Some might argue that abusive behavior reveals malicious intent. Others say we can't possibly know abusers' intent and that some don't intend to inflict pain, but there should be accountability.
Regardless, many targets — who've all been on the receiving end of abusive behavior and understand nuances of it better than most — believe that abusers at work fully try to inflict pain and that abuse requires deliberate action intended to create or reinforce a hierarchy of power and control.
In fact, while some abusers may just not know better, many use abuse as a tactic to disguise incompetence and deflect it onto those whose competence poses a threat.
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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...
I was the target of workplace bullying and discrimination. This is my story.
My career as a state employee started the summer of 1986; I had just finished my 1st year of college and was given the opportunity to work in the business office at a mental health facility in Boston. At the end of the summer, I was offered a part time position at a facility that was near campus. For the next 15+ years, I worked for three different agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2004, I accepted the offer of a position as a contracts specialist for the Department of Developmental Services in Danvers.
In May 2014, I had an accident at work. A step stool in the supply closet tipped over, and I fell off it. I didn’t know that the stool was broken since it had not been labeled as broken or taken out of service. I suffered severe injuries: a concussion, loss of some vision in my right eye, a torn labrum in my shoulder, bruised coccyx, and multiple bruises. Due to my fall, I...
If we were to create a workplace bullying target persona, she would be a 42-year old, college-educated, full-time, non-supervisory, non-union worker in healthcare, education, or the government.
Targets of workplace abuse are most often motivated to help others — the do-gooders who enter healing and helping professions. When they don't also focus on politics, they become vulnerable to abuse. This mindset generally falls along gender and industry lines.
Targets and witnesses often say that those targeted abuse are often kind and cooperative. Though they also considered targets not likely to defend themselves and vulnerable (a strength often seen as a weakness in our patriarchal culture), it’s important to note targets are cooperators, not competitors. And collaborative work environments are proven to be not just healthier for employees but also for organizations’ bottom lines.
Nursing and teaching: rampant with bullying
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