closure after workplace bullying

How To Find Closure After Workplace Bullying

Closure After Workplace Bullying

By Janice Gilligan White (Guest Blogger)

Closure after workplace bullying; it’s what every target desperately searches for. The elusive treasure chest filled with peace.

If not found, we risk our health. We can lose our connection to people and our ability to find fulfilling work. We can find ourselves stuck in a current state of discord, unable to move forward. 

At least, that’s what was happening to me.

It was just as I described in part one of my story: Workplace Mobbing In Aviation: A Survivor’s Story.

I made the decision one day, enough was enough.

Below you will find my path towards closure after workplace bullying. Perhaps something in it will help you find yours too.

Leaving

After 12 years working for a company I adored, I made the decision to leave following months of abuse which affected my health.

I’ll never forget the moment I submitted my immediate resignation. It was a Tuesday morning, late October. With my heart pounding, I paused just long enough to acknowledge the finality of the email I’d written and then…

I hit SEND.

Then, I walked outside, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I lingered there for a bit as the rays of the sun caressed my face. For the first time in forever, I stopped running and allowed the breeze to wrap itself around me, providing a much needed embrace.

I felt a sense of relief. Finally, I was FREE.

Over the next few weeks, there was a complete disconnect from the pain I had experienced. I was truly enjoying my new life and thought perhaps this was it…

The answer to closure after workplace bullying was LEAVING.

Unfortunately, I found it wouldn’t be that simple.

Just beyond the false sense of peace, the need for answers soon began to creep back in.

Naming My Experience

Articles on difficult bosses and stress at work simply weren’t enough to explain the mind-boggling experience of going from a healthy, high-performing employee to losing it all.

One day I stumbled upon Dr. Gary Namie, the founder of the Workplace Bully Institute. What he described started to fit my experience and I knew I was on to something.

I then found articles on mobbing. Now it was abundantly clear what had taken place.

Naming my experience was a major starting point in my quest for closure after workplace bullying. Had I not been able to understand what happened to me, the event surely would have haunted me for years.

But just like leaving, naming it wouldn’t be enough to provide closure after workplace bullying.

While absolutely necessary, facing what happened to me resulted in extreme anxiety and fear. All of a sudden, my world was becoming smaller and I wasn’t able to connect to the reality that I was safe.

I needed help.

Finding The Right Therapist / Coach

It’s absolutely crucial to find a therapist that understands closure after workplace bullying.

I know, because I failed to listen to this advice not once, but twice…and it cost me dearly in terms of time, money and progress.

One therapist looked solely to my childhood while the other to my internally “flawed” beliefs about the world. Both focused on the internal instead of the external. A sense of foolishness and humiliation now accompanied my pain.

It was time to get it right.

Within weeks of working with someone familiar with my experience my anxiety was lessening. I was able to accept and understand my constantly changing emotional state. And my confidence was on its way back.

With her continued help, I was ready to take on my next challenge.

Getting Past The Obsession

Getting past my own personal circumstance was very difficult for me. I found myself constantly trying to piece together every last detail of my story.

I had to decide how much more time I was willing to spend on all of it.

There is a truth to workplace bullying / mobbing I had to accept; much of what happened I would never know. The destruction of my career and reputation was done behind closed doors of which I had been denied access.

I chose to define my story by the most important factors to me. 

Reflecting on the event and matching it to the research allowed me to piece together my trigger event, the major betrayals, and the now obvious antics used.

I was now ready to branch beyond my specifics so I could move on.

Countering The Power Of Bullying By Reconnecting

The very nature of bullying is to disconnect us from each other. To make us feel as if we do not belong. That we are alone.

In order to counter that, I knew I needed to CONNECT again.

I read about others that had similar experiences.  I started to focus on workplace aggression in general. How rumors work and why they’re so damaging. How bullies operate and how it can escalate to mobbing.

I learned about the normal human responses when under attack (so helpful in relieving the regret for actions I took to salvage the situation) and how traumatic events physically manifest themselves in the body.

The more I was able to see my experience as typical, the less personal and scary it became. I felt less alone and more understood.

I was now ready to move on to the next obstacle on my quest for closure after workplace bullying.

Finding My Voice Again

Everything about who I was and what I believed in was left in ruins.

As I worked to piece myself together again, it was important to reclaim the characteristics I proudly embraced before…albeit, more wisely this time.

In the midst of the fear, it was time to be fearless.

In the midst of an evil world, it was time to find the good in it again.

And in the midst of mistrust, it was time to trust again.

I found three processes that helped me with this:

  1. The first was getting the experience out of my head and onto paper. Writing about my experience miraculously broke through the walls my mind and body had put up in order to survive.
  2. The second was to rediscover another passion of mine. I knew I always enjoyed and excelled at writing. While engaging in this activity, hours would pass as mere minutes. I began to feel motivated, excited and fulfilled again.
  3. The third process was by forgiveness. For me, this meant finding gratitude in the midst of my pain. I became hyper aware of each moment that was only possible now that I was no longer working in that toxic environment.

The more blessings I acknowledged, the less room there was for anger towards those that hurt me.

Final Words

While there is still a bit more work to do, I am getting closer than ever to finding closure after workplace bullying.

I need to discover what’s next after leaving my job, naming my experience, finding the right therapist / coach, getting past the obsession, countering the power of bullying by reconnecting and finding my voice again.

I don’t know what that is yet, but I see something beautiful glistening in the distance…

It’s the treasure chest.  Unburied, unlocked, and filled with peace… And a far better life than I could have ever imagined prior to this event.

Free Resource:

If you’re not quite where Janice is at in your journey and you need some extra help, download my Workplace Evidence Gathering Kit to help you make an effective complaint to HR:

Workplace Evidence Gathering Kit

Workplace evidence gathering kit

Download to get my email coaching series as well as immediate access to all the documents you need to submit an effective complaint to HR

About the Author Dr Sophie Henshaw

As an Empath Entrepreneur, I’m especially interested in helping professional women who want to take their amazing skills into a new online business with the aim of building a location independent income. I’ve had over 10 years’ experience in creating a compelling online presence. In fact, if you Google: “Dr Sophie Henshaw,” you’ll get over 201,000 hits with all the posts, articles and media appearances I’ve made over the years. I’ve appeared on Channel 10, 6PR, Fremantle Herald and WA Today. I’ve had articles published in PsychCentral, Women’s Agenda, NineMSN Health, Rebelle Society and Huffington Post. I’m currently a Thought Catalog contributor. P.S. I also practice as a clinical psychologist in my "offline" life!

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