Adult Bullying?

Updated: Oct 15, 2018

By Beth Healey, Director of Development and Marketing

Yes, adults ARE bullied. They're bullied by their spouses, neighbors, members of social groups, and by their bosses or other employees in the workplace. The focus of this blog is #bullying in the workplace. Abuse of employees is a serious problem that affects over 60 million Americans.

Are you a target of #workplacebullying, or do you know someone who is? Workplace bullying is cruel and demeaning, to say the least. The person being abused may feel hopeless and helpless. But there are ways to cope. Arming oneself with good information is a step in the right direction.

Hypothetically, let’s say you are a target. “Why me?” has probably crossed your mind. You're filled with self-doubt and may be having thoughts like, “I must be a weak person. A bad employee." If that is the case, then your thoughts are lying to you! Your negative self-talk could be due to the effects of overwhelming stress. (Anyone walking into a hostile environment five days a week is going to be pretty stressed!) Chronic high levels of stress affect both your mental and physical health. Your thought processes can become impaired (negativity, indecisiveness, lack of concentration, lost confidence).

High stress levels can increase the amount of cortisol in your body. A normal level of cortisol provides us the energy to cope with stress or escape from danger. Cortisol regulates a wide range of body functions including blood sugar levels, metabolism and immune system response. You can read about cortisol at

But consistently elevated levels of cortisol can have a wide range of adverse effects on a person’s health, some of which are:

• Clinical depression

• Anxiety

• Suppressed immunity

• High blood pressure

• High blood sugar

• Fatigue

• Decreased concentration

• Acne

• Impaired memory

• Insomnia

• Poor skin healing

What Makes You A Target for Abuse?

The truth is, studies have indicated that a workplace target is often:

• Highly competent (intelligent, skilled, creative)

• The most veteran and skilled person in the work group