Monday, September 3, 2012
BULLYING LEADING TO VIOLENCE (DOCUMENTATION): PART SEVEN OF WORKPLACE PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE. (Parts 1-6 are found on this blog also)
We all know that bullying (or mobbing) in the workplace is a form of violence. However, bullying can sometimes lead to violence. The targets of bullies are injured, sometimes severely injured. We have a large number of veterans in this country who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of their experiences in the military. Sometimes one of them will resort to violence, either against themselves, or against others. The same is true of people who have been injured on the front lines in the workplace, injured because they've been the target of a bully (or bullies). Here is documentation supporting that information. The following information is quoted from the books/sources mentioned.
Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace by Noa Davenport, Ph.D, Ruth Distler Schwartz and Gail Pursell Elliott
Copyright 1999, 2002
Published by Civil Society Publishing
Ames, Iowa 50010-1663
"In 1998, the International Labour Office (ILO) published the report Violence at Work, written by Duncan Chappell and Vittorio Di Martino. In this report, mobbing and bullying behaviors are discusses along side homicide and other more commonly known violent behaviors" (Page 23).
"Extensive research conducted in Sweden in 1990 extrapolated that 3.5% of the labor force of 4.4 million persons, i.e. some 154,000, were mobbing victims at any given time. Dr Leymann also estimated that 15% of the suicides in Sweden are directly attributed to workplace mobbing" (Page 23).
"Mobbing is an emotional assault. It begins when an individual becomes the target of disrespectful and harmful behavior. Through innuendo, rumors, and public discrediting, a hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to willingly, or unwillingly, participate in continuous malevolent actions to force a person out of the workplace. These actions escalate into abusive and terrorizing behavior. The victim feels increasingly helpless when the organization does not put a stop to the behavior or may even plan or condone it. As a result, the individual experiences increasingly distress, illness, and social misery. Frequently productivity is affected and victims begins to use sick leave to try to recover from the daily pressures and torment. Depression or accidents may occur. Resignation, termination, or early retirement, the negotiated voluntary or involuntary expulsion from the workplace, follows. For the victim, death - through illness or suicide - may be the final chapter in the mobbing story" (page 33).
"The combination of these ten major factors impacts gravely the emotional and physical well-being of the targeted individual and can result in death by illness, accident, or suicide" (Page 42).
"Despair and rage may push some people to the extremes. They commit acts of violence - directed at themselves or at the mobbers and even at innocent people. Feeling hopeless and destroyed, some individuals may take their lives" (page 94).
"Yet another option that some people consider is to take revenge through violence. Feeling depressed or angry, they direct violence at themselves or at the mobbers. To avoid acting out on impulse, seek help quickly. Violence is not a rational choice" (Page 101).
"Leymann estimated that some 10-15% of all suicides in Sweden could be attributed to workplace mobbing. Although this is somewhat uncertain, as actual data is almost impossible to come by, other researchers have confirmed that almost half the victims in their surveys have contemplated suicide. Currently there are more than 30,000 suicides annually in the U.S., about 12 per 100,000 persons, or 1 suicide every 17 minutes. If we use the conservative Swedish percentage of 10% of all suicides attributable to workplace issues, there would be some 3,000 suicides in the U.S. directly linked to the workplace. As far as workplace homicide is concerned, employers and employees are killed every year because of arguments over money, property, or other reasons. Every so often the media informs us of workplace shootings by disgruntled employees, but there is rarely a report that identifies the deeper background of these tragedies" (Page 189).
Adult Bullying: Perpetrators and Victims
By Peter Randall
Published by Routledge
11 New Fetter Lane
London, EC4P 4EE
and by Routledge
29 West 35th St.
New York, NY 10001
"Regrettably, the frequency with which aggression is encountered in on the increase: certainly this is the case for workplace conflicts. In the USA the problem is already extreme: for example the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, during the year ending July 1993, recorded more than 1,000 workplace murders, 6 million threats, and more than 2 million physical assaults on workers (Van Aalten, 1994). Survey evidence from the Center for Disease Control suggest that fifteen murders occur in US workplaces each week, making it the third largest cause of death at work. Not surprisingly, given these statistics, one in four workers in the USA report being harassed, attacked, or threatened at work during a one-year period (Johnson and Indvik, 1996). These and other related facts make the USA one of the worst places in the world for homicide, currently with ten times the English rate (Olsen, 1994)" (Pages 1-2).
"Over 1 million individuals are the victims of violent crimes in the workplace each year. This figure constitutes approximately 15 percent of all violent crimes committed annually in the United States. Of these crimes 60 percent were characterized as simple assault by the Department of Justice.
