Archive

Posts Tagged ‘workplace bullying’

25 Signs your Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend is Traumatizing You


danger crazy womanDo you experience insomnia, nightmares, fatigue, nausea, aches and pains, and an underlying sense of dread? Do you feel like you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop? Is it difficult for you to trust others because you’re worried they’ll hurt you? Do you frequently feel ashamed, guilty, and worthless? Are you involved with an emotionally abusive, narcissistic or borderline woman?

Ain’t love grand! Being involved with an emotionally abusive, narcissistic or borderline woman can do quite a number on you. If you’ve been bullied, manipulated, abused, confused, and demeaned by the woman you love, you may have developed a stress reaction from her repeated violations of trust called betrayal trauma (Freyd, 2008). Betrayal trauma can significantly and adversely affect your physical and psychological well being (Freyd, Klest, & Allard, 2005).

Many men who are abused by their wives or girlfriends don’t recognize their behaviors as abusive. These men minimize and misidentify what’s happening by telling themselves that she’s just “emotional” or, worse yet, blame themselves for her cruel and hurtful behaviors. These men blind themselves to the reality of the situation in order to preserve the relationship.

Alternatively, some men realize her behavior is wrong and abusive, but remain silent. There are two primary reasons for keeping mum:

  1. Confronting an abusive woman about her behavior only makes her nastier and you’re then subjected to a narcissistic rage episode and/or histrionic drama queen performance.
  2. She’ll just blame you for everything or deny what she did anyway, so why bother saying anything?

Whether you’re suffering in self-induced oblivion or are painfully aware, but keeping quiet, there are consequences to staying in an abusive relationship. Trauma affects you physically and psychologically. It also has a detrimental effect on all of your other relationships or lack thereof.

Common physical and emotional reactions to trauma:

  1. Headaches, backaches, muscle fatigue, and stomach aches.
  2. Nausea, irritable bowels, diarrhea, or constipation.
  3. Increased susceptibility to colds and other illnesses because chronic stress is weakening your immune system.
  4. Insomnia and other sleep disturbances such as ruminative thought or bad dreams.
  5. A pervasive sense of anxiety, dread, fear, worry, and/or panic attacks.
  6. Depression, the blues, grief, or feeling hopeless about the future.
  7. Feelings of helplessness, weakness, and being trapped.
  8. Feeling disoriented, confused, and/or overwhelmed.
  9. Isolating yourself from others, not communicating with friends and family.
  10. Feeling emotionally detached, shut down or numb.
  11. Feeling overwhelmed or flooded by feelings that are disproportionate to the situation.
  12. Difficulty concentrating, focusing or remembering things.
  13. Feelings of guilt, shame, worthlessness and/or blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault.
  14. Difficulty trusting others, feeling paranoid (like others are out to get you), feelings of betrayal.
  15. Drinking too much, taking drugs, overeating or engaging in other compulsive behaviors to numb and/or soothe yourself.
  16. Outbursts of anger, rage, irritability or frustration that are disproportionate to the situation.
  17. Mood swings or moodiness.
  18. Overly sensitive to criticism.
  19. Denying, rationalizing or minimizing the traumatic behaviors.
  20. Feeling on edge, jumpy or hypervigilant to possible attacks, always being on the defense.
  21. Keeping secrets, censoring or stuffing your feelings, lying to others about what happens in your relationship.
  22. Developing false beliefs such as, “All women are crazy” or “Never trust anyone” or “Never let your guard down” or “Never tell anyone how you’re really feeling or what you really think because they’ll use it against you.” These are negative and self-limiting beliefs that keep you from living life fully.
  23. Difficulty making decisions, fear of making the “wrong choice.”
  24. Not taking care of yourself—eating poorly, not exercising, not getting enough rest, engaging in dangerous activities that could be passive suicide attempts like crossing the street without looking or biking in dangerous areas.
  25. Feelings of indifference, fatalism, cynicism, or pessismism.

