Bullied or Mobbed at Work? Read The New Survival Guide

 Mobbing isn’t the same thing as bullying. It’s bullying run amuck, sweeping good people into an atmosphere of fear, rumors and lies, where group psychology takes hold.  Bullying is an interpersonal conflict between two people, or one aggressive individual against a few.  But mobbing is the aggression of a group of people against an individual.  It’s not a fair fight.  It’s not even a fight.  It’s an execution. — Dr. Janice Harper, author MOBBED! A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO ADULT BULLYING & MOBBING

clown car

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[UPDATE: an excerpt of this book has just been posted on Psychology Today] In my own past office horror show, I often defused the emotional impact of false accusations and worse that co-workers hurled at me by imagining the aggressors, in full carnival regalia and make up,  trying to get into a clown car.  More often than not, the instigator of this circus was nowhere in sight. But, while this delicious image helped me survive, it did NOT help me understand why this was happening in the first place.  The question remained: why me? Just a few pages into Dr. Janice Harper’s new book, MOBBED! A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO ADULT BULLYING & MOBBING I was able to understand far more insightful ways to re-imagine co-workers.  Dr. Harper is an anthropologist and her book is a vital and engaging read for anyone who’s tearing out their hair at work and/or sobbing under their desk and babbling incoherently in a futile attempt to explain the injustice of it all.

Harper Mobbing & workplace bullying“The greatest damage from bullying comes from group aggression, when the good go bad and the bad step back and watch it all go down,” says Dr. Harper. And, to explain this horror, she’s even made the earliest research on this topic about the ‘mobbing’ tendencies of birds, and subsequent studies of chimps and rats and humans easy for the average target to understand.  The connections Dr. Harper makes are  fascinating and just might help tip the balance of power back toward a target who has suddenly found themselves shunned and isolated by the office pack.  Here’s how…

Help For Survival & Healing

Workplace bullying has often been compared to Domestic Violence. However, chief among the differences is that during the healing process targets of spousal abuse are encouraged to understand their role in the dynamic. That doesn’t make them responsible for the outrageous actions of the perpetrator. Instead, it allows them to understand how they can recognize and avoid future situations — as opposed to avoiding all relationships. That involves contemplation of questions like: Why didn’t I recognize this sooner? What could I have done differently to protect myself? How can I fortify my boundaries? How do I stop ruminating about what happened to me and move on?

“I think it’s a very disempowering message to tell targets of workplace aggression that they had nothing to do with it,” Harper says of her approach to understanding mobbing. “It might be comforting to be told that, but it’s a comforting lie.  We play an active role in all our relationships, even the dysfunctional ones, and bullying is no exception.  The key is to take a long, hard look at our own roles in these workplace relationships gone bad, but to do so with tenderness and compassion toward ourselves, and toward everyone involved.  Even the mean-spirited jerks.  It doesn’t mean we have to forgive them.  It means that the better we understand them, the faster we can heal.” Check out Part II, How to Stop – or at least survive – Mobbing, for tips on how to protect yourself emotionally & socially.

What Can I Do? Should I sue?

Harper’s book is an excellent resource for targets in any phase of their journey and covers choices and their possible repercussions that need to be made along the way: legal options;  the EEOC; internal corporate policy procedures and — with a nod to the fact that HR reps are becoming far more enlightened — how to tell if an HR investigation is truly impartial or – worse – turning back on you. Chapter 5 acts as a guide to navigating “Investigations & Inquisitions.” The book is Kindle ready and available on Amazon for an affordable price ($7.99). If, like me, you don’t have a Kindle you can purchase it and read it online.

