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Gaslighting and Other Ways We’re Abused at Work: What’s Really Going on? with Dr James Costello
Episode 866th July 2021 • You Are Not A Frog • Dr Rachel Morris
00:00:00 00:54:07

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Dr James Costello joins us in this episode to talk about gaslighting, relational abuse and the insidious ways that organisations and individuals can undermine us.

Highlights

[07:36] Dr James’s Background

  • James worked as a workplace counsellor in an occupational health unit of a large hospital in Bristol. 
  • He became a trade union caseworker, trying to advocate for change in organisations. 

[09:24] Defining Relational Abuse 

  • We use relationships to manipulate, coerce and be punitive and damage people.
  • Emotional aggression or abuse captures microaggressions in the workplace.

[12:15] The Corruption Complex

  • The corruption complex is the misuse of authority and power for the personal gain or benefit of the group or the clique.

[13:45] Challenging Organisational Power

  • Organisations as a whole can sometimes be the bully in the workplace. Challenging it has to be done as a collective.

[15:10] Examples of Relational Abuse

[21:49] Bullying in the Workplace

  • Often, people are not aware of the impact of their behaviour on others. 
  • There can be a lot of shame associated with being a bully and being the target.

[27:06] Effective Performance Management

  • Deescalation of the issue is key.
  • Spend a lot of time understanding where they are coming from and offer informal support.

[34:11] On Gaslighting as Bullying in the Workplace

  • Gaslighting is undermining the sense of self-awareness that a person has and their capacity to trust in themselves. 
  • Don’t remain isolated and get help from those you trust. 

[41:05] On Emotional Labour 

  • Work now is more relational.
  • Medical professionals need to exert huge amounts of emotional labour as you treat your patients, particularly if they’re scared. 

[43:40] Key Takeaways 

  • Common factors work in creating a therapeutic change in someone. 
  • The common factors are the things common to a relationship that create a safe space for somebody to flourish and develop. 

[48:59] Top Three Tips if You Experience Relational Abuse or Bullying in the Workplace 

  • Check out your experience with a trusted colleague or friend and triangulate.
  • You need to make contact (HR, trade union, caseworker or even somebody who understands the context of what’s going on).
  • Look after yourself.
  • Do not bring the issue home; find somewhere to blow off steam.

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