Work Place Bullying and Mobbing. By ABC


Work Place Bullying and Mobbing” are terms that most people in the United States are unfamiliar with, although according to the Workplace Bullying Institute’s – Zogby survey on workplace bullying, this problem is of epidemic proportions affecting 49% of workers nationally.

Workplace bullying is defined by the Workplace Bullying Institute as repeated, health-harming mistreatment in the form of verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, and humiliation.This is a silent epidemic in that 49% of workers still deny observing this phenomenon in their workplaces. Work place bullying is often done covertly, behind closed doors, most frequently by serial bullies who chose one target at a time.

The bully often employs the help of the “target’s” coworkers, which is called “mobbing”. Gossip and rumors of half or twisted truths about the target, are one of the primary tactics used by bullies to manipulate coworkers into participating in the abuse as well as isolating the target.

What’s so strange about this phenomenon is that targets are usually better than average employees who are cooperative and start off popular with coworkers. The target is devastated by the abuse and isolation that she/he doesn’t understand nor know how to stop because there is no reason for the abuse!

Bullies usually have personality disorders or other physical or emotional mental disorders that rob them of their empathy and compels them to behave in this way. The motivation is usually to get rid of someone who’s good performance is a threat to their own feelings of inadequacy or to control and subjugate their target.

Once chosen as a target there is a 77% chance that the target will quit, be fired, or commit suicide within 2 years. After elimination of the “target”, the bully is compelled to choose a new target within 2 days to 2 weeks.

Short newspaper and magazine articles printed in the United States fail to drive home the complexity and seriousness of this abuse of power, which is similar to the abuse of power in sexual harassment cases.

This abuse often leads to depression, anxiety and complex posttraumatic stress disorder as well as dozens of stress related physical health problems. Many targets become disabled for life.

The number of people and hours involved in bullying/mobbing campaigns is likely our largest, hidden, expense in business today.


As the word gets out about this phenomenon, workers who have been targeted by workplace bullying and mobbing are starting to speak up. In Connecticut the first anti-bullying support group, “Connecticut Bully busters” held their third meeting on August 29th. Meetings are facilitated by Professor Katherine Hermes, our state’s coordinator for the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, in Bellingham, WA. Meetings are held monthly, at Central Connecticut State University.


Connecticut is the 12th state since 2003 to introduce a version of the “The Anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill for Connecticut, 2007. This bill died in Judiciary Committee and was never voted on to move to the Senate floor. Despite this set back, advocates of the movement continue to hope that Connecticut will be the first state to pass this legislation.

To learn more about Bullybusters, or to follow the progress and how to support this important bill, go to this Internet link:

The link to the world’s largest, most informative website, founded by the late Tim Field, a revered pioneer in the fight against work pace bullying is:

Learn more about workplace bullying and mobbing today!   Who knows, you might be serial bully’s next target!

ABC – AntiBullyingCrusador

4 Responses

  1. I am the victim of workplace bullying and mobbing and I was just fired from my job of 9 years. I didn’t know this was what it was until I saw your response to a posting on the Dr. Phil web site. It was the first time in two years that I feel like I can finally put a name to something I have been suffering through. I knew my civil rights had been violated but I also knew there was something so much more.
    Now I have no job, and if I agree to say that I resigned rather than they fired me, they will let me keep my benefits for 3 months. This is because they know I am on several medications for depression, anxiety, and paranoia. I’ve also been diagnosed with adult ADD because I couldn’t concentrate or focus at work because I was afraid I would make a mistake or miss something. I’ve lost 60 pounds over the past 2 years as well and I am very nervous and jumpy. I loved working at my job and begged for more education but was continually turned down. But all of my co-workers were given all the opportunities they wanted. Some were even encouraged to take more when they weren’t interested. I still feel very betrayed and embarrassed because I had no warning other than my womans intuition. I was called to the HR office and when I walked in there was an HR representative, my manager, and an attorney from the integrity department of my employer waiting for me. I was told my job performance was unacceptable, I had sent some inappropriate e-mails, (of which I have no idea what they are talking about), I was on the computer too much, (I was doing my job), and that was my last day of work and to turn in my badge. I requested copies of all the documents they stated they had against me and they said they had them but they did not show them to me.
    I was researching the State standards in which we needed to follow in order to be in compliance and my manager didn’t like it. It was because I tried to explain to her, in private, the way she was having me perform my job was not in line with the State and Federal guidelines. This was done per her request. This being a new function for me and a new position at our company, no one was fully adverse on all aspects required to bring us into compliance. I was merely doing what was instructed of me, when I did it was used against me. And, my co-workers were involved by reporting back to her on every move I made and when I did what, who I spoke to, you name it. By the time I was fired, no one was speaking to me. I was lucky to get a good morning response even though I said good morning every day. No one deserves to be treated like I was treated and I need some direction as to what I can do to stop it from continuing. I’ve been pulled into two separate meetings at that company without legal representation when there was a company lawyer in the meeting. There has to be something wrong with that. Any direction you can offer would be greatly appreciated. God bless.
    Robin Towery


