Stop Workplace Bullying easily and permanently
What is bullying?
For bullying to happen there needs to be two people involved. One does the bullying, and one acts as victim. It also needs a power structure, so the bully is somehow protected from punishment. And the victim needs to feel they are without resources.
It is difficult to prevent bullying unless one of those three things is taken away. Mostly, you cannot change the bully. Usually you personally cannot change the work environment. So the only thing you have control over, the only thing you can change, is you.
And you can do that easily through hypnosis. Hypnotherapy provides a quick and reliable solution. Hypnosis gives you a simple, effective and long lasting way out of it.
How create a Stop Bullying Plan
The first thing you need is a plan. You need to address all three parts of the workplace situation: the bully, the employer and you. The order you do it in is up to you.
The outcome of your plan is that the bullying stops. It is not intended to be the basis of legal action.
You follow the plan in order to avoid the need for legal action. Your plan is aimed at getting everyone working together again. So that you can enjoy a safe, secure job going forward.
This is simply an outline. It is not legal advice. Adapt it suit your particular situation. If you don't get a satisfactory response from the bully or your employer, you talk to a lawyer then.
You need to point out to the bully what part of the behavior you don't like. Take a support person with you if you need to. All have to say is "I feel like you are bullying me when you do (thing) and I don't like it and I don't feel safe. Please stop."
If you don't do this, you are providing a perfect defense of "I didn't know. Why didn't you tell me?" To fair, your bully may not realize it is upsetting to you.
Your employer has a legal responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace. Sensible employers will support you because the outcome is low staff morale, more sick leave, staff turnover and ultimately less profit. Employers also want to know about it in order to avoid possible legal action.
So you need to let your employer know. Talk to the personnel person informally. See what they say. Talk to your union or staff association, if there is one.
You must show what you have done to deal with the bullying. You need to make records of when and how were bullied. Keep copies of emails or anything else to support your accusation. Keep a note of every time you told them to stop it. Date, time, event, witnesses. Take private notes of every meeting and what was said.
You also have to show that you are not being over sensitive to normal behavior in that particular workplace. Working in the army or a hospital is not the same as working in an office. Talk over your feelings with some independent person. You need to show that the problem is not you. Showing that you have checked with a professional is the best answer to that.
Definition of bullying
The Definition of Bullying: a deliberate, harmful, persistent, behavior by some person abusing their power or status.
The exact legal definition of work place bullying varies from place to place. Every country and state will have its own specific definition.
So it is difficult to define workplace bullying. In most definitions it needs to include:
- The behavior must be unfair and unreasonable when compared with others at the same level. It needs to be directed towards you, specifically.
- It must be deliberate. Lots of people behave badly, but it only counts if it is done deliberately and knowingly.
- It must involve a power relationship. One person must have some sort of power over the other person. One person might be more senior, or more physically strong, or even be blackmailing you. But there is always some form of power difference.
- It has to be something that happens again and again, even though you made it clear that you don't like it.
- It has to be a behavior that is intended to hurt you in some way.
- And of course, it has to happen in the workplace.
You need to be clear what you mean by bullying. Harassment, exploitation or discrimination is not the same thing. To be workplace bullying, all four elements have to be there.
For example, sexual harassment is not bullying, because it is not intended to harm you. Racial prejudice may happen constantly, be deliberate and intended to harm you, but if it does not involve a power differential, then it doesn't count.
Types of bullying
It can be physical, verbal, task or online.
This is usually thought of a being schoolyard problem. But it does sometimes happen at work, especially in manual and low skill workplaces. Any physical threat from a coworker or customer needs to be reported to personnel, and any actual physical harm should be reported to the police and the personnel team. The bully will not continue if they know there is an absolute certainty that they will be reported.
Verbal bullying in the workplace is hard to categorize. It varies from smart remarks, to put downs, to full on screaming. Maybe someone is always talking about you when you are not there.
Sometimes it's more subtle. Your name is left off the mailing list, you are not invited to meetings, everything you suggest is put down and ignored. Or someone takes the credit for what you did.
There is another type of bullying. Do you always get the lousy shifts, the dirty jobs, the complaints, the difficult customers? Are you the only one turned down for leave? Or told you can have time off for child care, but others can? Called in when others aren't. Being treated differently can be seen as a type of workplace bullying.
This isn't really new. It is just new way of doing it. It is normally thought of as a teen thing. But online bullying happens in the workplace as well. Endless emails, negative comments being forwarded to work colleagues, constant demand for progress reports, criticism, are just modern forms of the old evil.
