Posted by: targetedindividuals | August 28, 2008

Effects of Harassment


Effects of Harassment

These are some of the general effects that harassment can have on Targeted Individuals. The information is provided by


Harassment makes you feel angry. You feel justified anger about being treated in such an inhumane way. You may feel rage at the situation that you are in. Prisoners in unfair conditions often experience the same anger. Thoughts of revenge or violence against your harassers is not uncommon. A desire to make them feel what you are feeling, to let them know the pain and suffering you are experiencing is normal.


The first stage of harassment is shock and then denial. You absolutely do not believe that you are being singled out for such behaviour, or that the situation is happening to you. You also do not believe that so many people could be so heartless, and to fail to understand what you are going through. It is complete denial, not because you want to deny the situation is happening, but because you can’t believe that it’s happening to you.

Before the harassment you may have been a fully in control person, who was cared for and even respected. You can not believe that people would treat you in such a inhumane and degrading way. You can’t believe it’s happening because you should know how to handle the situation, you should know how to take care of yourself. Some victims of harassment blame themselves for the harassment, or think if they just do this or that differently the harassment will stop and go away.

Harassment makes you feel powerless, it makes you feel that the control of your circumstances and your surroundings have been taken away from you. Some victims blame themselves for not confronting the harasser. Where rape is a physical assault on your person, harassment is a psychological and emotional assault. Many rape victims can not believe what is happening, the same way many harassment victims can not believe what is happening.


Harassment makes you feel degraded. Victims of harassment often feel demeaned, debased, devalued, degraded, humiliated and embarrassed. Harassment is all about bringing you to your knees, not in the physical, but in the emotional. Most harassers know what they are doing. They are out to take away who you are, they want to rape and violate you on an emotional and psychological level. They want to make you feel weak and vulnerable, which starts by degrading you. Harassers will tell lies, make up rumors, defame your character, try to make you seem crazy, unstable, or even incompetent to do your job. Putting you into degrading situations, saying embarrassing things to you, or doing humiliating things to you. This is the first step in breaking you down. Prisoner of war camps also use such methods on captives.


When you are being harassed it causes you to wonder why you have been singled out for the harassment. Harassed persons often feel that they should be able to handle the situation or find a suitable solution to the harassment. When an harassed individual realises that the situation is spiraling out of control or that their normal coping mechanisms are not suitable for the situation, it can cause a great deal of doubt.

Being harassed can not only cause you to doubt yourself, but it can cause you to doubt those around you. The people that you once thought were your friends, family, or supports you find are not who you thought they were. The institutions that were there to protect you and keep you safe fail you, even the legal system might be called into doubt if your case if not processed in a timely or just manner. You might even find that you have doubt in God, or your normal spiritual mechanisms. Harassment can cause you to doubt and disbelieve everything you once thought you knew, including yourself.


Harassment has serious economic effects including: losing or quitting a job; demotion; quitting school (which has future economic consequences); absenteeism; payment of legal fees or medical or consulting fees, it can affect your credit if your job loss causes you to fall behind on your bill payments or on your house payments. Loss of credit can cause future difficulties as your record can take years to clear.


If you think that any of your actions contributed to the harassment you might feel deep guilt at having brought the circumstances on yourself. You might blame yourself and say if only I had not. If only I had reacted this way. Feeling guilty and blaming yourself only gives the harasser power. The harasser has an equal responsibility to cease and desist the moment you make it clear the words, behaviours, or actions are making you uncomfortable, or they are unwelcome. Blaming yourself and feeling guilty will only go so far, and then you have to move on.


Depending on the form of harassment you are experiencing the situation can leave you feeling very isolated. You may not feel comfortable talking to family and friends. If the harassment is happening at school or work, you may wish to keep the situation minimalized by not sharing what’s going on. If you are the only person experiencing the harassment, you might feel that no one will really understand what you are going through or believe you. You might have lost your ability to trust others early on based on their reactions.

The isolation that harassment can cause is one of the most devastating factors of being harassed. It really makes you feel that you are going at it all alone. You feel that there is no one out there who will be able to help or assist you, and so you suffer in silence. You may also find to avoid the harassment you stop going to social events and activities, and you spend more and more time inside where it’s safe. This is all part of the isolation that harassment can cause.


