Fellow victim's solo support

30th June 1995 at 01:00
I am a woman teacher in my forties, living in London, who was bullied by the head of my previous school.

Right from the start I felt uncomfortable in her presence. She was very stressed herself and obviously not coping well.

When she started to bully me, the only person in school to offer any support was someone who was getting the same bad treatment. Other colleagues were indifferent; some expressed relief that they were not being picked on, others said they believed the head was trying to get rid of me. My union rep refused to help.

A friend who is an experienced trade unionist advised me to keep a dated record of every incident and comment made, which I did. She further encouraged me to inform my local union branch about what was happening so that they were not without any knowledge if disciplinary procedures were ever started.

At the time of the bullying, I was going to a weekly therapy group which gave me a chance to explore my own feelings about what was going on. It helped me to realise I wasn't at fault and to keep my self confidence.

At the age of 42 I applied for a new job, told no one and got the job - the first one I applied for. It was not until I left the school that I realised I had been a victim of bullying.

I am still angry at the wimpishness of my colleagues but they now have the management they deserve. From my own experience I would offer the following advice: * Do not resign from your present job.

* Be aware that you are on your own and try to retain a good self image. This will help you to get a new job - which is the only solution.

* Counsellingtherapy can be helpful. I don't think I would have survived as well as I did without it.

* Keep a dated record of incidents and comments made by the bully and copies of any correspondence.

* Keep your local union branch informed of events so they are not in the dark when you need help.

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