they would bully you but people do have their own agendas, wacy as they may be. Just keep on being your talented, engaging, fabulous self and ignore the haters. You're awesome Crafty Girl, awesome to your Craft core. Let the stuff roll off like water off a duck's back.

CraftytotheCore on November 24, 2013:

Flourish, I know what you mean. I had my share of Bettys when I worked in a large firm.

I'm glad I came across this article because I think I have a bully off of HP, but I think it's connected to HP. It's not someone I know or who I have ever dealt with on here. I don't know if it was a one-time attack or if they are out to cause a problem for me. They are a published writer. We don't even write about the same topics, so it really makes no sense to me at all.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 07, 2013:

Rohan - Thank you for reading and commenting. I am sorry you have had a si liar experience. Bad people like this are everywhere. Don't let them poison your joy for life.

Rohan Rinaldo Felix from Chennai, India on September 06, 2013:

A very meaningful article that I can relate to personally.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 05, 2013:

Thanks, LKMore01! I'm a firm believer that sooner or later, we all are going to get what we have coming to us. (Let's just hope it's good.) I wasn't going to get in the way of "Betty's" karma, but I hope she is ready for it. I certainly wasn't the only one she mistreated. Thanks for reading and commenting!

LKMore01 on September 05, 2013:

It's stories and situations like this that inspire me to be an entrepreneur! People are awful. I can't imagine putting up with that kind of manipulation every single day. However, the terrifying people you have worked with make your HUBS wonderfully refreshing and entertaining, Flourish!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 26, 2013:

Rajan - Bullies are indeed everywhere -- from the playground to the boardroom and the next cubicle over, from in-person to on-line. I agree with you that inside they are frightened children who were probably bullied themselves at one time. We are each someone's child, parent, spouse, friend. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 26, 2013:

Bullies are everywhere and suffer from insecurity and inferiority complex and to mask this they turn hostile. When they have the support of the management then it's like hell for the one who is at their receiving end. You did well not to get cowed down and leave the organisation.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on August 22, 2013:

theraggededge - It is important not to let the mean people win. They love to push and push, but inside I think they are frightened, unhappy children. It doesn't mean we need to carry their baggage though.

Bev G from Wales, UK on August 22, 2013:

So glad you didn't let her push you around. What an unhappy person she must have been underneath that horrible exterior. Toxic.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 26, 2013:

Yes, you are right, moonlake. It's sad you encountered them trying to do volunteer work. The "Highway 8" women even sounds like a gang of thugs, rather than do-gooding moms. Any time there is a group of people, there's always someone who sees it as a chance to gain power over others. Thanks for the votes, comment and read. Have a great weekend.

moonlake from America on May 26, 2013:

There always seems to be a bully no matter where you are or what you are doing. I hate volunteer work for just that reason never liked PTA always a bully there. When our kids were growing up the highway 8 women were our bullies they took over the school and no one else had any say......Voted up on your interesting hub.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 08, 2013:

Thank you, Demetry, for the read and comment. Management sets the tone, either positively or negatively by allowing and even modeling such bullying behavior. Interestingly, my manager was regularly bullied by the department director, a "superstar." There was a broad pattern of this behavior in the organization.

Demetry from Australia on May 08, 2013:

I enjoyed reading this, well told. It's unfortunate there are enabler managers that let this sort of damaging behavior carry on. Their inaction, along with the bully's actions, would lead to the loss of many good people.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 23, 2013:

Thank you, Alecia, for the read and your comment. I'm glad you never had to deal with Office Mean Girls!

Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on April 23, 2013:

It's sad to think bullies are still around after school. But it's true, some people exist at work solely to make life miserable for everyone else. I haven't had a personal experience but I have seen some people suffer at the hands of someone else. You did an excellent job of sharing your story and I'm glad you were able to stand up to her.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 22, 2013:

@tammyswallow - Your compliment means a lot, especially since I am so new at this. Those Bettys seem to get a special pleasure out of hurting others, but I'd like to think there is cosmic justice. To keep from wringing her neck, I always used to tell myself "don't get in the way of someone's karma."

@klidstone1970 - While you're in the thick of it, it is hard to imagine that other options exist. I'm happy you found a way out of that toxic environment before she made you sick and bitter. Be well and flourish in your new role, girl!

இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу from Niagara Region, Canada on April 22, 2013:

Good Lord, this sounds familiar. I worked for many years with someone like this until I finally had enough and just flat out quit. I have a better job, with WAY more responsibility, but it doesn't nearly cause me half as much stress. Good riddance to my "Betty."

Tammy from North Carolina on April 22, 2013:

I too dealt with a Betty at work at one point. It seems like they are almost always women and they don't have enough work to do so they torment others for entertainment. You have some really great hubs. You are an awesome contributor to Hubpages!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 16, 2013:

Yes, the enablers, the lieutenants! I think you are absolutely right. Thanks for the read, ologsinquito.

ologsinquito from USA on April 16, 2013:

I've encountered similar types in my lifetime. It's the cowardly enablers and the co-bullies that let this stuff get out of hand. I've learned that the best way to deal with these types is to get out of their orbit.

Welcome to Hub Pages. I hope you enjoy it here.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 01, 2013:

Thank you for your comments, PegCole17! They do seem to "know where the bodies are buried," so to speak. Karma will kick in at some point.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on March 30, 2013:

What a great tale and so well told! I've known my share of Betty's in the corporate world. Isn't it amazing how they seem to have an entourage of those who rally around them for support? I often wonder if these "mean girls" have pictures of executives in compromising situations that enables them to keep their jobs. That would explain their longevity.

For your sake, I'm glad you persevered and eventually moved into another role. Despite the extra long commute, it was the best solution and sometimes only way to battle these drama makers.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 19, 2013:

Thank you so much for your feedback, innerspin! Looks like she wanted you to help carry her baggage, so to speak!

Kim Kennedy from uk on March 19, 2013:

This brought back memories of an old boss. She could be supportive at times, but would cut you down with harsh and hurtful comments in the next breath. She was like that with everybody. I learned to grow a thick skin. It does help when you know it's not personal, though it's still difficult. Voted up and interesting.

Lisa Stover from Pittsburgh PA on March 15, 2013:

Good for you! I'm sure a lot of us women have at least one or two "Betty" stories, thanks for sharing yours!