3 Warning Signs That Your Boss Is Abusive

Updated on August 28, 2017
KoraleeP profile image

Koralee is an author who studies human behavior. She's passionate about self love, overcoming obstacles, and overcoming bullying.

In life, one thing is guaranteed. You will never have the perfect boss.

Even if your boss has many admirable qualities, and you think the world of them, they're never going to be 100% flawless.

Just as when you pick a mate, you have to decide what you will not put up with at work. Indeed, you spend almost as much time with your boss as with your mate.

If your boss has any of the characteristics listed below, there's a good chance your boss is abusive. If this is the case you need to get away as soon as you can. You'll probably end up leaving anyway, but the longer you stay, the more damage it will do to your soul and health.

Three Warning Signs of an Abusive Boss

I'm not talking about annoying personality traits, such as being indecisive, unfocused or arrogant.

Although these traits are unpleasant, you can deal with them. It's abusive characteristics that make you feel stressed and worthless. Abusive bosses are the bosses to watch out for.

This isn't a complete list, but the following types of behavior are three main indicators that your boss is abusive.

  1. Demeaning
  2. Isolating
  3. Untrusting

Demeaning you is a sign of an abusive boss.
Demeaning you is a sign of an abusive boss.

1. Demeaning Behavior

It's uncalled-for in any way, shape, or form to excuse the belittling or humiliating of another human being.

Your boss has no right to yell at you in front of others, or behind closed doors. Yelling should never be tolerated.

Talking to you disrespectfully and verbally trying to undermine your confidence should also be strictly prohibited. Whether your boss is in a bad mood or not doesn't matter, and it doesn't matter what they think you might have done: there is no excuse.

Those who take pleasure out of making others feel degraded, do so to achieve a sense of empowerment or superiority. This often stems from deep-rooted insecurities.

Once this behavior starts, it only gets worse.

And be alert for your boss demeaning other people who aren't present. It's a bad sign if they're constantly badmouthing your co-workers or prior employees when they talk to you, saying old employees were constantly making stupid mistakes, spent too much personal time at work, or were dishonest.

Of course the boss's complaints could have some element of truth; not all employees are focused and honest. However, if your boss claims they had all these bad work habits and no good qualities, it's likely you have a boss who brings out the worst in their employees or only looks for the negative. Either way it's not a good workplace situation.

2. Isolating Behavior

Setting policies and procedures in place, and making sure they're followed through is one thing. Trying to control you personally in the workplace and cut you off from your support is quite another.

Isolation is the most dangerous controlling tactic an abusive boss can use because it cuts you off from any support. A feeling of isolation is the most painful experience a person can go through.

Some controlling-and-isolating behaviors to watch out for are:

  • Wanting to know what you do every second of the day
  • Monitoring who you speak to
  • Showing displeasure when you speak to others or certain people at work.

It's especially alarming when they don't want you to talk to family or friends when you're at work, even at lunch time or when you're on a break.

Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man.

— Thomas Carlyle
Lack of trust with no basis is a sign of an abusive boss.
Lack of trust with no basis is a sign of an abusive boss. | Source

3. Untrusting Behavior

If your boss always acts as though you can't be trusted, this is often a sign they're the untrustworthy one.

They may have some reason to withhold their trust: perhaps they were burned by a previous employee who was untrustworthy, or they have a manager or supervisor above them who doesn't trust them, and they pass this attitude on to you.

But if they constantly act like you are deceitful, it may be that they are deceitful themselves.

It is impossible to go to work every day and feel safe when you always have to watch your back.

Micromanagement Shows Lack of Trust

An untrusting boss seems to lack confidence in everything you do. They demand to know every move you make while you're at work.

  • What decisions you make
  • Every email you send
  • Every memo you send out
  • When and why you left your desk

Micromanagement is not the same as your boss objecting to you spending company time on personal matters, playing Facebook scrabble or texting your friends. Your boss has the right to request you refrain from these activities while you're working.

An untrusting boss, on the other hand, acts as if you don't have what it takes to do your job and you never will. If you believe what he is putting out, you will never thrive.

A good boss makes his men realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could.

— Charles Erwin Wilson

Don't Forget Female-to-Female Abuse

Abuse crosses genders and can be exhibited by and directed at both males and females. Male bosses may abuse both male and female employees. And female bosses can be just as abusive as men.

But a specific situation, involving an abusive female boss and a female subordinate, called the Queen Bee Syndrome can be especially painful and confusing for employees caught up in it.

