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Being isolated at work

Community Member

Hi all,

I am woman in my mid 40s who has previously suffered severe anxiety and depression. More recently I had been relatively well but feel myself relapsing due to what is happening at work. I come home most nights emotionally drained and sometimes in tears. I am also having trouble sleeping.

I work for a large organisation that has a terrible culture and where I have seen people been treated poorly. It is also rife with cliques. There has been a recent restructure and there have been changes and I now find myself in a small team of 3 plus one other person who works closely with our area and who is considered as unofficially the fourth member of the team. That fourth member is the ring leader of what is happening.

These team members have begun leaving me out both in terms of going for coffee and lunch and they are communicating electronically amongst themselves via a chat functionality we have with our emailing system, called Lync. I know that they are communicating amongst themselves as it very obvious. It makes me feel uncomfortable as I often wonder if it is about me. Also, they do not include me in the open banter nor work related discussion in our open plan. As I am being ignored and deliberately left out I have tried engaging in conversation and have received clipped monoslavatic responses. So I summed up the courage and I asked the question whether there was something wrong or whether I have done something to offend inadvertently and was brushed off with its just work and being busy, which is not the case.

I am reluctant to raise it with my manager as I don't think she is likely to do anything and she is also located interstate. Therefore she is not around to see what is happening. I wonder whether this exclusion is a form of bullying or whether I am being overly sensitive.

This situation is taking its toll on me mentally and I feel myself slipping back into mental illness.

I'm looking for any advice or coping strategies....

Thanking you kindly


8 Replies 8

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello DS17

Welcome to the beyond blue forums and good on you for having the courage to post too!

Im in my 50's and an ex manager in the private sector with HR experience. I hope I can be of some help to you

The forums are a rock solid & safe place to post. Your privacy is Paramount here

You are an intelligent and seasoned professional from what I can see. I understand when you mention mental illness as I have clinical depression for 21 years, medicated and been working until 12 months ago (just fyi)

If you can let me know a bit more about the fourth 'team member' it will help me understand a bit more...even just their age will help.

I see that they are leaving you out of the general office banter/discussion.....You are not overly sensitive on this one....I couldnt stand it...That would hurt....a lot...

Is your work environment performance based?

Please excuse the questions...just trying to get a handle on whats happening if thats okay 🙂

In the meantime this is a work environment....they seem to have you on the 'outside' however I cant see any bullying from what you have said. I see a dysfunctional management style though.....Even if your management is located interstate, you still have an avenue open to you.

You are not on your own here DS17. Just need a bit more info if that is okay with you 🙂

my kind thoughts


Community Member

Thank you Paul,

Im going to be very careful as i don't want to inadvertently disclose where i work through the details i provide. But i agree with your observation of it being dysfunctional. And yes it is hurtful being excluded and ignored.

The fourth person is at a higher level than the rest of us. We do not report into her but our work intersects and as such she attends some of our meetings.

She is always very polite and agreeable to the majority thus making herself likable. However, there have been instances were she has been defensive and agressive towards some staff. There have been 4 instances that i am aware of. One of which was aimed at me. Unfortunately, i teared up at the time as it upset me. And there are a small handful of people who witnessed this behaviour.

The other 2 in my direct team are new to the area and are not aware of these instances and i have not said anything and nor would i.

The fourth works with the Leadership team and Executive Director.we are all in our 40s. So it is not due to an age difference.

Kindest regards


Community Member

Hello DS16,

As blondguy has posted being left out of general office banter/discussion is a situation that is very uncomfortable feeling that you are experiencing that could be improved by the managements practices. Is there a way you could provide some feedback to them on strengthening the team by making people feel more inclusive in your office.

Are you a new member to the company/working team? I feel this sometimes could stir up some of these feelings you are going through at present and could need some work to learn more about the people you work with. People enjoy talking about themselves like the things they love, interests and even made to feel they could help you with problem solving. This sort of thing has the power to break the ice at times by asking questions and listening to the group before engaging with the group. Are you any good at cooking cakes as food is another tool to break the ice by providing change to the day.

Glad to read in your post you plucked up the courage to ask the questions you did to ease the unhelpful thoughts and feelings you are going through. With the response you have received you have the power to question your thoughts when they pop into your mind. By this i mean if there is a thought like, "They are talking about me", you could question this sort of thought by, "What evidence have i got to this? Is it going to matter in a week, month or year?"

I feel concerned about your trouble sleeping as this is something that impacts on your mental well being. You may like to go to your doctors and discuss that you are not sleeping as they may be able to help you with a mental help plan.

Be kind to yourself and don't beat yourself up for things that are out of your control.

