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Bullying is the use of force, threat or coercion, to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others. Such behaviour is often repeated and habitual in nature. Bullying may be one on one, or may take a more complex form of the use of others to assist the primary bully in their actions.
The intended message of the bully is “See me and fear me, I am so powerful that I have the ability to inflict pain upon the intended target at the time and manner of my choice without having to pay any consequences”.
Bullying may have a number of targets of attack including, race, gender, sexuality, size, appearance, strength or ability. A bullying culture can exist in any environment within which human beings interact with eachother.
Since 2000, bullying has seen a significant increase in acceptance as a social and interpersonal malaise. With an increase in groups established to raise awareness and develop effective policies and procedures to deal with bullying as well as the beginning of legislative acknowledgement and lawmakers to protect and define victimisation due to bullying.
Bullying can be seperated into two discreet types:
The former includes acts of direct aggression, while the later may focus more on social isolation, underminning, lowering of status and criticism.
Established patterns of bullying can be pervasive and entrenched, lasting for long periods of time. Institutions, and structures of society may reinforce bullying by expecting the victim to stand up for themselves and punishing them if the fight back.
Bullying can have a profound and deadly impact, leading in extreme situations to suicide or by leaving individuals traumatised or with PTSD. An individual who identiifes with being a victim may expereince repeated episodes and cycles of bullying in different environments that compound and exacerbate their condition.
In the workplace bullying is responsible for significant losses in productivity and has profound impacts on morale, team cohession, trust and the general work environment. Workplace bullies will often use policy and procedure to control their targets and demonstrate their power to instil fear in others. The normal reaction of colleagues is to observe and not intervene. Management interventions often support the bully and sack the victim.
Workplace bullying has been identified as the actions of socialised psychopaths, who often target popular and skilled workers, intent on being the centre of attention they utilise a myriad of plays to coerce, manipulate and misguide. They are often poorly equiped to do their own jobs and lack adequate skills.
Bullying can take place in many environments and situations including a wide variety of targets or victims:
Bullying can be dealt with, but requires a deliberate and intentional manner in order to do so. The reasons and effects of bullying are pervasive and broad, therefore robust interventions including legal procedures may be required.