In the Queen Bee Syndrome, a female in a supervisory or management position treats female subordinates more critically.
In the Queen Bee Syndrome, a female in a supervisory or management position treats female subordinates more critically. | Source

What Is the Queen Bee Syndrome?

The "Queen Bee Syndrome" describes a woman in a position of authority who views or treats subordinates more critically if they are female.

According to psychologist Professor Cary Cooper, of the Lancaster University Management School, a Queen Bee is a woman who has worked her way to to the top in a male-dominated environment and probably got there by acting like a man, by appearing tough rather than soft and caring.

She is characterized as being successful in her career, but she refuses to help other women succeed. She is overly critical to her female subordinates and tries to sabotage them professionally.

A perfect example of this type of abuser is Meryl Streep's character, Miranda Priestly, in The Devil Wears Prada.

Look for signs that your boss is abusive, so they don't take you by surprise.
Look for signs that your boss is abusive, so they don't take you by surprise. | Source

Look for Signs

As with abusive spouses, the negative behavior probably won't rear its ugly head in the beginning. The traits of your abusive boss will gradually sneak up on you.

You may not even recognize it's happening until it's a full-blown problem.

Hopefully, now you're aware of what signs to watch for so when you see these types of behaviors, you'll leave immediately.

If you're not in a financial situation where you can quit right away, start looking for other employment as soon as you can. Life's too short, and you're too valuable as a person to have to put up with this.

Do you feel confident now that you know what signs to look for?

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You're Not Alone - Woman Suicidal Over Workplace Abuse

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      Anne 2 months ago

      This article is word for word what I am experiencing in the workplace. I've tried going to HR, tried writing it in the company employee engagement survey. Both made the situation worse. I can't leave the job as I haven't found another. Most recently I was called in because of a facial expression. My boss walked by the meeting room and told me that I had a "look" that was negative and angry. The supervisor that was running the meeting said she did not notice. I was also told my body posture looked awkward. ( I am currently under medical care for an inflamed spinal condition). I was pushed to disclose my personal/ medical information At that time. I was also told that I am not allowed to speak to a fellow employee supervisor socially or interact with other team members. These types of meetings with my boss are always done behind closed doors. I have no issues with my job or any co-workers, and exceed my job expectations. I'm frustrated and searching for suggestions. We are both female. Can you offer any suggestions?

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 3 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thank you for your comment Curious . That doesn't sound like a very productive work environment -

      for either of you. Perhaps leaving is a good idea, but doing it tactfully so not to create any problems between you and your children. Maybe it will work itself out. The article doesn't really apply to a personal relationship between boss and employee. It sounds like you work hard to do your job well, and that's all that should realistically be expected from you, don't you think? You'd know better what your ex is like and if it's a phase or not.

    • profile image

      Curious 4 months ago

      Well my ex hired me as if she wanted to help me make a better choice in life so I took the job and its been very very hard working with her due to the fact that she's always mad. Every day I worked with her shes harder on me than everybody else. She won't even let a person change a garbage can for me during a busy moment when I could use the help. Other duties I had about a week of "training" before I had to do every task alone but I've had to train new people (which is okay) but I still have to assist them in the areas I only had a week to learn and when it could be the other way around it never is if she is the manger (other managers make them do their work now unless its her then she makes me do it). Another thing along with that is she will send me home (and this is from me asking one day I was off and she called and asked to borrow money) because I've made her mad and its not because of lack of work its because the only way she can make me mad is by messing with my money which stops me from doing my job as a father. So it even gets WORSE. Sex is wanted from me but I refuse to because I feel it will only make it worse at the job. So with me not doing that and the fact I work with other (attractive) women (who like me lol) every day its something but lately its just been get out idk I'm done typing and I just need an answer before I just quit my job

    • profile image

      Liz 4 months ago

      I quit my job 8 months ago because I was being bullied my supervisor. She was so cruel when I left-- she made comments about my intellengence, personal attacks about my relationships with others in the office, and was gossiping about me to my coworkers as I was walking out the door. I tried to go to her boss and was told it was all in my head and to go away. I have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder ever since. Even though I am not there anymore I am still having a difficult time with some bad memories. I am so tired of feeling anxious and depressed. I have a good job now but I'm terrified of something like this happening to me again. I have done everything I can -- therapy, anti- depressants. I feel like I am never going to be myself again. The worst part is that I feel like I didn't stand up for myself, though I really don't know what else I could have done.

