I am often asked the question …. Am I being bullied or am I just going mad. This is an interesting question. A few weeks ago I met a person who thought they were going mad due to the pressures and stresses of thier worklife. The person percevied they were going mad but their friends felt they were being bullied. People in orgnanisations play games , these games may be concious or subconsciuos. one such game goes like this:

The game of  – I want to help

For this example we will call them  Mr A and Mr B

Mr A is a hard worker and works hard for their employer.

Mr B wants Mr A’s job.

Mr B sees Mr A struggling with work load but instead of asking if he needs help. Mr B tells the other workmates that he is worried about Mr A and thinks he is suffering from stress and not coping.

Mr A gives Mr B some work related tasks to complete but he fails to complete them.

The workmates all approach Mr A offering sympathy and concern.

Mr A feels as though his workmates don’t trust him and loses his confidence, he starts to make mistakes. He doesn’t tell anyone because he fears he will be seen as weak. Afterall everyone thinks he is weak as they are constantly asking if he’s ok and Mr B is fueling this situation. Mr A starts to suffer from panic attacks, his decision making is affected, he stops sleeping at night and worrries and sweats the small stuff. He is evidently suffering from work related stress but everyone around him thinks he’s losing his mind. He thinks he is too.

Mr B steps up the game and tells Mr A he is worried about him as he thinks he is suffering form stress at work, he asks him to give him some of his work so he can HELP.

Mr A fears doing this as this would prove he is not coping and he has already given Mr B some tasks that he has not completed , which Mr A was supposed to deliver to higher managers and hasn’t so has lost credibility. All this on top of the fact everyone thinks he is losing his marbles.

Mr B accuses him of being a control freak and not working as part of the team, Mr B ensures he tells everyone else about this and they all buy into the game.

Mr A becomes more defensive, vulnerable and angry but he feels trapped. Others around him stop supporting him and start to side with Mr B, after all Mr B has Mr A’s interest at heart and Mr A is blanking him…. poor Mr B this is so stressful for him, he’s having a very hard time.

Mr A goes off sick with work related stress and leaves Mr B to take over his role.

Is this work related stress or bullying ?