This month, we have been writing topics related to domestic violence. Interestingly, one survivor of abuse contacted me to express her appreciation about bringing awareness to this important topic, but she wished more was being done at her workplace related to mental abuse. I asked her to write her supervisor a letter that we could share anonymously. This is the letter she submitted to me:
When you hear that someone has been abused, you most likely think of physical abuse. Physical abuse is terrible and the abuse needs treatment. But there is another form of abuse you seldom hear about and the abused doesn’t talk about: mental or emotional abuse. This abuse can come from a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a co-worker, a boss, a bully in school…the list goes on. You can’t see it, but the person who is being abused feels this pain internally. This pain is real and no one can see it. I often have thought of it as the “silent pain abuse”. You feel it in your thought and in your heart. Many people suffer this internal pain for a long time, if not forever.
As management, you might have someone on your staff who has been mentally abused or is currently being mentally abused, but you just do not know. This person might be quiet, shy, not assertive, get distracted easily and miss work frequently. These characteristics don’t necessarily mean the person on your staff has been mentally abused, but you never know…it just might.
As an authoritative figure, did you know that you might appear to be a threat and someone to fear? So, if your normal course of actions such as write ups, no raises, stern voice, etc., do not work, perhaps another approach would work better. Be more of a friend. Be more approachable so the employee would begin to feel more confident and “safe” in his or her daily job. Perhaps, this employee will someday write you a letter or tell you “their story” and it may just help you connect and improve his or her performance at work.
Thank you for finally listening,
Survivor of Mental Abuse
What letter would your employee submit to me? I want to challenge each of you to consider what you can do personally and professionally in the year ahead to support everyone in your workplace.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence visit http://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-7233.
Learn more domestic violence training that Luma offers, https://www.learnwithluma.com/domestic-violence/