Having spent most of my working life in the corporate world as a Human Resources practitioner, I was very aware that bullying took place.
I may have spent time writing policies on grievances and equality and diversity, but enforcing them was much harder, with many organisations failing to take true transparent action when allegations of bullying were made.
Shamefully some of the worst culprits I witnessed were the HR Directors themselves.
I am lucky to say that I worked for some fantastic bosses in a number of high profile organisations.
And I also worked for some whose behaviour I would describe as bullying. However, it wasn’t until I started working as a psychotherapist that I was able to get a real sense of just how rife bullying in the workplace actually is.
More than half of the clients I have treated have been subject to bullying, usually by their boss. The physical and mental effect it has had on them has included anxiety attacks, panic attacks, inability to think or make decisions for themselves, insomnia and in many cases PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Not to mention a loss of confidence and feelings of low self worth.
Many people I have seen decided not to pursue any formal process but instead find another job hoping that would be the solution. Whilst this can work at times, sadly the trauma from their experience can and usually does follow them.
The reason being that the experience puts the survival senses on full alert, and when you take into account that you go to work most days a week, then the internal survival mode is always on the watch. Unless the experience you went through is processed through the brain and the associated emotions are also processed, then the brain and body doesn’t know that you are no longer in that old job and are now safe.
I have seen many clients who are 2 or 3 jobs along from the one they were subject to bullying in and don’t understand why the problem seems to get worse instead of better. One client came to see me when she had taken on a new role and was in her probationary period. She was completely stressed, anxious and overwhelmed about getting things wrong and not passing her probationary review. While the new role was her first stand alone role, we identified that the anxiety she was experienced pattern matched back to a job she had undertaken a few years before, where her boss had a very direct way of telling her when she hasn’t done something quite right. She put my client under so much pressure of making mistakes that the lasting effect was post traumatic stress disorder.
Side effects of bullying
– Lack of confidence
– Panic attacks
– Trouble sleeping
– IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
– Feeling tense
– Tightness in the chest
– Feeling shaky and on high alert when at work
– Becoming more withdrawn
– Struggling to concentrate and focus
– Difficultly remembering things
– Feeling panicked in meetings
– A notable drop in performance, generally caused by fear
– Spending much longer on tasks than normal
– Over preparing for meetings
If you recognise these signs within you, then take action. Don’t let bullies stop you from enjoying your work or reaching your potential at work. Book a free consultation today.