Friday, April 1, 2011

A. The Angst & anguish of workplace bullying. A-Z blogging challenge.

"A great mental suffering or pain". An appropriate A word that sums up the experience of being bullied, whether at home, school, work, your place of worship, your club - indeed, wherever it happens.

To begin, I'll look at what bullying behaviour isn't.
Bullying isn't a one off reaming by your boss which is "out of character". Nor is it when a person is experiencing extreme distress such as illness at home, financial difficulties or other life challenges and lashes out with "that was the last straw" moment and spits out mean or hurtful comments.

Things such as these are a normal part of the human experience. We all get frustrated, we all experience hurt, we all get snappy and angry, some live with constant pain and may crack occasionally. Most of us learn to apologise after making unfair or cruel comments; we shake hands and move on. We may even feel contrite or embarrassed by our outburst, because it was so out of character. The person on the receiving end may be hurt and upset by the outburst, but there is not much danger of long term damage to one's psyche from a one off, or occasional grumpy comment.

The above is not bullying behaviour.

In brief (and the remainder of the month will look at different aspects of this) bullying behaviour is ongoing, malicious and relentless. This is the big difference. The bully has no desire to change, and often no insight that their serial bullying is inappropriate.  Some are unaware and uncaring, others proud of being tough and 'telling it like it is'.  In the first examples we survive, we're basically OK, but possibly ruffled. The second can lead to ongoing health issues, affect the ability to learn and retain information and have serious life long outcomes.
East Side Gallery. Berlin. 2009.
Being the target of a serial bully can lead to a lifetime of angst and anguish. More on this later in the month.  Below is an explanation of how this series of posts came about.

"A feeling of anxiety and worry" - this pretty much sums up how I'm feeling about attempting the A-Z Blogging Challenge this month hosted by Arlee Bird over at Tossing it Out. It's easier (although I might regret saying that) with my other blog jumping aground where I enjoy having fun with words. Here however, I tend to be more serious, and I want to focus on an issue that affects many people.  I've written a couple of posts previously on bullying, discussing the fallout from the prolonged abuse and the immense courage it takes to be a whistleblower.  I now want to revisit the issue and explore it further using the A-Z format focusing on Workplace bullying.  The goal is to blog every day except Sundays, starting with A on April 1st through to Z on April 30th. And when I get stuck?  More angst!

Thankyou to Arlee Bird at 'Tossing It Out' and his artful crew for hosting this amazing challenge.

Here tomorrow B: a closer look at what constitutes Bullying behaviour.


David L Macaulay said...

oh I guess it's already April 1 over there, Sue.I'm sure you'll be fine.

Arlee Bird said...

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! Hope you will have a rewarding blogging experience in April. If there are any questions or comments please let me or my co-hosts know. You can find all the Challenge hosts listed at the top of my blog page.

You're off to a great start. I think you'll do well.

I'm now following your blog.

Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

sue said...

David, it's lunchtime Friday here, and a beautiful sunny Autumn April Fools Day!
Arlee, thankyou, I'm looking forward to the experience (I think!)

Anonymous said...

Sue, you are my first stop on this crazy and insane Blog-O-Rama. I felt angst putting my posts together ahead of time, but now I just want to sleep LOL!

Grandpa said...

Hi Sue, I'm deep into retirement for about ten years now, and loving every minute of it.

As for this blogathon I went through the agony all night last night. Now my angst and anguish are all gone and I'm looking forward to 'B'.

I think we are all work in progress.

Life on The Farm

sue said...

Stephen, insane is the word. Could you remind me why I'm doing this again?
Grandpa, thanks for visiting, love your comment! Now to go visiting, and ignore my house guest :P

Snakesmom said...

I say just have fun with the A-Z Challenge! You are off to a great start, I enjoyed your writing and I too think bullying needs to be stopped. Looking forward to B-Z!

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Sue! I'm just getting over here and it is already tomorrow there! Yikes. I like your words for A and I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say about bullying as it is a big part of our household angst and anguish right now.Jan Morrison

sue said...

Snakesmom, fun sounds great! I'll work on it :P
Jan, I hope you find some useful bits of information or resources to assist.