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<xTITLE>Inner Tools to Survive Workplace Bullying</xTITLE>

Inner Tools to Survive Workplace Bullying

by Lorraine Segal
November 2017

Conflict Remedy Blog by Lorraine Segal

Lorraine Segal

Those of us who have survived workplace bullying or mobbing (bullying by a group) know how awful and traumatizing it is. In my experience as a survivor and a coach & trainer, accessing inner tools can be immensely helpful to avoid the worst of the emotional impact and help you move from victim to survivor. I first used these inner tools to help myself, and I began using them to support my clients and students as well.

Why does inner work help with workplace bullying?

As I know from all my work in conflict management and communication, we can’t generally control other people or situations.  The only thing we can really control is our attitude. It’s natural and human to feel victimized by people who are making you were target, who are criticizing you or making trouble for you that you in no way deserve. And some people who are bullied at work, were also bullied as children, which intensifies a victim stance as the only choice. But it is possible to change that attitude and make yourself a less attractive target by practicing inner tools.

Here are three inner tools I have found very useful:

1. Affirm your worth

Affirming through positive statements, also called affirmations, that you are a good person, that you are worthy of love and respect, that you don’t deserve this treatment can turn your inner environment around. Simple statements such as I am loved because I deserve loveI am worthy of respect and courtesyI am valuable to this workplace and I have a right to be here, I am safe and protected at all times really help if you repeat them daily or at the moment of attack. It sounds simple, but the truth is when being bullied you are receiving negative message from others constantly, and may be unconsciously repeating them yourself. By intentionally countering with positive affirmations, you can change your thinking. You may need help and support to come up with the most effective affirmations for you and to practice them consistently.

2. Visualize protection

This can also help you feel safer. For example, I visualized twin Xena Warrior Princesses, one on either side, lounging casually, but with one hand one their swords, protecting me when I had to go into a meeting with hostile people. I’ve helped clients visualize a protective bubble or rose bushes around them that won’t let “slings and arrows” in.

3. Heal past and current trauma

I worked with a client who was a K-12 teacher and was being bullied at her school. She had also grown up with an abusive alcoholic father and had never healed that earlier trauma. With support and gentleness, she had to go back and work lovingly with her inner child before she could find the strength and courage to deal with the bullying in the present. In my own case, I had to do more trauma work after I left the toxic environment, because my healing has happened in stages.

These tools alone may not stop the bullying, but they can protect you and help you find more energy and courage to figure out your next steps. I will share some more tools in my next post.


Lorraine Segal, M.A. is a Conflict Management and Communication Consultant, Coach, and Trainer. Through her own business, Conflict Remedy, Ms. Segal works with corporations and non-profits as well as governmental entities and individuals to promote harmonious and productive workplaces. 

She is a consultant and trainer for County of Sonoma. And, at Sonoma State University, she is the curriculum designer and lead teacher for the new Conflict Management Certificate program. Ms. Segal was recently named one of the top 30 Conflict Resolution experts to follow on LinkedIn. She is also a contributing author to the forthcoming book, Stand Up, Speak Out Against Workplace Bullying.

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