Constantly criticized, nit-picked, undermined, sidelined, ignored, humiliated, passed over? Read this
There is life after bullying but it can take years to recover and restore stability. Here are some suggestions for recovery:
1. Re-empower yourself with knowledge and insight
Digest Bully OnLine at Bully Online especially the sections on workplace bullying and injury to health.
Practical action you can take to deal with bullying at work is on our action page.
Apply here for a list of phrases and strategies which will help you articulate and prosecute your case when dealing with the bully, HR, management and employment tribunal.
Suggested reading on and around the topic of bullying and recovery is at resources/books.htm
Recognise and understand the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a psychiatric injury, not a mental illness, despite what you may have been led to believe. Learn the differences.
2. Obtain validation and recognition
The overwhelming need targets of bullying have is for validation (of the bullying experience) and recognition (of the injury to health). My book Bully in sight provides both of these, as does this web site, Bully OnLine. Spend some time exploring the site and digesting its contents. You are not alone - read the case histories and see how they're all the same as your experience. You'r in good company - and lots of it!
Long-term bullying (and harassment, abuse, stalking etc) results in symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). David Kinchin's book Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the invisible injury provides lots of practical information on healing and recovery from PTSD.
You can gain support and validation from people in similar situations through my Bullyonline action forum.
3. Recovery from PTSD
The symptoms of PTSD rumble on for a long time. PTSD is an injury, not an illness, so it will get better, but full recovery can take years. Do not be surprised if you still have the odd panic attack a few years downstream, or you feel a constant need to explain or justify yourself even when working in a positive environment with good people and supportive colleagues..
For healing and recovery to begin you need closure. What that closure consists of is less important that that closure has occurred. Most people cannot obtain justice via the legal system, however, one can do much to address the injustice indirectly; our action page has lots of ideas.
4. Getting another job
The trauma caused by a bully experience can be so great as to preclude working again. However, most people eventually feel able to attempt some kind of work, and everyone needs to earn income to pay the mortgage.
If you can't get back into employment immediately, then there are several options. You can become self-employed, which means you have complete control over what you do but it can be financially precarious, or you can get back into employment in a staged manner.
To start rebuilding self-confidence, self-esteem and strength you might like to work in a voluntary capacity for one or two days a week. The advantages are that the duties are likely to be light, and if you find yourself in the presence of a bully (they flourish in the voluntary sector) you can leave almost immediately. Eventually you will find an environment where you are welcomed and supported. Once you've got some confidence back you might like to try getting a part-time job, or s short-term contract. Again, the commitment is not permanent so you can escape in a short period of time if the bullies rear their ugly heads before you feel able to deal with them directly. If part-time jobs work out you can eventually make the transition to full-time work with the advantage that you have re-established a track record of achievement and you have new people to provide you with references.
5. Remain on alert for another attempt to bully you.
Bullies are attracted to their targets for a variety of reasons which don't change. Don't be surprised, therefore, if you find yourself being bullied again. The reasons why are listed at workbully/bully.htm#Why. If you didn't learn the lessons you were supposed to learn first time, you'll be sent through the obstacle course again, and again, until you do.
6. See your experience in spiritual terms
Your career had gone as far as it could with your employer. You'd acquired all the knowledge and skills you needed, so a traumatic experience was arranged for you. The purpose of trauma is to find your purpose and mission in life, and a stress breakdown reprograms your brain in order for you to be able to fulfil that purpose. After a period of recovery you'll find yourself doing something far more worthwhile - for yourself, for society, for the human race and for the planet - albeit financially precarious. Try adopting the view that the Universe is conspiring to do you good. The learning you've gained from the abusive experience is worth much more to you and your future direction in (human) life than any judgement or compensation. The growth, maturity and evolution you've gained in spiritual terms - which is all you can take with you at the inevitable end of your human life - is infinitely more valuable to you as a spiritual being than any human-mandated judgement or award.
7. How do I recover from bullying during my school years?
Treat yourself to a copy of our book Bullycide: death at playtime which contains the information you should have been given when you were bullied at school, but no-one thought to give you or wasn't able to give you because they just didn't know themselves. Reading this book will be a cathartic, enlightening and empowering experience.
Recommended reading on bullying, victimisation, psychiatric injury, PTSD and recovery therefrom
Bully Online is funded by the sale of these books
Bully in sight, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bullycide: death at playtime
Lots of information and ideas for tackling bullying including the legal aspects
Action Home Page | Action to tackle bullying
Guidance for employers on policy development
Bullying and the trade unions | Bullying and the law
Case law on bullying, harassment, stress and personal injury
Court judgements in cases relevant to bullying
Long v. Mercury Mobile Communications Services
Hatton Barber et al: 16 practical propositions for a personal injury case
Right to be accompanied | The need for risk assessment
High Court injunction to prevent unfair dismissal | Obstruction to justice
Bullyonline action forum for validation and re-empowerment
UK Dignity at Work Bill | Swedish law on Victimization at Work
Bullying and human rights | Waters v. London Metropolitan Police
Barber v. Somerset County Council
Zimmerman: retaliation in the US courts
Bullying history: books, articles and publications since 1992
How to lobby your MP: example letter and summary of inadequacy of UK law
Amicus Campaign Against Bullying At Work (CABAW)
Tim Field's written submission to the Dignity at Work Bill debate
Getting another job after bullying | How to recover from bullying
Setting up a bullying survivor support group | Sample support group constitution
Using the search engines to find other sites on bullying etc
Dealing with viruses, worms, spam etc
Designing and building your own web site
Advice and guidance for new Internet users
Tim Field's book Bully in sight validates the experience of bullying and
defines the injury to health caused by bullying and harassment
The Field Foundation | Bully OnLine
Workplace bullying | School bullying | Family bullying
Bullying news | Press and media centre
Bullying case histories | Bullying resources
Stress and PTSD
Action to tackle bullying | Related issues
Books on bullying and psychiatric injury