Understanding Workplace or Business Abuse

r1113127_13550802I’ve had to think a long time before I felt ready to write this one. Workplace abuse happens quite often and it can be anywhere from subtle to extreme. Before we go any further on this, lets define what abuse is. Basically abuse is mistreatment or misuse of a person, in this case employee or even business partner. Abuse most of the time is about control. Someone feels like their life is out of control and so to feel they have order they control others. Sometimes abuse has to do with envy or jealousy. The abuser feels like they are less than or feels another might not deserve the accolades they are receiving from others. It can be jealously of success. For instance one business partner is making more progress than the other for a company.

Regardless of the reason, any abuse or mistreatment makes life miserable for those who are in the receiving side. Abuse can occur from one person in management or it can occur in a a group form  called “mobbing”. The abuser says and does things to get others on their “side” and tricks them into actively participating in the abuse. Usually the abuser poses as the victim in order to gain some form of sympathy so others will side with them.

An Example from My Personal Files

A long time ago I worked for a commercial bank. I was pressured by my manager, and overloaded with work. She made personal phone calls and filed her nails at the desk behind me. To add to the pressure I became pregnant with my second child. Soon I had to take more frequent bathroom breaks and sometimes eat crackers during the day to settle my stomach. I had stacks and stacks of files on my desk daily. I felt overwhelmed much of the time. It was not long before I was called in and placed on 3 months probation for not keeping up with my work. During the probation meeting I broke apart at the pressure of my manager. Although I was straight forward about her lazy management skills, I ended up leaving due to the pressure. I lost my medical insurance, which I desperately needed, and felt horrible my whole pregnancy.

My manager used “mobbing” in order to control the situation for herself. Long before the probation meeting she had been going to upper management complaining about me about every little detail. Her complaints were completely unwarranted. I also happened to know her personally outside of work and she did not agree with some of my personal choices. I guess she decided to teach me a lesson and make life hard on me. The strange thing, is I could “feel” this happening before it did happen. Strange looks and being shunned by those above me began to happen. Then there were comments made to me that seemed out of context. I was being primed for abuse and eventually to leave my job.

According to the Workplace Bullying Institute in 2014, 27% of those surveyed nationally felt they were bullied or abused at work. Keep in mind that this is a figure regarding bullying. There are many types of abuse such as sexual discrimination, sexual or verbal harassment, mobbing, discrediting through gossip or undermining. These are just a few to make a point. This is a very serious thing. Many people come out from workplace abuse with a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, loss of wages, loss of insurance, loss of integrity, and even sometimes lose their lives because of the pressure.

So What Do You Do?

  1. Tell someone! With any type of abuse people feel too ashamed to talk about it. Telling someone takes courage but once it is done there is a great deal of relief. Talk to a counselor, the Labor Board, or an organization like Workplace Bullying Institute. Talk to a good friend and gain others who are sympathetic to your side.
  2.  Confront! Allow authorities to do an intervention with yourself and your management. With some employers this can be a labor union or you can even find a labor attorney or advocate.
  3.  Contribute. Be the person that others can come to and make others aware of abuse in the workplace or in business. We are all stronger when we band together.
  4. Take good care of yourself! Practice a lot of self care doing things that are healthy for you. You can train for another job. Do things that create happiness in your life. Surround yourself with the right kind of friends who help you move on and not keep you stuck in the post traumatic stress.
  5. Pray. Stretch your faith toward better days ahead.

Ask yourself. Do you want to be a part of a company that treats you poorly or won’t defend you when you have a problem? Do you want to be a part of a business where you are subjected to unwarranted pressure, gossip, control, manipulation, or harsh behavior?

Life is too precious to allow any part of it be subjected to those who treat you bad regardless to the reason they might have. It is their job to change their tactics. It is your job to defend your own well being and those around you!

Pursue peace,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry



Beyond the Bathroom Door

silence-001Please bear with me while I tell this story to the end. I know, I know; I will get to the point! Some stories are worth telling though, and I think this one has some wisdom!

When I was in 8th grade I had transferred to a new school. Life changes happen. For the most part it was a pretty good experience. I was around family members at school, and had some old friends I got to reacquaint with. It was a hard era to be in school though. The process of racial integration had begun and there was a lot of unrest between students and parents. The students were being bused to schools that were further from home in order to compensate for the previous era of segregation. We all had to get used to changes.

I was always a quiet soft spoken person back then and I was just kind of coming out of my shell a bit. Life was pretty good in school that year, accept for one issue. For some reason a girl took a disliking to me. I was not completely sure why because I never really talked to her and I don’t think we had any classes together. I’m not sure if it was fueled by the racial tensions or not. ( I am thinking probably so). All I knew was that she suddenly just hated me. Along with my quiet demeanor was a very non violent person inside of me. I just don’t believe in attacking others. This little lady was different though. She was mouthy, and sure did not hold back the comments regarding what she wanted to “do to my face”.

