Bullied at work? Workplace bullying? Bad manager or coworkers? Multiple bullied by officialdom, clients etc. Recovery from the trauma, solutions and coping. Building resilience one step at a time together!
Trauma the effects.
PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.”
― Susan Pease Banitt
Are you feeling the symptoms (listed below) after a prolonged episode of bullying at work? We believe that harrasment, stalking, domestic violence, violence, witnessing a horrific event, link to similar experiences suffered by bullied individuals. In our campaign we lament any real political commitment to place bullying on the chart of abuse but we live in hope…..
We are not experts but are convinced in our reading on the subject that trauma is still a little recognised and validated consequence of bullying. The subject of the bullying may themselves not even recognise that their feelings are the real result of the bullying and be astounded that they feel so hopeless and flat.
I myself felt after my experiences, upon returning to work, and during and after the bullying, that I exhibited and continue to exhibit several of the symptoms below. I still wait for my workplace to send me for the occupational health evalutation I requested so that I can find out for myself why I feel so devastated by my experiences. I have been fortunate that my counsellor certainly named ‘trauma’ as what I was feeling.
Bullyonline.org is the only site we can find that really goes into the subject in any depth in relation to bullying. The book, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, by David Kinchin is still available on Amazon and appears to be one of the first books to link bullying to PTSD.
We are on the look out for links and reading material on this subject and/or any experts who would like to contribute a more thorough explanation of trauma and bullying. We welcome your comments.
Do you recognise any of these:
- sleep problems, nightmares, waking early
- flashbacks and replays which you can’t switch off
- impaired memory and forgetfulness
- inability to concentrate
- hypervigilance (feels like but is not paranoia)
- exaggerated startle response
- irritability, sudden intense anger, occasional violent outbursts
- panic attacks
- hypersensitivity – almost every remark is perceived as critical
- obsessiveness – the experience takes over your life, you can’t get it out of your mind
- joint and muscle pains, with no obvious cause
- feelings of nervousness and anxiety
- depression (reactive, not endogenous)
- excessive shame, embarrassment, and guilt
- undue fear
- low self-esteem and low self-confidence
- emotional numbness (inability to feel joy or love)
- sense of detachment
- avoidance of anything that reminds you of the experience
- physical and mental paralysis at any reminder of the experience
Image Pixabay.com public domain
WHO SHE IS!
A Queen Bee is a type of female employee who through arrogant belief in her attractiveness, gossip or instilling fear gains a following of other members of staff or bystanders. These support and encourage her bullying of another targeted member of female staff. A person who she perceives to challenge her status as most popular member of the office.
A Queen Bee is a damaged individual who for psychological reasons cannot empathise and who is highly competitive and guileful.
YOU’RE POPULAR, SHE CAN’T STAND YOU
The Queen Bee will target able employees, often those who have an inherent sense of fairness, are smart and are not part of office politics. The Queen Bee regards any member of staff as fair game if in her mind they challenge her reality. She lives in a state of internal paranoia and inside is a self-doubting and miserable narcissist. Her personal and work life may be peppered with misery or self criticism and reflecting her self doubt she will go for anyone, especially women who seem more confident, happy or able than her.
The queen bee in Dawn’s case had a number of facets, she was very pretty but had had a number of disastrous relationships with bad men including a number of senior managers at Dawn’s place of work. The Queen Bee was bright and she was arrogant.
I mention her prettiness because it had been an advantage but also a bane. She used her appearance to flirt in the office and liked the attention of high status men, especially high level bosses. A halo effect meant that her appearance overrode other less attractive aspects of her personality, namely that she was a gossip. Deeply jealous of able employees she deliberately sabotaged anyone who may challenge her position as queen bee in the office
The Queen Bee identified Dawn as a competitor, Dawn was very able and also very attractive. At first the Queen Bee tried to recruit Dawn but soon realised that Dawn was a ‘heads down’ sort of worker who did not like gossip. So the Queen Bee decided that elimination of her competitor was the only solution.
The strategy she used was to isolate Dawn by spreading unfounded rumours. She also enlisted bystanders to ignore Dawn, whispering when she went in and out of the room. Additionally she would report Dawn to the senior manager regularly. Even though Dawn was a good and competent worker, because the Queen Bee was popular and also a friend of the managers outside work, her rumours did damage.
Queen Bees often use socialising outside work to recruit their posse. manager started to doubt her competence and micro manage Dawn in a way that other employees did not have to endure.
