Compliments of erokism via Flickr

Bullying doesn’t stop at the initial attack. Abuse can in fact result in a chronic condition that may paralyze the recipient. Anxiety emerges in the form of intrusive, unwanted, and obsessive thought, which eventually leads to compulsive behavior. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a cognitive prison: a dark tunnel of repetitive rumination that hammers the target’s psyche.

A person who suffers from OCD is enshrouded by a pattern of sameness, shutting him or her off from experiences, people, and life in general. OCD is an overwhelming preoccupation. Like a never ending stream of cable cars, another crisis comes along as soon as a situation is resolved.

A macabre version of buzzing exists within OCD sufferers’ brains, creating a latticework of paranoiac hyper-vigilance. It’s a vicious cycle, with bullying potentially causing OCD, and OCD being a precursor of bullying.

If bullying does indeed contribute to mental disorder, then there is a dual impetus for companies to take proactive measures to prevent its occurrence. Despite however the high cost of stress-related health claims, few organizations have implemented measures to ensure peoples’ psychological safety. According to SHARP (2011): “The health problems experienced by victims of bullying result in a sense of helplessness and negative emotional states.”

An ongoing stance to educating the workforce, containing virulent behavior, and promoting safety within corporate walls is warranted. As a supervisor, consider the following steps to increase worker safety: 

  • Craft a civility policy. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, this is a growing imperative within firms that wish to promote cordiality among employees.  
  • Change the culture. To truly be effective, any initiative must be top down – instigated by people who have the authority to hold others accountable. Otherwise, programs risk becoming “flavors of the month” that are easily discontinued in lean times.
  • Realize that words hurt. Once spoken, texted, or sent, they cannot be retracted – they are forever lodged in the mind of the recipient. Classes on civil discourse can create awareness regarding appropriate comportment.
Share |

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

Comments are moderated.

Comments are closed.