When a manager abuses power over a less powerful employee and puts their ego over the organization, we call that workplace abuse or workplace bullying. It takes the form of lies and exclusion and often escalates to mobbing as higher-ups and co-workers follow the abuser's narrative to push the target out. Most abuse — generally rooted in the one with power feeling threatened by a competent, ethical subordinate — involves undermining confidence and performance by isolating and putting the target down. False accusations. Gossip. Exclusion. Belittling. Ignoring. Sabotage.
It often leads to psychological injury and a host of stress-related symptoms including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even death.
We suffer. We become overwhelmed with navigating the situation and experience re-trauma and betrayal when our employers and government fail to hold the abusers accountable. Our dignity, our trust, and our mental, emotional, and financial health fall under attack. Our complicit employer robs us of our personhood.
It's an epidemic.
Given that white men still occupy the majority of power positions in the U.S. workforce more than 50 years after Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, workplace abuse has a discriminatory impact on non-white and women workers when abusers reinforce negative stereotypes off the positively stereotyped, white male norm.
No matter what you do to fix the situation, there’s a giant target on your back. You go into work every day wondering what the next nightmare will be. Lying about you? Ignoring you? Taking away responsibilities? Gossiping about you?
Meanwhile, the more you try to fix it, the worse it gets. You’re sick to your stomach and stressed out. You’re consumed with:
You focus on how on earth you’ll muster the energy to get up tomorrow to go to work and dodge the landmines. You spend every minute of your commute into work DREADING dealing with the abuser and the co-workers who believe them. You hold back tears. You feel nauseous.
Forget trying to grow in your career. Forget having a plan. You’re just trying to make it through the day.
No matter what you do to move on with your life, you’re stuck in the motions. Wake up. Feel numb and bitter. Make it through the day. Repeat.
You can’t stop ruminating about the “what ifs,” blaming yourself for what happened, and feeling angry about everything you lost.
Meanwhile, the more you try to fix it, the more you feel frustrated with yourself for not conquering the pain. You’re consumed with:
You wonder how you’ll get the confidence to look for another job, interview, and avoid another nightmare work situation. You need some kind of break — anything — but the pain lingers.
Either way, it’s BEYOND exhausting.
You wish you knew what’s worked for others who’ve healed from workplace abuse so you can finally move forward.
And all of THAT means embracing YOU: feeling seen, knowing you matter, embracing the fun, and living life on YOUR terms.
I’m talking giving life a big HECK YES. (Laughing again, here you come.)
The goal is to take a big step to understanding how to now define yourself according to YOUR values.
It’s time to make it happen so you can move forward and become the CEO of Your Life.
Abuse at work is isolating and harmful to our well-being.
But we can detach from it and heal when we connect with those who get it.
No more explaining, justifying, and struggling to feel heard.
Workplace stress is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. (that's right — FIFTH) according to Stanford's Jeffrey Pfeffer. To help you cope with the stress of workplace abuse, I run TWO bootcamps: one for those currently dealing with abuse at work and the other for those healing from it.
I will help you explore your emotions, clarify your values, weigh your options, reduce stress and anxiety, set boundaries, work through fears, doubts, and insecurities, determine your next steps, create a plan for re-defining your life, and bring back joy so you can live your best life.
"If you're experiencing, have experienced, or just want to learn more about workplace abuse, this is the course to take. The online modules will walk you through the experience of workplace abuse, explaining why it happens, options for best ways to handle it, and how to take care of yourself in the process. The information provided is insightful, full of resources, and easy to understand. Another benefit to this unique program are the live chats. The ability to share your thoughts and discuss the program was one of my favorite parts."
"The course gave me effective solutions that I wished that I knew about when I was going through my workplace bullying experience. I would’ve made different choices."
"I have studied this phenomenon for over a year, and this course added so much more to my knowledge base. I highly recommend this course to anyone working in an organization. My only wish is that I would have taken the class sooner. Deb is a true expert in this field and in her, you will find a safe and welcoming place to TAKE BACK YOUR POWER!"
"I love, LOVE this course!"
"My biggest take away was knowing that I'm not alone in this horrible experience with an unhealthy workplace. Unhealthy environments are ruining lives and increasing suicide."
Feeling stuck? Learn from experts:
When we miss the red flags that a boss or co-worker is high conflict, we may find ourselves in a downward spiral of loss: health, finances, relationships, confidence, self-worth, trust, hope, and more.
But it's never too late to see a toxic work situation with more clarity and take action to change course. Join me with Susan Forster, an expert in workplace communication, leadership, and cultural change, as we reveal the four red flags of bullying at work — and tools we can use to address the bullying.
As you encounter days you want to forget and frustration you’re dying to finally move beyond, your longing for something different is growing, and so is your motivation to change.
This longing and motivation is key to where you're headed in life. Aligning with our true desires gives us courage. It brings us in touch with what feels right for us, making it easier to see opportunities and act on them. Learn to let yourself want more, connect to your vision, get strong, and sustain your power with career coach Julie Boyer.
Learn evidence-based positive psychology strategies for building emotional resilience.
In part one, Positive EQ's Kirsti Gwynn begins with a look at what the research says about what resilience is, why it’s important, and whether it can be developed. Then in the following three parts, you’ll learn how to think differently about challenging experiences, relieve and process stress, and develop self-trust — what you may have lost while abused at work. The goal: unlock inner strength moving forward.
I believe all employees deserve dignity and respect at work for well-being. I help employees define themselves according to their own values and teach their employers how to get results by focusing on employees' power.
I built a base of more than 10,000 workplace anti-bullying legislation supporters, the largest by state in the nation. I've helped hundreds of abused employees understand their abuse situations, discover their self-worth, and learn how to move on from their toxic work cultures. I've been quoted in numerous media outlets including Redbook, Forbes, Monster, Alternet, Elephant Journal, Thrive Global, and Truthout.
I host the "Screw the Hierarchy" podcast.
Email me at [email protected].
Here's to defining ourselves on our own terms.
— Deb Falzoi
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