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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What do I do when I feel someone is bullying me at work?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • I am a psychologist in private practice.I also lecture and supervise psychologists/psychology students at University.I work with clients who suffer from depression and anxiety. I … View Profile

    This is a difficult situation  and there is no one absolutely correct answer for this question. However I can make a few general suggestions. If you think that management would take a complaint in a serious and supportive way, then reporting the bully may be all that you need to do. If you ar unsure how management may deal with a complaint, or if you are unsure of whether you are actually being bullied, then it would be useful to speak to a psychologist and also to consult your union. Essentially, a psychologist can help you become clear about what is happening, and also to explore what options you have. When you are bullied, you will feel stressed and also confused, so counselling can help you manage the stress. 

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    Rhonda Gibson Long


    I work with clients who have depression and anxiety but also I work with relationship issues, stress, addictions, grief, trauma, low self esteem and sexuality … View Profile

    The best thing to do is to get clear of the situation and to seek support from a therapist who can work through the situation. What is it that the bully picks up on? What is it that triggers the person at work? What is so upsetting for you? How do they do that? Sometimes they do not say anything overtly. It is just in the manner and the way they look. So what is it that, you the victim feels is happening? What does it remind you of? You can explore that a bit and become clear around where the bullying is coming from and how you are responding to that. You can look at why you are responding in the way that you are.
    There is a lot of support out there for bullying these days and it is not okay in the workplace to be the object of bullying.
    So what do I do when I feel someone is bullying me? They may not feel they are bullying you. Most of the time people exude insecurities and personal issues with how they conduct themselves.
    So they may have got something going on with them, too. If you can connect with the vulnerable part behind the bully, that will help a lot.
    It is good to confront them and explain their impact on you, eventually.
    Once you have become clear as to what is going on in the dynamic you can do this; but it is good for the bully to know.
    Often they are unaware they are being a bully. They do not realize the impact that their words and behavior have until someone says, “You're a bully”. Then it is often shock as they were unaware of how they have been conducting themselves.
    Often is they are met with a similar energy they will back down. So when you can show some backbone in the situation it is likely they will leave you alone. It is a test sometimes and they may move on and pick on someone else.

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