    • profile image

      P D J R 5 months ago

      This information is confirmation to me and my decision NEVER to return to this place again. What makes my situation worse, is that I gave up EVERYTHING to help her begin her venture. I don't believe our friendship will ever be able to mend

    • profile image

      Cindylou 5 months ago

      I just quit a job that I loved because of a woman exactly like all of the above. So much of this is true and fits exactly what I just went through the last few months. Such vindictiveness and cruelty. And this is working in a Christian non- profit. My volunteers are heartbroken I left. They absolutely loved me. It hurts, but I couldn't take the abuse any longer or walking on eggshells.

    • profile image

      Elemental23 5 months ago

      Hi Everyone, I've worked in the corporate world since I was 24 now I am 47. I work with two other women, one of them is my team leader. The HR is based overseas. My TL is the most volatile & extreme personality I've ever worked with. She micromanages me, belittles me, does not praise me when I hit targets, put on my Performance Review without me knowing that I am an under achiever in the job role and oh she is social friends with our other colleague but still treats her badly at times also. My TL has the queen bee syndrome & is due to have a baby (poor child) in a few weeks. But endeavours to return in 12 months. The person who is standing in for 12 months instantly witnessed her rudeness & has made me aware that he is disgusted as he is aware of how bitchy & mean women can be in the work place. I have tried to gently in a pacifying manner address my TL's behaviours towards her in a one-on-one meeting but she just totally dismisses how I feel. Which is narcissistic. She also nit picks everything. She gets away with so much that she shouldn't be getting away with. She would not last a day or a week in other work places I've been in. I never mirror her & or meet her energy but remain poker faced because she is wanting me to react to her the way she treats me. I am also excluded from all social gatherings including her baby shower last weekend when our one other colleague was invited because they are social friends. I am feeling isolated & have been getting sick from stress. But on the flip side I really love my job & the Company Brand I work for. In time karma will serve her accordingly. Amen.

    • profile image

      Catlady51 7 months ago

      I worked on a farm for this guy, and he wouldnt talk, he'd scream at me. Then it got where he was belittling me calling me bad names etc. I couldnt handle it anymore. He fired me before i could quit.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 9 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hello Hendu. I apologize for the late reply, I've been traveling. You need to keep your sanity and focus so you can do your job effectively. I think you've described a miserable person in general or miserable because they're dealing with the same behaviors from someone above them. Either way you probably won't be able to change their behavior unless they're open to suggestions - which is unlikely.

      Thankfully, you can change how you allow him or her to affect you. If you're in a bind you just have to change your mind. Don't allow them to transfer their stress to you and try to ignore the tension. That's easier said than done, but how they feel and act is their problem. Your problem is not allowing their mental state to affect you. When they behave negatively just ask yourself if there's anything you can do, if the answer is no, ignore them and think of something that makes you smile - have a mental list ready before you get to work of places you can go.

      You said you have a great job. Is there a way for you to transfer to a different department. You don't even have to say why, just find a reason why you'd love working somewhere else (if that's an option). This way you can escape the situation, but still keep a great job.

    • profile image

      Hendu 9 months ago

      I find myself in this circumstance and the stress and tension that have come as a result of it have concerned me. Unreasonable, illogical, abusive, demeaning, untrusting, micromanaging, profane, just some of the words to describe this angry, unhappy, controlling individual. I am NOT in a position to leave, I find myself torn between a great job and escape. Advice please.

    • profile image

      Stacy B. 11 months ago

      I am in this situation right now. I've been with the company for 13 years and it was sold to someone else. This person is sooo abusive. He will tell you to your face that he is trying to force you to go. He has actually said to me I don't know how you can handle so much rejection! I very politely stated that he continues to test my resilience every single day. I have absolutely no respect for him at all and he knows it. I have just become hard as a rock and don't let him know it bothers me. But it does. I am looking for another position but I want a position that is right for me and not just a way to get away from him. He is giving all the accounts that come in to others - even incompetent ones. So in turn they try to ask questions and he sends them to me to help them. He has yelled at me in front of others and is constantly degrading. I have told him he speaks condescendingly to people too. One time he did something really crappy to me and I looked at him and said. Lets look at this from another standpoint....do you really think that what you just did is going to motivate me to be a better employee?

      I think he is the worst manager that I have ever encountered. He is basically a trust fund baby who thinks he is a big man now.

