OCD & Bullying – Victoria’s Story

I used to think that bullying only happened in schools, the awful behaviour of kids being mean to other kids, it’s truly heartbreaking.

Little did I realise that it would present itself in adulthood too.

After many years in different jobs, I finally got offered an opportunity to train with a well-respected company I greatly admired and had done for a considerable.

My nerves eased as I was given a warm welcome by my boss who was excited at my potential and believed I would become successful in my new role.

My boss and I became great friends and we all, along with some other colleagues, often socialised together. We discussed everything, not just work-related issues but also things to do with our personal lives. I one day confided in my boss about my struggle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

I was fortunate to have been able to complete my training earlier than anticipated which enabled me to take on clients of my own quite quickly. 

Professionalism and doing the company proud were paramount to me. I worked incredibly hard, did overtime most evenings and completed tasks relating to my job on my days off. There was a surge in clients and I got busier and busier. It was then my boss’s behaviour began to change…

It started with sly comments. As a result of some particularly unkind statements one day, I had it out with him, asking him to let me know if he was unhappy with the quality of my work or if I had done something to upset him. He ignored my questions. 

He then started to belittle me in front of my clients, picking faults in my work and my colleagues informed me that he had shared a story about me which was untrue. However, my clients continued to give me great reviews and my waiting list was growing rapidly despite my boss’s ongoing criticism.

I remained focused, but my confidence was crumbling. I couldn’t work out what I had done or why things had changed. I started to feel ill at the thought of going to work each day. My OCD became progressively worse as my boss informed me of appliances that I “forgot” to switch off and things I failed to check, all of this I know now to be untrue but I believed him at the time. I put his behaviour down to his unhappy home life and continued to show him empathy for his circumstances.

One day I went to work, a client was travelling for 4 hours for a consultation with me. My boss was particularly unkind. I experienced a sharp pain behind my eye followed by pressure in my head, then my vision became distorted. This was frightening and I panicked as it took a while for my vision to return while the headache remained. 

I was diagnosed with anxiety and told I had experienced a migraine. These went on to be a regular occurrence, quite often I had to lie in a quiet, dark room for several hours to relive them. My work life became unbearable.

I had seen something on social media about Trauma Research UK and the way they helped people overcome different anxiety disorders through Zoom sessions with one of their trained mentors. It was suggested that I complete a timeline to identify negative events that led to my anxiety.  As we were discussing the events surrounding my work, my mentor encouraged me to view the way I had been treated from a different perspective. It was like a light was switched on as I realised I was being bullied but I did nothing to deserve it. All of a sudden,  I felt like I was gifted the most amazing clarity that I never considered before.

My mentor allowed me to see that I wasn’t failing in my job, my boss was simply threatened by my success and felt that in comparison to my progress, he felt insecure.

Therefore he targeted areas in my life (which was my OCD) where I was at my most vulnerable and tried to use the tools at his disposal to bring me down and hinder my success.

I am so grateful to this wonderful charity for giving me the tools, techniques and perspectives that have literally changed my life. I recently left my job and have since moved on to something better. I’m the happiest I have ever been.