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Home / Wellness

Warning signs of emotional abuse at your workplace

 Working in a toxic environment can be draining and detrimental to your mental health (Image: Shutterstock)

Emotional abuse is not a new thing. It comes in subtle ways like a comment here and a joke there but these words can pierce right through someone’s heart.

Emotional abuse is the most common form of abuse not addressed that people experience at home, work even school, both adults and children alike.

Though most people may not even realize they are being emotionally abused, there are signs that could help you know you are stuck in this vicious circle.

If you are not sure you are being emotionally abused here are some of the warning signs:

  • Yelling

When your boss constantly yells at you and your colleagues, it may seem normal but this is not okay. People who tend to bark orders want to command respect without really earning it. This can also make you feel inconsequential amongst your colleagues.

  • Character assassination

This is very common at the workplace when someone wants to bring you out as though you are lazy or not a good person. For instance, when they use words like ‘they are always late’ or ‘they won’t listen,’ they are basically ruining your reputation amongst other people.

  • Patronizing

Do you ever feel someone is trying to bring you out as though you can’t handle a specific task or situation? Statements like: ‘I know you can do it but let Andrew do it.’ It comes out as though they are understanding but in the real sense they don’t believe in your capabilities.

  • Picking on your appearance

Like any other bully, the easiest way to put someone down is to insult their appearance. If someone is constantly picking on your outfits, height or even skin colour that’s emotional abuse. You will start to feel self-conscious around people and doubt everything else you do.

 Colleagues often make fun of each other in friendly banter but sometimes words hurt (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Belittling your success

When your colleague constantly tries to water down your accomplishments, they are toying with your self-esteem. This or trying to put themselves first when you talk about yourself or make it known that they helped you achieve something.

  • Threats

When your boss constantly throws the ‘I will fire you’ card to your face at work, this is also abuse. When your job hangs by the thread on a day to day basis, you cannot be happy or enjoy your life. All you can think about is you losing your job.

  • Name calling

When someone straightforwardly calls you stupid, foolish or slow, whether in private or in front of other people and it makes you uncomfortable, that’s emotional abuse. Name calling especially amongst friends may be considered okay but when you feel bad about yourself later on, it is still emotional abuse.

  • Pet names

When someone intricately calls you those pet names like “chubby baby” or “fast sloth,” they are not trying to make you feel good about yourself. If someone wants to give you a compliment, it will be plain and simple not through derogatory pet names.

Tip: As mentioned earlier, emotional abuse is subtle and will often go unnoticed but basically anything that makes you feel bad about yourself is a form of emotional abuse. 

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