How you can shine in your power after horrible leadership

“Narcissists love to get your reaction. And as soon as they do, you are handing power away,” says narcissistic abuse expert Melanie Tonia Evans in her article 5 Steps To Ignoring A Narcissist Who Tries To Punish You.

The solution, she says, is totally ignoring them — giving them no energy and no response.

Here’s why: the narcissist has insecurities so intense that he or she creates an image “to be a buffer between the narcissist and his or her inner wounds,” says Evans. “This entity, known as Ego (False Self), is running the narcissist’s emotions and life and feeds from pain.” So when you injure his or her False Self by standing in your power and triggering his or her insecurities, you become the object of the narcissist’s wounds.

The False Self feeds off pain, while the True Self (even if it’s still imprisoned by internal trauma) feeds off love, authenticity, and truth. “Because the narcissist is...

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A lawyer makes the case for workplace abuse legislation

My name is Rebecca Dupras (@redupras). I am a resident of Rhode Island and I currently practice law here. I recently spoke on the passage of the Healthy Workplace Act. Though my experience did not take place in Rhode Island, these types of incidents are happening everywhere in our country. My experience occurred while working for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in California and Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and is well documented in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The New York Times, and Forbes Magazine.

During my time as a Vice President of Development at this charitable foundation, where I managed a team of 10-15 people, I was subjected to consistent harassment, manipulation, and threats by my supervisor. She worked at the organization for over a decade, and I was not her only victim. She would threaten violence towards coworkers, humiliate and embarrass me and others during meetings and in front of other staff, say sexually explicit things, and...

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The key to advocating for healthy workplaces

A few years into my advocacy for workplace abuse legislation, I co-led a small business. I quickly realized that knowing what not to do didn’t necessarily translate well into what to do. What were best practices for bringing out the best in employees? How could I work to help workers feel fulfilled and strong? What did I need to gain self-awareness of to prevent a toxic culture? These questions led me to dive into what it took to create a healthy workplace.

The toxic culture
In his book The Bully’s Trap, Andrew Faas dissects the cultures that lead to abuse in the first place. He says that in toxic cultures, employers see employees as expendable. When employers consider workers a means to an end rather than associates, that’s exploitation. Here are some key factors in a toxic culture:

  • Higher-ups are out of touch. They focus on short-term results at the expense of long-term performance. They focus on power to bring about those short-term...
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A nurse’s aid suffers from health issues after refusing to lie on the job

I relocated my family to Western Massaschusetts to start a new life. I decided to go for CNA training and was hired immediately at a state facility as a 3-11 nurse’s aid.

I am a quiet, keep-to-myself type of person, and for the first seven years had no issues. One afternoon, two coworkers working in my unit got into a verbal altercation just as the PTs returned to the unit after dinner. The two coworkers were quite loud, and another woman and I helped get the PTs back to their rooms so they were not exposed to the yelling. I truly was not paying attention to the altercation — that’s not my job.

A little later, the 3-11 supervisor approached me and asked me what happened. I explained that I wasn’t paying attention to them and that my concern was for the PTs. She took me to the activities room and dictated to me what to write in a statement then left, locking the door behind her. I grew up with words of wisdom from my mom to never do anything immoral or illegal...

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A project coordinator was blown off after reporting workplace abuse

I work as a project coordinator in Boston.

The bullying begin after I moved to a different department. I wasn’t getting trained or work to do after moving to the new area. I would ask the project managers and director if there was anything I could help with. They’d say no but would give work to the other project coordinator. I expressed my concern of not getting work to do. Then my cubemate started turning the radio up loud, someone took my cell phone off my desk, and someone opened my desk drawer. Someone also broke the lock to my file cabinet and took things out of it.

The co-worker sent an email stating that I needed to sign in and out because he didn’t know where I was when I’d be to lunch or a meeting or after I supported our new assistant general manager at an event.

I asked myself: why would my group not want to work together?