    • profile image

      Georgette Haviland 11 months ago

      This site was very helpful. I realize even the small, passive and what may seem to be "petty," behaviors are bullying tactics. TY

    • profile image

      Workerfedup 13 months ago

      Boss abuses is also treating other employees with kindness and respect but ignoring you unless it's to just micromanage and also blaying you with no proof

      I'm bring abuser in front of staff.

      The head manager compliments my accuracy in my work and has told me she few mistakes is no big deal since my work load a very heavy and demanding.

      Yet the abusive manager does this

      1. Announcing the littliest mistake I do. She says it rudely and publicly in front of staff. It is said loudly and not nice, more like snubbing.

      2. She is friends with 2 other staff members, she let them mess with my work after I left and then in the morning accusing me of doing something with my work only a child would do. She said I threw all my work through the store.

      They have cameras and can see I didn't do it.

      She then just believed them or was apart of the set up and now has said to entire staff I am not organized and they need to organize the things for me. She now makes me do things in very small steps

      3. Every day she greets everyone, laughs and talKS to them, but she shakes her head at me or rolls her eyes and don't speak

      4. She gives emplayers hired after me light duty if they want it and also the chance to change their schedules at will and over time. I get none of this.

      5. She change my work schedule at last minute making me work five straight graveyard shift and then put me on for 7 more says with one day off between, so it wouldnt count as over time.

      She has lunch with staff, and they whisper and when I come out they get quiet. If I try to speak to anyone they don't speak or say while walking away "I don't know" even if it is about what something about the job I know they know cause they suppose to be training

      The people I was told to go to help me with my work now refuse to help. They are the same group of people that she likes and jokes with and who she front on me around.

      When no one is around, sometime she says "you are not going fast enough, u r taking to long"

      I am not on time deadlines or quota, and there is at least 2 hours left in my work.

      I'm done with my work ever day with just 3 mistakes. I have no more than 3 mistakes out of an entire store pricing.

      You can imagine what it was like around thanksgiving. Also she rushed me after she gave me 4 different job duties.

      She keeps trying to make it like the new employee can do my job better than me. She tells me to do one thing, then interrupt me to do another and then another and then complain that the first thing was not done

      When I tried to tell her I could not work 14 days withat one day off, she got very ignorant and said "I work 10 days"

      She tries to make me come in extra days to do other people's work, stocking.

      I know now she is trying to wear me down so I don't show up for work and she can give my job to the girl hired after me who she really likes. Although she stands and just gossip with her while I do most of the work.

      The amount of abuse I go thru, is so much that I plan on writing human resources and resigning tomorrow.

      It's just been to much.

    • profile image

      Brenda 14 months ago

      Recently I have been pulled into the office and told I was demeaning my staff...when I've never done such a thing because someone did that to me. Every week my boss is bickering at me if it's not one thing it's another, then he tries to deny things he's told me yes to. He keeps sending his assistant to my store instead of himself, I have a hearing problem so I got into trouble for my loud voice also. Every week it seems like they are riding me...and last week they had me into tears more then once...I'm wondering if they are trying to push me out on purpose so someone else can take over.

    • profile image

      Dee 14 months ago

      This is a very good article. I'm three months into my new job and have been made to feel incapable, untrustworthy and actually downright stupid. The good news is I know its them and not me. I listen and watch the ridicule of others, talking bad about current and past employees and continuous micro managing. Since I've been there one employee walked out the door, two others were fired. You know whats incredible, I'm still hearing how terrible all of these past employees where when in truth its the boss and remaining employees (family members) that are the problem. Hoping to find a new job soon, that not only pays the bills but where people are valued.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 14 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      “Uhh. What?” Thank you so much for your thoughts Liz, but I don't understand what you're saying so I cannot respond properly.

    • profile image

      Liz 14 months ago

      It seems that this was past advise for women in abusive relationships. Get out of the environment. Lose tenure, income, dignity, status. Just run.

      It can't be legal to be isolated, demeaned, discussed and reduced while your performance is on target.

      Employers and their managers must have legal limits. This is not a matter of re-training, but an actual attack on a person.

      Why should a highly competent woman move on as a cure to an Abusive Boss.

      If you are in a customer facing profession, it can take years to regain clientele and income status.

      And please do not come back with, which is worse, because that is not an argument, it simply falls into the old adage of 'until it happens to you'.

      Where to go with this type of advanced problem other that the organizations HR department, whose sole purpose is to mitigate exposure for the organization.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 15 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hi CJ, and thanks for your comment.

