Signs Of Workplace Bullying
Posted by on November 13, 2012 ·
Not only are bullies extremely prevalent during school years, but many adults are finding workplace bullying a common occurrence as well.
However, a lot of workplace bullying has gone undetected because not many are swift to label it as such. Many individuals that experience workplace bullying, especially from a superior, consider these abrasive actions typical for their position.
What many people do not understand, however, is that workplace bullying can cause trauma to the victims of workplace bullying. This trauma can lead to depression and anxiety, as well as decreased efficiency at work, and in some cases, severe PTSD. It is important to be able to identify workplace bullying and know the rights of workers in such cases.
The following article from Forbes describes the signs of workplace bullying and explicates how it negatively affects nearly 40% of workers today.
Bullying Means Repetitive Acts That Are Unreasonable And Affects The Employees Safety At Work Where Bullying Behaviour Causes Psychological Injury A Workers Compensation Claim Will Always Be Accepted
In the case of The State of Tasmania v S TASWRCT 39, the Supreme Court found the Tasmanian Department of Education liable for anxiety and PTSD a teacher suffered after:
- being bullied by colleagues
- being physically attacked by a student and
- witnessing aggressive conduct between colleagues and a student.
Her employer denied liability and suggested a COVID19-related restructure, and other administrative actions caused her condition. However, her employer also admitted it took no action when she previously raised complaints about workplace bullying and a toxic culture because she was unable to provide specific examples.
The three defences to a workers compensation claim for psychological illness are:
It is not an injury The injury did not arise out of or in the course of employment The injury was cause by reasonable management action
Reasonable Management Action are actions taken by the employer to manage the employee which is reasonable to take, and is undertaken in a fair and reasonable manner.
What Is Bullying And What Qualifies As A Trauma
Bullies can use direct tools like punching, kicking, blackmailing, threatening, and stealing their victims’ belongings, or constantly ridiculing and name-calling. They can also turn to less direct methods like ignoring or socially excluding the person or group of people they’re picking on.
Victims are often powerless to escape the bullying on their own because, as one paper points out, “bullying occurs in settings where individuals do not have a say concerning the group they want to be in”, like schools and even workplaces.
The first diagnostic criterion someone has to meet to be able to get a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder is exposure to trauma. The fifth edition of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders defines trauma as “actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence”. While it’s true that bullying sometimes involves all of those things, it doesn’t always. Prolonged social isolation and emotional rather than physical abuse have also been shown to leave a deeply detrimental psychological mark, but the DSM-5 doesn’t account for this.
One study defined trauma differently as an “an inescapably stressful event that overwhelms people’s existing coping mechanisms”. That, I think we can all agree, describes the experience of chronic bullying very well.
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Signs Of Ptsd At Work Include:
Workplace PTSD can be triggered or intensified in various ways at the workplace. Some of the problems associated with the workplace for white-collar PTSD are:
- Failure to meet organizational goals.
- Increased absence due to sickness.
- Panic attacks.
- Difficulty completing tasks.
- Poor reactions with coworkers.
Most of the time, the health problems experienced by individuals with PTSD at work result in a sense of helplessness and negative emotional states. Low self-esteem can further hamper the employees ability to respond to challenging goals. Such individuals fail to contribute their best work, do not give ideas for improvement, do not provide feedback on failures and are less honest about their flinging performance.
Workplace Bullying Victims Can Be Marked For Life
There is a known link between workplace bullying and ill health in the form of psychosomatic symptoms and severe psychological stress symptoms. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and general anxiety disorders have also been identified in bully victims and even non-bullied employees can be negatively affected when they witness workplace bullying.
For these victims of workplace bullying, they perceived the bullying as a psychic trauma, a traumatic life event, or as a life crisis. According to these victims, bullying left an internal scar or vulnerability, which would never heal completely, but would easily reopen and continue to cause harm. When these victims were reminded of the bullying, this reopened the old internal wounds and tensed and painful memories were brought back again. Bullying was most often perceived by these victims as a purely negative event rather than as an event that also provided personal development and strength or other positive gains. Bullying destroyed the victims mental or physical health.
See our article, Does Workplace Bullying Affect Your Staff Mental Health?
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Bullies In The Workplace Essay
Bullies in the Workplace One of the common issues that workers have to deal with is workplace bullying. There is a difference between workplace bullying and harassment. Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes harm. It can include such tactics a verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse, and humiliation . Bullies intimidate people whom they perceive as being weak in fact, they believe that they are better than their victim.