Gen [Hugs]

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi DS17 and thanks for posting back

So many titles & levels of management DS. I have worked for similar companies that have this time wasting management structure even at my level as a senior exec.

My first experience with acute anxiety was in 1983 when I 23. I wasted 13 years of my life by thinking I could get over it by eating well and exercising...oops....It works a little but in '96 I took my GP's advice and went on meds which gave me my career back (thats just my experience DS17) and the ability to learn the various coping techniques more effectively.

Its just a personal viewpoint DS but if I was in your situation now....I would have a vent to my GP/Counsellor as I used to 'tear up' as well. It doesnt mean we are weak in any way. We are only 'over sensitized' to our environment (workplace)by having a disposition to anxiety/depression.

I was criticized for not having a 'thick skin' which really bugged me. My doc helped me vent through the same period as you are going through and it worked when I had weekly visits

Thanks for explaining that there is no age difference. That helps me understand a lot more

You are not 'over sensitive' in any way.....we have a lower tolerance level for stress through our pre-existing anxiety/depression.

I do hear you about the 'bullying' though and you make a good point.

Right now a 'Coach' would help you re-build your foundations so you can deal with these time wasters and being micromanaged for little or no reason.

Your privacy is paramount here DS....(and mine) Sorry about the questions...

I hope I have been of some help to you DS17 🙂

you are not alone here that I do know....

my kindest


Community Member

Hi DS16,

Please forgive me for my post as i did not see the second part of your post or i posted as you did.

When you mentioned in your second post that the fourth person to the team has been defencive and aggressive at staff at times could be some pressures of job workload or may be somewhere else. You have no control of someone else's emotions and it is vital you look after your own.

Are you able to ask if they are ok as they too may be struggling with things or get someone who is closer to ask that question.


Community Member

Thanks Gen,

I am not new to the organisation. I have been there for nearly 10 yrs. And i am one of the few who contributes to the many morning teas and fundraisers.

I have employed the strategies you are suggesting with this team, with no success. I feel that there is more going on here than the inability to be social which is why i thought perhaps it is bullying.

The 2 others are new to the organisation.

You raise a good point. Perhaps the fourth has her own issues. In light of the way i have been treated i don't feel comfortable asking that question and i don't feel comfortable raising it with others to raise with her.

The lack of sleep is an issue. It is affecting my mental health. Im exhausted. Mentally and physically and i am not on top of my game at work. I think i do need some councelling and i need to go to the GP to get help

Thanks again Gen

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hey DS17

The lack of sleep can be a pain let alone interfere with the new day ahead.

I see a person that is trying their hardest at work (with some seniority as well) with little or no back up.

I hope you can find some peace soon. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by having a chat to your GP. You will only come out with stronger foundations to help you cope with these people.

Your health is paramount from our viewpoint. Gen has provided some great advice above too

I really hope you can stick around DS17. The forums are a judgemental free zone and a Safe place for you to post

my kind thoughts for you and your well being 🙂


Community Member

Hi I have found myself in tears at work. Im a mess. My colleagues all talk about me behindmy back and smile to my face. Ive heard the most horrendous things about myself from colleagues telling me what others say about me. People Ive worked with for a long time who actually hate me and I had no idea.Theyve said things about my race... derogatory things to my face. I was strong and ignored it for a long time.

Now I have no one at all I can trust or talk to. Everything I say or do is discussed behind my back. Im a good worker. I do my work,meet my data requirements. I have been friendly and stood up for my colleagues when they are being treates unfairly. Ive seen people bullied to the point of tears and then sacked. There are so many cliques all united by hating on myself and one or two others.

My manager has blatantly lied about me to tye CEO. The CEO has broken my trust with confidential conversations causing more disdain toward me.

Even a board member has gossiped to other workers about a private conversation I had with her and the CEO about someone else being bullied.

Im at a complete loss. Im out of all types of leave. Im constantly being questioned over my work despite my work being good. For 8 years my work has been good. No complaints just constant questioning.

I struggle to come to work but Im also a single Mum who cant afford to lose my job or change jobs at this time.

Ive asked for help at work but no one believes that Im struggling. No one takes me seriously. I promise Im a good worker. I have not caused any of this. They hate me foe my race. They hate me because one of the rumours is that Im related to our CEO (Im not) I in such a pit here I dont know how to fix this.

Every time Ive been asked to put anything in writing my confidentiality is breached everyon gossips about what a liar I am.

Ive been "felt up" at work and everyone watching did nothing to help me. Ive been yelled at and peopke around laughed. Ive been told Im a liar and full of shit in front of my manager and he did nothing at all.

I dont know how to stop feeling so alone and so desperate for help.