Harassment undermines a complainant’s ability to trust others, and even trust themselves. This inability to trust then has current and future repercussions. Trust is lost when an harassed individual fails to receive support, affirmation, justice or even help to get the harassment stopped. Loss of trust can be geared towards individuals in the situation, the institutions themselves or even the society at large.

Harassment also undermines your ability to trust because so many aspects of being harassed are similar to being victimised or raped. This makes it hard to trust people again in the same way. This can lead to victims becoming further victims by internalising the experience, and isolating themselves from legitimate sources of support.


There are three validation needs when you are harassed. You need to be believed, understood, and have the experience validated. You want someone to confirm that yes, the situation you experienced was that bad, and that it did have a deep effect on you. When you are physically raped people can understand your pain and suffering, but when you are harassed they down play or undervalue the experience and the effects it had on you. Individuals have a tendency to see it as over-reacting, or not really that bad. They want you to just let it go and just get past it, but you can’t, and you don’t want to, because it was that bad. You want the severity of the experience to be validated for what it was.

Harassment victims live in fear of many things, but the main things seems to be the fear of not being believed or fully understood. You just don’t think you will be able to find the right words to articulate how the experience made you feel. The last thing you want to do is share this experience that’s impacted your life, with someone who undervalues or does not understand what you have been through. You don’t want to see that lack of understanding in their eyes, or hear the devaluing of your experience in their words.

You want to share your story, and you long to tell your tale. You however want a safe effective format where you will be believed. You have a deep unabiding emotional need to be understood. You need someone to understand that it really was that degrading and horrible. That this just tore you apart and almost destroyed you. You need validation and understanding, it’s what’s at the heart of this experience.


Harassment can and often causes a wide range of physical symptom. It can cause stomach ailments, headaches, insomnia, lethargy, nausea, constant nervousness, poor appetite, over eating, weight loss, weight gain, cuttings into the skin, and other physical symptoms.


The main area that harassment affects is our psyche, and because of this there are several psychological symptoms that go along with being harassed.

  • Short term memory loss or decreased concentration. Decreased work or school performance.
  • Anti-social behaviors. Anger or violent actions that are outside of your normal realm before the harassment began.
  • Thoughts of suicide and extreme depression, uncontrolled crying, hyper-vigilance, hyper-awareness, hypersensitive, irritable, and short tempered, swearing and cursing more than normally accustomed to.
  • Loss of sex drive.
  • Extreme thoughts or rage.
  • Loss of interest in usual pastimes.
  • Stressed, feeling worthless, feeling guilty, feeling angry.
  • Psychologically and emotionally raped.


    Harassment can make you a social outcast period. If you do nothing about the harassment those around you might sympathise, but they will in time learn to ignore it and treat it as a common day to day occurrence. If you take action against the harasser, school, or place of employment, you might find that you are ostracized, and retaliated against in many unfair ways. Socially you might not be invited out to group or social activities, you might be shunned during daily school, or work place events. People who associate with you will be singled out with peer pressure to stop the association. People around you will tell the most demeaning and degrading lies about you. You might find that your family and friends think you are over-reacting and fail to offer support on any level. They may even be the very ones who turn against you, if they become affected by the harassment through your job loss, or dropping out of school. They may be angry at having to help you out.


    While being harassed you might find that you experience a spiritual crisis. You get really angry spiritually and start to feel dead inside. You don’t feel in touch with your spirit. There is a disconnection that goes along with being harassed. You might find that spiritually you stop or cease to do the things you normally would do to touch base with your higher self, or a higher external spiritual source.


    To numb the pain of dealing with harassment some people do turn to drugs, alcohol or medication. This is then one more thing individuals then have to deal with as part of their recovery process.


    Harassment can be emotionally, physically, spiritually, and psychologically taxing. To handle the pain and degradation our coping methods kick in, and we start to tune out the harassment. We however do not just tune out the harassment, we often tune out our school work, work that we should be doing gets neglected. Social events that we should be attending start to be missed. Things that you had interest in before start to be less desirable. You just start to shut down and tune out the things that you once loved.

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    1. I never knew there were others like me, 4 years of this and am a recluse. Want to die daily.WHY?

    2. This is happening to a lot more people than you know, it’s just cat has everyone’s tounge.

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