22 thoughts on “Bullied or Mobbed at Work? Read The New Survival Guide

  1. A friend of mine pointed out this post to me (thank you, Julie!) and I was AGHAST to read that ANYONE would actively recommend the EEOC as a “resource” to ANY victim of workplace harassment/bullying or ANYTHING for that matter! TREAD WITH THE UTMOST CAUTION WHERE THEY OR ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY IS CONCERNED. I, too, wrote a book: THROWN UNDER THE BUS: THE RISE AND FALL OF AN AMERICAN WORKER, and in it I talk about the EEOC and the useless (and oft harmful) agency it really is. My story is one of 19 YEARS of some of the most egregious workplace abuse you will EVER know about! It is the real deal FROM THE INSIDE! There is no way that I could do the book any justice here…I can only recommend going to Amazon or B&N or wherever you buy books and read the synopsis. (I believe only Amazon has the “look inside” feature. There you can get the first 2 or 3 chapters for free.) I implore you to go read it…run don’t walk!!! If you cannot afford the book, contact me and I would be more than glad to give you the ebook version for free! I am not trying to take away from anyone who is out there toiling away trying to educate and inform, but I can tell you that I’ve been there, done that and as such, reading Thrown will forcibly peel open your eyes to a world you never knew existed. If I had only had such a valuable resource, I would probably never have fallen prey to the vicious, mean-spirited, grossly indifferent now former employer who raped me blind of my American Dream. Thank you and best regards to all!


    • Please contact me I have a pain ful situtatiin and been treated very degrating as a person and was very put down when I was right in some things but blamed I wasn’t


  2. I find it insulting that this book implys that it is our fault we were bullied or mobbed, that is like telling the First people it is their fault they are on reservations


    • Hi and thanks for commenting. I’ve read the book and that is not what the author says or implies. Nor do I state that in my article about the book. Here’s what the author says in an article on Psychology Today: “Written mainly for workers, but applicable to almost any setting where people live and work together in groups, Mobbed! takes a close look at animal behavior to show how much of the aggression we witness in social settings is innate, patterned and predictable. If it is innate, then, can it be stopped? I would argue that no, it cannot be stopped altogether, but it can be prevented, or at least controlled, in most cases—if the target is both aware and prepared. Perhaps the best way to survive the aggression of the group is not so much changing the behavior of the aggressors, as it is learning from animals what the target can do to change the outcome once the fangs have been exposed.”


  3. “The key is to take a long, hard look at our own roles in these workplace relationships gone bad, but to do so with tenderness and compassion toward ourselves, and toward everyone involved.” sounds like you are blaming the victim. Our roles are, we try to work comfortably and well, do well, and get kicked in the teeth by sociopathic bullies who have a vendetta for one reason or another…usually jealousy, and that reason doesn’t even matter. Victims are not at fault in any way.


    • I don’t believe the author of the book’s intention is to blame the victim (she was one herself btw) but I do think that to assume that all of us who have experienced bullying are the same and have identical experiences probably overly simplifies the situation as well. No one loves hearing how perfectly innocent we all are more than me but if we’re honest with ourselves we know that we might have handled some of the situations we were in better — and that can mean many things given the unique experience we had. Maybe we needed to be clearer about what we needed. Maybe we needed to dump the silent attempts we made to subtly and silently fight back by thwarting the bully or being argumentative. Maybe our only fault was not to get out sooner… these are the same things that Domestic Violence victims are required to address in order to heal and none of us blames them for the abusive behavior of their partner.


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  5. What? “It doesn’t mean we have to forgive them” OMG! and she talks about healing! My goodness gracious. This woman is not truly wanting to help the victim. She wants to sell books and make money; that is her real intention. This says a lot about this website and the journalist behind it.


    • I’m confused. The Namies offer the same advice toward healing and they sell books too and they’ve been involved in this topic for an awfully long time. All of us involved in this topic are simply trying to help targets work past anger and move instead towards finding the peace they need to heal. Some have found this site helpful. Some will find Dr Harper helpful. Some will find the WBI helpful. Some will find other organizations helpful. I understand the frustration of not finding a single solution or trying to control the message but it’s really best if we all are part of the dialog. I wish you the best toward your own recovery and hope you find some comfort soon.


  6. Opinion, opinion, opinion! What makes you think I have not found recovery? Is it because I tell you things you do not want to hear? I am sure others find Harper helpful, but by the same token more do not and seem to be disturbed by her books and articles. They see right through the lies in Waldo, Ted, Ted’s wife, and the interviewer that interviews Waldo. I am sorry if that bothers you. After all you said it your self ” best if we all are part of the dialog”. That’s what this blog is about right?


    • Yes it is what this blog is all about and that is indeed why I post your comments. I noticed you didn’t include Maria or the advocates in your list. The film was built to allow people to choose the perspective they felt came closest to the truth.