There is no definite solution to dealing with a Queen Bee. They are dangerous and unpredictable, but they are only as powerful as any company allows them to be.
Dawn was fortunate in that the level of managers above her immediate manager were not so gullible. They believed Dawn and upon looking at the make up of the office realised that the only way to block the Queen Bee was to split up the posse. They re-organised the office and split up the grouping. Unfortunately, such is the power of a Queen Bee that they may start recruiting again in another place.
Ultimately Dawn was promoted and passed the Queen Bee by,
However, this bully is not to be underestimated they can wreck havoc and destroy morale, cause financial damage and reputational damage.
DO TACTICS WORK?
Tactics often suggested, such as flattery or even calling the bully out or reporting the bully may work, however this requires great tact and decision making and often there will be no support. One essential assessment is to know how powerful the bully really is within the company hierarch.
In line with the Workplace institute of America and Bullyonline.org we subscribe to the view that bullying will only be eradicated with the direct will of the employer and using tactics risks retaliation. This must be borne in mind and the risks assessed. .
THE THREE R’s.
Practice the mantra of the three R’s recognise bullying, record it and report it to trusted individuals before even tackling the bully or HR. Remember HR is the eyes and ears of management and its primary loyalty is to stop the organisation being compromised at any cost. Keeping a diary is essential and not keeping any material where the bully may scope it out.
If the bully has isolated others it may be possible to join forces to make a case but none of this should be done without professional support..
Ultimately, seek professional advice, union advice, medico legal advice before tackling the situation. Forewarned is forearmed. Surround yourself with support as taking on a bully is extremely stressful and/or consider ultimately getting out of the situation by moving within the organisation or leaving.
The main question to ask is how much power the Queen Bee has and whether her power is too great to tackle alone or at all.
Remember for every company that tolerates bullying there is another one just like it that does not.
Credits for this article
This theme that Peggy Drexler, an author and organizational psychologist at Cornell, explores in a recent article for the Wall Street Journal entitled the “The Tyranny of the Queen Bee.” Young women seek the assistance of older women who have risen into ranks of senior management believing that such women can serve as mentors or advisors to help them succeed. In fact, as Drexler notes, just the opposite occurs. “The female boss who not only has zero interest in fostering the careers of women to aim in her footsteps, but who might even actively attempt to cut them off at the pass.”
The term “queen bee syndrome” comes from work done by University of Michigan researchers in the 1970s on issue of women bosses. According to their work published in Psychology Today in 1974 these women operating in male hierarchies sought to preserve their rare turf by thwarting attempts of other women who sought to rise as they had done. Sadly, as Drexler argues, such bias still exists.
We can all have the green eye monster within us. The Queen Bee is mostly a lost cause but recognising our failings can help us to do better than she would. For women who are jealous of other women and find themselves resisting the elevation of their colleagues, it may help to read the book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Book by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg
Do not forget we are survivors of bullying and cannot give advice. This blog is our opinion only. In order to be sure of your ground it is essential to get professional advice.
Here is a list of our most popular blogs so that you have them at your fingertips when you need an anti-bully boost.
This link is a short blog on identifying and acknowledging bullying. This is a good route to begin recovery.
This link is a quick guide if you feel that there is an immediate bully threat
You may wish to plan more deeply how to deal with the emerging bullying situation.
If you are worried about losing your identity. Do not let the bully succeed in robbing you of it.
Bullying is traumatic. If you feel giddy and disorientated it is not your imagination.
Feeling enraged?Feeling enraged
Blaming the victim is an outmoded concept. Bullying is, in our opinion is abuse and unacceptable on any level
You have the right to empower yourself and recover from bullying. Do not let the bully succeed. They seek to destroy and eliminate but they do not have your mind. We are not yet in 1984, not yet…..
Some of our favourite reading
Some ideas for intelligent job searching if you have decided enough is enough
These are ideas and opinions to support recovery that we know we and others have tried. It is not an exhaustive list. You should seek medico legal help if required and we are not experts but just trying to get by day by day just like you. We hope we have helped. Please note there is lots more on the blog and loads of quick links to the side of the blog to other helpful sites.
Best wishes the Cancer-Bullied Team.
21 signs your job is no longer any good for you.
We all get that Monday morning feeling where the prospect of going to work just does not appeal, but sometimes that feeling goes on. Here are some reasons why.
1.Your job is routine and there is no prospect of that changing despite the application form promising great things.
