I was targeted at a job where I had worked for 10 years. My manager suddenly started bullying and micromanaging, and his goal was obviously to get rid of me.

HR would not believe I was a target. They said I just had to improve my work and meet the new higher standards.

I tried harder and harder, and as my work improved the bullying became more intense. My manager found fault with everything I did, and it had nothing to do with reality.

I suffered through that for a year, and finally started looking for another job, even though I thought I was too old to ever find work in my field.

However, I found a job pretty easily because I actually have good skills. I have been at the new job for over a year and no one has found fault with my work and I have not been bullied.

I think anyone can suddenly become a target of mobbing or bullying, at work or any place else, including your own family. Something starts it, and it can be impossible to stop.

A group can decide that a member should be ejected, and it goes into mobbing mode. People say negative things about the target, and everyone believes it, because we naturally believe everything we hear, however unlikely it might be.

I was mobbed by my family of origin when we had a conflict over caring for a disabled parent. The conflict was eventually resolved, but there were years when I felt I did not belong in the family at all.

I am sure bad things were said about me during those years. Now, even though we are all on good terms again, I can tell that those bad things are subconsciously still believed.

I learned some important things from being targeted. I try not to do it to others, for one thing. I am aware that negative gossip can be deadly.

I also know how suddenly and easily our status in a group can change.

I also learned that there are times when we should give up and leave an environment where, for reasons we probably don't understand, we no longer belong.