So then...

About Me

Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."

Friday, 27 September 2013

Third Extract from Janice Harper's Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing

It’s all about your emotions.  You’re feeling terribly hurt, crushed and devastated.  You’re furious in a way you’ve never known before.  You feel true hatred for the first time ever.  You’re terrified, scared and distracted.  You don’t know what’s coming next.
In a word, you’re emotionally overwhelmed.  But before a mobbing target can effectively respond to the shunning and onslaught of personal and professional attacks, he or she must control the emotional flooding that mobbing produces.  There are four reasons why it is imperative that to do so. 

First, emotional flooding can be deadly.  Anytime we are emotionally overwhelmed, we are prone to stress-related illnesses.  It is not unusual for mobbing targets to suffer heart attacks or strokes or develop cancer shortly after being mobbed.  Many are made to feel so worthless and unwanted that they commit suicide.  Others, such as former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner who went on a murderous rampage in the wake of his termination from the police force, have been known to kill their coworkers, managers and others in a desperate effort to gain power over a situation which has left them feeling utterly powerless.  The documentary, Murder by Proxy (available on Netflix at the time of this writing), is an excellent exploration of the role mobbing plays in many workplace shootings, and how some may have been avoidable had the targets been treated more humanely.

Second, emotional flooding confuses us, making it difficult to concentrate and get our work done.  When our coworkers and managers are out to get us, becoming an unproductive worker is hardly in our best interests.  A mobbing target must work extra hard to avoid any perception they cannot do their job, and do it well.
Third, it is impossible to effectively respond to aggressive attacks and escape the mob (by getting a new job, for example), if you do not have control of your emotions.  At the very time you have been made to feel completely worthless and loathed and utterly crazy, you must muster the poise, confidence, and control to respond to repeated accusations of misconduct, find a new job, and perhaps even pursue a lawsuit.  It requires the strength and emotional control of a Navy SEAL to respond to mobbing, so there’s no more critical time to gain control of your emotions than when they are understandably exploding inside of you. 

And finally, anyone who is emotionally overwhelmed is a drag to be around—the mobbing target almost always finds themselves alienating their support system at the time they need it most because they are constantly babbling about how awful their situation is and how furious and depressed they are.  No one can withstand hearing that for very long before they’re ready to run for their lives from the pitiful friend they wish that they could help but would rather just escape.  If you’re being mobbed, chances are your friends and family are feeling overwhelmed themselves; give them a break from your emotions by gaining control of them.

To control your emotional flooding, understand that there are three primary emotions that mobbing provokes: anger, fear and sadness.  Each of these emotions is experienced as a range of feelings.  Unchecked anger turns to fury and rage; unchecked fear turns to paranoia; and untreated sadness turns to anguish and serious depression.  All of these emotions are normal and natural responses to threats to our survival, but they become maladaptive when they are not controlled.  To control the painful feelings associated with mobbing, here are a few steps you can take to gain greater control of your emotions when you are under group attack.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Second Extract from Janice Harper's Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing

Second excerpt, from Part II, How to Stop (or At Least Survive) Mobbing:
Of all the many things you can and should do to survive a mobbing, there are three things you can do which will be damned hard, but will do more than anything else to help you to survive.  These three things are: control your thinking; control your emotions; and grow up.  Now before you start sending me hate mail, listen up.  There is a reason you need to grow up: mobbing is a devastating attack on your identity and humanity, and because it is so devastating, it will rapidly reduce you to tears.  It will take you back to an emotional state of childhood when the bullies were picking on you.  It will make you want your mother.  It will leave you feeling powerless.  And now more than ever, you need power.  So you need to calm the child within you, and muster up the grownup that you are.
There’s another reason you need to grow up.  You are at war.  It’s time to be a man, even if you’re a woman.  This is a test of what you’re made of.
And there’s a third reason you need to grow up.  Most of what we complain about at work is really pointless.  Most of the grave injustices and abuses we suffer are really better off ignored—or stored in a file of our minds labeled “useful information.”
Now I know that sounds flippant and insensitive, but let me tell you—as someone who lost way, way more than I ever thought possible to lose—when I look back on what I was so upset about at work, I snicker.  I snicker because had I simply ignored the small injustices, I never would have endured the great ones.  If I had laughed off the bad behaviors, I never would have suffered the atrocities.  And had I left my ego at home when I went to work, it never would have had it slaughtered by the people I worked with and trusted.
It doesn’t mean I deserved it.  It doesn’t mean they were right to do it.  And it doesn’t mean it is okay by any means.  What it means is that I walked straight into a den of alpha wolves and offered up my jugular, when I should have just kept my mouth shut and observed them.
In short, mobbing forced me to grow up in ways I never would have understood before or during my mobbing.  But now that I am past it, I can provide a more objective take on what leads to mobbing.  And what I’ve learned is that in so many cases, mobbing turns into a wildfire of torment because the person who has been targeted has let their mind run in an endless loop of wrongs they think need to be righted, cannot control their emotional wounds and rage, and they have put their egos ahead of their interests—which is completely disempowering.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t good people—many targets have a high sense of ethics and their complaints do have merit.  (Unlike some anti-bullying experts, however, I’m not going to tell you all targets are good and all targets have superior ethics—rotten no good scoundrels with the ethics of a lobbyist can and do get mobbed.  And so do decent, hard-working ethical people.  Anyone can be mobbed.)
Maturity requires learning how to control how and what we think, and how and what we feel.  It also means weighing our options not based on idealism, but on reality.  And the reality is that pursuing justice is usually a lonely pursuit, and one that offers little reward.  We need justice in our world, and we need idealists.  But don’t make put your career on the line for your ideals (nor sell out your ideals for your career).  There are other ways to fight for fairness.  But when it comes to the injustice in our own worlds, far too many mobbing targets find themselves blinded and buried in their pursuit for justice.  And once blinded and buried, we cannot effectively achieve any meaningful victory over injustice.
What almost all any mobbing target wants is really not a lot.  Mobbing targets want the abuse to stop.  They want to work.  And they want an apology.  That’s all.  But as simple and reasonable as those three things are, they are not going to come once a mobbing commences.  So what mobbing targets must do is protect themselves.  
There are three ways in which you must protect yourself from mobbing.  You must protect yourself emotionally, socially and professionally.  By doing so, and by learning to control your thinking and your emotions and by acting from a place of maturity, rather than neediness, you’ll go far toward managing the mob.  So listen up and toughen up, because in the next three chapters I’m going to tell you what you need to do if you’re going to survive the mob.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

