|A resource for identifying and dealing with abusive bosses.|
From Psychological Abuse in the Workplace
by Robyn Mann
Biderman's stages of coercion
Befriends the newcomer. Introduces to others with high praise. Monopolises
until other staff begin to reject. Warns of the perils of associating
with other members of staff.
Deprived of developing social support with colleagues.
Initiates total dependence on abuser. Acquires a false feeling of security.
Monopolisation of perception
Informs victim through stories about power alliances. Outlines superior
knowledge and skills. Intimates that victim does not possess necessary
knowledge and skill but may be able to acquire it through association
Loses self-esteem. Doubts ability to perform. Self-blames
for accepting a position because unworthy. Consumed completely by introspective
Induced physical and mental exhaustion
Overburdens victim with time consuming and/or physically demanding
tasks. Places unrealistic standards of acceptance on these tasks.
Becomes physically and emotionally too weak to resist or
challenge. Loses ability to reason rationally.
Reminds of power over victim's workload, promotional opportunities,
and acceptance in the hierarchy of the company. Warns with stories of
the demise of predecessors who did not reach the acceptable standard.
Complies with demands to escape retribution. Displays anxiety
about every action performed. Despairs of any change in the situation.
Shows symptoms of depression.
Praises victim's work in a public forum.
Believes they have finally reached the accepted standard
and pattern of abuse will stop. Doubts that the abuse really happened
because everything seems all right for the moment. Becomes reliant on
the abuser for further praise.
Demonstrates: Complete control over the victim who is taken for granted.
'Read my mind' expectations. Martyrdom for the company. Affects of being
indispensable to the company. Claims victimisation by those who challenge
Accepts powerlessness. Accepts the pattern of behaviour
Perpetrates derogatory stories about the victim on work and personal
Feels disgraced and humiliated. Loses all will to resist.
Enforcing trivial demands
Continues to remind victim through innuendo, suggestion, and stories
that demands will be complied with.
Accepts habit of compliance.