Mobbing is considered a form of violent behavior and as a term is used to describe the psychological harassment that takes place in the workplace. It refers to the exercise of systematic and repetitive psychological bullying and harassment of an individual within the context of work relationships. This persistent aggressive and abusive behavior against an employee has significant negative consequences and endangers one’s well-being. Every employee can become a victim of this type of behavior. It can be manifested by superiors in the hierarchy, such as employers or from colleagues and more rarely from subordinates to superiors.
This repetitive and prolonged harassment in the workplace affects the personality and dignity of the person who suffers from it and forms a negative work climate. In many cases this behavior endangers the job of the person as the constant victimization may lead a person to resigning from work. Usually, the victim of such behavior does not realize what is happening and finds it difficult to describe it to other people, especially if the aggressive behavior is in small doses and is done in more indirect ways. The effects of this behavior may extent beyond the workplace and can affect a person’s performance, physical and mental health and overall well-being.
Which are mobbing behaviors?
In general mobbing consists of words, acts, written texts and a way of organizing the work with the aim of diminishing the personality, dignity and integrity of the employee during the execution of the work. Some of these behaviors that shape a hostile work environment may include:
· Degradation of working conditions and voluntary deprivation of means to achieve it· Discrimination and unequal treatment· Intimidation, threats, insults and direct attacks· Setting the target in order to fail and manipulating conditions in order to force an employee to do mistakes· Humiliating behaviors such as ridicule in front of colleagues, insults, abusive behavior and attacks on the employee’s views and personality· Constant questioning and malicious comments or unfair criticism of performance· Removal of responsibilities, demotion or placement in positions without duties · Isolation, denial of communication and exclusion from information· Assignment of excessive workload and tasks that the individual cannot cope with, such as unrealistic deadlines
“Since the beginning the person in charge didn’t like me because the boss chose me over a friend of my supervisor. I am to blame for everything that goes wrong according to my supervisor and of course he takes care of emphasizing my mistakes and criticizes me constantly” P. student of DUTH, 23 years old
Gaslighting refers to that insidious and covert form of psychological violence where there is a systematic attempt to manipulate and control a person’s behavior by making that person doubt their perception of reality. This behavior leads the victim to question their thoughts, the ideas, beliefs sometimes even their sanity. It takes place in the context of interpersonal relationships mainly with close intimate relationships but is can also be present within your friends and family. In all contexts relationships are characterized by inequality and imbalance in power.This kind psychological violence is exercised in such subtle and indirect way that make it very difficult to recognize and prove it something that further enhances the sense of uncertainty experienced by the victim.
What are some of the signs and red flags of gaslighting?
Gaslighting is difficult to identify and often victims may not realize that they are experiencing this form of violence especially after reaching the point of questioning their reasoning and judgment. So, it is important to identify the signs that may indicate this behavior.
What a gaslighter does:
· Blatantly lies and presents different narratives by falsifying reality and insists on them even when there are proofs. They twist the story· Defames the victim indirectly to third parties and undermines the person in order to lose one’s credibility and the gaslighter gains the support of others· Changes the topic and focuses on issues other than what was initially discussed especially in case the victim accuses him/her or asks for answers· Degrades and underestimates emotions and thoughts by presenting the victim as dramatic, too sensitive, emotional etc.· Does not take responsibility for his/her actions, denies mistakes and often shifts responsibility to the victim
Signs you are a victim of gaslighting:
- You keep apologizing without knowing what you did wrong
- You receive affective behaviors and then those stop abruptly
· Whenever you try to express your feelings, these are not recognized and the other person is dismissive
- You constantly question your beliefs, opinions and way of thinking even your reason
- You pay great attention and check every thought you express and every word you say because you fear that it might be misinterpreted and misrepresented
- Feels ashamed, confused after each interaction and that you have been assigned opposite motives of your intensions
“Every time I try to express my thoughts and feelings, I feel that are dismissed by my boyfriend as he constantly claims that I am overreacting. He even claims that I imagine things and he never admit his faults or that he has done something wrong. Sometimes it crosses my mind to keep proof of what he says because I feel like I’m losing my mind.” F. student of DUTH., 22 years old