"Of all workplace crimes of violence reported, over 80 percent were committed by males, 40 per cent were complete strangers to the victims, 35 per cent by casual acquaintances, 19 per cent by individuals well known to the victim and 1 per cent by relatives to the victim. It is the 19 per cent of individuals well know to the victims that are of particular concern to organizations because it is within this group that aggression between workers is to be found..."
"...It was estimated that aggression in the workplace caused some 500,000 employees to miss 1,751,000 days of work annually, or 3.5 days per incident. This missed work equated to approximately $55 million in lost wages " (Page 47-48).
"This potential range of effects on victims is enormous. Quite apart from people giving up their chosen careers in order to avoid bullies. It is not unknown for bullying at work to cause problems in pregnancy, alcohol abuse, psychiatric illness, family problems, marital and relationship difficulties, suicide, and, most frequently of all, resignation to the superiority of the bully. As has been mentioned before, the effects of bullying have been likened to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Parker and Randall, 1996)..." (Page 57).
"In this context, organisational health is not a matter of financial viability, profit or loss, high versus low productivity or any other monetary indicator. In this instance organisational health refer to the commitment on the part of management to sustain a happy, healthy, and secure workplace. Such a commitment would not permit harassment of any sort and would have in place policies and procedures designed to minimize and, as far as possible, prevent it. Organisations that fail to do this are not healthy and they may ultimately become a victim of hostility and aggression experience within the workplace. It is of great importance that an organisation be as proactive in the management of aggression as it is in its marketing, production and development strategies " (Page 106) (emphasis mine).
"Employees should feel both physically safe and psychologically secure in their workplace. Those who do not can be subjected to significant occupational stress to which they may respond aggressively by harassing others. This potential aggression can be significantly reduced by the presence of strong safety and crises management procedures. In one recent survey in relation to workplace homicide, Stuart (1972) discovered that in the Atlanta metropolitan area:
76% of the businesses surveyed were operated by mangers who believed that crises in the workplace were inevitable;
despite these high proportion, about the same percentage of these businesses had no crises management plan;
73% of the businesses surveyed were operated by mangers who reported having n training in dealing with crises situations;
additionally 72% of those businesses had no crises management team; and 50% of those surveyed reported that they were not satisfied with their crises response procedures..."
"Although crises is generally about saving lives, minimizing injuries and protecting organizational property and production lines, it is also about the prevention of large problems by the early identification of small problems. This definitely includes aggression in the workplace, which, fortunately on rare occasions, can explode into serious physical assaults and even murder. It is clear, therefore, that safety officers and personnel officers should work closely together on crises management procedures such that safety rules contain specific reference to those contained within anti-harassment procedures. This is particularly necessary where staff may interact with the general public, some of whom may use bullying tactics to secure what they may believe to be their rights.
In establishing a crises management team the organisation should include within it those who can deal with traumatized staff or refer them on to other agencies. This is obviously necessary in the case of debriefing staff who have been traumatised by explosions, fires, and other major incidents, but should also include a facility for those who have been traumatised by bullying behavior from within the workforce" (Page 109-110).
Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity
By Marie-France Hirigoyen
Published 1998 by Edition La Decouverte & Syros, Paris.
"A person who has undergone psychic aggression such as emotional abuse is truly a victim because his or her psyche has been, to a greater or lesser degree, permanently altered. Even if a victim's reactions to emotional abuse contribute to a sustained, even seemingly equal, relationship with the aggressor, one must not forget that this person suffers from a situation for which he or she is not responsible. When victims of this insidious form of violence do consult a psychotherapist, it is generally for the treatment of a self-contained problem such as mental inhibition and lack of confidence and assertiveness; it can also be a state of permanent depression that is unresponsive to medication, or a more intense depression potentially leading to suicide. If they sometimes complain about their "partner" or those around them, they may also seem unaware of the terrible subterranean violence that threatens them. This pre-existing state of psychic confusion can make even the psychotherapist gloss over the question of objective violence. These situations share a common unthinkable element: the victims, while recognizing their suffering, cannot really imagine that violence and abuse have taken place. Sometime doubt persists: " Am I making it all up, as others have suggested?" When and if they dare to complain about what is happening, they feel inadequate to describe it and therefore assume they are misunderstood.
I have deliberately chose the terms "perverse abuser" and "victim" because this is a case of hidden but authentic violence" (Pages 9-10).
"Psychiatrists generally encounter victims at the decompensation stage. They suffer from pervasive anxiety, depression, or psychosomatic illnesses. Decompensation can lead to violence in more impulsive patients. Abusers often take this as justification for their behavior..."
"....Depression is linked to exhaustion and too much stress. Victims feel empty, tired ,and without energy. Nothing interests them. They can't think about and concentrate on even the most mundane subjects. They will sometimes contemplate suicide. The risk of suicide becomes greater during the period when they suddenly realize they've been cheated and their damages will never be compensated" (Pages 159-160).