Problems escalated when I went to Employee Relations. They were upset that I didn’t just let it go and let them continue...

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A teacher reveals her story of hope after workplace abuse

In July of 2012, I was hired as a 4th-Grade Teacher for the 2012-2013 school year in a Massachusetts school district. It was my first public school teaching job. The school was located in a low-income neighborhood and was a “Level 3” school due to poor performance on MCAS. None of this worried me because this was the exact type of setting I had done many of my practica and student teaching in during my college years. During the required pre-employment physical, I was honest about my diagnoses of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, explaining that I’d been stable for the last six years thanks to therapy and medication. At the orientation for new teachers the week before school started, I met the New Teacher Liaison, who expressed her excitement to have someone as passionate about the job as I was. The school’s Literacy Coach, “Sheila,” echoed these sentiments. I was assigned a mentor at my school, an ESL Teacher named...

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The law isn't keeping up with the times

In recent years, we’ve seen thousands take to the streets to defend women’s rights in women’s marches around the globe. We’ve seen our social media threads fill up with the hashtag #MeToo, standing up to sexual harassment and assault. We’ve seen protest after protest demanding that #BlackLivesMatter.

We’ve seen hundreds of thousands stand up to abuse of power. Yet the law hasn’t kept up.

Women, Hispanics, and African-Americans are the most likely to be targeted in this epidemic.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects these groups from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. So why are these groups more likely to endure verbal abuse, sabotage, and other types of threatening, intimidating, and humiliating behavior?

While important legislation, this act only protects those who can connect their membership in the group to the abuse. So those workers whose abusers are in the same protected class may be...

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The vast majority of nurses have dealt with workplace abuse. That’s staggering.

“Roughly 85 percent of nurses have been abused by a fellow nurse and approximately one in three nurses have considered quitting the profession due to bullying,” according to a 2017 blog post by Pittsburgh-based Select International Healthcare says Alyssa Rege in her article “8 things to know about nurse bullying” from Becker’s Hospital Review.

You read that right. 85 percent — meaning the vast majority of nurses — experience workplace abuse, which in turn affects patient care (read: you and your loved ones), and one in three considers tossing everything they worked for — years of schooling and studying — right in the trash to take their health and dignity back.

“Nurses eat their young” is a common phrase workplace anti-abuse advocates who are nurses use. It was coined in 1986, and it’s not at all outdated.

Rege points to these eight facts about nurse abuse:

1. “Forty-five...

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A city worker deals with abuse from a politically-connected co-worker who higher-ups won’t discipline

I work for a Massachusetts city in the capacity of a senior clerk and typist. I began my time with them completely and utterly oblivious that these types of workplaces existed.   

I began my time working for an amazing asst. superintendent who is no longer with the district. I began as an office clerk. In our office, there was an administrative assistant and two other administrators under the asst. superintendent. I came into the roles as a team player, hard worker, and willing to go the extra mile. I was there for six months and was looking for a move into a senior clerk and typist position within the district due to low wages of the office clerk position. The asst. superintendent saw my worth and kept me on in her office as a senior clerk. The administrative assistant was a senior clerk at one time — those positions are made for people who are politically connected in our city. Her husband was a city councilman.

So time...

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An administrator abuses a teacher to replace her with her friend

About two years ago, I lost my job as a teacher. I had a great observation my first year of teaching. I was on cloud nine. Life was great.

The second year of teaching, we got a new administrator whose goal apparently was to make my life a living hell. She would show up in my room randomly, criticize every move I made as an educator, and constantly compare me with other educators in the building and use their names while telling me how I needed to be more like them. I went so far as to enroll myself back in a local university and take a class to prove to my administrator that I did in fact know my material and what I was doing.

After months of harassment from her, I was informed that I would not be coming back as a teacher. Everything I’d worked for was gone: so many years in school, nights studying, exams, MTELs — gone.

I was told by my union to just apply in a low income area because they hire anyone. I found that my last resort could be to face my former district in...

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