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    December 2012
    M T W T F S S
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    Bullying at work – the total cost – financial and societal Part 2 of 2

    Ian Whiting

    Outside the financial costs, the personal costs are also of major concern to health-care professionals. Treatments for depression, stress, heart conditions, ulcers, other forms of gastric and intestinal stress, PTSD, internal trauma, alcohol abuse and drug abuse. The physical, emotional and mental abuse of families and friends. Other mental illnesses including paranoia and schizophrenia are common as is bi-polar disorder. In extreme cases, severe and unrestricted violence against themselves – including suicide and against others including events such as robberies, assault and in some cases and situations, even murder. These are all potential consequences to society that result from bullying. Is it really worth it? Bullying tears families and communities apart and it is preventable. Are you part of the problem or part of the cure?

    “If you turn and face the other way when someone is being bullied, you might as well be the bully too.” ~Unknown

    Inside family units, bullying is a well known, if very well hidden issue. Yes, we hear about parents abusing and bullying children but we don’t hear as often about siblings bullying or abusing each other – and it is not always the older child bullying younger one – I know of several cases where the reverse is true. There is no “typical” situation, which makes it tough to help the victims and educate the perpetrators or provide punishment as appropriate. Please remember, not all abuse is physical – the hidden damage of emotional and mental abuse is very often hard to identify and treat. Victims of emotional and mental abuse sometimes even appear to live outwardly “normal” lives, but on the inside are ready to explode with sometimes terrifying consequences to themselves and others – most often directly impacting those closest to them.

    “By being a bully, you show everyone what an inferior coward you are.” ~Unknown

    Psychologists, psychiatrists, family medical care providers and counsellors all deal with the effects on a daily basis. Unfortunately, law enforcement and other first responders see the consequences when no intervention or support has been provided. Healthcare practitioners and paramedical professionals have long known that bullies act out of feelings of inadequacy, jealousy and fear but the driving forces behind those issues are very challenging to define. They tend to use the bluster, self-aggrandisement and brash behaviours to cover their feelings – they are actually crying for help but too often that cry goes unheard until the damage has been done to one or more other people in their lives.

    I have included several quotes in this article that can provide a starting point for readers to consider this issue. I suggest that to one extent or another, everyone’s lives have, are or will be affected by some form of bullying and/or related abuse. Can we do anything less than exert our best efforts to eradicate it from our lives?

    “Respect – simple respect. I expect nothing more and I will accept nothing less.” From the Emmy Winning Series MASH – Margaret Houlihan talking to Hawkeye Pierce.

    In closing, please think about the words of the famous song by Aretha Franklin:
    “R – E – S – P – E – C – T”

    These are but a very few links to sites that offer information on workplace bullying, abuse and violence. I urge you to use these and other resources to help yourself and others.

    The MONEY® Network