    • Getting a bit huffy I see. No problem. I wont blog anymore as I see you are not interested in the truth. I cant believe with all your intelligence you can’t see through your friends! Take Waldo Jaquith for instance below he comments:

      July 30, 2010 at 10:39 pm
      I understand that this doesn’t really meet the standard of what I write about here, but it’s my blog, and this is a small thing that I can do for somebody who was important to me.

      He would, incidentally, be terribly embarrassed by this. And I’m OK with that.

      You can’t see how smug this kid is? He’s worried about his writers image! A small thing that he can do? Kevin must not have been that important to him. I mean he admits Kevin “was” once important to him, but now that he so conveniently found a job with hours of the ordeal he’s over it. Did you read the title to his article? Kevin Morrissey Has Died. Do you know what that reads and sounds like?

      Also, what happened to the video in which the interviewer had pathetically acknowledged Waldo’s “They did not even call me” whining? I will not care to read your response ether. I feel sorry for you. You have to do as your told in order to keep your 4K square foot home and shiny new car. You just bullied me too with your comment “why I keep allowing your comments to post”! When you are ready to be a true to self investigative journalist then maybe I will follow your work and until then You will waste no more of my time!


    • One of the sad truths of cyber correspondence is that it does not include body language or context in conversation.The article this thread trails was never about Kevin Morrissey but that seems to have become the focus of the discussion.I’m not sure what a “true to self investigative journalist” is but I do know that there is a very long audio tape that I have heard in its entirety that takes place between Ted, one of Kevin’s co-workers and a representative of UVa. Suffice it to say it reveals far more than can be gleaned any other way. Perhaps you’ve heard it.


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  8. Pingback: Differences between genres of social injustice perceived in the workplace

  9. As aweful as Mobbing is, it can go to community mobbing/gang stalking. The National Security Agency typically does this to any employee who files an EEO or IG complaint. They go to the community and law enforcement saying the person is a spy, traitor, terrorist sympathizer, or a dangerous crazy person who is a danger to the community so NSA is all too happy to train and pay people to “watch” the person 24/7 to “drive them out”, when all they want are imbeciles to commit crimes for them to hide the illegal retaliation they are actually committing to circumvent the “No Fear Act” which garantees that filing such complaints is a PROTECTED RIGHT. See David Lawson’s booklet “Cause Stalking” for the strategy of such a 24/7 attack that can be months and years due to Federal deep pockets paying these unsophisticated human vermin to harass.


  10. I’m going through a severe racial attack on me n my family for 12 yrs .It started when I got angry with my supervisor and turned her in to human resources. Before I knew it all my friends became my enemy, my family is biracial and little innuendos are said and placed in my sight, I’ve never imagined things Ever and it’s burning me up inside, I’ve got so much hate for these evil dirty deed doers, I’m scared of the outcome, one lives up the alley, one next-door one of the most evil animal killers and mind players, I know we have to move or something is going to happen, please give me some advice, should I quit my job? It’s hard for me to find one as they’ve ruined me on multimedia, please help😡😔


    • I’m so sorry to read about your troubles. You need to find accredited counselors to help you with both the Legal and stress issues you are dealing with. It’s important to find people you can meet with in person so they can gocus on both you and your situation.


  11. There is no help and targets lose. The loss is all encompassing without anyone willing to advocate. There are no laws or organization that taken on the bullies. All the bully websites are encouraging moving on. However many can’t because the injustice is paralyzing and the psychological injury debilitates adding insult to injury. The stress continues as they are unable to coup losing careers, homes and their life.


    • Websites are great and advocates are working to enact legislation. And, while there have been great strides I urge you to please reach out to people you can talk to in person. The best help is from qualified counselors who can speak to you one on one about your personal situation whether its psychological counseling, financial or legal. I trust that you will find the needed resilience through these experts, religion, family and/or friends.


  12. Yes everyone feels sorry however no can help you regain your life. I am amazed how far behind the US is on legislation. Thanks for the referral and yes I am getting counseling while my perpetrators get promotions. I don’t think I can personally heal until there is some sort of justice imposed. Returning to a normal existence is a long way out. Losing a 25 year career is not an easy rebound even for healthy people.


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