These are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL and abusive behaviors. However, your girlfriend or wife has probably used the stress reactions you’re experiencing, because of her, as another device to hurt you. “Why are you so sensitive? Stop being so defensive! You’re a hypochondriac. Stop being such a baby. You’re so angry. You’re being labile.” Sound familiar? She uses the trauma symptoms you’re experiencing, which she induced, to further traumatize you. Nice.

If you’re suffering from the symptoms of betrayal trauma please take the necessary steps to get out of your emotionally abusive relationship and recover from it. Healing from trauma takes time and can bring up a lot of painful emotions that you had to suppress while in your emotionally abusive relationship. This is also a normal part of the process. Try to feel the feelings as they come up without guilt or self-recrimination.

Other tips to recover from trauma sustained in an abusive relationship include:

Seek support. Share your feelings with someone you trust. If you’re uncomfortable talking with friends or family at first because you’re ashamed or feel foolish, find a therapist or join a support group.

Don’t isolate. One of the effects of being in abusive relationship is distancing yourself from others who care about you. Part of recovery involves reestablishing these connections.

Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise, rest, and find ways to relax.

Develop a daily routine. This will keep you grounded and help to create a sense of predictability and normalcy after the unpredictability and instability of your life with your emotionally abusive wife or girlfriend.

Say Goodbye to CrazyWant to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

 

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Related content:

Traumatic Love: Is Your Narcissistic or Borderline Wife or Girlfriend Making You Sick?

Photo credit:

Danger crazy woman by FaG on flickr.

References:

Freyd, J.J. (2008) What is a betrayal trauma? What is Betrayal trauma theory?  http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/~jjf/trauma.html

Freyd, J.J., Klest, B., & Allard, C.B. (2005) Betrayal trauma: Relationship to physical health, psychological distress, and a written disclosure intervention.  Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 6(3), 83-104.

What to Do If You’re the Target of Bullying at Work


women bulliesBy the time you realize you’re the target of workplace bullying and mobbing, it’s usually the beginning of the end. The ultimate goal of the bully/mobbing ringleader is to eliminate you from the organization. Unfortunately, most organizations neither acknowledge nor address workplace bullying in a way that protects the target.

In fact, Human Resources and management usually further victimize you by siding with the bully. Unless you can document acts of sexual harassment, racial or religious discrimination, pressure to engage in unlawful activities or discrimination for a physical disability, bullying/mobbing isn’t illegal in most states unless you can tie it to these specific acts of harassment. Therefore, it’s important that you come up with a plan to protect and remove yourself from this unhealthy and stressful work situation.

The following are measures you can take if you’ve become the target of mobbing at work:

1. Assess your professional options. What can you do to protect yourself in the short-term while working on a long-term solution? Do you know people who can connect you with other job opportunities? Do you need to learn new skills to transfer to another department or to seek employment elsewhere?

If management won’t address the problem, you’re going to have to leave or continue to suffer the abuse. Bullies don’t stop until they force you out. Their attacks escalate in severity and in frequency. The more they get away with their behaviors, the more vicious they become.

2. Play it cool. Don’t react with anger at work. Even though your anger is completely justified, don’t blow your top. Find an outside person with whom to vent your frustrations.

A common tactic of bullies is to provoke you into anger in front of co-workers and management. They then pretend like you’re the one who is out of control and hostile, “See. What did I tell you—s/he is uncooperative and people are afraid of him/her.” Of course, they don’t mention the dirty tricks and psychological torture they used to push you into it. They want to destroy your professional reputation. Don’t give them the ammunition to do it.

3. Don’t give your employer “cause.” The bully/mobbing ringleader is looking for reasons to have you terminated, so you have to be beyond reproach. When you’re bullied, you feel demoralized, unappreciated, attacked, and frustrated. Consequently, you lose interest in your job. Your heart just isn’t in it anymore and you let things slide. This is referred to as “presenteeism” or “discretionary effort.” The mindset is, “I’m being mistreated. The company isn’t doing anything about it, so why kill myself working any harder than I have to?”

