Friday, January 2, 2009

Mobbing Typology

I am going to be writing from a different point of view than I did before. If I recall correctly, I was maintaining an anecdotal record of how my principal was trying to build a case against me with the help of her assistant principals, Ms. X and Mr. Z. I wrote replies to every unsatisfactory observation and every charge brought against me. As time went on, the charges got worse and so did the behavior of my students. A few of them started to act out in really outrageous ways, some of which I have documented in this blog.

I finally started reading books about scapegoating and bullying in the workplace. I now have a better understanding about what has been happening to me. I got the following information from a book called Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace by Noa Davenport, Ruth Distler Schwartz, and Gail Pursell Elliot.

One of the first people to write about bullying in the workplace was Dr. Heinz Leymann. He investigated what he was told were “difficult” people in the workplace and determined that many of these people were not “difficult” to begin with. What he found was a work structure and culture that created the circumstances that marked these people as difficult. Once identified as difficult, the company created further reasons for terminating them. This Leyman identified as mobbing.

From now on, I will continue to write about my own personal experiences, but I will put them into the context of mobbing and reference the literature as I discover it.

Dr. Leyman identified 45 different mobbing behaviors and grouped them in five different categories, depending on the nature of the behavior. Not all of them will occur in every case. Here they are:



1.1 Your superior restricts the opportunity for you to express yourself.
1.2 You are interrupted constantly.
1.3 Colleagues/workers restrict your opportunity to express yourself.
1.4 You are yelled at or scolded.
1.5 Your work is constantly criticized.
1.6 There is constant criticism about your private life.

SECOND CATEGORY: Attacks on One’s Social Relations

2.1 People do not speak with you any more.
2.2 You cannot talk to anyone i.e. access to others is denied.
2.3 You are put into a workspace that is isolated from others.
2.4 Colleagues are forbidden to talk with you.
2.5 You are treated as invisible.

THIRD CATEGORY: Attacks on your reputation

3.1 People talk badly behind your back.
3.2 Unfounded rumors are circulated.
3.3 You are ridiculed.
3.4 You are treated as if you are mentally ill.
3.5 You are forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation/examination.
3.6 A handicap is ridiculed.
3.7 People imitate your gestures, walk, voice to ridicule you.
3.8 Your political or religious beliefs are ridiculed.
3.9 Your private life is ridiculed.
3.10 Your nationality is ridiculed.
3.11 You are forced to do a job that affects your self-esteem
3.12 Your efforts are judged in a wrong and demeaning way.
3.13 Your decisions are always questioned.
3.14 You are called demeaning names.
3.15 Sexual innuendos.

FOURTH CATEGORY: Attacks on the Quality of One’s Professional and Life Situation

4.1 There are no special tasks for you.
4.2 Supervisors take away assignments, so you cannot even invent new tasks to do.
4.3 You are given meaningless jobs to carry out.
4.4 You are given tasks that are below your qualifications.
4.5 You are continuously given new tasks.
4.6 You are given tasks that affect your self-esteem.
4.7 You are given tasks that are way beyond your qualification in order to discredit you.
4.8 Causing general damages that create financial costs to you.
4.9 Damaging your home or workplace.

FIFTH CATEGORY: Direct Attacks on a Person’s Health

5.1 You are forced to do a physically strenuous job.
5.2 Threats of physical violence are made.
5.3 Light violence is used to threaten you.
5.4 Physical abuse.
5.5 Outright sexual harassment.


Anonymous said...

I too am a teacher who has suffered through Mob Bullying. I did not recognize it until I had to leave work with PTSD and severe depression. I have been on LTD since June 2007 and am still under a doctor's and a therapist's care. I had to totally relocate my family as my husband and daughter were attacked as well. It has truly been a life changing experience.

Moriah Untamed said...

I started this blog back in March of 2007. I just went back and read my first post. I correctly predicted what would happen, but I made no reference to the probable effects on me beyond a loss of pension and benefits. Now I know that another logical and perhaps inevitable consequence of this process is PTSD and severe depression.

I have found it very helpful to write about my experiences.

Good luck to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Moriah, all I can say is 'been there, done that'.

Left the teaching profession due to similar hits (I was mobbed in another career which I was forced to leave).

It is sad that the world has come to this sort of 'survivor'-like mentality.

I wish you strength and peace of mind, from a fellow survivor of the 'joys' of mobbing.


check out this webpage too, it contains international research into Mobbing and workplace victimisation, and a detailed account of one teacher´s experiences in N.S.W Australia

Unknown said...

q-how come the infighting in academia is so tenacious?

a-because the stakes are so low.

I like your site. I left my career of 2 decades after being accused of everything in the book by my students. It became a big game in the end.

It has been over two years since I left but I note that my fellow teachers at the school-at least some of them- joined in the feeding frenzy. I take it as a result of people who feel somewhat powerless and lack status. It gives them something to bolster their esteem with. Makes me think about that "Ryan's daughter" movie where the fellow townspeople were so cruel to their own. It reeks of the desperation of feeling powerless.

When my department chair called to suggest I resign following a spate of false accusations against me, she used the fact that I had posted a joke on facebook as if to confirm that I was not suitable as a teacher. I took it in stride and didn't even disagree with her. But as time went on I realized almost all the teachers that I have associated with had committed some faux pax at some point and that many of them were, in my opinion, far worse than mine. The difference being that these individuals were part of the ingroup and could sort of chuckle at their mistake/misstep. I, on the other hand, was an outcast. Anything they could find that was negative proved it. At one time I believe I was a fairly popular teacher with the staff. Only one other person bothered to ask or continue to associate with me after I left.

Sadly, this is probably the only career I will ever have. Oh well. Keep up the good fight.