Targets of second-time abuse (or more) more quickly recognize the signs of it, a benefit that can help them more quickly escape the toxic situation. Once they see what's happening, they can detach and put the wheels in motion to build a safety net and remove themselves from the toxic environment.
But the quick recognition can also often mean re-trauma, the triggering of going back to an emotionally painful place — sometimes more severe than the first. Initial abuse generally takes place with family (parents and siblings), at a previous job (likely bosses), or at school (likely classmates).
Issues around authoritarian parenting are common initial sources of abuse. Targets don't feel seen or heard or that their feelings matter, and these feelings crop up again with abuse at work.
Take Your Dignity Back
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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