Recently we attended a talk given by Dr Tom Sensky – Emeritus Professor of Psychological Medicine at Imperial College, on Chronic Embitterment in the workplace.
This topic grabbed our attention straightaway as it’s a growing issue amongst many employees that we’ve seen over the last few years, it seems that embitterment is widespread but hidden under the umbrella of anxiety, depression, stress and even bullying in the workplace, when it’s neither.
Dr Sensky describes several common features amongst employees who demonstrate embitterment:
- Strong sense of personal injustice
- Strong need to recount events involving injustice in great detail
- Blame (rather than anger)
- Strong sense of entitlement
- Escalating responses, often including intemperate behaviours
- Bad dreams or nightmares
- Sometimes accompanied by depression
- Presentation often misconstrued as bipolar disorder, ‘paranoia’, obsessive compulsive disorder, even personality disorder
One common feature that Dr Sensky probes in greater detail is “rumination” and specifically “workplace rumination – To over-think deeply or obsess about workplace issues or injustices.Linden, M (2003) describes embitterment as:“an emotion encompassing persistent feelings of being let down, insulted or being a loser, and of being revengeful but helpless”Work related rumination is generally seen as a negative process, however it’s prevalent in the workplace, one large study suggests that 72% of employees reported ruminating outside work.Even worse than rumination is co-rumination were two or more employees excessively focus on negative discussions about issues, this directly links to increased stress levels and increased burnout – Boren JP. (2014)It’s very clear from research conducted by Sensky,T et al, Occupational Med 2015 that sickness absence in increased when embitterment exists within the organisation.To find out more about Workplace Embitterment and Co-rumination contact us at Caer Health services – firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 02920 881967