      Your boss sounds like he's got some issues, and it must suck sharing space with him :( ... I hope you don't take his behavior personally, it's him - NOT YOU. Good luck on finding a new job :D

    • profile image

      CJ 15 months ago

      I'm currently working for a boss that will not speak to me unless he has to, and it's mainly to tell/yell at me what I did wrong. Yet he refuses to train me! I dread going to work! Oh and we share an office! Praying my job interview went well today...fingers crossed!!!

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 15 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thanks JS, and you're right about how to create and thrive in a work environment.

    • profile image

      JS 16 months ago

      Respect, trust, and autonomy are three key elements in a work environment for employees to grow and share. Great article on the subject. These 3 types of bully boss behavior are often masked in form of silent sabotage.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 17 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thanks Lynn and good luck with your research and finding a new job.

    • profile image

      Lynn 17 months ago


      Thank you very much for your encouaging and kind words. I have been in a bad situation for too long and sometimes forget to try and appreciate the good that still exists there. I also do have some great co-workers which does help with the day to day. It is also refreshing to read the post from others on this thread because sometimes unless you have experienced it, it can be hard to understand. This experience has really opened my eyes to how the work environment can really affect our lives especially if a culture of bullying and mistreatment is allowed. I did learn something interesting...there is a bill called Healthy Work Place Bill...which is trying to make bullying in the work place illegal. I have to do more research on this bill but I found it encouraging.

      I will continue to apply to other jobs and look forward to working in a healthier environment.

      Thanks again for your reply and for this great article.

    • profile image

      Brian 17 months ago

      I want to thank the author of this article. Though four years old. You know the net, the information is there forever. It's still helpful.

      I have to come clean. My verbal abuser has tried to break me, reduce me to a broken man.

      My abusers have been my bosses in retail.

      I was a good student. I had a good gpa. I was thoughtful, kind, and liked by my classmates. I had alot of goodfriends. I had girlfriends. I played sports, I went to church.

      I started to think there was a time before I was abused where life was beautiful. I was cared for by my friends and girlfriends.

      And then I began walking into a dark trap set by abusive managers and co workers.

      This trap had a feeling. It was bad. I was walking into danger. I was intuitive that someone at work was an abuser.

      My sixth sense told me. Yet I couldn't pull away.

      My abusers where the very people that I worked with.

      My first abuser a woman, manager of a bowling alley. She would call me short behind my back with other male coworkers.

      My next abuser another female spread false rumors that I was gay. I've to date have had 20 girlfriends.

      My next abuser flipped out on me when a chair went off sale price. She yelled screamed, cussed, red faced, pointed fingers in my face.

      She was again a white female.

      My next abuser was another white female. She was full of nasty putdowns. I had bent over backwards to fold her shirts, put them in gift boxes. She had 20 items. She was nasty.

      Then there was white female who turned security guards on me. Then another.

      Then there was the white female who made threats to kill me. She said. Your

      damn right I'll kill you.

      Something had gone horribly wrong.

      My abuser was the same sex and race of my ex girlfriends.

      My abuser is white females.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 17 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hi Lynn. It sickens me that you're so stressed and feel hopeless - there's always hope :) The best way to get through bad situations is to change your mindset. I don't have enough room, or information to list all the ways in this comment.

      I'm a firm believer in what I call HAD - Hope, Amazing, Dynamic

      There's always hope.Hope never leaves we just forget it's there sometimes - cling to hope that your life will change, for the better.

      Remember that you're amazing. You have the strength to get through your job until you find another one. Try to look for things at work you can be grateful for; and cherish the blessings in your personal life. Focus on the future and what life will be like when you don't work there anymore.

      Life is dynamic and constantly changing so a new job could come to you tomorrow.

      Other Survival Strategies

      You can't change your environment, but you can change your attitude and how you look at things.

      Never blame yourself. Try to be positive and don't let yourself feel helpless.

      Only worry about things within your control. See what things you can do, to survive or make your work environment easier to deal with, then do them.

      Focus on your strengths

      Look for something good, at least one thing. For example, the receptionist is great; the scenery outside the window is spectacular; your seat is extremely comfortable. Positive thinking always makes our view of the world better.

      Be gracious and kind to others, don't let the hostile work environment change how you to treat people.

      Guard your emotions. If you're easily upset or show your emotions, try to hide them. Bullies pick on people they can intimidate.

      When you feel stress smile - it's weird, but it works - you feel better. Think of something funny, or if you can go online and find something you find funny, put a funny picture on your phone.

