Facing Verbal Abuse at Work? Here is How To Deal With It

Verbal abuse in the workplace exists and includes things like threatening, yelling, insulting or cursing at a victim in public or in private. It also doesn’t take just one form. It can involve humiliation, sexist, homophobic or racist slurs, aggressive behavior like pounding tables or slamming phones, intimidation, exaggerated continuous hammering on a fault by staff and bullying that affects ones performance at work.

A Verbally abusive person can be someone who’s consistently mean or unpleasant. One who wants to be in total control or in a position of higher power than her victims. Some of these behaviors fit the legal definition of assault and harassment, but the reality is that unlike discriminatory types of harassment (such as sexual), verbal abuse, goes unnoticed and unresolved and is particularly damaging because most of the damaging behaviors tend to be dismissed as natural.

While you may not notice, the negative effects of verbal abuse have severe consequences on the victims. In some cases, victims begin to lose Self esteem, have feelings of shame and guilt, lie, and can have increased blood pressure.

Even if it’s not happening to you right now, it’s important to understand workplace abuse and what can be done about it so that you can support other people who might be in that situation or know what to do if it happens to you. You can start by:

1. Restructuring of policies at your workplace

You have to ensure to have a policy situation, that rides every position in the company including yours. If you don’t have a policy yet – create one.

2. Constructive Criticism rather than Scolding is always a Yes!

Avoid stressing on the failures of your staff or team. Instead praise and recognise them when they do good and give constructive criticism when they fall short.

What to do when facing Verbal abuse

To victims, it’s important to note that what you are experiencing is not your fault. It’s not because you’re bad at your job. Truth is that most times, it usually doesn’t have much to do with you at all and you need to start taking action.

  1. Document:

Document what’s been happening if you can so it doesn’t become a he said, she said battle. Let responses to your assignments be formal so there is evidence.

2. Don’t Be Intimidated:

You’re Paid to Work, not to endure Verbal Abuse, begin by trying to talk to the abusive person about their behavior. Tell them you don’t like it when they talk that way and you feel they are being abusive. 

3. Take Measures or Leave:

Working for toxic people is never an option, anything that affects you psychologically is unhealthy. So if you have gotten to the point where you can’t take it anymore, tell them, you can threaten to record them for proof and if not, start looking for a different job and leave! It will always work out outside that job.

4. Get help:

If you’ve been verbally abused and you’ve hit a wall you can’t come out of, then you can consider getting help in the form of therapy, talking to a trusted friend or seeking out stories of people who have survived workplace abuse. It always helps to know that you are not alone especially if the situation becomes too unbearable.

Parts of this article was culled from lifehack.com

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