One of the most significant stressors in experiencing workplace bullying is sorting out what is happening to you. The bullying behaviors themselves are bad enough, but the process of comprehending that you’re being targeted — especially when the bullying is covert or indirect — often adds a solid layer of stress and anxiety. What the h**l is going on here? is a question that runs through a lot of minds.
I feel compelled to say to readers who are current or past bullying targets that I understand how simply reading this post may push buttons and serve as a reminder of your experience. On balance, however, we must opt for spreading knowledge as a form of power. The more we readily grasp and recognize workplace bullying, the less anguish people will experience in trying to understand their situations.
Indeed, over the years I have heard from so many individuals who reported feeling very relieved when they discovered, say, the website of the Workplace Bullying Institute or this blog. The mere knowledge that this form of mistreatment exists and has a name can be deeply validating to those who are experiencing abuse at work.
As I suggested above, the process of comprehending a situation is especially challenging when bullying behaviors are more covert or indirect. Understandably, people on the receiving end sometimes question their judgment and assumptions, wondering if their instincts are reliable. In cases of gaslighting behaviors designed to confuse or disorient a target, this result may be intentional. All too often, folks in these situations wait too long to act.
So, here’s to education and awareness about one of the most frequent and harmful forms of job-related mistreatment. While workplace bullying is not an enjoyable topic to contemplate, understanding it can be empowering and useful when the need arises.
The Need Help? page of this blog provides a list of resources about workplace bullying specially useful to workers.
In addition, I served as a subject matter expert to the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence, helping them develop this public information page on workplace bullying, with an emphasis on resources for employers.
Free blog subscription
For a free subscription to Minding the Workplace, go to “Follow this blog” at the top right of the home page, and enter your e-mail address.