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Workplace Bullying Recovery:

Seven Principles For Recovery From Workplace Bullying


By Richard Schwindt M.S.W.,R.S.W.

  Richard Schwindt M.S.W.,R.S.W.

Richard Schwindt M.S.W., R.S.W. is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist specializing in the emotional recovery of targets of workplace bullying and mobbing. He can utilize Skype and Paypal for Canadian clients. For more information visit

1. Take Care Of Your Health

Targets of workplace bullying frequently suffer from sleeplessness, stomach problems, dizziness, nausea and headaches. They tend to take a lot of sick time and they really are sick. Over time, they may become very sick indeed as more serious illness emerges from the chronic stress. If you are still exposed to the bully or bullies you are under siege. Your body is going to remain in "fight or flight" mode: a high state of emotional and physiological arousal.

2. Make Yourself An Expert

For targets, reading about workplace bullying for the first time can be an overwhelming and painful experience. That said, you are far stronger afterwards for the experience. Others may not understand what is going on but now you do. This confers that ability to understand the social and emotional consequences of the abuse.

3. Gather Your Non-work Supports

You became increasingly isolated at work. The bullies agenda left you alone, confused and angry. You may have alienated friends and family. Be frank with them, take responsibility for your actions, tell them you want to get better and need their support. Get as many people on board as possible; it spreads the burden of support onto many.

4. Fight On The High Road

You are not the bully. You don't think like her. You have strengths and connections she can only dream of. It is better being you. The minute you begin to act like her you have lost. There is no "winning" for the target, only moving forward as a healthier and wiser human being. Once you act like the bully you have surrendered your decency. This is not to be confused with fighting back. It's how you do it. One of my tactics was calling people to account every time I was bullied. I wrote down everything and often sent it back in the form of a memo: "you are bullying me"," this is detrimental to the organization", etc. They hated that because in a "don't talk about it" situation telling the truth is a radical act.

5. Understand That We Are Mind, Body And Spirit

Under stress we become detached from parts of ourselves. We lose our ability to be mindful. We zone out with television, food, drugs, whatever is available. People suffering extreme bullying may lose their sense of humour and forget what it is to laugh. When they are at work, or even at home with loved ones their preoccupation with the bullying puts them somewhere else. The world narrows. Part of recovery is rediscovering our richness. Whether we go for a massage, enjoy a good meal, rediscover intimacy with our partner, pray, or look at the beauty of the day we will realize that we are more than our work.

6. Position Yourself Spiritually For Change

All healing comes from a deeper place; a belief that we answer to a higher authority, whether God or Goddess, or simply a humanistic belief in the need for human beings to act decently in a challenging world. Someone who cannot find some form of truth, goodness or morality, or fails to see it will not heal.

7. Understand How People Heal Emotionally

The process of emotional healing is a beautiful and innate gift. It is also a mystery that begins with the intent to heal and the application of our inner and outer resources to the task. Human pain is universal and someone you know will have quietly experienced a miracle of healthy change. Their way may not be your way but talk to them and allow your mind, body and spirit to open itself to your personal path towards health. This isn't something mystical; this is the reality of how change takes place.

Next: Dealing With Anxiety and Panic Attacks Caused by Workplace Bullying

5 Part Series by Richard Schwindt:
Getting Help To Come Back From The Dead
Seven Principles For Recovery
Dealing With Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Thinking Makes It So

Richard Schwindt M.S.W.,R.S.W. is a social worker in private practice in Kingston, Ontario. His website is


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