Every single day it was the same. I would see her in the hall and she would say something cruel to me and talk about what she was going to do to me. Having lockers close by caused us to see one another a few times a day, so several times a day she got her comments in before the next class. I said absolutely nothing to her, not ever. I just did my business and then walked away. This made her even more aggressive for some reason and her threats became more intense. So, I began to do everything I could to avoid her. I seriously started to believe there would be bloodshed and yet I had no idea why. Fear crept into my existence and the more intense she became, the more I worked harder to avoid her. I did not want to fight this girl. I did not want to fight anyone, but for some reason she felt she needed a way to express her anger and trying to get me angry was her goal.

I started to adopt the practice of hiding in the bathroom while she did her locker business and did not come out until I was sure she was done and gone. All I wanted was peace, and to not have my face torn off! She was a little thing, much smaller than I was, but she always seemed to have a group with her. I mean, what fun is it to tear someone’s face off if you have no one watching, right?

Then one day she caught on to me and went into the bathroom while I was in there. She was alone this time and so was I . I was washing my hands and getting ready to head to my class. She came up to me with an angry scowl. She was about 4 inches shorter than I was so she had to look up to look me in the eyes. So, I just stood there and looked down at her, keeping my gaze in her eyes and my facial expression unchanged. A lot of thoughts raced through my head. I was preparing to have to defend myself because I sure did not want to stand there and have my face torn off, like she said she wanted! So, I waited and just breathed. The next sound I heard was her grumble something under her breath and off she went out the door.  I took a huge sigh of relief! 

Proverbs 15:1 

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

My Point?

God honors wisdom. A harsh word would have created chaos in this situation. There is a time for everything under heaven. This time was NOT a time to speak. She never said another word to me again; not ever! I got to stay out of the bathroom before my next class and I never had my face torn off! (Huge sigh of relief here)!

My point here is “Choose your battles wisely sisters”! There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words ever could and wisdom knows “her” place. That is at the throne where God delivers to us His power to be what we need to be at any given moment. I learned a lot from the bathroom that day! The Lord chooses the darnedest places to instruct us on our walk with Him!

These are days when I am finding I have less of a filter, so how do we know when to remain silent and when to speak? It’s kind of a type of strategic wisdom God gives to us when we remain in Him. In the particular situation in the bathroom, silence was the answer. Sometimes wisdom comes to us when we seek “her“. Sometimes we make a mistake and our face gets torn off. Bottom line, we learn with practice and experience. Believe me, you will know when you have made the wrong choice!

With my face in tact,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765 for prayer!

** Image credit : Getty Images, Stock Photo

Let the Children Be in Peace

Rev Jenine MarieI think this blog post is going to be a little spewing out. I wanted to write something else because I am trying to keep my series of subjects on my blog aligned with a video subject and something empowering in audio. I’m sure I will work that out but when I have something in my craw there is no stopping my mouth even if it is in type. If you have read my blog at all , you know how I feel about bullying. As I read about cyber attacks on our new president’s son and his wife, I had that sick feeling inside my stomach. I hate that junk.

Honestly, I don’t care if you like them or not. What I do care about is respecting them even when we disagree. I mean, that is what we all personally want, right? I know I want respect. I’m sure our president’s son does not feel good when adults go into attack mode regarding  opinions of his father, the position, or family life. After all, who really knows about the family life of the Trumps? None of us do. Neither here nor there.

Here is my point: leave the kid alone. Doesn’t he have enough weighing on his shoulders at his young age? Let him be a child. Growing up is hard. There are so many emotions to deal with as we mature. Don’t you remember some of yours? I know that I remember some of mine! They become life long lessons that we have to work on later as time goes by.

Here is the bottom line of this post: Bullying whether in person or online is inexcusable. We can’t really stop it because people will be who they are no matter what we say about the subject. I’m sure others are not going to change their mind and be kind just because I have said so. We all have opinions , that’s for sure. My shock is that our president’s son suffered a cyber “put down” by an ADULT. Don’t we think its time we grew up?

Jesus let us all know how He feels about being unkind to the little children. A person is better off just tying themselves to a lump of concrete and throwing themselves over the edge of a bridge.(Basically His words not mine.) I’m not suggesting that, it’s just that Jesus was saying, DON’T MESS WITH THEM! The future of our world, and our next generation depends on their sanity. Do we really want to mess with that? I mean, one day we will all be older and our lives will be in the hands of the ones who we raised up for this generation. Do we want them to be as cruel to us as some have been to them?