  2. Dear Robin,
    Wow, you packed in so much information about your situation, that I feel as though I understand exactly what you are going through. In addition, being a phenomenon, “bullying and mobbing” stories often share amazing similarities. A lot of what you wrote, I feel as though I too, experienced the same thing. There are so many things for you to think about, and do, now that you are no longer employed. It is important to establish your priorities.
    The first priority is survival. Now that you are out of that hostile environment, your chances of surviving it have improved tremendously – Congratulations! You have been relieved of the horrible abuse you’ve been subjected to for so long! Inhale the freedom and smell the roses. Celebrate! At least for a little while! I am so happy that you no longer have to subject yourself to the mistreatment. What you’re describing is classic “work place bullying and mobbing” which is health damaging. It’s all very predictable. Once chosen as a “target”, 80% lose their jobs within two years due to being fired as you were, or due to illness, quitting, or at worse, suicide. So being fired is a typical outcome under your circumstances, nothing unusual at all, just devastating to you, the target. The weight loss and nervousness you describe are the affects of the “hyper-vigilance” common amongst “targets” of workplace bullying and mobbing. Now that you are relieved of this stress, you can recover both physically and emotionally, moving forward, and I hope never looking backward again.
    Whether you take the 3 months benefits or not depends on how badly you need the 3 months benefits. It’s only a question of survival, not a question of the truth. The truth will remain the same regardless. You MUST pay attention to your physical and mental health right now. If you need the benefits in order to do that, give them the word “resigned” rather than the word “fired” to make those benefits available to you. It’s only a word that doesn’t change the reality of the truth. If this should all turn into a legal matter some day, you have the truth to fall back on. The ugly truth being that you were threatened with the loss of your benefits, if you didn’t lie. That is very easy to believe because it IS the truth, which you believed your survival depended on. You were forced to lie. Once you take care of your physical and mental health by using their benefits or your savings, comes the necessary job of getting on with the rest of your life. Again, the number one priority is surviving, or a means of support. If there is no one in your life who is willing to support you, that means getting another job.
    The biggest barrier to finding the job of your dreams after a bullying experience are the barriers you may create yourself because of the self-esteem crushing affects the bully may have imposed upon you. It’s important to try to remember what your job was like before the bullying. Like you, the vast majority of targets have been with their employer for many years. During the early years of their employment, targets are well liked and considered a valued employee by all. Then for reasons that are not always clear, all of this changes. The typical target finds disfavor with their boss over seemingly trivial matters, then the previously normal friendliness and mutual respectfulness between coworkers that we often take for granted, slowly fades away, then, is suddenly gone. When the target finally comes to wonder what could have possibly gone wrong to change all of their working relationships so profoundly, it’s far too late.
    What most targets do not realize, is that a bully starts planting the seeds of deceit well before the target even has a clue that a problem exists. Some bullies prefer to do all their bullying activities covertly, using coworkers whom they have manipulated into carrying out all overt bullying activities exclusively. My point being, there is always a ringleader or “bully” behind the scenes partially, or completely, who is the driving force behind any mobbing activities. Remember, only ONE person is the driving force behind all this trouble.
    The motivations and reasons a bully uses destructive behaviors are many and varied but becoming better understood as more studies reveal more of the many complexities of the phenomenon every day. What we already know and what all targets MUST truly know and BELIEVE in their hearts are:
    • Targets are NOT at fault for a bully’s behavior and did NOTHING to provoke it.
    • Bullies are masters of deception, using Jekyll and Hyde like dual personalities in which only the bully and the current target, may know the true nature of the bully.
    • Bullies are convincing, charismatic liars, who are skilled at spreading rumors, innuendo, and half, or twisted truths. They are able to fool the best of us, including themselves, into believing their own lies.
    • Targets, who have better than average work performance, popularity, and other positive attributes, may gain the attention of a workplace bully simply by basis of comparison. Bullies may have increased feelings of inadequacy and shame, and think others may also notice their inadequacy, when their performance is compared with that of their target’s.
    • When coworkers “gang up” on one person, this is called “workplace mobbing”. A mob is always instigated and controlled by a bully. Usually everyone else involved, are only, and simply, manipulated by the bully into their roles of a workplace bullying and mobbing campaign.
    • Bullies often rely on character assassination rather than allegations of poor work performance against their targets, because targets are usually higher than average performers on their jobs.
    • When bullies do allege poor work performance against a target, they are usually trivial or they are unable to substantiate their allegations in objective ways, because the allegations are false.
    • You cannot reason with a bully. Do not try to find out the reason for the bullying by discussing it, or by otherwise trying to reason with the bully. This may only serve to fuel the fire, or aggravate the bully further, because there is no valid reason for the bullying at all.
    • It’s hard for others to believe targets of workplace bullying and mobbing, because, workplace bullying and mobbing is so senseless, it’s hard for most people to believe.

