Abuse may not be physical (and often isn't). It can be verbal - psychological. It may even be that the bullied person is ignored; recent studies showed that this is considered the worst type of bullying.
Often the bully is a manager which makes it difficult for the person to stand up for their rights.
I have seen, and, sadly, experienced such behaviour. It is demoralising, depressing and can impact on performance, self-esteem and health.
Bullies are aggressive; this may be because they feel insecure themselves or may be that they are just not nice people. If you act in an aggressive manner towards them the situation could become nasty and spiral out of control. It would also mean you are no better than your bully.
On the other hand, if you are too passive this irritates the bully and makes them even more aggressive. The problem is that most administrators become passive because of their fear of the bully - often their boss or someone in a more senior position.
It is essential to deal with bullies in an assertive manner. Speak to your tormentor in a calm, polite and civilised way. Explain that you feel unhappy when they speak to you in a certain way or behave towards you in a particular manner. Do not accuse them of bullying you, just tell them how they make you feel.
If possible, share your experiences with a colleague or a Human Resources member of staff. It may then be necessary to follow the organisation's grievance procedures.
Act as quickly as possible against the bully; it becomes more difficult as they drain you of confidence. Remember, a person can only make you feel inferior with your permission ......
If the bullying continues, it is important to keep a diary of events and then to contact some of the experts whose websites are listed below:
There are also quite a few Twitter accounts about bullying. Why not follow these :
We are very keen to raise awareness of the issue of PAs and administrators being bullied and want to give as much help and support as possible.
Everybody has the right to feel safe in their workplace and yet many people certainly don't. Unfortunately a large number of employees who feel threatened on a regular basis are administrative staff - PAs, secretaries, receptionists, administrators in general.
The very sad thing is that, if these bullies behaved in a civilised way, their employees would be much more productive for the organisation.
Here is a new article outlining the physical as well as mental impact.