Unfortunately, the harmful impact of workplace bullying is real. It can cause extreme distress and emotional exhaustion for the victims. Workplace bullying can be of a verbal, physical, social or psychologically abusive nature from another person, or a group of people, at your work and can involve the following:

  • belittling and rude comments about you to you and/or in front of other staff, no matter how big or small
  • intimidating behaviour, criticism, threats, and physical violence
  • spreading rumours within the team
  • excluding you from important information impacting on your ability to work effectively
  • requesting unimportant jobs to be completed that are not part of your role
  • ignoring or discounting the work that you contribute to the workplace
  • social isolation such as being excluded from work social events, team meetings, and/or emails
  • sexual harassment

Workplace bullying is often done repeatedly and consistently, which can lead to the victim being traumatised. People victim to workplace bullying can experience:

  • feelings of low mood and depression
  • worrisome and uncontrollable anxious thoughts
  • difficulties sleeping and focusing
  • avoidance behaviours such as not going to work or disengaging from enjoyed activities
  • hyperarousal (e.g., easily startled, agitated, difficulties concentrating, feeling panicky)
  • low self-esteem
  • health issues from increased stress

It is important to notice and act early on if you feel you may be subject to workplace bullying, so you can hopefully avoid or reduce the likelihood of experiencing persistent psychological distress. Here are a few ways to do so:

  • track your stress levels and notice if, and when, you are feeling more anxious
  • do you feel like you are more reactive and easily irritated?
  • notice if you are becoming more easily mentally fatigued and having difficulties concentrating
  • become aware of if you are wanting to avoid work and feel a sense of fear in the morning about attending
  • Are you eating more or less, and/or consuming more alcohol?
  • notice and assess if you are subject to any behaviours indicative of workplace bullying
  • if available, consult your supervisor, manager or human resources to assist you in assessing whether it is workplace bullying and receive associated support
  • if you are experiencing bullying, it is helpful to label it as it validates your experience, allows you to know what is occurring, and helps you to find resources, communicate with others, and take appropriate action
  • engage in meditation and slow breathing techniques to calm your body and mind, and help alleviate uncomfortable feelings
  • reach out to your trusted colleagues and friends to share your experience, feel validated, and share some laughs to ease feelings of sadness

And last but not least, make an appointment with a psychologist if you are or have been victim to workplace bullying and are experiencing psychological distress as a consequence. At Prosper Health Collective we have supportive and experienced psychologists who care and understand the impact bullying can have on you.

Krystle Pavalache