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Effects of Bullying

How Does Workplace Bullying Progress and What are the Common Stages Targets Experience?


The effects of bullying can sneak up on you...

You — apparently working safely and content.

First effects of bullying begin to appear.


You may notice some incidents at work: probably nothing major, no big scenes, just 'stuff' that happens.


The effects of bullying start to impact health.

You may begin to notice some health problems, unlike you, not ones you have experienced before. Sleep disturbance is often an early one. A change in your eating habits may happen - either eating more or less or differently. It is the change, not the behavior itself that is important, relevant and profound.

The bullying escalates.


The 'incidents' at work may either intensify (be more powerful and 'upfront') or multipy (be more numerous).


Perceptions of co-workers are skewed by bully.

As the behavior continues co-workers may begin to alter the way they relate to you. Some formerly close may begin to withdraw (they are afraid of being guilty by association - they have picked up that you are somehow to be treated differently.)

Effects of bullying cause stress and depression.


Your health problems may become more intrusive.
(See Stress Symptoms and Depression Symptoms.)

Physical problems - especially the lack of a good night's sleep - will begin to cause emotional problems. How chatty and friendly will you feel with only 3 hours sleep a night!

Once again it is the change more than the condition itself which suggests an increasingly unhealthy situation.


Effects of bullying take toll on health.

As your physical and emotional health deteriorates some of what you have been falsely accused of doing (or not doing) at work may become almost accurate. You may become forgetful, clumsy, short tempered, over emotional and near to tears.

The 'team player' (awful phrase) will want less and less to do with anyone. The quieter, more introverted employee will become almost totally isolated.

Again it is the change more than the condition itself which suggest an increasingly unhealthy situation.

Pieces of the puzzle come together.


Discovering the connection: this is the crucial moment. You will connect the very odd and complex range of mental and physical health problems with your similarly odd and complex workplace. This revalation may come from reading an article, or seeing a list of behaviors and symptoms of workplace bullying on a website.

This moment will be both a shock and a relief. Yes you are a bit 'nuts' and this is why and this is normal.


Understanding the effects of bullying.

Research and information obsession. Having made the link and named your situation as 'workplace bullying' or 'mobbing' you will likely devour many articles, books and pursue websites and the links they offer for several weeks.

This stage of informing yourself is important but can become compulsive and obsessive. The reassurance you get that you are not alone in your feelings or experience is excellent; the 'horribilizing' is not.

Justice and logic take a holiday.


Your innate sense of justice, fairplay and right and wrong will be hugely over-stimulated.

I was right; this is wrong; I must be 'heard'; logic will be restored and then I and my injured workplace will be healed and restored.

However, in 99% of cases justice and logic will continue to be abandoned by your coworkers and management.


Effects of bullying not understood by professionals.

This is when you will invest great amounts of time and energy and hope in official bodies and professionals.

Of all these supposed sources of succor only one or two will probably truly hear you...


Someone said they
heard about a case...

Senior Management

Human Resources

Charter Rights

Workers Compensation Board

Your Union

A Lawyer

Your Doctor

Your Psychologist or Therapist


Injury worsens due to effects of bullying.

Now you are an injured worker, dealing with maybe 5 agencies who you believe can solve your situation.

You may still be having to go to work and the continuing bullying that entails, or you may be on 'stress' leave, sick leave or some differently titled absence from work.

None of these places is one of safety or healing reflection.

Effects of bullying cost you and the employer.


With luck and support you will come to realize that true resolution involving your continued employment is not possible and your energies should best be focussed on the cleanest way of leaving the abusive workplace. If you need a union or a lawyer to work on this that is one area they can help you with.

You will need time (and time = money) and access to health resources - psychologists, etc.


Healing from the effects of bullying takes time.

You leave the abusive workplace.

You think you should find a new job as quickly as possible.

You are probably in no state to search for a new position.

You need time to heal.

Give yourself the time you need to recover.


The time you need to heal sufficiently to think of returning to work will depend on how long you were bullied, how intense it was, how early you make the connection, your support and how you have dealt with change before.


Putting effects of bullying behind you may be difficult.

Returning to work.

The first few weeks in any new job are always difficult - you know you should be doing something but half the time you have no idea what, you want to impress but not appear too desperate to please, you want to be friendly not 'gushy'.

As a former target of workplace bullying you may have intrusive flashbacks. A certain look, a call to an impromptu meeting, a clumsy exchange with a new co-worker or a rookies's misunderstanding may all cause worry or panic.

Time is the only healer.

Being your own true principled and high performing self is the only way to move forward.

Not only is this revealing your best qualities but also if there should be a bully on board at your new workplace, these qualities will be the ones they hate and wish to destroy.

Better they are provoked into showing their colors to you early, rather than you dicovering that this is another bullying workplace in months or years time.

But, with the knowledge, tools and precautions to spot an abusive workplace before you join one, you are unlikely to be faced with this situation and what is required is time to learn to trust again.

Moving forward...


Will you ever recover from the effects of bullying?
Will you ever be the same again, back to your usual self?

Mainly, thankfully, no.

Firstly, if you have a broken leg you may regain full mobility, but once every now and again a damp day or a cold day or a certain movement will give you a dull ache or a twinge. This is also true with the effects of workplace bullying.

Secondly, you will have a far deeper and useful self-knowledge than ever before. You may truly know that 'alone time' is crucial for your health, or a gregarious romp is necessary for your happiness.

You will be determined to seek out whatever it is you have learned you need.

Enjoy your newly discovered or
rediscovered self awareness;
you have earned it.

Reproduced with permission of No Bully For Me -

If You are Suffering from the Effects of Bullying - See Also:

Stress Management Information

Depression Treatment Information

Health and Wellness - Natural Stress Relief


Return from Effects of Bullying to Workplace Bullying

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Conflict at Work?
From Conflict To Calm

From Conflict to Calm
Cristina Diaz shares her personal story of workplace conflict and shows you how you too can turn conflict into calm.

More about
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