Am I being bullied?

Is this a normal work conflict? Or a case of bullying? Read here about the typical behaviour of bullies – and why they act that way.

Mavie editorial team30/06/2022


No one is immune to bullying in the workplace. Around 5.5% of all employees are subjected to bullying in the course of a year. This means they are subjected to deliberate disparagement, intentional exclusion and harassment by colleagues and/or supervisors over a longer period of time. In a company with 1,000 employees, 54 cases per year are to be expected (source: Lower Austrian Chamber of Labour)

This is how bullying starts

At the beginning it’s usually harmless, but it can gradually progress. Those who are aware of the most common reasons and causes for bullying can view the situation with a sharper eye.
The following factors generally promote bullying:

  • lack of organisation and structure within the company,
  • lack of communication,
  • weak leadership,
  • rivalry,
  • envy, animosity, and
  • abuse of power and hierarchies.

What does bullying look like?

Some typical behaviours of bullies are:

  • spreading rumours,
  • obviously ignoring and refusing to talk to a person,
  • conflicts ending with shouting, name-calling, threats, insults,
  • constantly criticising someone’s efforts and work,
  • voicing suspicions based on nothing,
  • conspiring against someone (mostly in the background).

Bullying or conflict: what’s the difference? 

What distinguishes bullying from a normal conflict is that in a normal conflict the parties aim to find a compromise between their interests. In the case of bullying, the solution is different: here, the aim is more to eliminate a person from the workplace or ostracise them from the system, company or business.

Psychological and physical issues caused by bullying

Bullying has been proven to make people ill. Their mental health suffers because of the tense situation at work, and demotivation, despair, mistrust and social withdrawal can set in. Those who are bullied also report sleep disorders, anxiety, depression and paranoia. They can even experience physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, vomiting and eating disorders.

Get active now

Our Mavie Counsellors will help you with professional and private issues. Get in touch and make an appointment for a personal counselling (assuming your company has a contract with Mavie). Call our hotline on +43 1 585 388 1 or email:
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