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Bullying happens everywhere
Many people believe that bullying stops being an issue as soon as you leave school. But the reality is that bullying occurs in almost every area of life – and, yep, even adults bully people. A poll of 2000 people carried out on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association found that 31% of Americans have been bullied as an adult.
Victims reported significant negative impacts on their health, including stress, anxiety, loss of confidence, inability to sleep, mental breakdowns, and an inability to function on a daily basis. These incidents of adult bullying often occur in the workplace, home, and educational settings.
Companies with competitive work environments and strict hierarchies tend to be most affected by bullying. Superiors are directly involved in half of all cases of workplace bullying. These figures show that quiet firing is more than just a trend, but what should you do if you’re being personally affected by this issue?
What to do if you’re experiencing quiet firing?
1. Act fast
Don’t wait for things to get “bad enough”, instead act fast. The problem isn’t going to go away on its own. It’s quite challenging to break a viscous cycle once certain systems of behavior have been established.
2. Keep a bullying journal
Jot down any incidents of bullying, whether big or small, in a journal – it’s best to be really specific about the time, place and people involved. Not only will this help you to process and reflect on what happened, but you might also be able to use it later during legal proceedings.
3. Turn to a third party
Especially when it’s superiors doing the bullying, it’s often difficult to have an upfront conversation. You need to turn to colleagues who aren’t involved or the HR department for support. You can also formulate specific requests, for example that the HR department holds a meeting with your manager or that your colleagues stand up for you in certain situations.
4. Try to have an upfront conversation
Especially at the start, an upfront open conversation can work wonders. “During this meeting, you can present your bullying journal and offer your own perspective in the first-person,” advises psychologist Judith Klenter, continuing: “You can also ask any colleagues that are on your side to chip in during the meeting.”
📖 Would you like to learn more about your relationships with other people? Then read our article Why Therapy Is Always a Good Idea, Even When You’re Happy.
How OpenUp can support you
Bullying in the workplace is a huge mental health challenge. You may be asking yourself if it’s your fault or if there’s something you could have done differently. A consultation with psychologists can help you to rebuild your self-esteem and find the right tools to deal with the situation.
Psychologist Judith Klenter advises: “Remember that bullying always reveals more about the person who is doing the bullying than the person who is being bullied.”
When you have a bad experience like this, it’s important to call a spade a spade and not try to sugarcoat it. “Give yourself time and have compassion for yourself,” says Klenter. “If you keep doubting yourself, you can ask your friends, family and partner what makes you worthy of love. If your self-esteem has been seriously damaged, then you’d be best looking for a new job.”
Certain exercises can also be really good for restoring self-esteem. “Think back over your achievements and write down at least one,” advises Klenter, “ask yourself what you contributed and what that says about you.” A practical exercise like this helps you to debunk any negative thoughts you’re having about yourself.
However, there are also other prevention methods you can use to reinforce your mental health. Mindfulness helps you to stay rooted in the here and now, reduces stress and improves your resilience.
Would you rather speak to other people who are going through similar experiences? In group sessions you can discuss your challenges with other people who are going through the same thing and get the right support.