"Work place bullying and mobbing" is a little known phenomenon in the United States but is well known and addressed on many levels in several other countries, primarily The United Kingdom. Although most people in the United States are unfamiliar with the terms "work place bullying and mobbing" many of our work places are fully entrenched in a culture that permits,and even encourages these behaviors. Workplace bullying is defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute as "repeated, health-harming mistreatment in the form of verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and work sabotage that undermines legitimate business and services. This not only affects the targeted worker, but also prevents the employer from conducting business as usual. Employers have no legal recourse to address the bully perpetrator employee either".
Work place bullies use many tactics to emotionally abuse their targets. Isolation being a bully's Most Harmful Weapon of all.
Targets are often chosen by their bullies because of their better than average work performance. Bullies often feel threatened by good performers, because it increases their own feelings of inadequacy and shame. While mentally healthy people applaud and enjoy working and learning from those who excel, bullies can’t stand to see someone other then themselves shine.
Those whose good performance wins the attention of a bully, suddenly finds their successes minimized. Their once valued opinion is no longer asked. Their responsibility for unimportant matters often increases, while their authority is taken from them, often replaced by a bully’s friend. Targets are no longer asked to participate in planning meetings, special projects, or even social events. Important information is no longer communicated to them, as they are intentionally “taken out of the loop”, causing embarrassment and/or some kind of failure due to their lack of what coworkers perceive to be common knowledge. The bully begins a campaign of nitpicking, criticism, and personal insults usually done behind closed doors and in subtle ways. The bully often targets one person at a time, making it hard for coworkers to believe the abuse is real as reported by the target. Often, only the target and the bully themselves, know the true nature of the bully.
The target begins to react emotionally to these abusive changes, which they don’t understand, because there is no real reason other than the bully’s whim, even amusement at the targets distress. Targets often become obsessed by the bully searching for the reason for the abuse, that doesn’t exist. The bully points out the targets emotional distress to coworkers, often feigning concern, along with rumors, gossip and half or twisted truths about the target, in order to manipulate others into questioning the target’s competency and mental health..
Most coworkers believe the bully, not understanding that the target is displaying symptoms of an emotional injury, perpetrated by the bully, rather than mental illness as often alleged by the bully. Coworkers then unwittingly participate in the bullying, which is called mobbing. The few coworkers, who may know the truth, usually won’t stick up for the target, to avoid becoming a target themselves.
Isolation is the most emotionally painful experience a mentally healthy person can endure. That is why isolation is a primary tactic used to punish or torture. It is the bully’s most harmful weapon. I remember a Nun teaching in grade school that no one knows what Hell is like. We can only be sure of one thing. If you go to Hell, you will be ALONE.
The prevalence of work place bullying and mobbing in the United
States is made evident by our common knowledge of the term "going postal" the most devastating affect of work place bullying of all. Adult suicides being the second most devastating affect. It is an important public health message that all working Americans learn about work place bullying and mobbing to literally save lives. It's my mission to educate others about this menace in our work places, the largest hidden expense in business today. Let's recognize it, name it, and end work place bullying and mobbing together.
I am a Registered Nurse who has recognized, repetitively, in my 28-year career, something I previously called “leading by intimidation.” I realized that some managers used identical emotionally abusive tactics against their subordinates. I then came across information on the Internet about the phenomenon called “work place bullying and mobbing”, which describes in detail exactly what I have been observing. I finally have the answers I had been searching for, which was why my supervisor, then my coworkers, began and continue to emotionally abuse me. Bullies think in ways that are inconceivable to me which lead to an almost obsessive desire to fully understand their ways of thinking. I learned that most people in my state of Connecticut in the United States, have never even heard of it. This, being an unheard of concept in this country, my expertise is based on the study of hundreds of Internet articles on the subject, and related topics, and interacting with other targets of work place bullying through Internet support forums. I am also a one of the founding members of Connecticut bullybusters, which is an affiliate of The Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, in Bellingham, Washington, USA.