Study shows “growing a thick skin” and confronting a workplace bully does absolutely nothing most of the time

Uncategorized Apr 28, 2020

Some say that how you respond to an abuser from the first sign of abusive behavior might thwart off the behavior. But what happens when it takes time to detect the abusive behavior? Is the “grow a thick skin” mentality even logical based on what’s worked with targets of workplace abuse?

In a 2012 CareerBuilder study, nearly 50 percent of respondents DID have a thick skin and confronted the bully. "Of those who confronted the bully, half (50 percent) said the bullying stopped while 11 percent said it got worse, and 38 percent said the bullying didn’t change at all," reports CareerBuilder. 

The conclusion is that growing a thick skin has no bearing on the abuse since abusers don’t generally stop when faced with resistance from their targets. So for those of you who assert that we don’t need a law because standing up to abusers will end it: you fall within a 50 percent group that confronting bullies worked for. For the rest, confronting abusers did absolutely nothing.


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If you feel like you’re stuck in a big rut that’s destroying your life, learn how to reverse the damage. 

Right now, you wish you could just tell your bully at work to knock it off, report the problem to management, and show the bully how childish he or she’s behaving. At best, the bully’s sidetracking the goals of the organization. At worst, the bully’s threatening or maybe even destroying your life by abusing you: your health, your family, your career, your finances, and your happiness.

You know it’s not a personality conflict. You’re not too sensitive. You’re not thin-skinned. It’s downright abuse. You expected your work environment to support you to do the work you were hired to do. You expected to be treated with dignity and respect.

The organization doesn’t care. They think it’s in their best interest to ignore the problem — meaning you — and make you go away. When you speak up, you’re the problem. You’re treasonous. If you fight them, they’ll fight harder.

Meanwhile, you’re stressed out and angry, and it gets worse the longer the bullying goes on, making you an easier target for the bully. Your physical and mental health are depleted. You consider or take stress leave. 

Find out what workplace bullying is, why it happens, what's worked — and what hasn't worked — for hundreds of other workplace bullying targets, and how to start the path to healing in this comprehensive online course drawing from the greatest minds in workplace bullying.

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