Ask Aunty S


Dear Aunty S

When I began reading your old posting of a young man who stayed with you to recuperate after being bullied, I realized I had to share our story with you.

When our son left school he worked for an older man who bullied him everyday.

His father and I told him he was in the real world now and if he wanted to finish his apprenticeship he would have to take it. He walked off the job much to our disappointment after five months.

We never spoke to him for several years as his employer was a friend and he told us of how he gave him many chances even though he was belligerent and lazy at work. We felt so ashamed.  We never doubted his word.

Five years later we found out he had driven a new apprentice to the brink of suicide after our son left and all other apprentices or workers had only lasted a few months. They all had been horrifically bullied.

We were devastated that we had been lied to.

We made contact with our son and apologized and thankfully he has forgiven us but we have wasted so many years being angry with him when it wasn’t his fault.

When we sat down and finally listened to him as to what happened, we were shocked; the bullying started from day one on the job and was an everyday occurrence. His employer would scream abuse over anything; if he couldn’t find a tool, it was my sons fault and would shoulder charge him and scream into his ear that he was useless just like his father. The list goes on. The hardest one to listen to was when he described how he would play practical jokes on him endangering his life on many occasions.

I hope other parents read this and will listen to their son’s if they talk of being bullied in the workplace.

Our son survived with no help from us and some days I can hardly live with myself for what I did to my son. My husband’s guilt brought on a heart attack and he often cries with shame.

Everything you wrote about a bully is so true.


Aunty S responds


Sadly, since first broaching the subject of bullying a year ago, I have heard many similar stories.

Thank you my dear for sharing your story and your son’s story. I acknowledge how hard it would have been to put this into print.

Six years ago workplace bullying was never mentioned so you were in the dark as to how manipulative a ‘bully’ employer could be.

Of course, through your naivety, you let your son down but you have a second chance; some parents do not.

I can only imagine the guilt you are living with.

But let’s take a good look at the situation.

From where I am sitting, it appears all three of you were victims.

Yes your son suffered the most but he was courageous and walked.   On his own, he convinced another employer in the same trade, to take him on so he could complete his apprenticeship. How proud you must be of him.

You were lied to and manipulated by your friend into believing the worst of your son. An excellent bullying tactic!

Only time will heal your hearts but try hard to forgive yourselves; your son has.

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