Stages of Grief
Targets of bullies may go through the classic 5 stages of grief...
Denial – “No, she didn’t purposely do that did she? Why would she do that? She must have been distracted. I’ll straighten this out and we’ll laugh about it later.”
Anger – “I can’t believe she’s purposely acting that way! How can she do that to a co-worker? A colleague? This is a clear personnel policy violation since she’s not treating me like she would want to be treated. I should report her behavior to Human Resources!”
Bargaining – “Maybe if I apologize for calling her behavior unprofessional she’ll forgive me and we’ll go back to the way things were before and be friendly co-workers.”
Depression – “This entire situation is messed up. Why bother even trying to make things better? HR agreed her behavior was unprofessional, but they aren’t going to do anything about it. No Administrator is going to question another Administrator or Director about their bullying behavior. It’s never going to change here.”
Acceptance – “It’s going to be OK. The bully’s issues are their issues, and the college's issues, not mine. I’m a good person and I'm good at my job. I’m going to do my job the best I can – even if my job has been diminished and made more difficult. Even if the Administration doesn't seem to care to restrain the bullies. I'll still succeed here despite the bully, or if the bully's behavior continues I’ll look for another job – somewhere without an environment that bullies thrive in.”
"Kübler-Ross originally applied these stages to people suffering from terminal illness. She later expanded this theoretical model to apply to any form of catastrophic personal loss (job, income, freedom). Such losses may also include significant life events such as the death of a loved one, major rejection, end of a relationship or divorce, drug addiction, incarceration, the onset of a disease or chronic illness, an infertility diagnosis, as well as many tragedies and disasters."
Perhaps we can add being bullied to this list too.