I work as a programmer at a small tech startup. The team is ~6 people. I've been working there almost 3 years. I am the first employee, but not a founder.
One of the founders has treated me like shit since the beginning. For a long time, I thought this was how he treated everyone, but I've always had a harder time than most.
So I googled it, and turns out, a lot of workplace bullies do it because they feel their job is threatened. This makes sense in my situation. Some backstory.
Over time, I've come to do almost the entirety of the programming here (to the point where I just tell people I do it all; e.g. 99%). Over the years, we even fired a major contractor position and I took over that work.
(It wasn't a hostile takeover; they couldn't pull it together, but I could.)
It's gotten to the point where even the sociopathic founder doesn't have much to do, and we are in this role-reversal where, when I have something he can do for me, I tell him.
I can see his point of view, and I can see how he might feel his job is threatened by me.
Additionally, since I've taken on so much work that others couldn't do, I have been on a deathmarch working >80 hour weeks for going on 18 months now.
My boss (who is also his boss) is aware of many of the shortcomings of his co-founder. My boss has pulled me aside numerous times and basically explained how Toxic (we'll call him that) is not my boss, and if I have any trouble with Toxic, to just let him know.
Unfortunately, Toxic seems to have nothing better to do than to drive me to the point of insanity, and not enough work to keep him from torturing me.
Subconsciously, I realized a long time ago to avoid him. I work mostly nights, or try to work from home. But I still need to interact with the team, and there he is (nothing better to do, remember?).
It's only recently that I've realized he's bullying because I pose a threat to him professionally. On some level, I probably always knew he was a bully, but didn't know why.
I have been so focused on (and overwhelmed by) getting the job done, that really I just wasn't aware of what was going on. Yes, I am a social idiot.
Normally, I would just quit. No job is worth that kind of abuse, right? Most advice I've read online basically just says to GET OUT. And if this were any other job, I would.
But, in my situation, I don't want my years of effort to go to waste. I have a (very small) amount of "ownership" in the company, but even that isn't worth staying for.
Really, what's keeping me, is that I want to see my efforts get to fruition. Forgive my lack of humility for a second, but this whole thing will fall apart if I leave. I don't want to see that happen. I feel like I've put my whole life into this, and for the past several years, I have.
But the mental abuse, combined with the already stressful job, is killing me.