Anybody who has been a victim of workplace bullying knows the pain that this type of harassment and humiliation causes. Well, once the bully has been dealt with, don’t expect to feel fine afterward. While you may feel a sense of relief, that you are no longer experiencing the daily stress of working with a bully, you also may have some residual impact from what you experienced. In fact, workplace bullying often has a lasting impact on your overall mental and physical health.
As a result, there will be days when the path to recovery may be challenging. Something somebody says may trigger those familiar feelings of anxiety. Or, you may worry every time you disagree with somebody. These feelings are all normal. But with minor work and an extra effort in taking care of yourself, you will get your life back. What’s more, you can take what happened to you in the workplace and learn from it. Use it to strengthen you as you move forward with your life and your career.
The key is to not grant what happened to you define who you are as a person. Identify that workplace bullies have a choice. You did not deserve to be bullied. Place the responsibility for the bullying on the shoulders of the bully and move forward. Leave the hurtful words and the actions in the past.
Eminent psychologist and corporate consellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo
1. Make Your Health A Priority
Victims of workplace bullying deal with a bulk of health issues including sleeplessness, stomach issues, headaches, and stress conditions. They also may deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, eating disorders, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you are feeling. It’s also a good idea to find a counselor. Remember, being targeted by a workplace bully does more than affect your mood or self-esteem. It also can affect your physical health. Do not defer in taking care of yourself. Neglecting your symptoms can lead to a host of other health issues. Staying healthy should be your top priority.
2. Find Emotional Support and Validation
When bullying happens, the victim is often accused of having a problem or being the problem. Continuous criticism, rumors, lies, and gossip can take its toll leaving you feeling lonely, isolated and hopeless. But remember you are not alone. In fact, workplace bullying is a widespread issue that affects workers daily. Consider finding a support group in your area or starting one of your own. Find validation for what you have experienced and identify that there is nothing wrong with you. It will take work to build up your self-esteem and overall confidence again, but it can be done.
3. Change How You Look At the Experience
Many times, a person who has been bullied develop a very narrow view of life because the bullying they experienced consumes their every thought. Think about things other than what you have gone through, things that have meaning or purpose in your life. There are several benefits to positive thinking. If you are having trouble doing this on your own, a counselor can help you redirect your thought processes. What’s more, avoid feeling guilty about how you confronted the bully or the length of time it took you to take an action. These things are in the past. Leave them there.
4. Educate Yourself about Workplace Bullying
If you are puzzled by what has happened to you, read everything you can about workplace bullying. While it can be frustrating to read about the issue, in the long run, it will help you come to terms with what happened to you. What’s more, being educated about bullying will prepare you for future confrontations. Some victims of workplace bullying even become advocates or support group leaders for others suffering at the hands of a workplace bully.
5. Find Closure and A New Beginning
Part of the healing process is being able to put the past behind you and detach from the trauma and humiliation you experienced. Sometimes finding this closure involves switching jobs or careers. But you also need to realize that your identity is tied to more than just your work. Rediscover who you are. Develop new interests, new hobbies, new goals, and new dreams. Do not allow yourself to be preoccupied with what happened to you. Instead, find a better way to shift your focus and put the past behind you.