Workplace Safety is of paramount importance and every employee has a right to work free from psychological abuse, harassment and violence. Everybody has a right to have FREEDOM from abuse. Workplace abuse is a pattern of threatening and controlling behaviour, it is widespread, often hidden, complex and if left unmanaged will fester into a highly toxic environment. Workplace abuse is a serious and pervasive problem and the target(s) does absolutely nothing to deserve this abusive treatment. The lasting effects of undergoing trauma or witnessing trauma experienced will cause chronic psychological, emotional and physical health problems and may lead to cPTSD. The invalidation of reporting workplace abuse to the organisation is an additional trauma and one of the most devastating personal traumas for a target(s). The workplace is now a place of FEAR, abuse, maltreatment and neglect.
Olweus’s definition of bullying and the role of a power imbalance in distinguishing bullying behaviour from other forms of aggression. bullying requires three criteria: repetitiveness, intentional harm-doing, and a power imbalance favouring the perpetrator (Olweus, 2013).
Entrapment in a Vortex of Psychological Abuse
I thought I was safe! Little did I know it was the start of a spiralling vortex of group psychological abuse, harassment and violence and organisational betrayal. Bullying, coercive control, psychological harassment and violence is abuse of the most sinister kind. It's pervasive , unwarranted and invasive! Abuse seeps into every pore of your core being and erodes your very essence of Being . That is why we must recognise the RED FLAGs 🚩🚩🚩before the target(s) becomes "entrapped" in a vortex of abuse - someone else's dark power and moral disengagement; that is nothing to do with the target(s).
There is a growing awareness that a presence of an underlying pattern of coercive control is a reliable indicator 🚩of a perpetrator(s) of psychological violence. It highlights that the abuser intentionally seeks to coercively control his/her victim (Stark and Flitcraft, 1996; Stark 2007). A perpetrator(s) uses aggression as an effective behaviour and considers it as normal to get what they want.
Distinguish between Conflict/Poor Communication and Coercive Control
It is possible to distinguish between strategic coercive control and interpersonal relationships that are characterised by conflict or poor communication. Coercive Control is now recognised as a crime in domestic settings whereby a perpetrator repeatedly intimidates, manipulates another person(s) to exploit and cause harm. Randall (2001) states that the bullies who exhibit a behavioural and interpersonal pattern and the capacity to bully in the workplace or in the home have similar underlying dynamics. Coercive Control tactics are intended to create a state of fear and subordination (especially in the victims of domestic violence) for taking away their sense of liberty (de Canonville, n.d.).
Impact of coercive control and trauma
Impact of coercive control and trauma – the abuse is intended to make the victim feel isolated, worthless, and to feel they are to blame for the abuse and/or be convinced they cannot look after themselves; Shame and stigma – including fear of not being believed, feeling shame around disclosing abuse and/or being able to access support (Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Statutory Guidance Framework April 2022).
Covert Psychological - Gaslighting Behaviours
Christine Louis de Canonville writes "Unfortunately, because the abuse is so insidious, most victims fail to work out these covert psychological gaslighting behaviours that are causing them so much anxiety and stress. Therefore, they fail to put up the ego defences normally reserved for adverse situations. This has a detrimental effect on their critical thinking abilities, and their free will; both of which impair their ability significantly when having to make independent decisions. In short, the psychological effects of gaslighting are such that they violate the victim’s fundamental human rights, keeping them in slave-like conditions in a jail with invisible bars where they suffer “intimate terrorism”.
Constantinescu (2014) argues by far the most devastating form of psychological terrorism in the workplace is mobbing. He states that workplace mobbing is the intense systematic psychological harassment of an individual in the workplace, carried out by one or more colleagues or superiors, using weapons that include gossip, intimidation, humiliation, discrediting, and isolation.
Capacity for Evil in Human Nature
“The study of psychological trauma is to come face to face both with the human vulnerability in the natural world and with the capacity for evil in human nature. To study psychological trauma means bearing witness to horrible events” (Herman, 2015).
This article provides general information and discussion about personal development and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. If the reader of this material has a medical or legal concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately health care provider or legal advisor.
Constantinescu, V. (2014). Mobbing: Psychological Terror in the Workplace. Constantinescu, V. (2014) article titled Mobbing: Psychological Terror in the Workplace. Microsoft Word - Constantinescu Viorel (afahc.ro)
Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Statutory Guidance Framework April 2022. Statutory guidance is issued under section 77 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 (the 2015 Act). https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1072673/MASTER_ENGLISH_-Draft_Controlling_or_Coercive_Behaviour_Statutory_Guidance.pdf
Herman, J. (2015) Trauma and Recovery The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror. ISBN-13: 9780465061716 and ISBN-10: 0465061710). Published by New York Basic Books. https://booksrun.com/textbooks/9780465061716-trauma-and-recovery-the-aftermath-of-violence-from-domestic-abuse-to-political-terror-1st-edition?afk=1646
Olweus, D. (2013). School bullying: Development and some important challenges. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 9, 751–780.
Randall, P (2001). Bullying in Adulthood Assessing the Bullies and their Victims eBook ISBN 9780203469224 Publisher: Routledge, London. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203469224