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What Happened When I Was Gaslit By My Boss?

I started my new job with the kind of inflated confidence that comes with finally acquiring a fancy title and a salary that would pay off student credit card debts still lingering from 2012. I even bought a blazer with the ASOS voucher given to me as a leaving gift from my old team. I hadn’t worn a blazer since high-school so clearly, I meant serious business at this point in my life.

Like 49% of UK workers who took part in a LinkedIn survey, I consider a good relationship with colleagues as being one of the biggest factors for feeling fulfilled at work – so I was relieved to find that my new boss was a gem to work with. In those first two months, I enjoyed learning the ropes and taking advantage of the office perks. Then, I was moved to work under a different manager.

Six months later, I became part of the 41% of employees who told the same survey that they left a job due to being unsatisfied with the leadership. My days were spent crying in the loos, doubting my abilities, questioning my work ethic, losing all confidence and becoming withdrawn from the team. I felt worthless. But it wasn’t because I was swamped with deadlines, dealing with a shouting boss or being told I was a failure. Bizarrely, it was the complete opposite…

… The impact that this type of behaviour can have on staff is huge and includes mental stress, anger, anxiety and lowered motivation. “Gaslighting is bullying,” Evelyn Cotter, CEO of SEVEN Career Coaching tells me. “If someone is consistently behaving in a way that undermines you or your work, that is malicious behaviour and classed as toxic.” And I’m certainly not the only woman to have experienced this kind of behaviour in the office. Recently revised research from UNISON and Portsmouth University found that six in 10 workers had been bullied or had witnessed bullying.

Read the full article by HOLLIE RICHARDSON on Refinery 29 here.

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