You are not stupid if you don’t recognise that you are being bullied or you are a victim of workplace psychological or emotional violence.
It is difficult for anyone to see a link between their mistreatment and resulting health and social problems. after all, these things don’t happen like a car crash, they happen like a weed growing out of the concrete.
You can’t take steps to stop the destructive acts aimed at you until you recognise that they are not routine, acceptable or deserved. Once you see that the abuse you endured has no rational reason to ever be present in any workplace, you can make your health your priority and begin to fight back. The longer it takes for you to discover what has happened, the greater the likelihood that stress has begun to erode your health.
Experiences Outside Work
- You feel like throwing up the night before the start of your work week
- Your frustrated family demands that you to stop obsessing about work at home
- Your doctor asks what could be causing your skyrocketing blood pressure and recent health problems, and tells you to change jobs
- You feel too ashamed of being controlled by another person at work to tell your spouse or partner
- All your paid time off is used for “mental health breaks” from the misery
- Days off are spent exhausted and lifeless, your desire to do anything is gone
- Your favorite activities and fun with family are no longer appealing or enjoyable
- You begin to believe that you provoked the workplace cruelty
- You are feeling angry for no reason
- Your heart is pumping and you don’t know whether to run or hid whenever you see the perpetrator- that’s feeling Anxious.
- You are avoiding your feelings
- You are finding it difficult to concentrate outside of work.
- You are having trouble remembering tasks and are becoming confused after you see or hear from the perpetrator.
- Your family and friends are noticing you withdraw into yourself and are seeing you become depressed.
- There is an obvious distress when you get ready to go to work which grows the closer you get to work.
- You feel exhausted much quicker than you used to and go to bed earlier than you used to during the week.
- during the day you are feeling fatigued quicker than you used to.
- Both at work and at home you start to forget things that you would normally remember easily.
- You are easily irritated more than you used to be , especially when someone close to you is either being negative or interrupting you.
- You start to cut yourself off from the world and may describe yourself as feeling emotionally numb.
- You start to feel guilty over the smallest problems that you think happen at work and at home.
- You have an sense of hopelessness in being able to move on from your current situation.
- You physically start to feel ill when thinking about work or approaching work.
- You get sick with minor illnesses quicker than before like the flu or a cold
- You get Headaches more easily than before.
- You have less sex with your partner than you were having previously.
- You diet changes either through a Loss of appetite or through a greater appetite which results in either losing weight or gaining weight above what would be a normal weight range for you over a week)
- You experience Physical pain through muscular tensions and tension headaches.
- You physically vomit at work before you have to do something with a manager or in particular with the perpetrator.
- You regularly experience shortness of breath when you have to interact with the perpetrator.
- You get to bed early or later than usual and wake up earlier or later than usual and while asleep you wake up more easily than usual (you may even have nightmares)
- You actively withdrawn from friends, family, your hobbies and things you would enjoy.
- Overtime you start to lose friends or lose contact with them even if they know what you are going through.
- You find yourself being extra cautious at work.
- Especially at first you are in denial of your injury, not realising that you have changed, or the extent of those
- At work and at home you feel and possibly over time are isolated from your family and friends.
- You may start to think of permanent ways of escaping, such as moving cities, or changing careers or even Suicide.
All these signs are important but some are telling and can impact your life beyond your current problem.
It is important that you look out for these signs and get help when you or someone you trust sees them in you.
The top one is:
Thinking of ways to escape:
This includes wanting to change jobs- go see your doctor and get a check up with a counsellor or psychologist.
Avoiding going to work:
if you are taking any excuse to not turn up to work, or are finding yourself dawdling so you are late to work on a regular basis then take yourself to the doctors and like the feelings of escape get yourself checked out.
Feeling physically ill and/or weight gain or loss:
Both of these are a physical sign of anxiety or depression, and can have a serious impact on our short and long term health. Take them seriously.
Having less sex or withdrawing from your friends:
Relationships can be taken for granted but these two signs can lead to serious social isolation (not just on your part) into your future. They are also the hardest to mend when you survive the workplace incident. Again go to your doctor, get a psychological check up.
I would like to acknowledge that this article borrowed heavily from the workplace bullying institute and a member’s email.