The transition from an organization that is utterly dysfunctional into a normal functioning agency can be more difficult for the receiver than anticipated. This is because bullying was normalized and receivers adapted to this environment. Receivers developed work habits around surviving an abusive environment and developed responses based on the abuse. These coping skills became patterns of behaviors as a result of the bullying. They were the means to survival in the workplace bullying environment. The bullying generated certain expectations on how receivers should or should not conduct themselves at work. They may also have emotional reactions to certain functions of the workday because of bullying. These behaviors became instinctive and part of the receivers every day work life.
These responses may continue into the receiver's new job out of habit. Responses are conditioned into the receiver's professional behavior as a result of being abused in the workplace. These coping mechanisms are most likely not required in a healthy workplace. But receivers may find it difficult to reprogram their responses out of fear. For example, if a receiver was regularly targeted via email in the bullying environment, the sound of getting an email may trigger an emotional response. This is because in the past, the email was followed by bullying. In the healthy environment, the sound of an email may cause the receiver to have the same emotional response, but there bullying is not happening.
The key for the receiver is to recognize the response, acknowledge it, and then remind themselves that their new job does not engage in bullying. They are safe and do not have to have negative emotional responses anymore. They are now working in a bully-free environment. Don’t forget to check out my survival guide which is a helpful resource that identifies effective strategies for receivers of workplace bullying.
If you or your organization is experiencing persistent workplace aggression, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (320) 309-2360. You can also visit my website at www.jankircher.com. Help is out there today.