Conflict Remedy Blog by Lorraine Segal
Workplace mobbing can make you feel crazy.
Mobbing, also called bullying by a group, is all too prevalent in dysfunctional workplaces.
It has many negative effects including impeding the productivity and harmony of an organization, causing health problems and PTSD in those who are the targets (scapegoats) and even in those who witness it.
But one of the worst, sometimes hidden, impacts of being mobbed is that the target often starts to feel crazy.
The actions of the mob in ganging up on you sound unbelievable and paranoid; it’s hard to even believe it yourself much less describe it effectively to other people.
I recently realized this aspect more deeply when I sat down and for the first time wrote a completely detailed account of my own experiences of being mobbed as a tenured professor at a community college. Although I have written blog posts on this topic and contributed to a book on workplace bullying, I had never before sat down and written all of it, every egregious action and event. I cried and shook as I typed the twenty-page draft, despite the work I had done to heal my PTSD previously.
When I finished writing and reread it, my first thought was, “No one will believe me; it sounds too crazy.”
But I realized almost immediately, one of the great gifts I give to clients dealing with mobbing is that I believe them. Even friends and loved ones who care deeply about the person who is the target, can’t really understand the hell that they are going through. Unless you have experienced it yourself, it’s hard to believe the level of petty and enormous malice that a mob is capable of in a work situation where they feel threatened or somehow you have become a scapegoat.
Here are some true but crazy-sounding ways mobbing has shown up for my clients and me:
This is in no way an exhaustive list; just examples from my own situation and clients I’ve worked with.
What can you do to help yourself or others?
As I know from my own experience and that of some of my clients, healing and rebuilding a career or finding a new one are absolutely possible. But keeping it a secret and trying to deal with it alone can be a recipe for disaster and for ongoing psychic damage.
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