Problems at work

Has anyone experienced problems at work with how others treat you due to your MS? I was being bullied at the library I worked at and so was moved to a new one. Three months into the new branch and I seem to be ‘irritating’ and ‘annoying’ two members of staff. The bullying is starting all over again. I don’t know if it is due to by cognitive problems, maybe behavioral problems I am unaware of, or what us going on? Why does this keep happening to me? Anyone else exoeriencing the same thing?

Hi Lyn,

I think your post maybe got delayed in the moderation queue, so seems to have moved straight to Page 2, without ever appearing on Page 1. Bumping it up again for you!

Do you think the bullying might simply be because you are new? If a newcomer moves into an already established group, they might not easily be accepted. Do you think the others might see you as pinching their work, or trying to muscle in in some way? I’m assuming they don’t know anything about your MS?

Or do you think they might have got wind of what happened at the other branch? I’m not saying that would excuse their behaviour, but might they be a bit peeved if they view it that they’ve been forced to take on someone who was already at odds with colleagues at another branch?

Do you have anyone you can trust (a good friend) who would be able to tell you gently but honestly, if she thought there were any cognitive or behavioural issues that could be causing friction at work? Do you think you might be slow with the work? I’m not working at the moment, but I know that I was! I think I could still do everything to a decent standard, but my output fell quite dramatically. But my colleagues knew I was ill. If, like me, you are just not getting through work at the same rate, but your colleagues know nothing of your illness, do you think they might suspect you of slacking? Or are you needing a lot of time off? Again, if they don’t know the background, they may assume this shows lack of commitment…

Have you had any feedback from supervisors about your work? Anything to indicate any problems with quality or quantity? Or ARE the “bullies” your supervisors?



Hi Lyn

I did experience some resentment about the number of times I was leaving early to go home and rest. This was during the first year after diagnosis. I had felt under pressure to return to work and, with hindsight, I returned too soon and was then suffering with extreme fatigue and further flare ups of symptoms which would subside if I rested. My line manager and my immediate colleagues were fully aware of my MS but despite my printing off information about symptoms etc didn’t seem as if they wanted to learn about it. I felt as if they thought it was my problem and had nothing to do with them. They certainly didn’t seem to empathise much and even used to roll their eyes if I attempted to explain how it was affecting me as if it was all I talked about (and I can assure you it most certainly was not).

Things culminated in a heated argument between myself and my line manager when she wrote up the minutes of one of our team meetings in which a question had been raised about staff shortages in the previous week. The truth was that she had let some of her ‘favourites’ (I firmly believe supervisors should treat everyone equitably and she did not) take time off at the same time for personal appointment. However to cover herself she put in the minutes that the shortages were caused by ‘staff sickness’ and then circulated it to senior management without letting her team review the minutes first. I was enraged and aggrieved. I still believe to this day that she was contravening the Equality Act and was effectively using me as a scapegoat. I had a very public argument with her in the next team meeting about it. Her response was to add a line in the next minutes which said “It was asked for it to be noted that the staff sickness in last month’s minutes did not refer to any one member of staff in particular.” Again I saw red. I had asked for her to completely retract the statement that shortages were caused by sickness as it was not true and as I was, by the time the minutes were out, experiencing another relapse requiring half days again, I was sure that management would think that I was never at work. I bypassed her this time and emailed senior management outlining all of the above. They called her in and told her categorically that she must never do that again.

The result is that she never forgave me and although I tried to move on, she made things increasingly difficult for me. It culminated in another massive fallout and I now have a new line manager who is supportive, understanding, empathetic and offers practical solutions without pity. She is exactly what I would wish for, for everyone with MS and I work much harder for someone who I wholeheartedly respect.

I really hope that you can get to the bottom of your problem and can find a way to build a rapport with your new colleagues. Maybe it is time to take the bull by the horns and ask them. Sometimes that is a really difficult thing to do as we don’t always like the answers we receive but at least you will find out if it is due to your personality or due to your cognitive issues or the pace of your work. At least then you can get them to understand what issues you face at work and how they can support you rather than turning against you. Are they aware of your MS? If they are, and they continue to treat you differently your supervisors have a duty to protect you.

Tracey x

Hi Lyn, sorry you are being bullied, it must be horrible for you. What I have learned about bullying is that once you have been bullied it is like you have a sign on you that attracts bullies. My daughter was so badly bullied at school that after they told me they could not guarantee her safety at school and I moved her to another school where she was again bullied to the extent I took her out of school early and with the schools permission and recommendation she started college at 15. Apparently once you are bullied to the extent it affects your self esteem you give off vibes of being an easy target and people who are bullies can see this and use it to make themseves seem bigger, better or just for badness. It does not matter what age you are, bullies are everywhere and it makes me so mad. How dare people make other people feel bad or in fear. Can you talk to your line manager? Is there another staff member you are close to and are able to ask in confidence if you are displaying any behaviour you are not aware of? Has your family mentioned any behaviour of yours that you are not aware of? Are you able to confront the bullies, either one on one or if they gang up on you as a cowardly duo? I am so mad for you right now. I hope you can get this sorted as this is not something you need while dealing with MS. Big hugs Linda x