In contrast, harassment victims experience discrimination ecause of the following: sex, age, race, disability, religion, color of their skin, and gender. Markedly, there are laws and policies in place for workplace harassment, but not for workplace bullying. Bully victims experience repeated acts against them. In fact, bullies want to control their victims. Bullying victims can experience abuse from coworkers or supervisors, maybe even from a group of coworkers. In reality, workplace bullying can occur in small businesses as well as large corporations.
Reflections On 20 Years Of Treating Targets Of Workplace Bullying
Principal Pat Ferris Consulting at Pat Ferris Consulting
I recently gave a presentation to psychologists in Melbourne, Australia reflecting on my 20 years experience treating targets of workplace bullying. This gave me the opportunity to review my learning and growth as a therapist in this field. I thank my clients and my international colleagues in the Therapist Special Interest Group of International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment , and my mentor, Evelyn Field for the insights I have gained. My goal in this article is to share my learning on the depth of the wounding for those who have experienced Workplace Bullying, the diagnostic issues confronting treatment professionals, and my insights to the most effective treatment strategies. I hope these insights will provide therapists, targets, and organizational representatives insight to the need for prompt and effective treatment for targets of workplace bullying and to developing a deeper understanding the nature of the wound created from experiencing workplace bullying.
The therapeutic journey can take longer than other psychological issues because of the need to establish safety and trust, validate and educate on the injury and therefore needs commitment by all, including the organization to provide the time required to heal. If a client comes to therapy long after their experiences, therapy may need a long term approach.
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Well After Leaving A Job People Shared That Anything From Retracing Their Old Commute To Otherwise
Those who have experienced trauma in the past whether linked to gender, racism or other bigotry can particularly struggle in toxic work environments. If you have a hostile workplace, or a supervisor who’s aggressive or some dynamics with colleagues that feel intimidating or toxic, that can trigger prior memories for people who have had trauma, says Dr Shaili Jain, a physician and trauma researcher at Stanford University. Real symptoms can start manifesting in reaction to the current-day situation.
No matter the type of issue a worker experiences, the most damaging environments are also generally the hardest places to report problems. One major factor is power imbalances between managers and lower-level workers in hierarchy-driven workplaces, workers may find it especially challenging to complain to supervisors.
A lack of communication can become even more of a problem when gender, race or age dynamics are in play. Emily, for example, says she constantly felt discomfort trying to create boundaries at her toxic job because her superiors largely white men dismissed her attempts to detach from their drinking culture, and suggested she couldnt fit in with the company culture without participating.
These dynamics can combine to make trauma more acute and longer lasting a major problem for workers of all stripes, no matter how the severity of their individual experiences.
Hope for reprieve?
Pted Affects Both Adults And Children
A German psychiatrist, Professor Michael Linden, has been carrying out research to distinguish the varying degrees of the embittered mind. He describes how PTED effects people saying . Its one step more complex than anger. Theyre angry plus helpless. PTED patients might not fit the formal criteria for PTSD and can be clinically distinguished from it, prompting the description of this new and very separate health disorder.
Professor Linden is adamant that in chronic cases of PTED, the patient is highly likely to need psychological intervention. He talks about an approach called Wisdom Therapy which leaves the patient with strategies to help him solve a complex problem within himself. Wisdom Therapy, a form of Coaching, also addresses lifestyles, life-planning and life interpretation.
Christine Pratt, Founder of The National Bullying Helpline says Clearly, PTED is all embracing and life-changing. Embitterment needs to be seen as a unique emotion in its own right. It is an extremely serious and debilitating mental illness. These people are trapped in the past, unable to move on with their lives. Anti-depressants and mediation is not the answer.
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Psychosomatic Symptoms Develop Very Early
Within months of the commencement of the bullying, these victims developed both psychological and psychosomatic symptoms. They experienced an inability to concentrate and/or sleep, mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, despair, and fear. They had headaches, gastric reflux, hypersensitivity to loud noises, respiratory and cardiac complaints, hypertension and pain all over their bodies. In the first few months these symptoms disappeared when the bully was not at work, but over time they became continual and chronic. These victims told that they lived in constant fear of both the bullies and the negative rumours that had been spread about them. They remained in long-standing stress conditions. For these victims, perceived meaning in life disappeared and thoughts of suicide offered a final solution when they believed that they were incapable of changing the situation.
Will Workplace Bullying Result To Ptsd
May 20, 20191:49 pm2003 views
Bullying builds a character like nuclear waste creates superheroes. Its a rare occurrence and often does much more damage than endowment.
Zack W. Van
Duncan McKinnon, MSc Psychology & Physiology at the Open University, said that bullying takes many different forms, including continuous, direct and verbal, physical violence, or silent psychological treatment. What makes it worse, this unacceptable act of bullying is often done by someone close to the victim.
