By Jasmine Elnadeem
One morning you get to your office, sit down at your desk, and turn on your computer. Just like the day before, like many other days before, but that morning there is something new in the air, something unusual, vaguely hostile. Maybe it is the boss who, absorbed by his thoughts, has not said hello to you in the corridor; maybe it is your colleagues who have not invited you to have coffee with them. How strange, they normally call you!
Maybe it does not mean anything, it is only a coincidence, and tomorrow everything will go back to normal. Maybe, though, something has broken down in the relations between you and your work environment. Maybe someone has decided to turn against you, to isolate you, to exclude you from the group, and from that day on, little by little, everything begins to change at work… to get worse.
And whoever you are, you feel terribly alone: you do not know that millions of other people, all over the world, are in the same trap.
You are not aware that it is a social evil, which is growing more serious, more widespread and yet is still hardly known. It has a precise name: it is called “Psychological Harassment”.
“Psychological harassment is a form of employee abuse arising from unethical behaviour and leading to victimization of the worker,” Says Fiona Mcmahon – Bullying and harassment counselor, Luxembourg.
“It is an increasing worldwide problem which is still largely unknown and underestimated. It can produce serious negative consequences on the quality of life and on individuals’ health, mainly in the emotional, psychosomatic and behavioural areas. In addition, society as a whole becomes a victim because of increased pressure on social services and welfare,” she adds.
Mobbing also referred to by some as Bullying, psychological terrorism, and organizational violence is described as a collective form of psychological violence in which many individuals unite to persecute an individual by making constant negative remarks, repeated criticism or sarcasm, intimidation, threats, insinuations, try to humiliate, circulate false information concerning the individual, and to socially isolate the individual.
Mobbing is a way of destroying a person without using any physical means, a psychological war of nerves with wear the individual out tactics. A group attacks an individual’s dignity, integrity, self-image, self-confidence, self-esteem, place in doubt of competence, threaten their careers, and means of subsistence.
“Many victims of psychological harassment suffer from physical ailments, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, stress, fatigue, depressive states, burn outs, and in some cases suicide. Many are unable to continue working and suffer financial loss.” Fiona said.
Any progressive organization have to raise awareness of this growing issue of concern by providing information on its characteristics, such as the definition, differences between normal conflicts and psychological harassment at work, the ways it is practised, the consequences it can produce on health and society. Special attention is devoted to the causes that favour its development and the measures to be adopted in order to combat it and react to it.
“The only way to combat psychological harassment at work is to unite the efforts of all these players, while viewing the issue from different angles,” says Macmahon.
If you need help or want to know more information about workplace psychological harassment, bullying, mobbing, psychological abuse and its many forms, effects, and related issues. Please chech out the Psychological Harassment Information Assosiation.