“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” Elie Wiesel
Companies as entities, purely profit-driven and lacking in ethics, can behave like bullies. Its as if the whole world has been blinded by the impression an organisation can promote of themselves. It may appear that they offer fair treatment of staff, practice equality and diversity whilst in reality they promote a culture of fear and blame, literally “killing off” their staff in the process. Ambitions are hidden under a smokescreen of the charities for which they raise money, or their charitable status is used to hide their real profit-making agenda. For example, equality and diversity “champion” Labour’s ambassador for women at work, Dr Glenda Stone, killed off 27 secretaries in 2 years. Her reign of terror only ended when, upon being sacked, a brave male employee took her to Court.
Recently demonized are bank workers named in the Libor rate rigging scandal. What isn’t clear under the smokescreen is that Directors of these Banks instilled the idea in the minds of their traders constant competition to make as much money as possible for their employers. Anyone who refused to “comply” with these “unwritten” yet “implicit” rules was at risk of removal. Taking no responsibility, the banks have accused and blamed the traders for being greedy, selfish and irresponsible, setting up their loyal employees to feel ashamed by the emotions of which humans are ashamed and therefore believe are deserving of punishment. Ask yourselves this question. Can blame even be laid at the doors of the banks themselves? Why are we ‘banker bashing”? What about the role of the then elected Government? Entities such as the FSA are drafted in as the official authority to “prove” the traders’ wrongdoing. Other employees are coerced into testifying against their colleagues. The media’s cloudy discourse spun a moral panic and the general public encouraged to hate the traders. As such, the category of trader has been shifted from ordinary “human” worker into “animal”. Numerous investigations, tribunals and Court cases have pushed such workers to the brink. Their only crime was to be well-paid and obedient employees, seeking to reap the standard banking world rewards promised. Punishment is often as severe as a prison sentence A stretch in time is just that. However, damage to the psyche, without psychological help, can last a lifetime.
If you have been subject to any kind of bullying company or boss, rumours about your competency, capability, about your very sanity will have been widely spread. Publicly humiliated, your character almost entirely assassinated, you will have been left feeling broken. Increasingly you may have found yourself relying on the support and approval of the abusive boss or company. Never more so when they threatened to remove the promotion for which you worked so hard. You may have reached the stage where there was nothing you wouldn’t do to keep or regain their once seemingly high opinion of you. In the same manner, the person brought in to take over your job role you realize existed only to cause you escalating grief. Or the team member you nurtured and cared for as if a sibling or child, has been turned into another weapon of mass destruction in the war waged against you. Mostly you will have simply felt confused.
A narcissistic boss or company lies to cover up their mistakes. However, they also deliberately lie to make you look bad. As if in a love relationship with an abusive person, when a boss or company sets out to destroy you, whilst pretending to care for you, when the truth finally dawns on you, the rage you feel will at times be physically, mentally and unbearably exhausting. Dragging yourself into work, with a feeling of dread and impending doom, you find yourself walking on eggshells to avoid being shouted at, criticized, humiliated and shamed. Often left suffering a range of psycho-complex disorders, which may manifest into physical illnesses such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (“GAD”), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) or, if you weren’t previously challenged with, albeit more manageably, any type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”). Nervous twitches, acute anxiety manifesting in stomach and digestive related ailments, sudden anger, a constant desire to apologise, tearfulness, depression, anxiety, paranoia, suicidal ideation, relationship issues alongside a need to control your own environment are just a few of the symptoms.
For individuals, the type of person who is at risk from a bullying boss is one who has an admirable work ethic. A person who is loyal, conscientious, capable, organised and ethical. A person who is vulnerable, anxious, eager to please and perhaps seeking resolution of unresolved family issues through their working environment. You may have something markedly different about you in terms of, say, disability, sexuality, minority religion or culture. Perhaps you just have never felt like you quite fitted, or suffered bullying from your peers during your early years, or, endearingly innocent, have been brought up to believe the whole world is beautiful.Perhaps this is you?
Are you the one who once was developed and progressed at work, instead now you are being unfairly promoted over, made redundant, performance managed out and as a result suffering silently or otherwise from a stress breakdown as they use the established rules and policies against you. Sometimes even the ones you introduced. Heartbroken, you feel so betrayed, so sad and so depressed that it physically hurts you inside. Convinced that you alone were either the only one who understood the boss, or could do that job “properly”, you were easily pulled and pushed into submission, leaving you addicted to a toxic style of management. Incapable of enjoying relationships based on equality and mutual respect, if a bullying company or boss, doesn’t manage to gain full power over you, they move you on, rather than sorting out typical working relationship norming-storming-forming issues. Sometimes you are drawn into conflict http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/understanding-personality-disorders-triangulation when invited to side against a colleague set up to appear as the devil incarnate who they say is in your way. Oh how little do you realize that you are next. Time you never had endlessly sacrificed will never be enough. Or worse having taken as much advantage of you that they can, without blowing their cover, such bosses coerce you into leaving; appearing faultless as you find another job.
Narcissistic colleagues or bosses are ones who takes credit for your work or have sexual relations with the staff, the boss who blames you for their poor presentation or the one who’s business failure is all your fault, the manager who overlooks you for promotion or the one who sets you tasks you will fail. The type of boss or colleague who pretends to have only your best interests at heart, while secretly stamping on you to serve their own. http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/understanding-personality-disorders-symptoms-and-treatment
So how do you move forward and heal? Learning assertiveness skills, entering into therapy in order to have your experience witnessed, validated and affirmed, acceptance and approval of yourself in order to build your inner strength will not only protect you from further psychic attack, it is the key to healing. You will gain clarity, strength, resilience and strategic tools to regain your dignity. Releasing the past and forgiving everyone, including yourself, is vital for recovery. However, forgiveness doesn’t excuse the bully. Forgiveness stops them from destroying your heart or worse – turning you into them. For now it is enough to understand their intentions were always flawed. Even though you may feel as if you have lost your footing as the world spins on its axis appearing frighteningly distorted, off-kilter and unreal, keep remembering it is not your fault. If you are reading this you survived. You made it. You are here and you have a life. Wishing you good luck on your journey back to earth.