Try not to do this. Your goal should be to leave your current organization on your own terms. Don’t give them grounds for termination. Demonstrate that in the face of a hostile work environment, you did your best. Once you’ve secured a comparable or better job, let the HR person know exactly what happened during your exit interview. If the company gets enough victims of the bully on record, they might eventually do something about it. The bottom line of any organization is money and recruiting and training new personnel is costly.

4. Create a paper trail. Document everything: dates, times, witnesses, detailed descriptions of their behaviors and events. Send emails describing what’s going on to yourself or a trusted colleague. If you meet with HR, take notes and submit a signed copy for your personnel file.

If your manager or boss is one of the people bullying you and they pressure you to sign a false or unfair performance evaluation or disciplinary action, draft a counter statement explaining your position. Stick to the facts and try to keep anger and emotionality out of it. State that you were made to feel belittled or persecuted. Document that it’s a hostile work environment, which is highly stressful and makes it difficult for you to do your job. Most importantly, keep the original copies and store them in a safe place—i.e., not at work.

5. Get a second opinion. Reality test with a trusted colleague, therapist, coach, or lawyer. One of the most damaging aspects of workplace bullying is gaslighting. You begin to doubt your own perceptions because most of these behaviors are diffuse forms of innuendo, done behind your back or, even worse, if you’re publicly humiliated, the participants deny or minimize how you were treated.

6. Use available resources. Do research on the web. Study your organization’s HR handbook, particularly work grievance and harassment policies. Although, keep in mind, workplace grievances usually aren’t an effective way to deal with a bully. Either the bully has friends in HR or management or is your boss. HR usually sides with management. Plus, most bullies are practiced liars who deny, minimize and distort the facts with ease. Additionally, your company has already failed you in allowing the bullying to occur and not stopping it.

If you have access to a labor attorney or are able to obtain a free consultation, consult with him or her about your rights. Look for other work options. Seek support from friends, family or a therapist.

7. Take care of yourself. Bullying is a form of emotional abuse and violence in the workplace. It takes a very negative toll on your physical and psychological health. Work becomes an active war zone, which causes you to maintain a defensive stance and become hypervigilant. It’s incredibly stressful, exhausting, and traumatic. This toxicity will eventually spill over into your personal life.

Minimize the effects of the abuse by reframing or changing how you see things (Sutton, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn’t, 2007, pp. 131-147). If you change your mindset about what’s happening, you can reduce the amount of damage you experience. For example:

  • Avoid engaging in self-blame.
  • Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
  • Develop indifference and emotional detachment.
  • Learn when and how not to give a damn.
  • Lower your expectations about your co-workers and management.
  • Remind yourself that you’ll recover and move on from this ordeal.
  • Look for small wins. Gaining control over little things will positively impact your well-being.
  • Limit your exposure with the bully.
  • Build areas in your life that provide support, safety, and sanity.

8. Use your free time to develop your career outside of your organization. If you’re not being given assignments anymore or your responsibilities have decreased because of bullying/mobbing, use that time to network in other departments, attend professional trainings, work on your résumé, and network outside your organization.

Quantify how these activities are related to your current job in some way, so that you can’t be accused of working on personal activities on company time. For example, hand out business cards when you attend an outside networking event and mention your company and what you do in conversation. Do not, however, bad mouth your company to anyone outside the organization. This will reflect poorly on you. Additionally, you don’t want to be accused of disparaging the organization as grounds for termination.

Workplace bullying and mobbing are insidious forms of psychological and emotional abuse. You can survive with your professional reputation intact if you don’t fall into the trap of reacting or shutting down at work (i.e., not fulfilling your responsibilities). Educate yourself, protect yourself, and develop a plan to get out and move forward with your life.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Related articles:

Reference:

Sutton, R.I. (2007).  The no Asshole rule: Building a civilized workplace and surviving one that isn’t.  NY, NY, Warner Business Books.

Photo credit:

Talking behind my back on Forbes.

Workplace Bullying and Office Politics: What is Mobbing?


paranoidDo you feel like you’re being singled out or “ganged up on” at work? Do your co-workers suddenly stop talking when you enter the room? Do you notice co-workers and/your boss rolling their eyes or exchanging glances when you talk in a meeting? Do you feel like people at work are undermining you or out to get you? Do you wonder if you’re just imagining things or being paranoid?