    “Targets” of workplace bullying and mobbing are described on dozens of anti-bullying web sites. These web sites use the following terms the most, when describing “Targets”;
    • honest
    • hard workers
    • better than average work performance
    • better than average popularity
    • willing to please
    • avoids conflict and confrontation
    • nonpolitical
    • nonconformist
    • avoids cliques
    • high integrity
    • strong work ethic
    • high sense of fairness
    • doesn’t hold grudges
    • and my favorite – “the salt of the earth
    Read the above “what we already know” and “the terms used the most, when targets are described on web sites” again, and as many times as you need to, to let it sink in. Think about it. As Seinfeld’s mother would say “What’s there not to like?” How could anyone, other than a bully that is, not want to hire someone with as many positive attributes as you?
    Not knowing anything about you, other than the words that you wrote me, I am able to pickup on several positive attributes based on that alone. Your ability to tell your story succinctly, while using good grammar and correct spelling says a lot about your attention to detail and intelligence. Your thought processes seem clear and focused. You are not rambling, repeating, nor disjointed. I suspect that any psychiatric symptoms, for example “depression, anxiety, and paranoia and with what was diagnosed as adult ADD” are all related to, and are symptoms of, the emotional injuries you have been sustaining on your job, NOT a pre-existing mental illness. Now that you have been relieved from the exposure of the dysfunction at your workplace, you can at least, sort this whole mess up in your own head, if nowhere else.
    Try to relax and enjoy the first few weeks of living bully-free as much as possible. Give yourself permission to forget about these problems initially. Instead, focus on nutritious eating, light exercise, enjoyable hobbies, and the good company of family and friends whom you don’t work with. Use those medical benefits to get any physical or emotional medical attention that you may need. This is the time to relax and heal.
    After an adequate period of down time, you will know your well on your way to the road of recovery, when you begin to feel curious about other job opportunities. You might have ideas about what to write on your resume or you might see the perfect outfit to wear to an interview. Give yourself a pep talk by remembering all the positive ways you contributed to the success of your old employer. Remember those first 7 years there, when you felt valued? Give examples of your successes during these early years, when speaking with a potential new employer. Borrowing the self-esteem, enthusiasm and examples from an earlier, more positive work experience, may win you the job of your dreams. Wouldn’t that be ironic? Finding the job of your dreams, knowing you never would have found it, if they didn’t fire you first!?!
    There are so many other things to consider during this period of your life. Once you have a plan for your ongoing survival, or a means of support, there remains the question of what to do about this now “past” abuse in your life. The three options that come to mind are:
    Walk away and
    • Forget it
    • Seek revenge
    • Seek justice – What are the legal options

    To read my opinion about the “revenge” option, Read my article “Revenge, Getting Back at The Bully Boss” on my Word press Web blog. You can get there by clicking on the link below;
    I think you’ll be most interested in an article I am working on now, which will probably be titled “Seeking Justice, What are The Legal Options”. So keep posted to learn more about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing. Let’s learn to Recognize it, Name it, and End workplace bullying and mobbing together! Sincerely ABC


  3. Dear Good People,

    I just recently get out from a bullying boss, I”m still shaking but feeling a huge relief at the same time.


  4. Massachusetts is also considering legislation on workplace bullying and mobbing. Now that we recognize what it is and that we have been targeted, I think targets need to think about setting up crisis centers or organizations that can help us move on, get a job (rebuild confidence, job interviews,). What about references? Another issue: what do I do about all this anger bottled up inside? Shame, guilt, confusion. Councelors can’t even help with that. So much more needs to be done to help ourselves. I think we should band together. Hold a protest or something.


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