Interactions With Co-workers and Management Can Be Challenging When Trauma is Involved

Confronting co-workers, employees, and management for whatever reason, whether that is requesting a day off or needing to address a specific concern or issue, can be difficult for all parties involved. When one individual, either the employee filing a complaint with management or management addressing an issue with an employee, is also dealing with their trauma on the job, things can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted. 

Emotions Impacting Communication

Emotions affect the way we communicate with people in our everyday lives. Attempting to mask one’s emotions at work for the sake of professionalism can be very demanding, and individuals are not always successful at this.

As obvious as one’s emotions may be displayed in the workplace to co-workers and other surrounding staff members, an individual may be completely unaware of their blunt expression of their trauma-induced emotions.

Unfortunately, it can be even more challenging to bring this issue to light for an employee who is dealing with a variety of emotions brought to the forefront by some kind of traumatic event. These emotions also make it difficult to resolve conflicts in the workplace. For instance, these individuals tend to be more on edge and irritable. Addressing issues aggressively or inappropriately with these employees or even management can be a very sensitive situation.

An individual could easily and likely respond defensively or grow more agitated and even feel attacked. Other literature suggests that, upon addressing conflict resolution, either party involved may respond with hypoarousal or hyperarousal.

Hypoarousal is associated with numbness, compliance, or feeling detached. Hyperarousal which is more closely associated with feelings of anxiety. Some individuals may show their traumatized emotions in the form of anxiety and or severe depression. For example, it can be almost impossible to address someone who seems either completely hysterical or mentally absent and elsewhere in conversations.

Approaching Communication with Management

Approaching management is often intimidating without trauma being involved. There are, however, instances in which an individual may need to confront management or a superior about trauma in the workplace.

Certain careers, especially those involving a corporate nature, may be stricter on keeping personal life away from work life, and other professions may prefer more open communication. Without being inappropriate and sharing too many details, effectively and comfortably being able to communicate with management is a great tool for navigating one’s trauma in the workplace.

An employee will need to advocate for themselves under the pressure of maintaining professionalism while communicating with their superiors. In the case that management or other members in positions of authority are unable to help or accommodate individuals coping with unbearable trauma at work, an employer that cares for their employees will provide or recommend helpful resources. 

Reference: From Taylor Griggs’s Blog