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Gaslighting and the Workplace Bully

Fact is, in the working world, which is competitive and divisive, there are many people willing to treat you in a cruel and competitive way. They are afraid and people who are afraid, and immature, seek more for themselves and power over others. It is good to recognize who they are and their tactics and to take action from there.

The common tactic of a workplace bully is the psychological manipulation known as Gaslighting. Gaslighting is a way of manipulating your perception, making you doubt your own perceptions, by talking to you as if you are always wrong or by manipulating the environment to make you think something is happening that isn’t or to sabotage what you do.

Gaslighting occurs at the workplace in the form of bullies unscheduling things you’ve scheduled, misplacing files and other items that you are working on and co-workers micro-managing you and being particularly critical of what you do and keeping it under their surveillance. They are watching you too much, implying or blatantly saying that you are doing things wrong when, in fact, you are not. As you can see, this is a competitive maneuver, a way of making you look bad so that they look good; and it is a way of controlling you. It is coercion through manipulation, so it is violent and meant to make you be overly careful and worried about what you do instead of seeing what they are doing. In the end, they would like to push you out of the job entirely. They will get allies to do this in a technique known as Mobbing. Mobbing is harassment and abuse committed on one person by a group. They will glare at you, exclude you, take turns scrutinizing your work, talk about you and spread rumors and lies about you, say or imply there is something wrong with you because you are this or that (e.g., a man or a woman, etc.). It becomes obvious when many people, who are all associates, are doing the same thing to you; it’s a concerted effort to defeat you.

TwentyFourStudents, Flickr. Some rights reserved.

It is important to be very aware of this happening. Know that you are not crazy, that it’s the manipulations by the abuser or group that has distorted your thinking. You have to be very aware of yourself and those around you to defeat this attack. When you know you’re right and they, in fact, are wrong, then you are way ahead of them.

Sometimes you can address them directly. Bullies who use Gaslighting do not like to be exposed; the whole point of their use of sneaky tactics is so they can get away with abuse without being found out. They are probably counting on you not calling them out because they’ve targeted you in the first place because you are sensitive and careful, unlike them. Call them on it when you see very clearly what they are doing. Run it down, tell them exactly what they are doing. Sometimes the cowards will back off when you do this.

The other option, if possible, is to avoid them entirely; not to play into their hands; walk away as soon as they start in on you.

If you can get help, seek it. The boss might actually be on your side and might not be tolerant of bullying. This, of course, depends on the situation.

In the end, you might have to quit: For the sake of your sanity and health. You really don’t want to live a life constantly under pressure and constantly being abused. Quitting is a good option for your own sake.

Learn How To Deal With Mobbing and Workplace Bullying From Experts On The Subject

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