A direct result of abusive provocation for still others is behavior in nature. Hysterics in public or attack on the abuser are vain attempts to be heard which instead will be turned against the victim..."
"Impulsive as well as predatory abuse can lead to violent crime, although it's more likely in the former. Emotional abuses, in order to prove the victims are bad, will go so far as arouse violent reactions in them. In the movie Passage a l'Acte (1996) by Francis Girod, a perverse abuser makes his psychiatrist kill him. He has played the game out to its fullest extent. Sometimes the victim turns the violence against himself and commits suicide because it's the only way to get rid of his aggressor" (Page 161).
The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity On the Job.
By Gary Namie, PhD, and Ruth Namie PhD
Copyright 2000, 2003
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Napierville, IL 60567-4410
"Workplace violence certainly grabs headlines, but they are misleading. Workers face the greatest risks of assault from customers, clients, robbers, scorned lovers, and strangers. Violence between workers, of the same or different rank, accounted for only 11 percent of workplace homicides, according to the University of California-Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program's 1997 findings..."
"...There is a highly profitable workplace violence "industry" created by management consultants who don't want employers to hear the 11 percent figure. They want employers to fear employees. That illogical fear convinces employers to pay huge fees for psychological testing of non-supervisory employees and of pre-hire job applicants. Testing is wrong for two reasons. First, an uncritical acceptance of testing places a premium on personality as the cause of all action. In reality, hostile workplaces, in other words, situations and circumstances coerce people to do strange things. A second error is to omit testing mangers, who comprise 81 percent of the pool of bullies according to our research. Therefore the perpetrators are exempt from having their own aggressive impulses detected..."
"...Are bullied Targets a violence risk? In the rarest of circumstances, a Target , after years of mistreatment at the hands of a tyrant and inaction by the employer, saw no alternative and turned to violence..."
"...Post- shooting analysts carefully have to dissect each episode of workplace violence. If the shooter selects certain people, then we at the institute are reasonable sure that those victims had previously frustrated the person by ignoring or denying repeated complaints about mistreatment at work.. That is, when the victims are an EEO officer, a human resource staffer, or the boss of the bully, then we can contribute the violence to unaddressed bullying. Sadly the knee-jerk, simplistic story told is that the shooter was a wacko. Reporters interview the bullying supervisor who defames the employee as a poor performer "with troubles" as the body is being loaded into the coroner's wagon. It is more likely that Targets direct the violence inward and commit suicide. Given the roles shame and humiliation play in their lives, Targets have great difficulty getting out of bed and often suffer from depression. By the time they kill themselves they have lost their marriages, their homes, their children, and all hope of surviving economically. It was bullying that probably drove them out of their job and started the decline in the quality of their lives in the first place.. Unfortunately, the link between the suicide and the cruel mistreatment and subsequent loss of job is less obvious than the trail of bodies in a public shooting rampage. A federal agency union representative knew of nine suicides in one year in her region directly attributable to bullying " (Page 8-10).
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Invisible Injury (2005 editon)
By David Kinchin
Pub. 2004 by Success Unlimited
P.O. Box 67
Oxfordshire OX11 9YS, UK
"After seeing so many traumatized Vietnam veterans, the medical profession recognized that all victims of extremely traumatic events tended to exhibit similar behaviour and symptoms. Significant numbers of Vietnam veterans were displaying signs that all was not well with their lives. Their traumatic wartime experiences were adversely affecting their state of health. Upon returning home they were not welcomed as heroes. Civilians just did not want to know. The combination of suffering severe trauma and experiencing such a negative reaction back home led some veterans to resort to drink, drugs, and violence" (Page 3).
"The spiral of events may lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. Untreated, this can have dangerous and far-reaching consequences. Resultant poor attendance at the workplace may result in unemployment, and irritability often adds strain to all personal relationships. All this, combined with possible uncontrollable and violent outbursts during periods when the victim is re-experiencing the trauma, can add up to an unbearable life. Things cannot continue in this way for long" (Page 11).
NOTE: In chapter 3, entitled "Symptoms of PTSD," on page 46 included with a list of the symptoms of PTSD is "violent outbursts."
"Families can suffer if they are unable to approach the issues correctly. Families with trauma victims may be more inclined to outbursts of anger and violence. Their care skills and ability to be intimate may dwindle as poor communication leads to lack of trust and feelings of insecurity. A general dissatisfaction with life may become the predominant family mood. Victims are hard to cheer up, and can be prone to repeated re-occurrences of crises and panic. Substance abuse and sexual dissatisfaction are problems which may occur" (Page 63).
NOTE: In chapter 5 entitled, "Complications, " on page 70 under a list of "common symptoms of depression that are linked to PTSD" is: "recurrent thoughts of death/suicide."
