Dealing with Toxic Coworkers!

Toxic Coworkers

Do you ever feel that you’re being bullied at work by toxic coworkers? This is something that you can’t just ignore and when this happens you need to understand that you aren’t alone. There are many people that are bullied in their workplace, and this can include things like sexual harassment and other things.

Bullying can happen and it is something that no one deserves, and it isn’t something that you invite on your own or you should have happened to you. Getting bullied even as an adult can affect your mental and physical health. It can cause high blood pressure, stomach issues, depression, trauma, anxiety, and other issues that you don’t want to have to deal with.

Bullying can be damaging to anyone from being bullied in school to being bullied in the workplace. Being in a toxic work place can leave you feeling angry and confused and it is no way that anyone should have to live.

What Is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying is when there is mistreatment of someone, and this can be one or many perpetrators. This kind of treatment can be abuse and it can be humiliating to you, and it can stop you from being able to get your work done.

Being bullied in the workplace goes beyond having a small aggravation, it creates a place of imbalance and a place of loss of power between the person getting bullied and the one bullying. This can make the person getting bullied to feel powerless.

Bullying like harassment isn’t illegal though and even though you should be protected at your job, being mistreated is sometimes ignored. This kind of behavior can cause you to feel bad, but it isn’t against the law.

Kinds of Workplace Bullying

Most of the time being bullied at work is form the boss. But there are also many bullies that are lower-level and bullying can take different forms. Here are four of the most known types of workplace bullying:

  • Aggressive Communication

When you imagine someone being bullied you might think that this would be cursing, screaming, or yelling at someone. This is meant to cause the person to be fearful, but it can also cause other workers to be fearful of standing up because they don’t want to be the next target.

Aggressive communication can include sending nasty emails, screaming and other kinds of hostile behaviors. This can include being told that your ideas are pathetic or other humiliation in a meeting or elsewhere.

  • Constant Criticism

Another form of workplace bullying can be when someone is constantly criticizing what you have done. They might say something about small things, or they might say something about bigger things that you’ve done. The person might chastise you for every mistake that you make and never praises you when you do something right.

Some people experience work bullies no matter how hard they work, and they are constantly being told that they need to work harder. Those that are critical can do this to your face or behind your back. They will make you doubt your ability to do work and they will point out everything that you do in front of others or privately.

  • Manipulation

Another experience with workplace bullying can be manipulation. The boss might get angry when you don’t do a job that they didn’t tell you to do, and they might manipulate you and not give you resources to be able to get the job done.

They might tell you only about part of the job when there is much more to it and if you fail, they will tell you that you had poor performance. They might even leave poor performance reviews on you so that you are punished for not doing just what they say or don’t say.

This kind of bullying can also happen when someone forgets to tell you about an important meeting or about something that you needed to do to get your job done.

  • Behind the Scenes Bullying

This kind of bullying is hard to know about and it can come from behind your back. This is when someone is gossiping about you or trying to make others look poor on you. They might call you unskilled or say that you don’t do your work right. They will say this behind your back while claiming to be your friend to your face.

A bully like this will tell other employees things about you but tell them that it is confidential and not to let you know.

How Do Workplace Bullies Get Away with Bullying?

Those that bully in the workplace are often high-end managers or people that are high performers. They might be someone that makes the most sales or someone that gets the most work done. They also can be someone that has the best ideas and they need to be kept happy, so they don’t leave to go to another job.

Some workplace bullies will work and will bully but will never be held accountable for how they treat other people, and this will leave people intimidated by them. The thing is bullies can get away with this kind of treatment because the company can foster their way of treating others. The workplace should give opportunities and should never allow bullies to get hired in the first place.

Dealing with Workplace Bullies

Here are some ways that you can deal with bullies in the workplace!

  • Speak Up

Tell someone when you are being bullied. Talk about it right when it happens and refuse to accept it. Here is how you can do that:

    • Mention their values: Tell them that they are undermining you and not valuing you. Do this in front of others.
    • Explain to them why their treatment is a problem and that they aren’t fostering team work.
    • Say their name often when you ask them to show you respect and tell them that you will respect them the same way.

Don’t forget to stand up tall and to make sure that you keep your arms down at your side. Doing this can show that you are serious, and your body language can tell a lot. Don’t slouch and don’t look away.

