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Articles & Press Releases > Article 110

How to Deal With the Stress of a Workplace Bully

When you finally decide the behaviors coming at you from a boss or coworker is workplace bullying, your next decisions need to address the stress you’re enduring.

If it’s taken you a while to figure out you’re being bullied, it’s probably because your colleague has been engaging in subtle bullying tactics, which are much more difficult to detect.

Still, the stress effects from subtle bullying are just as strong and harmful as the stress caused by any other type of bullying.

Before the stress eats you up, here are three ideas to help you deal with the stress while you decide what your next move should be.


Create Distance

If you’re around the bully a lot, is there a way you can work remotely at least once a week? This will create some distance between you. On that one day you telecommute, limit phone calls, email exchanges, and IMs with that person for that day. It will give you a stress break.

If the company hasn’t been keen about telecommuting, start working on people who like the idea to start a trend. If the executives aren’t in favor of once a week telecommuting, start with one day every other week. If your boss is the bully, get other people around them to start the telecommuting trend.


Exercise, Down Time, & Sleep

When your stress level is high from a workplace bully, you’ll need exercise, down time, and more sleep. If you’re not getting enough of these three, cut other things out of your schedule to fit them in.

I’m also a proponent of hiring someone to clean the house. Yes, cleaning is a form of exercise. But after putting stuff away and decluttering the house, I’m usually out of time (and decluttering needs to be done before the cleaning people come over, anyway). I’ve found having the house professionally cleaned every other week is a great time saver and stress reliever.

And then there’s more time for exercise, down time, and sleep!


Reset Your Expectations

A third destressor technique I’ll share with you is to pull away from the bully emotionally. There are several things you can do that belong to this category. One I’ll tell you about here is resetting your expectations of the bully.

If you’re like me, you expect all of your colleagues to behave with professionalism and to treat everyone with respect and fairness at the workplace. But subtle bullies don’t do this all the time. Sure, many times they act as professional people should act and even treat you with some politeness and respect. But not all of the time like the other 99% of the people and how others treat you at your company.

And therein lies the rub:  You expect the subtle bully to act respectfully and fairly like all of the other people do, and then he or she continually lets you down by doing the opposite.

Give this a try – Reset your expectations by expecting him to act disrespectfully or to act like a jerk or to ____________ (fill in the blank with his typical behavior). The idea is by not setting your expectations for him too high he won’t cause you as much stress when he lets you down.


This is Only Three Ideas!

If you currently have a workplace bully and a high stress level because of it, try these three coping mechanisms to lower your stress. Your health depends on it.


Check out Glory's book, "Not All Bullies Yell and Throw Things: How to Survive a Subtle Workplace Bully" on Amazon by clicking here!

©2015 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.

Glory Borgeson, President
2012 Borgeson Consulting, Inc.

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