What causes bullying?
Bullying comes from parents, people at work, neighbours, and even friends. The definition of bullying says that it is intended to harm you, by someone who knows they are doing it, and have some sort of hold over you.
And that is the key to understanding how bullying works. The bully feels better by putting you down. It is as simple as that. That is how they compensate for feeling inadequate. The only way they know how to feel good, is by making you feel bad.
The bully does it because doing it makes them feel not so bad about themselves for a short time. It is a deep psychological need. They have to do it. If they they didn't do it, they would have to face their own internal demons.
It is a type of hate crime. Like all hate crimes, they choose the weakest, those who cannot or will not fight back.
Bullying is always driven by childhood fears on both sides. For the person being bullied, it is about the feeling that you are not allowed to fight back. No matter what the bully does, you cannot retaliate. That is what keeps the bully coming back to you.
The bully is also acting out a need. He or she needs to feel control of something, because that is what they don't have in some important part of their life. It is actually a weakness. They are showing that they are weak. Normal, healthy people don't have to bully anyone. But bullies can't stop.
If you are being bullied, usually there is nothing you can do to change the person who is doing the bullying. But with hypnosis, you can change how you see the bully. And once you see them differently, you can do refuse to go along with it.
When you stop accepting it, the bully will go away and find a different victim. You can't change the bully, you can change your reaction to the bullying. When stop responding the old way, the bully stops getting the old satisfaction.
Your bullying was started by someone else.
We usually think about children being bullied at school. Bullying isn't just unpleasant. It can screw up a child's performance at school. And often causes even more problems at home because the child doesn't want to go to school any more, and won't say why.
But the same thing happens at home. We are all supposed to love our parents, and feel guilty when we don't. In fact, many parents are quite unlovable. A lot of childhood trauma comes from one or both parents constantly criticizing the child.
Maybe your mother thought you were never good enough? Maybe your father thought you ought to toughen up and stop crying? Maybe the older children made your life miserable. Maybe you got picked on because there was something different about you? You didn't quite fit in?
It isn't widely recognized, but childhood bullying can cause severe anxiety in adult life. But more than that, being constantly found at fault, feeling you will never good enough, makes the child feel not good enough inside.
The child concludes that there must be something wrong with me, I just don't deserve to have good things, nobody likes me. I guess I'm just bad. And that leads to a feeling of learned helplessness.
If nothing you can do will ever be good enough, why bother trying? This feeling continues into the adult. This is why some people allow themselves to be misused, abused, taken advantage of.
They become people pleasers, they put other people first, they think they're of no value, so they are just grateful for whatever attention they get, no matter what it is. They won't make a fuss, the won't make waves.
And they are a perfect target for the bully. They were taught to not fight back.
What can hypnosis do for workplace bullying?
When people talk about workplace bullying, they generally focus on changing the bully, or getting the employer to do something. But there is one item missing from this approach: the person being bullied. They need help as well.
For most people work is where they spend most of their time. It is where their friends are, it creates their social life. Having a good job gives you social support, financial independence, status and recognition.
All this gets destroyed if there is someone singling you out for criticism and humiliation. This is why so many people just put up with it. The emotional and financial effects of leaving are just too high. Over time the person learn to cope with it, or just gets more stressed.
Eventually, you realize that you could do something about it, and because you don't this makes you feel that somehow it is your fault. When you get to this stage, work becomes something you dread, and you stop thinking straight. That is when you most need to reboot your mind.
Hypnosis can help you fight back
If you are being bullied then you need help to change as well. Hypnosis can be used in several ways.
- Self Hypnosis to deal with your stress
- Visualization to change how you think of the bully
- Thinking exercises to get rid of repetitive thoughts
- Therapy to remove the source of helplessness
Being unhappy in your job is a primary source of stress. Knowing that your tormentor can turn up at any moment creates more stress. Constant stress eats away at your confidence. Severe stress stops you thinking properly, puts you in panic mode, you make mistakes and become vulnerable.
One of the best ways of dealing with stress is to learn self-hypnosis. Everyone can learn self-hypnosis. It lets you take control of your own mind. It stops the stress from building up. It is a wonderful stress buster.
Stress gradually accumulates during the day, and if you don't interrupt it, it can become overwhelming. But you can learn to take micro breaks with self-hypnosis.