First Extract from Janice Harper's Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing

Janice Harper is an anthropologist who was herself a target of workplace mobbing which destroyed her career as a university professor.  She now writes for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today on the topic of mobbing.  Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing, is divided into two parts.  The first part explores how and why mobbing happens, and the second part focuses on what targets can do to protect themselves emotionally, socially and professionally.
In Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing I focus on the unique dynamics of group behavior as an evolutionary mechanism rooted in our biology.  I argue that in order to effectively respond to workplace aggression, it is crucial to understand our animal natures, because in times of crisis it is our animal natures that will prevail.  And what that means is that once mobbing ensues, it becomes an unwinnable war as long as the target of aggression is within sight.  Here’s an excerpt:
Primate research has demonstrated the multitude of ways in which the bullying behavior of a high-status member can turn otherwise peaceful group members into a gang of thugs.  Take rhesus monkeys, for example.  In his book, Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World, primatologist Dario Maestripieri shows the cunning and manipulative strategies that rhesus monkeys deploy to gain status and power in their societies—in a manner which is strikingly similar to how humans behave at work and at war. 
Maestripieri opens his book with the tale of a bully macaque who bites a well-liked adolescent male named Buddy.  Rather than end the conflict by countering with an equally-painful blow, or showing submission and surrender to the bully, Buddy ran away in pain.  By failing to gain or show respect, Buddy’s display of weakness invited pursuit, and the bully escalated his abuse, as Buddy’s friends rushed to join in the excitement.  Rather than assist their friend who was under attack, however, Buddy’s friends pursued and attacked him, causing the researchers who were observing the encounter to remove Buddy from the group for his own protection.

When Buddy was returned to the group, his former playmates badgered him, knocking him down and challenging him to fight.  Still weak from the anesthesia the researchers had given him after removing him from the prior attack, Buddy’s vulnerable state was exploited by the very playmates he grew up with.  Mastripieri describes what happened:
“Buddy has spent every day of his life in the enclosure with all the other monkeys.  They all eat the same food and sleep under the same roof. . . . . They were there when he was born.  They held him and cuddled him when he was an infant.  They have watched him grow, day by day, every day of his life.  Yet, that day, if the researchers had not taken Buddy out of the group, he would have been killed. . . . He was weak and vulnerable.  The behavior of the other monkeys changed swiftly and dramatically—from friendliness to intolerance, from play to aggression.   Buddy’s vulnerability became an opportunity for others to settle an old score, improve their position in the dominance hierarchy, or eliminate a potential rival for good.  In rhesus macaque society, maintaining one’s social status, being tolerated by others, and ultimately surviving at all may depend on how quickly one runs and how effectively one uses the right signal, with the right individual, at the right time.” (Mastripieri, 2007:4, 5).
This same pattern of harassment is found in wolves which will rarely organize to attack other packs of wolves, but will routinely single out weakened members of their own group for prolonged harassment, almost always instigated by an alpha wolf and carried out with the frenzied compliance of lower-ranking wolves.  According to the renowned naturalist and wolf expert R. D. Lawrence, wolves literally “follow their leader” and turn on their pack members if a high-ranking alpha does so.  To stop the harassment, the victimized wolf must show signs of submission—by lying on its back, exposing its throat, belly and groin to the

Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing, by Janice Harper, Ph.D., 2013, $7.99, 216 pages.  A Kindle book available on Amazon at:  (For those who don’t have a Kindle, a free Kindle app can be downloaded so that you can read any Kindle title on your computer or smart phone:

alphas—or by fleeing. 
Bottom Swirl