LIFE & HEALTH CHALLENGES
The impact of workplace bullying on a person’s health and wellbeing is profound, affecting various aspects of their life both professionally and personally. One of the most immediate effects is increased stress and anxiety.
The constant fear of facing the bully and the uncertainty surrounding their actions can lead to a heightened state of anxiety and panic attacks in severe cases. This ongoing stress can also manifest physically, leading to headaches, sleep disturbances, digestive issues, and other stress-related health problems.
What is workplace bullying?
Workplace bullying is a pervasive issue that occurs when an individual or a group of people engage in repeated aggressive behaviours, harmful actions, or verbal abuse towards a colleague or employee. This harmful conduct can be overt or subtle and often involves the misuse of power or authority to intimidate, humiliate, or undermine the target.
While workplace conflicts are not uncommon, bullying goes beyond normal disagreements and represents a form of psychological and emotional abuse that can have severe consequences on a person’s health and wellbeing.
How does workplace bullying impact a person’s health and wellbeing?
Workplace bullying erodes a person’s self-esteem and self-worth. Demeaning and belittling behaviours can make a person question their abilities, worthiness, and competence, leading to a diminished sense of self-confidence. This can create a vicious cycle where the person’s performance at work deteriorates, leading to more criticism from the bully and a further decline in self-esteem.
As the bullying persists, the targeted individual may start to withdraw socially and emotionally. They may isolate themselves from colleagues and friends, fearing that the bully’s influence could spread to others or that they may not be believed or supported. This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, exacerbating the negative impact on mental health.
In extreme cases, workplace bullying can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The constant exposure to abusive behaviour can leave deep emotional scars, persisting even after the bullying has ceased. This may manifest in intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares, making it difficult for them to function at work or in their personal lives.
When the bully happens to be the owner of the business or a manager in a small business, an employee may be cautioned to ‘put up with or ignore it’ as the bully cannot be challenged. This is disempowering and demoralising for the employee, whose only option is to leave a job that they may need, value or love. The consequences of this situation can continue to undermine the confidence of an employee long after they have found alternative employment. We’ve had many people attend our programs at Quest when the injustice of what occurred continues to cause them stress and a lack in self-confidence.
How to deal with workplace bullying
If you are experiencing bullying in your workplace, these are some strategies to deal with it:
- Speak up: If you feel safe doing so, address the bully directly and assertively express your boundaries and discomfort with their behaviour.
- Document incidents: Keep a record of each bullying incident, including dates, times, and descriptions of what occurred.
- Report to superiors: Inform your immediate supervisor or HR department about the bullying, providing documented evidence to support your claims.
- Seek support: Reach out to trusted colleagues, friends, or family members to discuss your experiences and receive emotional support.
- Know your rights: Familiarise yourself with workplace policies and anti-bullying laws to understand the protection available to you.
- Utilise employee resources: If available, utilise employee assistance programs or counselling services to cope with the emotional impact of bullying.
- Form alliances: Connect with other employees who may have experienced similar treatment to collectively address the issue.
- Stay professional: Maintain professionalism in your conduct, as retaliatory behaviour could harm your case.
- Explore external options: If internal actions don’t resolve the issue, consider contacting external agencies or legal counsel for further assistance.
- Remember the saying, ‘would you rather be right or happy?’ It may be necessary to recognise that you cannot resolve the situation and it’s best for your own mental health and wellbeing, to find alternative employment.
- Remember the saying, ‘would you rather be right or happy?’ It may be necessary to recognise that you cannot resolve the situation and it’s best for your own mental health and wellbeing to find alternative employment.
- Call 000 if your life is in danger
- For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Australian Fair Work Commission: https://www.fwc.gov.au/issues-we-help/bullying/what-do-if-youre-bullied-work
- Australian Fair Work Ombudsman: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employment-conditions/bullying-sexual-harassment-and-discrimination-at-work/bullying-in-the-workplace
- Australian Human Rights Commission: https://humanrights.gov.au
- Safe Work Australia: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1702/workers-guide-workplace-bullying.pdf
- ReachOut: https://au.reachout.com/bullying/workplace-bullying
Workplace Bullying Toolkit
Some of these practices can help you to calm your mind and improve your wellbeing and can be found on our toolkit page:
- Keys to help you sleep better
- Meditation practices
- Trauma recovery workbook
- Recovering from Trauma video series
You may also find some of Petrea King’s Podcasts useful to listen to.
Workplace Bullying Resources
- Wellbeing books including Your Life Matters – a Guidebook for Life by Petrea King
- Meditations including Be Calm, Sleep, Learning to Meditate
How Quest for Life Can Help
It takes strength and resilience to work through workplace bullying, and Quest for Life can help through our residential programs, online courses, and workplace programs.
- Our 5-day residential Healing Your Life Program provides you with a wealth of practical skills and strategies for overcoming the stress and anxiety associated with workplace bullying in a confidential and safe environment. Our Moving Beyond Trauma Program offers an effective and holistic approach to managing and healing post-trauma suffering by understanding how trauma impacts the brain and body and evidence-based therapies and practices that heal both the brain and nervous system.
- Our Workplace Health & Wellbeing Program delivers research-based holistic health and wellbeing approaches that equip staff and managers with tools required to operate in today’s dynamic and stressful environment.
- Our Befriending Anxiety, Beyond Burnout and Healing Sleep online courses provide practical, evidence-based tools and strategies to reduce your symptoms and live a more calm and peaceful life.
Connect with Quest
If you’re on Facebook, you can connect with Quest from the comfort of your own home in a variety of ways including through online group participation or by watching our weekly wellbeing livestreams.
Join the Petrea King Meditation Group to hear from Quest Founder and CEO Petrea King most Monday nights from 7.30pm-8pm.
@Home with Quest is our free wellbeing livestream each Wednesday at 11am on Facebook LIVE. Join the stream to hear from an experienced Quest facilitator who explores techniques to manage anxiety and fear, strategies for self-care, deep relaxation, and the things we can all do to help ourselves and others.
Quest Connect is our monthly wellness livestream hosted on the first Sunday of each month on Facebook LIVE from 2-3pm. Join the stream to take a deep dive with a Quest facilitator into a topic around easing anxiety and restoring resilience.
Quest for Life is a registered NDIS Provider of NDIS Services. Our Residential Programs can be funded by the NDIS for NDIS Participants with disability.
Please call the Quest Programs team on 1300 941 488 or complete the contact form at the bottom of this page. The Programs Team will assist you to decide which program to attend and provide you with information regarding costs and how to use your plan to access our services. Quest can communicate with your plan manager and support coordinator and assist you in the booking process.
- A Manager’s Guide to Mental Health: Workplace PTSD
- Trauma Changes a Person
- Healing PTSD: Former paramedic Chris Henning’s story
- Moving Beyond Trauma: Heal the past and bring relief to your troubled body, mind and spirit
- Do you feel as good as you look?
Quest for Life knows how to help. Our internal research results show that participants feel better after attending our programs and that this improvement increases over time. On our programs, you’ll be nourished, educated and supported to create an environment for profound healing.
“It was great to pause from my regular, hectic life. I feel a sense of calmness. I feel soothed and present. All the facilitators and support staff were caring but never invasive. They are very aware of participants needs and respectful of our stories.”– Joseph
If you’re experiencing Workplace Bullying, please reach out to us via the Contact Form below to start a conversation with one of our Program Advisors, who can answer your questions or find the most appropriate program for your needs.
Back to Life & Health Challenges