Workplace and school bullying are about power.
"There have been complaints; That’s strike two; I may have to write you up." My school
principal would pass me in hallways and whisper his words of intimidation.
That's how his bullying started. It ended, after a year and a half of escalating emotional abuse, with
me on a medical leave diagnosed with Acute Specific Stress Disorder.
The detrimental health consequences of workplace bullying for bullied targets are real. Studies show
that emotional violence--and workplace bullying feels like an assault--actually alters DNA. It frays our telomeres. You may
not know what telomeres are, but, trust me, you do not want yours frayed.
Stress hits us hard; hits our guts with gastrointestinal disorders; hits our hearts with palpitations;
hits our minds with obsessive thoughts.
Nathan Fox, a professor of human development at the University of Maryland, co-authored a study of
the effects of bullying and violence in children. Dr. Fox found that: “....stress gets 'under the skin' and into the
It's hard, then, for teachers
to put together dynamic lesson plans when their jobs are in hands of district sanctioned psychopathic principals.
Why was I targeted at that school? I was targeted
because I did not fit the toxic culture the principal had established there. It's that simple. I was a "half-glass-full-living"
individual placed by my school district into a "half-glass-empty/abusive" norm. To survive I would have had to "fit."
I did not "fit." I did not lie when, towards the end, he screamed at me to fraudulently complete official documents;
I refuted his false report against a teacher (he'd named me as a “witness"); and I respectfully asked that he not
call me "honey."
I was not a "team
player." Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins wasn’t a “team player” either.
Bullying is all about power and not just bullies'
and their followers' "power," but of all the powerful people who gave it to them. The upper echelons of companies'
and school districts' and football teams' management are ultimately responsible for assuring safety for people--whether those
people are 50 pound kindergarten children, 110 pound kindergarten teachers teaching those children, or 320 pound professional
football players. The dynamics of bullying are the same.
There are two key pieces to preventing bullying. I call them “magic.” The first piece of
the “magic” is leadership. Leadership is the framework into which the other piece of the “magic” fits.
If companies, school districts, and professional football teams are led at all levels--tippy top down--by kind and respectful
leaders who “live” their policies against bullying, the other piece of the magic happens. That piece is trust.
If children and adults in schools, and employees in workplaces trust that they will be kept safe from emotional abuse, then
more and more will stand up for others. Bullying is prevented from the top down, not from the bottom up.
Now that truly is magical.
Contact Kim at: firstname.lastname@example.org