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Dealing with conflict

Many of the targets of a workplace bully state that it has devastated their personal and professional lives.  They often ask me how they can move past these negative emotions and begin to cope with the experience.

They certainly are not alone.  In my research, I have found that feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness, and disillusionment are common responses to being a target of a workplace bully. However, there are some practices that can help targets begin to cope with the experience and take back their power. 

I you have been a victim of a workplace bully, you cannot change what happened, but you can change your reaction to it.  Rather than continuing to question why this happened, claim your self-confidence.  Despite what the bully has said or done, you have a lot to offer. It is easy to look to others for help, but you may be further disillusioned when they do not acknowledge your hurt. Instead, become an advocate for others who are also targets. Work to let go of the blame and anger. Those emotions only hurt you; the bully is unaffected by your anger.  Finally, instead of seeking revenge, develop empathy toward the bullies.  What happened in their lives to make them so miserable that they take pleasure in hurting others?  Admittedly, this is a difficult step, but it is also a healing one. 

Targets are enlightened, empowered, and better able to cope with the bullying when they recognize they cannot change the other person or the event.  They cannot change anything external to themselves; the changes come from within.