These are moments during the day, when you call up that feeling you get of total calm and confidence, and reset your emotions. This interrupts the stress build-up.
Once the stress is interrupted, it goes back to zero and has to start building again. By constantly stopping it building up, you prevent it reaching uncomfortable levels.
Which means that you are free to act normally and rationally and deal with whatever comes your way.
Visualization to change how you think of the bully
People who are bullied tend to have an inaccurate representation of their bully. They think of their bully as being powerful, strong, unbeatable. In fact, the bully is always weak.
Using hypnosis is easy to change how you see and think about the bully. Under hypnosis you can learn to see the bully differently.
Instead of seeing the bully is some unstoppable force, you can train yourself to see the bully as a dying worm on a hook. Or as a petulant child with their pants round their ankles.
You can be taught to visualize your tormentor as some stupid, pathetic loser. And once you seen them that way you will never be able to un-see it. You can laugh at the image. This puts you in the position of power.
As you see the bully coming towards you, that old feeling of dread will be gone. What you will see is some weak, ridiculous child that you can brush aside.
Once you see your tormentor this way they will lose all power to rattle you, to stop you fighting back. And as soon as you do that the bullying is over.
The next time the bully appears you mind will recognize them for what they are, and they will no longer trigger that old feeling of helplessness.
They can still try to bully you, but you will be ready, calm and ready to push back fearlessly.
Thinking exercises to get rid of repetitive thoughts
You can learn to cancel out the unpleasant feelings that you get when you think about your work situation. It is done using visualization exercises.
These powerful exercises will help you get rid of recurring thoughts, to get over how you feel about things that happened in the past, even to deal with anxiety about things that might happen in the future.
You can learn to use these exercises on your own. You can apply them to any part of your life. They will stop you going over and over the same things endlessly in your mind.
They will stop you feeling bad about things that you did, or things that were done to you. Instead, you can get good at facing things that you think are unpleasant.
These exercises can easily be learned under hypnosis.
Therapy to remove the source of helplessness
The most overlooked part of bullying is how the person being bullied. If everyone fought back against the bully there wouldn't be any bullies.
Bullying always represents a power relationship. Sometimes you really can't do anything to stop the bullying. But in many cases, the person knows that they could stand up to the bully but chooses not to.
Why would anyone let themselves be bullied? For the same reason you get people pleasers who hate doing it, and appeasers who put themselves last.
The reasons are always complex. But they always revolve around the internal belief "I am not good enough", "I don't deserve anything", "if bad things happen, it's because I deserve them."
This is a deeply buried belief from childhood. People who believe this sort of thing got it from endless punishments, neglect, putdowns, criticism, negativity, and the people who brought them up.
It poisons your relationships. It makes you stand back and let other people get promoted. It makes you not put yourself forward when your ideas are as good as anyone else's. And it leaves you open to bullying.
To really stop bullying you need to get to the core of the issue. Find the basic reason why you let it happen. Some people will tell you that it's your fault, but it isn't. It definitely isn't. Someone else is responsible.
You're still using the same strategy you used as a child to deal with your family situation. Your mind tried to protect you then by keeping you quiet. That way, maybe the threat will go away. And you are still keeping quiet.
What hypnotherapy does is to find and remove that feeling of helplessness. The best way to do it is to put you into trance, get you to think about the feeling you get about bullying. And then get you to think of that feeling as a picture or symbol.
Once you have a symbol, you can be helped to make changes to that symbol. There is a one-to-one connection between your feelings and the symbol. But as you gradually change the symbol it becomes less and less of a match with the feeling.
Finally, at some point, the symbol changes so much there is no longer connected to the feeling. At that point, the feeling has nothing to attach to and it just disappears.
There is no need to go back to childhood hurts, there is no need to dig out old family secrets, there is no need to distress you in any way. There is nothing you can do about what happened, it happened.
But what hypnosis will do is to make you feel differently about it. Once you see it differently, it loses all power over you. The results are immediate, unmistakable and permanent. You will know instantly that something fundamental has changed.
Work Place Bullying Cases
Reluctant to Change
I had a client today who came in complaining of stress. She said that she was grinding her teeth at night. And much more worrying to her, she had got into the habit of drinking a bottle of wine each night when she got home from work.
She said that she had an unhappy childhood. According to her mother, she could never do anything right. Her mother always made her feel like a failure. For most of her life she had low self esteem.
But after she left home and began working as an engineer, her life took a better turn, and she felt on top of things. But then the feelings came back: the stress, the uncertainty, feeling not good enough.