      Get support from someone else at work. Even if you can't stop the toxicity, it's always good to have support; and someone to vent to.

      When you're at home focus all you attention on the people, pets and things you love. Don't let the BS at work come home with you. A complete break will help you cope better with work.

      I hope this helps, and good luck Lynn

    • profile image

      Lynn 17 months ago


      I actually have a question..What should someone do that has an abusive supervisor but can't quit their job right away? I work in a very toxic environment and my supervisor displays the abusive behavior in your article. Myself and colleagues have complained to HR but nothing is really done. It is very stressful and at times feels hopeless. I basically spend all my spare time looking for another job but in the meantime how can I handle this situation?


    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 18 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thanks Mel. You would have a very different view being a dude and all.

      That's great you have the opportunity to work alone without a boss hovering.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 18 months ago from San Diego California

      I have known Queen Bees. If you're a dude they're great - especially when they make a spectacle about demeaning a female boss that has been abusing you, which they make a point of doing to increase their popularity with the guys. But never having been inside a female's skin I wouldn't know anything about how a woman deals with it, except that it must be horrible.

      I have had my share of abusive bosses, of every garden variety. Abusive bosses are why I went back to carrying mail, where I am my own boss, for the most part. Great article!

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 19 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hi. That's a great point, and an entirely different article, Thanks.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 19 months ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      That's great advice, thanks.

    • profile image

      Liv 19 months ago

      You described a fellow employee who was trying to make our boss look like the abuser to everyone... we couldn't go to lunch without this employee or she'd throw a fit and lie to upper management about us - we couldn't leave work at a different time, she texted and called us at home after hours and if we didn't answer her questions she'd find a way to make us pay for it. Then she would really do everything she could to set up our boss to upper management to make it look like she was the abusive one.

      It's not always the boss who is the abuser in the office!

    • profile image

      dede 19 months ago

      Thanks for sharing the article. Don't even get me started on my boss. He is EVERYTHING you described in this article! He is one of the biggest Narcissist's that I have ever met!! I have great empathy for anyone who works for a man (or woman) like this.

      I could go on for pages about his unacceptable behavior, inconsiderate manners and language (bordering on abuse) but space is limited.

      Just want to suggest to anyone with a boss like this, get out as soon as possible!! It truly is detrimental to your mind, body and soul.

    • profile image

      prechie 20 months ago

      yooooo, you just described my boss

    • profile image

      CATHY 20 months ago


    • profile image

      Yolanda G 22 months ago

      Totally my ex boss to a T. He was so abusive critical and controlling with me especially. It's like he felt I was beneath him.. And try eating at your desk. He would shove filthy patient charts in my face..hello trying to eat lunch...worse treatment I ever experienced from a boss. And when I complained one too many times I got canned. Total narcicism on his part. I'm glad to be away from him finally..get out before it's too late and they blame you in the end. Bosses are not supposed to act like that!

    • profile image

      Lee 24 months ago

      Wow, great article - thanks. My boss does have some of these qualities, but it is extremely difficult - she thinks she is supportive, believes herself a great ppl person, but undermines you and condescends in such a subtle way that you often don't even notice, except for the fact that you feel upset and are not sure why. She is not like that everyday and outwardly she is very nice. I don't even think she knows she is doing it and I don't think anyone has ever told her - because it is so hard to pinpoint. She is extremely soft spoken and never raises her voice. Sometimes I wish I had someone who was so obviously dreadful that I could identify it immediately. Worst still she is completely incompetent :-/

    • dhimanreena profile image

      Reena Dhiman 3 years ago

      Thank god my boss is not like that. But hey thanks a ton for sharing such a nice article.

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      Koralee Phillips 3 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      I hope you're wrong Wms, and everything works out for you. Good Luck!!!

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      Wms 3 years ago

      I have this same problem at Cracker Barrel with 3 managers , so Monday we had a Mandatory meeting at the Holiday inn , and i brought it up to my General Manger .. Now i will sit back and wait to see what happens next.. the Topic of this meeting was the Guiding Principles , about dignity and respect , well like i spoke up and told the GM , How do you give respect to your managers if they dnt respect you , plus these 3 managers they dog me . im permanently disabled , i was ran over in 2007 . and these people know this . and they will hire a person with any kind of disability cause its in the policy. but they pound me super hard with a list then if it all dsnt get done , then they tell you that you suck . just like i got told last sunday . 2 managers are demeaning and controlling , the other is a woman that acts like a man and is a huge bully to us all.. and she hates men , i know ive heard her degrade them right in front of me . with out them knowing what she said ... she says men / boys are no good for nothing and shouldn't have been brought in to this world or put on this earth . i was only there for 3 weeks when she said that .. well like i said now i will sit back and wait for the storm to get worse ..