2.There is no talent or educational development that is meaningful
3.You have no input and your ideas fall on deaf ears.
4.You are treated in a disrespectful way
5. Your boss makes it clear that you do not fit in
6. Your colleagues do not gel with you or there is general low morale affecting employee relations
7. There is no unqualified feedback and you are criticised or threatened when you fail
8.There is no respect for you
9. Your salary does not match your skills or input
10.There is a huge discrepancy between salaries between staff and management
11.You are not trusted. You are required to prove every request with evidence, such as sickness, dental or hospital appointments
12.Your manager has no interest whatsoever in you as a person or your personal life, health or mental wellbeing. You are just a widget.
13.You are regarded as dispensable and easily replaceable. You are expected to be grateful you have the job.
14.You are not promoted and are passed over
15.You would not want to be promoted, you just come in, do your job and go home
16.Nothing on earth will stop you leaving on time, every minute seems like an hour.
17.Your job does not meet any requirement for personal satisfaction
18.Your job does not match any of your dreams or goals in life
19.The culture of your workplace is out of sync with your personal belief system. Inside you wholly disapprove of the culture.
20.Management operate their own code. Their behaviour is morally or financially suspect and your company disciplines detractors with impunity and is regularly sued.
21.You have mentally checked out. You are present in person but not in mind
If you are dissatisfied with your job, you owe it to yourself to take action. You may need to update your skills and this can be done in your own time. Your local authority and library may have details of any free or cheaper courses that you could consider.
It may be in your interests to consider engaging a coach or recruiter.
If you are staying just for the money, remember there are many other jobs out there and many employers who may do the same thing as your employer just better!
You could consider uploading your CV onto online web sites to see what is out there.
You owe it to yourself to research any company you wish to join to see if it would be a good fit
Many large recruitment companies and job search engines such as Adzuna,Glassdoor and Indeed may give you comparative salary information and even reviews of companies as a potential employer.
If hating your job is leading to depression it may be time to consult a professional such as your GP or a counsellor
You could take time to work on yourself and spend personal time working on your goals and dreams to try and get back to where you feel you should be and what your aims in life really are.
Could you or would you consider self employment?
There comes a time when being in a job that does not appreciate you becomes soul destroying and no amount of money will change that.
I was watching the Unison advert on television. Unison is a very large union in the UK that supports the majority of NHS workers. It is an exceptionally good advert because it shows a single person walking with an army of support behind her from lawyers, to union representstives and so on. This reminded me that when you are suffering adult bullying at work it is an idea to keep this list handy so you also have a ready army of support.
here it is!
YOU – take control of your situation
UNION – think about getting in one. Consult your union in the early stages and not just your rep,phone their help lines in particular. You may have to confront the bully at some stage but should never do so without advice.
LAWYER – your car insurance and households contents insurance can offer legal protections. Check what they offer. Many household contents insurance offer at least £50,000 for work related issues, tortious actions such as personal injury and other actions.
GP or Medical advisor – ensure your GP is aware well in advance if you suspect that you are suffering the effects of bullying. Your GP should support you and keep detailed and accurate notes on your health. Make sure you clearly assist your GP to do this by checking what they have recorded and asking that they keep notes that may later be relied on by you.
COUNSELLOR – consider engaging a counsellor, privately, through your GP or if necessary through your workplace if they offer an independent well-being scheme. Do not under estimate the assualt on your mental health by a bully and do not wait for help until you are mentally drained.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY – Inform supportive friends and family of your situation you will be shocked how many will recognise your plight.
SPIRITUAL GUIDE – Consider consulting your priest or cleric or pursuing some sort of spiritual course such as meditation, yoga or relaxation techniques at this time. A good teacher will pay dividends
CREATIVE GUIDE -consider adding a creative outlet to your army of support. A class with a good teacher or even the internet or youtube can provide a great deal of information. Hobbies provide both social and creative output and put you in flow. This means you are giving your already busy mind a rest. Do not expect to be perfect.
EXERCISE TEACHER or TRAINER – this could be through a class or free courses at your local council or via a personal trainer but adding in some social exercise will keep you strong physically and also give you a social outlet
You may well not feel like exercise, being creative or being physical or social however even going along to something can lift mood so if you do not want to go, simply regard going as practice.
We have repeated many times on this site the necessity of enlisting support.
Bullies seek to alienate and isolate. Do not let them, secretly build your stash of backup.