Help! I’m in a workplace bullying situation!

Bullying has no place at work. And no place in the rest of our lives either. Clients of mine have experienced terrible bullying from all sorts of others (friends, peers, bosses) and it can be truly devastating.

Comparisons between global rates of offensive behaviour and actual rates in Australian school leaders in 2017.
Comparisons between global rates of offensive behaviour and actual rates in Australian school leaders in 2017.

Stressors like bullying have really wide-ranging implications and effects.

Things like being belittled, threatened, attacked, harassed, ignored, stolen from, or lied to on a daily basis affect so much in a person. When this happens at work it doesn’t just cause anxiety or depression or make it harder to do a good job, it can also create relationship issues at home and interfere with physiological health (cardiovascular health especially).

Two great Egrets battle for territorial fishing rights

So how do we get to the point where everyone is on board, bullying stops being used as a way to exercise power in social groups and articles like this don’t even have to be written?

I think we need to investigate our relating styles, our ideas about social hierarchies and meaning, personal attachment patterns and own emotional regulation strategies.

Skills in these areas would help stop bullying for two main reasons.

1. People would cope with bullying behaviour directed towards them, and understand how to deflect it, manage it or change it.

2. If bullying stops working, then people will stop using it as a strategy.
Humans are clever at maximising resources for survival!

This Comcare page has an excellent resources section containing policy documents for businesses, checklists, practical guidance and fact-sheets.


If you are being bullied at work and it’s taking a toll, here’s an exercise to do.

Please have a think about your light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s really important that you know (in your bones) that there’s a way out.
A different future.

This is not all there is. This isn’t how work has to be.

So start making an escape plan.

Set a time limit on how much longer you will put up with what’s happening to you without change. Do you still want to be experiencing this in 5 years? How about 1 year from now?

Then investigate your options for leaving the situation. Can you get a transfer in the organisation? Is there a new path you’d like to take instead? 

Get a hopeful window open in your mind and heart. Not because there’s no other options for resolution, but because you need to have at least one optimistic certainty in your heart and in your control.