16 February 2019
Bullying at work could trigger mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Photo: Glassdoor
Bullying at work could trigger mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Photo: Glassdoor

Don’t let your boss affect your emotions

It is often said that the chance of finding a good boss is slimmer than winning the lottery. This may sound a bit exaggerated but it does reflect what employees encounter at work.

Many patients with mood disorders see me to complain about the difficulties they face at work.

“I don’t know what I did wrong that my boss keeps picking on me.” “My supervisor applies double standards and I’m always the scapegoat.” “My boss knows we’re running out of time and resources, but he still pressures me to achieve impossible goals.” These are but a few of the usual complaints.

Bullying at work is certainly a nightmare, and it could trigger mood disorders.

Unfortunately, many workers become victims of workplace bullying without even knowing it. A research study from Western countries found that a third of the respondents had been bullied at work.

The bully knows exactly how to deploy status and power in the company, twisting words or doing persistent actions to drive vulnerable targets to achieve goals that would benefit themselves or fulfill their desires.

They are most likely executives, senior management or administrative staff of the company. They also exist in professional fields, disciplined services, and indeed all walks of life.

Their usual trick is to devalue their victims through unreasonable accusations, assigning them the blame or responsibility, taking away the credit due them or amplifying their mistakes. They would also try to intimidate their victims by means of expressed or implied threats such as dismissal, demotion, or withheld promotion.

Workplace bullying is like violence, although it leaves no physical evidence. Sadly it happens around us every day. It could easily destroy a confident, energetic and cheerful person and fill them with low self-esteem, insecurities, fear and anxiety. Such negative emotions are very harmful to their mental health.

In the long run some people might develop mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Some might become alcoholic, develop the tendency to hurt themselves or display social withdrawal and isolation symptoms.

What is worse is that they become impatient, impulsive and sensitive. When they bring home these negative emotions and release them uncontrollably, family harmony and their loved ones will suffer.

If someone you know is in such situation, please be caring and understanding, and help them overcome their difficulties.

If you are having these disturbing emotions, don’t be scared. Seek medical attention and treatment from doctors and professionals who could assist you in overcoming these negative emotions that result from workplace bullying.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept. 23

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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FHKAM (Psychiatry)

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