After some discussion it became clear that these feelings had really only come back in the last three years. It coincided with the appointment of a particular man in her consultancy group. This guy was loud, boisterous, domineering and bullied anyone he could. My client is the only female engineer in the company. And he set out to diminish her at every opportunity.
The company is aware of this guy's behavior. But her immediate boss is afraid to take any action in case he upsets the overseas controlling company who appointed this guy in the first place.
Bullying in the workplace causes stress
The result is that she goes home and feels bad, and can't see any way out of this. So she opens up a bottle of wine, and once started on that, she can't stop. A real fear is that she will end up like her father, an alcoholic.
So she is locked in this cycle of being constantly criticized at work, which opens up feelings of childhood abuse, which gives her stress, and she drinks to alleviate the stress.
The obvious answer is to get rid of the bully. She is not in a position to do that. She said that her current boss is due to be replaced in a few weeks with a female manager. She has met this woman, and feels that together they can address the problem of the bully.
We discussed various options but the best one seemed to be to just stick it out until the new manager arrives. She didn't want to revisit her childhood feelings. She has a big job coming up and she doesn't want to risk anything that might affect it.
Self confidence and self-hypnosis
So I taught her self-hypnosis. By using self-hypnosis she would be able to prevent the stress from building up during the day. So that when she came home at night she wasn't totally stressed out. Even if she did feel stressed on getting home, she would be able to go into trance rather than disappearing into a bottle.
Too many times I see clients who are suffering because of someone else's actions. As in this case, if the client doesn't feel comfortable about dealing with their issues, there is very little that the therapist can do except try to stop the situation getting worse.
My mom the bully
This client came to me saying "I’ve been doing really well until I went to visit my parents, and couldn’t stop eating chocolate for two days."
She is terrified of her mother. One word from her mother sets my client back 30 years.
Her mother was a rule maker. She controlled everything. It had to be done her way, exactly. Nothing and nobody was ever good enough.
Her mother would not allow the family even to believe in Santa Claus. She was not going to give credit to anyone else for the presents she gave them.
The result was my client swung between bingeing and dieting. Just the thought of her mother was enough to make her go back to living her fears again.
She had to break the automatic fear of her mother. She had to see her mother as what she really was, a unhappy, unstable old woman.
I started with somatic metaphor therapy on her feelings about her mother. She said she got a feeling of pressure on her chest like she was being crushed.
I asked 'Crush like what?' She said" it's like balloons or something soft pressing down on me, draining things out of me. I'm in this place and I can't get out."
I worked on that and got her to burst the balloons and get them to go away. That got rid of most of her childhood fear. I then had to get her to completely change how she thought about her mother.
I took her into a deeper trance. I concentrated on getting her to drift out of her own body. To see herself as being something separate, to dissociate from her fears.
Then I got her to imagine that she is able to see her mother from her detached perspective. I talked about how her mother was acting in the only way she could.
Her mother's behavior was not specifically directed at my client. He mother was just like an angry dog running up and down a fence barking at everything. It didn't mean anything. I kept this up trying to get her to dissociate from her feelings with her mother.
I told her to "imagine your mother in the kitchen and all the places that you remember from your childhood as if they were in a glass box." And she could look at it from outside the glass box.
Then I told her "imagine your mother in that kitchen and she shrinks until she is about the size of an eight-year-old, being so small that she could walk under the table."
And then allow it to shrink even smaller, to a toddler, she is still your mother, she still an adult, but she is the size of a toddler.
See her running around holding that wooden spoon trying to hurt you. You take the spoon away, just put it away carefully in the kitchen drawer. And you just let her runaround screaming and shouting pointlessly at everything.
Just recognize that she is just a like battery toy in the grip of some power she has no control over. It has nothing to do with you. All you have to do is to recognize that that's how it is. See your mother as helpless and tiny.
I had no idea how well this was going, so I then suggested that she could think of a mother as if she was a fly in a bottle.
And just like that fly in a bottle, the fly is bouncing against the glass sides, buzzing loudly angrily, and ultimately getting nothing.
"You can put a top on the bottle to stop her getting out. You can put the bottle high up on a shelf somewhere. It will just be a noise in the background. A distraction, but harmless."
The client later told me that she imagined her mother in one of those thick old-fashioned milk bottles. She had succeeded in changing her mother into something noisy but harmless, something out of control are just yells anything and not at her in particular.