Coping With Workplace Bullying

Nobody likes a bully, right? But sadly, many of us will have to deal with them at some point in our working lives and depending on the nature and severity of the bullying, we may need to seek outside help to deal with it.


Workplace Bullies and What They Do

Bullies in the workplace often use the same set of intimidatory and manipulative tools that a schoolyard bully might possess, and recognizing their behavioral patterns is the first step towards putting an end to it and getting back to a comfortable working environment.

Bullies torment others and will go out of their way to make you feel small or embarrassed. They often have deep-rooted psychological issues that center around control and insecurity, and their issues tend to be with themselves, not you, although it may not feel that way when they are targeting you.


Recognizing Classic Bullying Behavioral Traits

Some common behavioral traits belonging to workplace bullies can include:

  • Shouting – and this may be in private, in front of colleagues, or even in front of customers
  • Name calling
  • Disrespectful or derogatory remarks
  • Criticizing or excessive nit-picking
  • Undermining someone’s work
  • Increasing an individual’s workload without reason
  • Purposely excluding someone from normal workplace or staff room conversations and/or events, making them feel explicitly unwelcome


If someone in your workplace frequently displays any, or all these behaviors, then you may have a bully on your hands, whether you are their target, or a colleague.


Look out for signs outside of the workplace that you might be a victim of bullying:

If you struggle to sleep or have uncontrollable feelings of nausea before going to work because you feel scared, then that may be a clear indicator that you are the victim of bullying. Your family may get frustrated with how often you talk about problems at work, and you may even spend your days off constantly worrying about going back to work.

These are all strong signs that if you’re not being bullied, then there is a very real problem at work that you need to address for your own sake.


Never Ignore the Problem

Even if you feel that you can cope with being bullied, there is absolutely no way that you deserve it or nor do you need to tolerate it. Don’t make excuses for their behavior or mistakenly believe that you deserve to be bullied. Feelings of self-doubt can lead you down a slippery slope, and all the time that you’re busy making excuses for the bully’s behavior, they are continuing unabated and unchecked, and your mental health will soon start to suffer.

Bullies in the workplace often select their victims based upon the threat that they feel is posed to them or their career, so while no one wants to be bullied, it can suggest that you are good at your job and that they know it, that’s why they’ve chosen to bully you.

If you’re being bullied in the workplace and feel that it is having a negative impact upon your working and/or personal life, then it may be worth seeking professional help. A trusted and experienced counselor can help provide you with a safe space to talk over your concerns and can help reinforce your self-confidence and sense of self-worth, as well as help you take proactive, empowering steps.