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      Koralee Phillips 4 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      I'm glad to hear DDE that you were able to quit before she tried her acts on you, especially since she was also physically abusive.

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An easy to understand hub on this topic I had an abusive boss but quit before she tried her acts on me, she verbally abusive with her employees and sometimes physically abusive.

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      JeffMark59 4 years ago

      My boss exhibits the first symptom - demeaning others, including me, in front of us - at times when he is not in a good mood. But he does not exhibit the other two. I've been with him for 18 years, and with 6 years to go before full retirement, I tolerate him. Mainly because except for that, he's been OK. At this point, he has to live another 6 years, becuse I could get a jerk replacing him. I have flexable schedule and good pay, etc. When I retire, I'll send him a copy of this, and mention it on my exit interview!

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      Koralee Phillips 4 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hi torrilynn. Thank you for vote up, and your welcome.

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      torrilynn 4 years ago

      Thanks for helping others to recognize the signs of an abusive boss. My last boss was verbally abusive and negative. Thanks for the insight. Voted up and shared!

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      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      I really really couldn't take it the most if my boss is prying over my personal life. That's going tooooo far! So far haven't encountered such extreme boss. Demeaning, yes I have come across some -- even if you're wrong they still have no right to belittle anyone.

      As if they weren't once on the lower ranks before, huh?

      Thanks for your very informative hub. Learning a lot from it. :)

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      Rupesh Malik 4 years ago

      Well written Kora... Reading all the above comments reminded me of my bad experiences of working under a bad boss. Over the time period, I mustered the courage to vent out all my feelings in the form of a Facebook page called "TheBadBosses"

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      Bill Tollefson 4 years ago from Southwest Florida

      I agree strongly with billybuc and creativelycc on their comments. Abuse in any form is unacceptable. Do not allow your soul to be eaten and then fill empty.

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      Carrie L. Cronkite 4 years ago from Maine

      Excellent hub and I agree with you 100% If your boss has any of these traits, it will eat your soul and seriously compromise your self-confidence. No job is worth that. Voted up.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I left an abusive boss back in 2010 and became a freelance writer. Best decision I have made. :) Abuse of any form is unacceptable.

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      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      This is an absolutely useful and honest hub. There are many people that truly suffer at the hands of their bosses and bystanders at work. As for the suicidal woman, these situations are not uncommon. Most people will suffer if they don't have a job and standing up for themselves typically means they will no longer be able to work for that employer. Going even further, spiteful bosses and their minions will attempt to make it impossible for that employee to go elsewhere if given the chance. Darned if you stand up, darned if you don't.

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Awesome hub! Useful information. I used to work for a boss who always had something negative to say about her previous employers. I remember this one young lady who she hired to work as her assistant. She was very impressed with her work ethics, but she was dying for her to leave because this person was very aloof. Then, she complained about another guy who used to take very long coffee breaks and who was too laid back. Thanks for sharing this gem.

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      Lois Ryan 4 years ago from Upstate NY originally from Long Island

      I have been lucky about bosses. Usually if a boss in our place was verbally abusive they did not last long. I have had bosses when they were new were untrusting. Then when they were there a while they understood the employees jobs better.

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      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi KoraleeP

      "Talking to you disrespectfully and verbally trying to undermine your confidence, should also be strictly prohibited." I have experienced this from an ex boss. I went on to get a job in another department. The ex boss got fired not just because how she treated me because she was bullying others and was incompetent. I remember my new boss asking how I felt about her being fired. I told him that I wish her no harm but I have no sympathy for either.

      Voted up and awesome and sharing.

      Have a good day.

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      Koralee Phillips 4 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Great idea iguidenetwork. I guess that could be one thing obnoxious bosses are good for is to be example of someone not to emulate. Thanks for the vote!

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      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I have seen and encountered few obnoxious bosses. Being a sort of a boss myself in my own little firm, I try not to become one. Voted up. :)

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      Koralee Phillips 4 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thank you wabash annie!

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      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Great topic! Bullied people feel so very isolated. Thanks for writing about the situation.

