Bullying- an unheralded behaviour that silently scars and profoundly injuries like a raw open wound. Once permitted, the victim, vulnerable and assailable, gets entangled in a mesh of repeated desperate situations, one that compels him to imbibe every inflicted pain. Bullies can take any shape and can come in any face, anytime, anywhere. They can come across as verbal insults, social isolation, demeaning comments, aggressive behaviour, bold threats, subtle intimidation or shameful humiliation; the face they take can be that of a friend, colleague, acquaintance, or supervisor.
Subtle bullying in the workplace is common. If you encounter your colleagues excluding you from discussions or withholding work-related information, then you are being bullied. If you feel your supervisor demeans your efforts, criticises you unnecessarily, then you are being bullied. Don’t confuse constructive criticism with bullying. It’s not the same. Feedback and guidance are essential for professional growth. But if you are constantly told to improve the quality of your work with no proper direction or advice, they unknowingly strip your confidence and degrade your morale. If you are given no responsibility, their objective is to make you feel unworthy. If they burden you with impossible tasks or make you work overtime without monetary acknowledgement, then you are being bullied. If you are being spied or stalked, then you are being bullied.
Beware and watch out for the following:
- False information: This is when you become the subject of gossip, rumours, profane remarks, or shameful jokes.
- Information Asymmetry: This is when vital information is not communicated or withheld from you.
- Daily Humiliation: This is when you are shouted at, sent abusive emails, or told mean words. The bully displays subtle aggression and violence.
- Verbal or physical Attacks: This is when your work is undermined or sabotaged. This deliberate act is done to prevent you from getting a raise. It leaves you feeling worthless and undeserving of the next promotion.
- Social exclusions: This is when no one looks at you or talks to you. They treat you like an invisible object in the room.
- Belittling: This is when your ideas are laughed at, or you are spoken to with a condescending tone.
- Gender discrimination: This is when you are paid low because of your gender. You may be qualified with a college degree but are paid the lowest due to bias and discrimination.
Once you allow bullies to get away, they repeatedly hurt your feelings and try their best to bring you down. This can impact your mental health and physical being. They will shatter your confidence and scar you for life. Don’t be afraid to communicate with the HR manager or any authoritative figure at your workplace. Bring an end to this ordeal and take a stand before it’s late. There are helplines that could help you and make sure to seek help.