Bullying in a Place of Faith

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Forgiving your Perpetrators

Faith based Organizations are certainly not exempt from “bullying”.  I believe that we do hold faith based organizations to higher level of standard, naively believing that because we are Christians, situations like bullying should not exist. Well they do in fact exist, after experiencing just that, I was forced to leave after months and months of fear based leadership tactics and egg shell walking. The stress took a toll on my emotional and physical health, so much so that my doctor advised me to leave my current position, take time off and to regroup. I watched month after month people who were unjustly fired or quit due to exceedingly high amount of stress caused by bullying. Everyone felt their job wasn’t safe and no one knew if they would be the next one to go. I remember a situation with past leadership on his regular visit, would sit in my office and state that he could fire me at any time. Not to mention he said that he had given me leads to follow which I had failed to do, the problem was he never ever asked me to follow up leads or had given me names of people to contact, but he had the power to fire me if he wanted to do so. Talk about leading by fear & intimidation, not exactly a healthy environment to work in, regardless of the amount of people who left the situation did not change until those in higher level of management became involved and made decisions to have a much needed change in leadership. However, for those of us who left, there is a process of healing and forgiveness we must work through, instead of sweeping things under the rug as if it never happened or that white elephant in the room that no one wants to speak about. I certainly do not want to walk into another position with baggage that I have not healed from, or do I believe that upon my leaving would I have made the right decision by starting another job right away. Sadly with bullying you are made to believe that you are the problem, or you didn’t hear or see what had happened. You certainly become a target, when you stand up to the bully or bullies, others are afraid to stand with you or even speak with you, in fear of being fired. You become isolated and detached, the job you once enjoyed now becomes a source of great stress, after all we are taught to forgive and give grace to our perpetrators. There seems to be some blurred boundaries in our believe system when we think grace means not saying anything to the perpetrator or perpetrators.

Grace means not returning those who have treated you unjustly as you have been treated. Which can be more difficult, because you either freeze, or enter the flight or fight position. Especially when all you hear is that people’s bad behaviour that got them fired, really?? Forgive my confusion, but why did so many people have such “bad behaviour”, I’m not suggesting we do not address our own behaviours, but in cases like this we need to use some compassion and wisdom. Our reactions may be the result of the trauma experience from this abuse.

Those who stay, are sometimes so wrapped in the “mission” of the organization, they fail to see that the very core of the organization has become sick and dysfunctional. For those of us who are faith based, we blame God instead of realizing it is people’s choices, free will and their own brokenness that have created such an unhealthy dysfunctional place to work. Those who are the top decision makers, need to make the correct guidelines and policies for others to follow, but they also need to be accountable for following through, to see that the organization is functioning the way it should.  Creating a healthy culture that inspires people to become and be their best and when a situation arises that it is addressed correctly and effectively, before it escalates to something that can no longer be contained. I also believe at the end of the day, it is our choice to heal and forgive, and with wisdom find a much healthier environment to work in. – Anonymous