NOTE: In chapter 10 entitled "People Who Can Help" on page 111 under a list of the reminders of "the symptoms of PTSD, " is "violent outbursts."
"Sleeplessness, irritability, poor memory, out bursts of violence and other physical symptoms can all be linked to the way we feel. There are several ways of relieving these symptoms. Some involve conventional treatments while others resort to natural remedies. All of them have been found to help ease the situations" (Page 112).
Bully in Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge, and Combat Workplace Bullying.
By Tim Field
Pub. 1996 by Success Unlimited
P.O. Box 67
Oxfordshire OX11 9YS, UK
:Acculturation: this is the greatest danger - over time, through acculturation and becoming accustomed to the company culture, bullying comes to be seen as normal. It then requires an event of significant magnitude - such as legal action, violence, or even suicide - to shake the workplace - at all levels - out of its complacency, acquiescence and denial" (Page 11).
NOTE: In Chapter 8 on "Symptoms and Effects" on page 130 under a list of "psychological symptoms of stress from bullying" is "thoughts of suicide." Personal note: There are 47 items on this list. I suffered from 27 of those symptoms as a result of the bullying I was subjected to at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center (SARMC), bullying which to this day St. Alphonsus management refuses to take responsibility for or even acknowledge. Also note that "thoughts of suicide" was NOT one of the symptoms I experienced. I publicly stated that when I reported why I left SARMC to many former co-workers, but management lied and said that it was, and used that lie and others to justify a punitive psychiatric admission to their own hospital.
NOTE: IN Chapter 8 on "Symptoms and Effect" on page 133 under a list of "behavioural symptoms of stress from bullying," is "suicide - real, attempted, or contemplated."
"The effects of personality are harder to define, but no less real to the sufferer. Indeed the English language lacks appropriate words to describe the feelings of a shattered self-confidence, other than by listening the possible consequences of those sensations. The ultimate conclusion is suicide, although many victims have a behaviour pattern which includes a strong sense of injustice" (pages 137-138).
From the "Los Angeles Lawyers Mesriani Law Group" at
Under the title "Workplace Bullying and Its Victims" "Meanwhile several studies found that victims of workplace bullying experience severe stress, depression, sleep deprivation, chronic headache and stomach ache, and low self-esteem. There are also reported cases in which workers had committed suicide after experiencing workplace bullying."
Going Postal: Rage. Murder. and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplace to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond
By Mark Ames
Published 2005 by Soft Skull Press
55 Washington Street, 804
Brooklyn, NY 11201
NOTE: On of the chief points of Ames' book is to point out that the workplace and school shootings which have occurred with increasing frequency in this country have one thing in common, and only one thing in common. All the shooters involved were the targets of chronic bullying and harassment: if in school from other students and/or administration; if at the workplace, from co-workers and/or management. This is true from the Sept. 14, 1989 killing of seven people and wounding twenty by Joseph (Rocky) Wesbecker at Standard Gravure in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the first workplace/school massacres, to the much better known Columbine school shootings in Colorado, and since including the Virginia Tech massacre which is not included in this book because it occurred after the book was published. These following quotes are included here with that information in mind.
"To add to all these pressures, Wesbecker had to put up with the kind of toxic bullying which is common in the workplace, yet until recently, rarely considered" (Page 27).
"Everyone today agrees that slavery caused slave violence. and that inner-city poverty and pressures breed violent crime. Why is it so awful to suggest that offices, such as they are today, breed office massacres" (page 67)?
"Every massacre is followed by one of these disingenuous whys, and each time, the larger cultural tendency is to move on. Yet Uyesugi's massacre (Xerox Co. Honolulu, Nov. 2, 1999) suggested that rage had a context. Something in modern America that was hard to frame was causing them to break out only in America and only in our very recent history. These weren't just any old murders, they were part of something hard to define. Yet they were all related, Xerox, Columbine, post offices, offices...in fact, it seems to me obvious that school and office massacres had to be linked - the story-lines were almost identical including duffel bags, quiet types, and shooting at random, and the community reaction that followed always repeated itself. Incapable of even conceiving an explanation, the public would ask why and then blame the most convenient villain it could drag out of he rigged lineup, lax gun control laws, video games, people who just snap..." (Page 85).
"Rather than looking outside of the office for an explanation for these shootings sprees - rather than blaming violent films, gun proliferation, the break-up of the family, the lack of God, or a fear-mongering media- why not consider the changes within America's corporate culture itself? We avoid this topic in mainstream discourse, and there are powerful reasons for self-censorship: if the workplace is responsible, then that means every working American is potentially in peril, living in unbearable circumstances, yet too deluded, or too beaten down to recognize it" (Page 87).
Information compiled by Leonard Nolt.