I think we should reconsider, be slow to speak, and walk out love the best way we can. I know this comes off as a rant, but what good is being a woman of faith if I can’t express my  disdain over the cruelty of others. Let’s protect the children and give them a chance to grow up loving instead of giving them the worst example of us as an older generation. Iv’e watched bullying going on when my kids were growing up. It is painful to watch. Do we want to create that pain that will some day become anger?

It’s not a wise decision to raise a bunch of angry children who will some day make decisions regarding world peace and the nuclear bomb. Give that a thought for a moment.

Just a rant from the heart,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry


Don’t Be a Doormat: Speak Your Truth To Someone

no-bullying-signs-rightJust recently I read another bloggers article about bullying. It is one of a few I have happened to see as of late. Clearly there is a theme going on lately. I’m not sure why this is but some women seem to believe it is powerful to overpower another woman and make them seem “less than”. Before you write this off as complaining, negative, or even petty, consider the people who have taken their own lives because of others unfeeling acts toward them. I wish I could take the time to look up the statistics for you but I don’t want to make this longer than it should be. Please do an online search on the subject if this peaks your interest.

I know what it feels like to be treated disrespectfully by other girls/women. I’ve had the experience in grammar school, middle school, high school, in the work place, and in the ministry.  For a long time I thought something was wrong with me. It took me awhile to come to the conclusion that it was not me who was the one who had something wrong with them. I’ve seen every tactic in the book. There is the “obvious backstab” when someone makes sure they are in a place you can hear or see them and then they will lean over and whisper into someone’s ear while looking right at you. Then with some planting of a few rumors it doubles the affect for sure. There is the obvious bully who will exert their aggression upon someone else in order to intimidate them into giving some sort of power over to the evil of another. Fear is a huge controller. If someone can get you into fear then they have a huge grip on your life. (Please pray against the spirit of fear. You have control of this in Christ Jesus!) We have what I call “the sympathizer” who will go to the person you love the most and try to gain their affections while trying to make you look like a total fool. This one is a sly one because they get you upset at what they do and then tell your loved one, “See, obviously she is out of control, emotionally unstable, ridiculously wrong, or completely petty”. There are more tactics but I think you get the point.

I think one of the more devastating ones for me was when a so called “friend” began to offer prayer requests concerning me in a church  prayer group. By the time I heard about them it was out of control, filled with a lot of partial truths, and out right lies. I walked out when I heard it preached over the pulpit. It took me a long time to get over that one. Please don’t take this as being judgmental or as trying to make others look bad. Someone has to talk about the hard stuff. I’m not trying to foster negativity. I’m trying to be educational, empowering, and hopefully a voice for some good change. Sometimes positive change happens when a tough stand is taken. We need those who are willing to open up the can of worms, and risk exposure of their stuff. Sometimes we can save someone a lot of heartache and sometimes we might even save their life. Since lives are important, then why not open the can of worms and sift through the soil?

When I was having a situation ongoing in grammar school I confided in my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Hart. (Yes her name was Hart!) I was so distraught about what was going on. I was not sleeping well, was always upset, and was too shy to handle it myself. She looked at me and told me, “Don’t ever put up with something like that. Please come and tell me and I will take care of it”. Then she advised me to not be around that person and group she was playing with. Dang, I loved that woman! “Thank you Mrs. Hart”.

I wish I had the ability to handle it myself but at the time I did not. Mrs. Hart was my go-to person when I needed defense. We need that in our lives! Women, hear me. Please empower one another!

Whatever you do, don’t succumb to being a doormat by allowing others to walk all over you. Please speak your truth. If you can’t do this in a safe way, then find someone who will stand with you, or even many who will. If you see someone being treated unfairly ask first if they need help before stepping in. Not every situation is safe to intervene. Ask God for wisdom as to how to handle things. While you are mulling these things over, don’t ever feel bad for expressing yourself when something or someone is bothering you. It takes courage to swim against difficult waters. Don’t allow the water to overtake you. There are more people who care than you think!

(A huge thank you to those who have recently brought up this subject again. I love your voices and we all deserve to be heard!)

If you are being bullied or messed with by someone. Let me pray for you here:

Dear Lord, I ask for Your divine protection for my sister in need. Please comfort her, and show her how much she is loved. Send her those she can count on, confide in, and will give strength to her. Empower her with Your Holy Spirit and give her the wisdom and courage to handle the situation she finds herself in. Thank You Jesus for loving my sister, Your daughter, and created treasure.

Dear God, I proclaim the name and heart of our Lord Jesus Christ to cast out spirits of fear and intimidation. Dear Jesus, rise up and set a standard for Your people and bring change to the hearts of those who do evil to others. Thank You for loving us! Amen.

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

“Doormat no more”

Jenine Marie Coaching