How workplace bullying can affect your family

Estimated read: 6 minutes 

Family Lives recognises that workplace bullying is undoubtedly going to impact on family life. It would be very hard for anyone not to bring troubles home from work, but the pressure that a situation at work can put on relationships can make family life extremely turbulent.

Key points: 

  • Seek support from your loved ones, you may not want to worry them but if you are in a close relationship it is inevitable that they will pick up on the change in personality
  • Struggling with workplace bullying can have a physical impact and affect sleeping patterns, or increase anxiety and depression
  • Taking it out on their nearest and dearest can become common place as it is always easier to hurt those that love and care for us the most
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After being a target of bullying Neil Moon has become an avid campaigner of anti bullying, workplace stress and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues, please see his video below describing his experiences.

Perhaps the victim doesn’t feel able to share what is going on at work because money is tight and you might struggle to manage your finances and they should feel thankful to have a job. There might be additional worries such as young children that take priority. They may not want to worry a partner, but if you are in a close relationship it is inevitable that the other partner will pick up on the change in personality.  

If the victim does eventually reveal what is going on at work, partners can react differently. If you are lucky your partner will want to support you and offer moral support and fight the bully with you. On the flip side of the coin you might have a partner who blames the victim for bringing on trouble in the first place and belittles them for thinking about wanting to fight back and take a stand because they feel this could jeopardise their job. It is saddening to know that many families can be torn apart over workplace bullying and relationships can also suffer

From the victim’s point of view they might feel that there is no release from the pressure. For someone who suffers harassment at work and who then returns home to an unsympathetic partner there is no let up, and sadly this can be the true reality of workplace bullying. There has to be a release for the pent up emotions that workplace bullying can cause. We hope that families will seek some much needed support which will in turn help to keep families together so they can find a way to support each other through this difficult time.

In some situations workplace bullying can increase the likelihood of abusive and aggressive behaviour at home, and can cause extraordinary pressure. Just coping with the ups and downs of family life can be difficult. It might drive the calmest of people to behave in a totally unrecognisable way. Until you have experienced it you cannot begin to imagine the enormous burden the victim carries on their shoulders. Taking it out on their nearest and dearest can become common place as it is always easier to hurt those that love and care for us the most. Tempers can fray at the drop of a hat, and a once placid and chilled out partner turns into someone you hardly recognise.   

Of course, not all victims resort to violence at home, but bullying at work it will still take its toll on a relationship. Even the most patient of partners might fail to recognise the extent of the bullying. This in turn can have a physical impact on both partners and could affect their sleeping patterns, or increase anxiety and depression.

Further resources

You may find it helpful to view our workplace bullying resources section for tips and advice. If you are experiencing any form of bullying, you can call our helpline on 0808 808 2222, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or talk to us online. You might also want to take a look at our bullying forum to see how others may have coped in similar situations. You can also get some advice from ACAS on workplace bullying. 

Work Under Pressure centres on the personal story of Neil Moon who was so severely bullied by co-workers that he attempted suicide and suffered a breakdown that kept him out of work for 5 years. Neil wants to share his experience as widely as possible to highlight the issues around stress and other mental health issues. Please watch this video below

This page was updated in August 2021

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