What is workplace Bullying?
Workplace bullying is any repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed toward an employee, or employees, that creates a risk to health and safety. Workplace bullying is a form of workplace conflict. It is enduring and repeated in nature; it is inappropriate and aggressive. Most importantly, it often results in physical and psychological distress.
The psychological impact
It can cause depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, decreased self-confidence, panic attacks, fatigue, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal tendencies. Research shows 65 percent of victims still report symptoms 5 years later.
Who are the bullies?
Sydney-based clinical psychologist and workplace bullying specialist Keryl Egan proposed three workplace bully profiles: the accidental bully, the narcissistic bully, and the serial bully.
The accidental bully is someone who is emotionally blunt, aggressive and demanding. He or she tends to be task-focused and values task achievement above everything else. When stressed or overwhelmed, the person becomes anxious and panicky and behaves poorly towards others.
The narcissistic bully is grandiose and has fantasies of breath-taking achievement. This type of bully feels they deserve power and position; they can be very destructive and manipulative.
The third bully profile is the serial bully who has more sociopathic or psychopathic tendencies. They are intentional, organized, systematic and their bullying is relentless. They are difficult to detect or change. The serial bully is often:
- grandiose yet charming,
- authoritative, aggressive and dominating,
- fearless and shameless,
- devoid of empathy or remorse,
- manipulative and deceptive;
- impulsive, chaotic or stimulus seeking; and
- a master of imitation and mimicry.
How can a psychologist help you?
Victims tend to be conscientious, loyal employees who will internalize blame. It is common for the victim to internalize and believe that they have caused the bullying behaviour. Your psychologist can help you identify that bullying is the cause of you feeling bad because workplace bullying is difficult to pinpoint.