As one of the most insidious problems in contemporary society, there can be little doubt that workplace bullying is particularly nefarious in its aims. Designed to make employees question their sense of self-worth and grasp of reality, the experience of workplace bullying can often take years to overcome. Fortunately, taking the following steps to cope with workplace bullying can significantly help individuals to rise above the abusive behavior that toxic workmates or toxic managers can engage in.

1. Separate Fact from Emotion

Because workplace bullies tend to create an atmosphere of outwardly-directed shame around their own toxic behavior, workplace bullying can be a particularly difficult series of events to emotionally process. More often than not, an employee will walk away from a negative work environment mistakenly believing themselves to be “deserving” of abuse. In reality, no one should ever have to deal with the kind of negative behavior that abusive colleagues or managers regularly inflict on their colleagues and employees. Indeed, separating the fact of bullying from the feelings of shame that such tactics elicit is essential for overcoming a bad experience.

2. Seek a Healthy Transition into Better Work Environments

It is a sad fact of life that workplace bullying does not always end when a bullied employee leaves a particular employer. To spite the people that they have abused, toxic managers will often give bad references to former employees. Undoubtedly, the best course of action in such scenarios is to mitigate further abuse before it starts: Instead of seeking a reference from a toxic manager, in other words, bullied individuals should seek out recommendations from trusted former workmates or colleagues.

3. Take Time to Develop a Good Self-Care Routine

Being the subject of bullying can be exhausting in the extreme, and many victims of workplace bullying often find themselves dealing with a bad case of burnout for months or even years after they have left a toxic employer. Indeed, one of the most damaging effects of workplace bullying lies in the erosion of trust that victims experience even after leaving a toxic employer. During the job hunt, these individuals should try to look for employers that are not likely to abuse the sense of trust that is essential for a healthy workplace culture. Rebuilding confidence in business leaders is not easy at first, but with the right employer, people who have experienced workplace bullying in the past can discover that not all workplace environments are toxic.