Bullying at work or school: The way out of a nightmare

“Feeling low, no desire to get up and go to work, college or school?  So nervous in fact of meeting that daily event, I snuggle under the covers and sleep.  Yes, sleep will help me escape all those things I am worried about; I had goals and objectives which were so much part of my life until a few months ago…………………………..

 There are many reasons why I might feel this way, but I do not know how to make it go away, I am scared … I am being bullied.”

Workplace bullying, or bullying at school, is the repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more people. It is abusive conduct that is:


  • Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, or
  • Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done,
  • Verbal abuse
  • Physical harm

It is often driven by an individual’s need to control you due to their own insecurity.  That person may choose their targets, timing, location, and method, or may be unaware of the effect their generally intimidating behaviour is having.

But how can I get help?

 In schools, colleges and the workplace you have Human Resources Staff to talk to, and in some but not all cases, counsellors. Alternatively, if the stress of the bullying is affecting you quite badly, you could go to see your GP, who might suggest, because of the symptoms you are displaying, that you would benefit from seeking an appointment with a private counsellor away from the environment in which the bullying is taking place. However, you may not wish to admit to your GP how scared you are but would nevertheless find it helpful to talk about your experiences. By calling The Well Being Therapy Centre directly, you can arrange to see a counsellor quickly, and through discussion with your counsellor start to discover a way forward.

What you can do when you’re the target of bullying

There are three things that are simple to list, but can seem rather difficult to accomplish:

Step one – Name it! Legitimize Yourself!

Give the condition you are feeling a name.  Bullying, psychological harassment, psychological violence, emotional abuse — to offset the effect of being told that because your problem is not illegal, you cannot possibly have a problem.

The source of the problem is external. The bully decides how to target and how, when, and where to harm people. You did not invite, nor want, the systematic campaign of psychological assaults and interference with your work. Think about it. No one wakes up each day hoping to be humiliated or berated at work.  There is tremendous healing power in naming. This can be hard to believe at first, but very true.

Step Two – Take time off to heal and seek a way out of the problem.

Check your mental health with a professional such as a doctor or counsellor. Get plenty of rest so that you get to the point where you are emotionally stable enough to make a clear-headed decision that you need it to stop and can figure out what support you need to bring about change.   Check your physical health. Stress-related diseases rarely carry warning signs.

Step Three – Expose the Bully

The Human Resource Division of any academic or working facility should support you through this phase, and it is important to know that:

Employers have responsibilities

Employers are responsible for preventing bullying and harassment – they’re liable for any harassment suffered by their employees.

Anti-bullying and harassment policies can help prevent problems. ACAS has produced a booklet for employers, including advice on setting up a policy as well as how to recognise, deal with and prevent bullying and harassment.

What employees should do if they’re bullied or harassed

Employees should see if they can sort out the problem informally first. If they can’t, they should talk to their:

  • manager
  • human resources (HR) department
  • trade union representative

If this doesn’t work, they can make a formal complaint using their employer’s grievance procedure. If this doesn’t work and they’re still being harassed, they can take legal action at an employment tribunal.

A helpful contact number for Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) helpline for advice:

Acas helpline
Telephone: 0300 123 1100
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm

Remember: People who bully or harass need to be shown clearly that their behaviour is wrong and that disciplinary measure will be applied.  If you are a victim of harassment or bullying there are appropriate individuals listed above who will help you in your journey. We at The Well Being Therapy Centre are experienced in working with victims of bullying, so if you feel that counselling might be the right way forward for you, please contact us.


Margaret Fensome

By |2017-03-08T13:04:11+00:00February 19th, 2016|Counselling & Therapy|0 Comments

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