If you stop the bullying right away, then you can help yourself and others but if they ignore you then the bullying can get worse. Once the power imbalance happens, it can be hard to fix.

You have to learn to speak up right away when you are feeling bullied at work or there is a chance that it won’t ever stop.

  • Document Your Performance and How You’re Being Treated

Write down how you are being treated and what’s happening to you at work. If you miss an appointment that you aren’t told about, write it down. Keep a journal about why things are happening. If you’re in a staff meeting and you’re getting bullied, write it down and put as much detail down as you can. Name the people that are in the room even if they don’t stand up for you.

File away emails that are sent to you where your boss is criticizing you and always have documentation around you that shows that you are getting work done.

  • Have Self-Care

Even if you are getting bullied at work you need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself outside of work. Bullying can cause stress but if you take care of your body and your mind then you will feel better about yourself and you will be able to deal with the bullying.

Find things outside of work that you enjoy and do them. If you need to, talk to a professional.

  • Research Company Policies

Look at company policies about bullying, mistreatment, abuse, and other references. If you are in a company that has a policy about these things, then you might be able to form a formal complaint. Since this treatment isn’t illegal, you can’t go that way with it but if your handbook talks about values and expectations then you can strengthen your case against the person bullying you and get the problem solved.

Seek legal advice if you feel that you’re being harassed, and nothing is being done about it. Get a company attorney that works on harassment and discrimination cases and find out what kind of help they can give you. Some lawyers will give you a free consultation before you hire them.

  • Talk to Your Manager

If you have tried to deal with the bullying and you aren’t getting anywhere, try talking to the manager. Talk about how the person is bullying you and what steps you need to take. If your boss is the problem the you need to talk to one of your peers and figure out the situation. Go to the person that hired you and see if you can figure out how to fix things before it gets too late.

  • Talk to HR

Being in a company that has an HR department can help you if you are being bullied. You can approach HR and talk to them about what is going on. Some HR are focused on compliance and rules and other HR will focus on culture and people. You can get them to help you to look at company policy to see what you can do.

If you need to, go to the business and plea with them on approaching the bullying that you are dealing with. You can tell them that you don’t want to be at work, and you are not being as productive because of how you’re being treated.

Think about what you want and what you can do to get the help that you need. You should have respect and dignity in the workplace, and this is more important than almost anything.

  • Find a New Job

Some people can’t leave their job because of the money that they make but if you can’t get something solved then leaving might be your only option. If you are dealing with stress in the workplace and you aren’t getting your work done, start looking for another job and plan on moving on. Speak to HR about why you are thinking about leaving.

What if You See Bullying?

If you are working and you see someone else getting bullied don’t be afraid to stand up for them. Be comfortable to speak up and to ask what is going on and tell them not to talk to the employee that way. If you aren’t saying something when you see bullying, then you are basically supporting it and giving permission by being silent.

State the problem and then offer a resolution. If someone is yelling in a meeting, tell them that when they raise their voice it causes people to shut down and to not be able to express their ideas. Offer a solution of keeping their voices down so that people feel safe and free to brainstorm.

You can also talk to the person that is bullying in a one-on-one situation and tell them that their behavior isn’t good, and you will go to HR if you see it again. If the bully is on the same level as you are, tell them that you are going to file a complaint if this keeps happening. It might be hard to stop though if there is no policy about it.

Avoid Bullying at Work

Once you leave your job over bullying you want to make sure that you don’t get in the same situation. When you interview, make sure that you listen to how you’re being talked to, and you see what the history of job bullying is in the company. Here are some things you can ask!

    • What is the boss like? If everyone loves them then this should be a good sign. If they say, “they’ve been here a long time,” it might be a red flag.
    • Ask about the company culture and how they deal with culture.
    • Ask about company values and if there are values this is a good sign but if there aren’t, move on.
    • Who are the corporate heroes and are they good people? Asking this can let you see what kind of people run the company.

You should never have to deal with bullying or aggressive communication over and over again. It isn’t your fault if you’re being bullied and you need to take the steps to protect yourself from this kind of situation.


  1. The idea of self-care and mental health in the context of workplace bullying is crucial. Employees should prioritize their well-being and seek help if they are affected by such toxic environments.