So then...

About Me

Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."

Saturday, 11 June 2011

WEEK 168 The Law of Attraction

I still kick myself for initially believing everyone’s assertion that HOWARD was harassing me because he’d developed a crush. It’s taken me this long to open up and write about something so personally embarrassing.
Staff assured HOWARD’S fixation on my appearance and sexuality was his inability to deal with very strong feelings. I was told I should be flattered. Who wants to make socially awkward guy even worse by reporting his relentless, but insulting, attention to HR? Not forgetting he was my superior. Not forgetting also that everyone felt sorry for him. Time and again I gave HOWARD the benefit of the doubt because of it.
I knew it was bullying, but these issues made it tricky
Whilst it didn’t take me long to realise how wrong we were, years later I’m still humiliated. It annoys me that I believed someone who later came close to destroying my sanity actually liked me in the first place. Gullible, I call myself, for believing all that reverse psychology hokum. And now I find myself doubting any guy that teases me. What’s he trying to say? Is he another HOWARD, I wonder?
So I was heartened by a report recently circulated by Bullying UK about sexual bullying. It made me think. The list they give of sexist incidents is this:-
·         Abusive, sexualised name calling
·         Unwelcome looks and comments about someone’s appearance or attractiveness; either face to face or to others.
·         Spreading rumours of sexual nature
·         Inappropriate and uninvited touching
·         Inappropriate sexual innuendo and/or proposition
·         Graffiti with sexual content
·         Display/circulation of inappropriate material of a sexual nature
·         Badges or clothing depicting inappropriate sexual innuendo or language
·         In the most extreme form, sexual assault and rape
The thing my former colleagues and I readily misinterpreted is that some of the above list genuinely are the preoccupation of immature teens and young men. It’s a grey area. Sometimes it really is an inexpressive, awkward guy trying to impress his friends and having a secret crush on the girl he’s teasing. Abusive, sexualised name calling can be construed by an audience as banter. The same goes for sexual innuendo.
As I said, however, I did know there was a difference.
So what was it?
The difference is this; where the behaviour is 100% negative then it’s sexual bullying. HOWARD indulged in many things from the Bullying UK list, particularly name calling, comments about my looks, rumours, graffiti with sexual content and a preoccupation with sexual violence and rape.
What he didn’t once do is say anything kind or complimentary.
Not once!
So I guess the Law of Attraction is very much on face value. If you’re not sure whether someone is attracted to you or sexually bullying you then think about the last time they genuinely gave you a compliment. Even the inexpressive, awkward guy is itching to find a way to show his softer side. If you’re trying too hard to twist what may be reverse psychology, then you’re probably dealing with a very twisted character.
And it’s time to run a mile.
I realise now I’ve been a little hard on myself.  It’s only over a period of weeks or months that you’re going to get a true picture of someone’s motivation. The important thing is that you trust your instincts and listen to yourself. We all read people wrong, especially with our workmates telling us this, that and the other, but with increasing amounts of information to hand, we learn to keep ourselves and each other safe.  
And we learn to forgive ourselves in the process.
Best wishes


Maja said...

Hi I've just recently found your blog and it's very well written! I do know bullying personally not from work, from school, many years ago - and it takes years to recover, especially when you've been bullied as teenager..

Well you write that you has written a book about it - I'd love to read it but I do agree with publishers that the market is too small. I do read a lot - also chick-lit. I do think it would make a wonderful chick-lit book - you'd have to change some things though, add some romance one way or the other (perhaps after!), some devious plot in the office to give HOWARD his come-uppance - something like that. (Read 'I just don't know how she does it' for inspiration)I know it might seems like you'll be making light of a very serious subject, but you'll reach a very large audience, even though not all might understand it. You can always add an afterword with facts and website for this blog. Think of Marion keyes 'this charming man' about an abusive man where the story slowly unravels - I'd recommend it. She takes a very serious subject and commercializes it. I think you could do the same. You certainly have the writing skills. You just need to adopt the story for a wide, willing, English reading audience! Hope you'll use the idea (actually think it'd make a great movie as well). Sorry if there's any errors, I'm not dyslexic, just not a native English speaker. Good luck and I'll keep following your blog - btw, you might want to link to FB so that it is possible to share it..

Bullied By The Boss said...

Hi Maja,

Thanks for your feedback and thanks so much for complimenting the way I write. It means a lot.

Chick lit isn't something I've thought of, but it is food for thought and it would be a lot of fun to write; appealing to a wider audience and getting the general message across at the same time.

Being honest though, my heart's still in getting my original self-help book published. It's a smaller market, but having been at the sharp end of workplace bullying I feel I can do some good.

In asking whether I want to entertain first and help second, or do I want to help first and entertain second, it has to be the latter.

If I hadn't been through so much, perhaps it would have been different.

I am going to read the books you've recommended though, because like I said, it is food for thought and I'm sure I'd enjoy having an attempt at chick lit.

You never know, if I get a chick lit book out of it, I'll certainly be sending you a complimentary copy.


Maja said...

Thank you for replying:-)
You write that you'd rather get your message across first, entertain second.. I still think you'd get your message across to a wider audience, but I do understand if you feel it 'compromises' the seriousness of the situation. In my experience - getting a serious message acroos might demand the use of a low, common denominator (spelling??) like.. humour, love, violence... well you get my drift..I'd definitly read your (serious) book about workplace bullying, but I know I'd enjoy the chick lit more.. I loved the way they 'kicked back' in 'I don't know how she does it' but I (and I hope everybody) knows that revenge and love and all that stuff they put in chick lit - well real life doesn't work that way. But it is entertaining and food for thought at the same time! Which in my opinion is a good thing..
Good luck:-) and I'll keep following your blog..

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