In a workplace setting, coworkers are prone to do the act of bullying than those who are in a higher level like a manager or CEO. For example, a continuous act of backbiting or talking unpleasant topics in front of the victim can be considered as verbal bullying. Being bossy over other employees is also an unacceptable act that can result in negative feeling or behaviour. However, managers can also be the bully, even unconsciously. For example, when they assign a mountain of heavy tasks to an employee alone for a certain period because of some personal reasons.
If the act of bullying is left unaddressed, this would lead to serious cases such as highly stressed workers and lower self-confidence. It can also produce a traumatic condition and behaviour. This trauma will generally produce anxiety, depression, and lack of self-worth to the victims. Sleep deprivation is also an effect of bullying trauma. It, then, can follow on the effort of work concentration difficulties, said McKinnon.
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Workplace Bullying Can Trigger Anxiety And Depression
Who would believe that bullying would continue into the workplace? Many people expect bullying to end the day that final high school bell rings . They hope that those in college, and even in the workforce, will treat them as an equal and without judgment. The truth is that bullying continues every day and age does not play a part when it comes to how people treat others and the hurtful things that are said.
Secondary And Tertiary Interventions
Secondary interventions aim to reduce the impact of bullying. The aim is to detect bullying as soon as possible to halt or slow its progress. Strategies are in place to prevent a recurrence, to help employees who have been bullied to retain regular health and functioning and to address and adjust the behaviours of the bullies.
Tertiary interventions aim to reduce the impact of the lasting eects of bullying. The aim is to help people manage long-term, often complex health problems and psychological injuries. To improve their ability to function, their quality of life and their life expectancy. Workplace bullying can result in changing the victims basic assumptions about themselves and their view of the world.
everything that earlier was me, that is no longer me.
This article is also available on the Tap into Safety Podcast.
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Articles Related To Bullying And The Workplace
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Workplace Ptsd & Corporate Bullying
While PTSD is often linked with veterans whove experienced military combat, sexual assault survivors, or catastrophic events, experts are reporting an alarming rise of the condition caused by workplace bullying, with increased stress and anxiety leading up to the same symptoms people experience after returning from a combat zone.
One of the many areas that PTSD affects is the workplace. There are many individuals with PTSD who are able to work and are functioning at a level where they are able to hold a job some successfully, and some just barely, writes Dr. Amy Menna, in her article Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Workplace: What Employers and Coworkers Need to Know. The level of success one has at his or her place of employment depends on many factors including the level of impairment, and support outside and inside the work environment.
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Public Opinion On Us Workplace Bullying
Bullying on the job has begun to receive more publicity as employers and employees become conscious of its risks. For the majority of Americans, bullying is no longer acceptable behavior. According to key findings of a 2014 survey carried out by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 72 percent of people are now aware of the dangers of workplace bullying. 93 percent of survey respondents are in support of legislation to make American workplaces safer for victims and potential victims of bullying on the job.
Workplace Bullying Causes Anxiety Issues
Workplace bullying can be a traumatic experience for those who are targeted. In fact, the distress, pain, and victimization that targets experience impacts almost every aspect of their lives leaving them feeling lonely, isolated, depressed, and anxious.
Whats more, the effects of workplace bullying not only linger long after the victim has moved on but also can reappear later in the form of various anxiety disorders.
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Examples Of The Different Types Of Bullying
Bullying cannot only impact a victim during childhood, but the physical and/or verbal abuse can affect a person into adulthood.
There are also various types of bullying a person might endure, such as:
- Verbal teasing
- The spreading of rumors about a victim
- Exclusion from social groups
Each of the above actions will be taken to upset and demean a victim, which could lead to feelings of isolation, fear, anxiety, and depression. A victim might also have suicidal thoughts, as they might feel unable to cope with the bullying or their symptoms of PTSD.
Life After Bullying Begins
Imagine out of nowhere you are repeatedly blindsided by unexpected and unfamiliar negative behaviours. These actions are coming from someone you believed to be well respected, skilled, and a successful leader or colleague. In many cases this will be someone you have trusted and respected. Week after week these unexpected shocks of humiliation, embarrassment, ridicule, insults, or threats continue. The impact of these negative behaviours is degrading. The targeted employee experiences confusion. They feel threatened by the unpredictable rages, accusations, threats, mood swings, and changing instructions. If human beings cannot make sense of what is happening, they will function in state of disbelief, high-alert, or hypervigilance. In this condition, when things do not make sense, they fear no one will believe them. How does someone ask for help under these circumstances? These employees need your help. They need you to understand the dynamics they will share with you. They need you to be aware of the insidious, complex nature, of these cases. With their workplace resources lacking this knowledge and instead responding with doubt, judgment, or disbelief, the employee will experience a loss of psychological safety in their workplace.
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