Work Place Bullying
For many who have ever experienced the trauma of Work Place Bullying, you may not even realize that, that is what you experienced , until you are no longer at the establishment. At least this is what happened to me. I remember thinking, ‘why does this feel so wrong?’ ‘What is wrong with me?’ ‘Why is no one else receiving this treatment, and yet, I work harder than most?’.
In any event, it started to take it’s toll-not just on my mental and emotional health, but my physical health as well. I developed an undefinable skin infection, which would take about 6 trips to the dermatologist, and rounds of antibiotics-and finally-steroids, to figure out, that it was autoimmune, due to stress, and could recur. It was around this time, that I knew, I had to get out. And I did, and never looked back. What I was not prepared for however, was the aftermath of trauma that I experienced, for another 6 months. I remember feeling, like I was constantly looking over my shoulder-and could understand for the first time in my life-how victims of assaults, burglaries, robberies, and rape felt.
Armed with the desire, to not only understand what had happened to me, but determined, to never allow it to happen again-and to help others, I started researching everything I could get my hands on-on workplace bullying.
What is workplace bullying first of all?
According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (2014): Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators’. It includes using threats, humiliating, and intimidating someone, as well as verbal abuse. One thing that I will add- that is not included in the WBI definition, is that usually, (so I have found, and I have seen with persons I have counseled), is that there is a jealousy factor. Usually-the workplace bully is in a controlling position, such as a supervisor, or boss. The victim is subordinate to them-but the bully is jealous of said subordinate, so the goal is to weaken them. Perhaps the victim has an advanced degree that the bully does not have, or more experience in a particular area, Instead of allowing that employee to become an ally to them-they need to abuse and control, because of the jealousy factor.
‘The Boat Rocker’
It occurred to me, after I removed myself from the environment that I was being bullied in, and had done more research, and started working with other victims, that we all had something in common. We all were, what I call- the Boat Rocker.
What is a Boat Rocker? We commonly think of someone who rocks the boat, as a bad person. Society tells us not to ‘rock the boat’. Society tells us , that to ‘rock the boat means that things will change and never be the same’. We are told to keep our mouths shut, suck it up, and ‘let it go’. To speak up, and take a chance, that maybe things will change is just not acceptable.
Here is the thing…. us Boat Rockers create change. We are the ones, that by speaking up, and calling things out that need to be changed, or at least re-evaluated , are the ones, that historically have created change, and wonderful things happening. But because of the societal view-and the fact, that workplace bullies do not like Boat Rockers at all, we tend to be damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. That is what happens, to perpetuate workplace abuse. When we do speak up, and are working in an environment that frowns upon rocking the boat , and not open to change-it can get very rough for us.
This obviously, is not the environment for boat rockers to be working in-truly, not the environment for anyone to work in for that matter, but especially boat rockers.
There is help available, and you do not have to suffer in silence. Contact a therapist such as myself that has knowledge, and experience of workplace bullying. In addition: check out the WBI for assistance, should you be experiencing this, in your place of employment:
A Final Note Of Hope:
I believe, that Boat Rockers , as explained above, are some of the most intelligent, kind, caring, and gifted individuals, that are the ones that create change and make this world a better place. Armed with this fundamental belief, I share my own coined and developed quote:
The Boat Rocker is initially not very popular. The boat rocker will spend a great quantity of time feeling quite lonely, because no one else wants to rock the boat in a sea of invisible, perceived calm.
When the boat rocker no longer has to rock the boat again, they finally-have peace. In the end, the boat rocker has the safest swim to shore because they were able to see the waves coming before anyone else did.