If so, you may be the target of a form of workplace bullying called mobbing. Mobbing isn’t illegal and is a commonplace occurrence in office politics.

What is mobbing?

Mobbing is the impassioned psychological harassment of one individual by a group. The attack is usually instigated and led by one or two people who are typically in a position of authority or a peer leader. The instigator enlists his or her colleagues to engage in a form of group bullying.

The group victimization of a single target has several goals including: demeaning, discrediting, alienating, excluding, humiliating, scapegoating, isolating and, ultimately, eliminating the targeted individual.

These behaviors typically manifest as petty harassment and bureaucratic hassles (Rosen, Katz & Morahan, 2007). Mobbing is a form of emotional abuse, which can negatively impact your health, career, family, and the organization that harbors bullies.

Organizational impact of mobbing.

Companies that condone individual bullying and mobbing are affected by hard and “soft” costs. Hard costs include high employee turnover, high absenteeism, “presenteeism” (employees show up, but they’re on “autopilot”—they exercise discretionary effort), decreased productivity, and a bad reputation in regard to taking care of employees. A bad company reputation reduces the ability to attract talented recruits. Soft costs include decreased job satisfaction, poor communication and information sharing, low morale, and a sense of betrayal by management. Eventually, the poor morale and reduced creativity trickles down to a poor customer experience.

Who is likely to mob?

Mobbing ringleaders are bullies who try to dominate and control others. These behaviors usually aren’t overt. Instead, mobbing employs the surreptitious use of rumor, innuendo, making inappropriate jokes, and public discrediting. One of the most stressful aspects for targets of this abuse is the covert nature of what’s going on and the lack of concrete evidence. It’s a form of gaslighting in which the target begins to doubt his or her experiences and/or sanity.

Namie and Namie (2000) describe individuals who instigate mobbing as, “inadequate, defective, and poorly developed people.” They’re generally angry, unpredictable, critical, jealous, and manipulative (Davenport, Schwartz and Elliot, 1999; Namie and Namie, 2000). The emotionally abusive bullies who engage in mobbing revel in the excitement produced by their animosity. It produces a pleasurable buzz or rush in them. Westhues (2002) refers to this as “the euphoria of collective attack.”

Bullying and mobbing in any organization usually isn’t a one time occurrence. All bullies are “repeat offenders;” if they’ve bullied once and gotten away with it, they’ll most definitely bully again. Getting away with it is its own reward as is being able to manipulate and control both the target and management.

A bully always has an “enemy” in the cross hairs. After they force one target out of the system, they’ll move onto the next one within 2 hours to 2 weeks. Abusing others are how they derive a sense of power and control. A bully doesn’t stop bullying until someone with authority makes them stop and/or fires them.

Who is likely to become the target of mobbing?

Mobbing targets have certain characteristics in common. Typical targets include people who are:

  • average to high achievers
  • extremely competent
  • devoted
  • loyal
  • organized
  • cooperative
  • experienced

They become targets out of jealousy or because they’ve somehow put a co-worker or superior to shame. Creative people are also likely to be mobbed because they present new ideas that challenge others. Other likely targets include people who excel in some area, are different in some way (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity), dissent with certain organizational practices, or have knowledge of wrongdoing or a breach of ethics by someone with authority in the workplace.

If you believe you’re being bullied by a co-worker and/or are the target of mobbing, take the time to research your options. Find out what you can do to protect yourself and come up with a strategy to find away out of this toxic situation. It may require that you to transfer to another department or seek employment elsewhere. If your company condones bullying, you may have no other choice but to leave.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Related content:

Photo credit:

Paranoid on Francis-Emporium.

Rosen, S.E., Katz, J.K., & Morahan, P.S. (2007), Avoiding \’mobbing\’ in the workplace–and surviving if you are mobbed. Academic Physician & Scientist, Sept. 2007, pp. 4-6.