June 15, 2016
A recent study revealed that a bad boss can make you sick, even more so than passive smoking. Insomnia, headaches, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease and even a lowered life expectancy are just some of the documented medical conditions caused by enduring the yelling, manipulation and stress of a bad boss.
Yet the staggering statistic is out of 75% of us who have bad bosses, as many as 59% stay in a hostile work environment. Why an earth would any sane, rational, decent human being put up with being treated that way, day in, day out, sometimes for years?
As shocking as it may seem, I believe your bad boss is hypnotising you into tolerating his bad behaviour.
Hypnosis is a state of absorption or trance state where the mind is open and receptive to all incoming information. It’s the same as being in a state of childlike innocence where you believe your parents’ tales of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy because you trust them and have no evidence to the contrary.
When you think of hypnosis, you’re likely to conjure up images of the stage hypnotist who suggests his subjects strut and cluck like chickens, much to the amusement of the audience.
Alternatively, you think of the benevolent clinical hypnotist who helps you to stop smoking by inducing a relaxed and alert hypnotic trance and making suggestions agreeable to your subconscious mind.
These hypnotists offer a pleasurable experience in order to more easily secure your cooperation. In contrast, your bad boss has you trapped in the grip of powerful and unpleasant emotions.
When your bad boss yells, humiliates and threatens you, then has the gall to say “be grateful you have a job,” you actually start to believe him. You hear his voice in your head long after the workday ends: “I’m not worthy because I am so stupid.”
Working for a bad boss is an abuse situation. It changes you, subtly, every day, for the worse. You may not have an immediate and total mental or physical collapse, but you will be incrementally damaged by the experience until it becomes harder for you to seek a new job or even have the confidence to do your current job well.
You end up living paycheck to paycheck, and believing that leaving is not an option. Pretty much the only reason you stay is because it’s hard to work a 40+ hour week and look for a better job. When and how do you go for interviews? What do you say to to a prospective employer about contacting the present one when you know your bad boss will badmouth you? It’s a trap that appears very hard to get out of.
Yep, sounds like a powerful hypnotic trance to me! So how does your bad boss hypnotise you exactly?
There’s a misconception that hypnotic suggestions can be overridden by free will. In reality, the hypnotist needs only to obtain the cooperation of your subconscious mind, the contents of which you have very little awareness of.
How your bad boss’s hypnosis works is by exploiting the weakness inherent in your divided will. You probably didn’t realise that most people have a divided will whereby they make a conscious decision about something, work towards a goal but achieve the very opposite of what they intended. For example, most dieters make a conscious decision to lose weight, apply all their willpower to achieving their goal, only to end up losing some weight initially but regaining it with interest. Has that ever happened to you?
The fact is, your subconscious mind is far more powerful than your conscious mind and it can move mountains. The key to breaking the spell is to align your will by discovering what your subconscious mind is actually focused on and working with it (not against it) in a certain way so as to achieve the unification of your will – and ultimately, what you most fervently desire.
There’s hope! You can break the spell using these two easy but important steps:
Learn to become aware of the negative beliefs in your own subconscious mind that allow you to collude with your bad boss’s treatment of you. That’s fairly easy to do – just notice any time there’s a disconnect between what you know to be good for you, then doing the opposite.
Like when you do what your boss tells you, knowing it’s not in your own or the company’s best interests. Notice the sucker punch to your gut. Then, instead of judging the feeling, become curious about it. Listen for long enough to find out what it’s telling you. The answers you discover from within will surprise you and instantly guide you towards effective action.
One of the first casualties in a toxic workplace is creativity. Developing your creativity is essential because it gives your exhausted mind a break and refreshes your perspective. New ideas, like how to shift to a better life situation, will filter into your conscious mind when you’re creative.
Practice creative pursuits that are centred in the body, activate your five senses and bring you into the present moment. Choose to evoke your preferred hypnotic state and become absorbed in a delicious trance that cancels out all negativity. For example, studies show that adult colouring books have a profound calming and soothing effect. Cooking is also great for invoking delicious smells, tastes and textures as well as being a feast for the eyes. Other mood and creativity enhancers are: walking in nature, petting a dog, yoga or vigorous physical exercise.
To get more skilled in enhancing your self-awareness and creativity, it helps if you have a daily mindfulness practice (which you can use while you do the pleasurable activities listed above).
To find out how to practice mindfulness, which will taker you deeper into inner peace and reconnect with your creativity, download your free resource guide, “The Silence of Mindfulness: A Simple Guide To Inner Peace And Emotional Wellbeing” here.
Dr Sophie Henshaw is a Work Stress Strategist, Author and Doctor of Psychology who also works as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Western Australia. She’s helps mid-career professionals working in toxic workplaces with bully bosses walk away from work stress without losing their career, reputation, income or sanity in her online program, "Walk Away From Work Stress." Dr Sophie is the author of “Stressed, Depressed And Dreading Mondays” and has contributed a chapter in Anton Hout's book: “What Every Target Of Workplace Bullying Needs To Know.” She also writes for her blog at: www.freespiritedme.com and has made media appearances on Channel 10, 6PR, Huffpost Live, WA Today, Ninemsn Health and is a contributor to Huffington post, Women’s Agenda and PsychCentral online magazines. In 2017 she presented at the “No More Harm” conference and in 2016 was a keynote speaker at the "No2Bullying conference," as well as the inaugural HPARA conference.