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      Koralee Phillips 4 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thanks jpcmc For the vote up! I really feel for people stuck dealing with an abusive work environment. It would be great if more laws were put in place to stop it.

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      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This hub is very important Koralee. Many employees fail to see the signs of an abusive boss. As such they simply endure the wrath of a bully boss. A healthy employee-boss relationship is the key to a productive work day. Moreover, it will help create better business. I voted up my friend.

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      About 2 go Postal 5 years ago

      You would not believe the constant belittling that goes on a t Clear Pro in Ca. The owner is constantly threatening his 2 employees

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      Justin 5 years ago

      wow I always thought I was tough and could put up with things well but I had an overwhelmingly abusive, controlling, demeaning, and untrusting boss finally I reached my breaking point and quit my job, I had reached my breaking point and felt like he was slowly putting me six feet under.

    • KoraleeP profile image

      Koralee Phillips 5 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hi Proverbs: Thank you very much for your comments. I am a little confused with my description of a problem employee, because I didn't describe the employee or anything about them. It is strictly based on an abusive boss (not one with annoying personality or work traits, such as being indecisive, unfocused or arrogant).

      Demeaning: Yelling, demeaning, humiliating (it doesn't matter what type of employee they are or what they did this behavior is never acceptable). Controlling: Don't want employees speaking to family during breaks or at lunch (again it makes no difference what the employee is like, in the workplace non-working time is off limits to the boss) Untrusting: I understand what you're saying if they actually don't trust the employee because the employee is dishonest. " consistently speaking poorly of the numerous staff that came before you." This is a red flag that they have not got along with all or many of the staff that came before you. When that is the case, the boss obviously has some problems. A boss should speak directly to the employee and politely tell them directly what they are doing wrong, not beat around the bush talking about other staff. The abusive boss I am describing in this hub is never polite anyways.

      Perhaps our difference of opinion is because the work place is different in the UK than it is in North America.

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      Proverbs 5 years ago

      Hi Koralee,

      I am the owner of a company in the UK. I'm wondering if you have ever managed staff before or had to deal with the pressures of problematic staff? It's just that your analysis is what I would consider a problem employee (those that struggle to integrate into a team) to say about their boss.

      I think if a boss does not want staff calling up their family and friends during work time this is perfectly valid as it shows a lack of team playing on the part of the employee (i.e. they won't get their work done and someone else will have to do it causing resentment in the team).

      In terms of trust, if an employee feels like a boss does not trust them, this does not mean that the boss is untrustworthy at all. It means what it means. That somewhere down the line the employee IS untrustworthy and that the boss hasn't yet decided what action to take. Things get back to bosses as work environments are interconnected teams of other employees (who get fed up of problem employees as much as bosses do). And if a boss talks about previous employees, they are sometimes indirectly and rather politely trying to point something out to the current employee to help them.

      All the best and good luck

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      Koralee Phillips 5 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thank you cfin. When jobs are scarce it can be even harder to get out of an intolerable work environment.

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      cfin 5 years ago from The World we live in

      I agree with every part of this hub. I have been there and experienced it. Especially when working part time during university. I have worked as a foreigner too and experienced the worst ridicule possible.

      Unfortunately, sometimes you have to grin and bare it, until something better comes along.

      Your writing shows a lot of promise and I will check out some more of your hubs.

      Thanks :)

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      Lovelovemeloveme 5 years ago from Cindee's Land

      Koralee, thsnk kora. yeah. It's just unprofessional and bad management skills. I can't imagine working with someone that belittles others behind their back.

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      Koralee Phillips 5 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hi Lovelovemeloveme :). Good choice. It's also a shows a lot about your character. There are people that would have taken her comments as a way to think they had an up on the employee being talked about. Not realizing that the manager, is more than likely like that with everybody.

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      Lovelovemeloveme 5 years ago from Cindee's Land

      GOOD hub! When i was 14 years old and applying to work at retail, i met the store manager for an interview. There was another employee with her at the time conducting the interview together . and during the interview, one of the employees knocked on the door to come in and asked something. she was soo pleasant and nice to the girl . But as soon as the doors were closed, she turned around and started talking negatively about that girl. It just turned me off so much about this manager. two faced ! I got the job, but I just couldn't shed off the bad first experience so decided to go elsewhere.

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      Koralee Phillips 5 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      I'm glad you were able to resign and get away from that environment.

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      kim 5 years ago

      I come from an environment where my superior was like this. I cried reading this! She tried to ruin me and I resigned now I am looking for a job and busy running my own small businesses

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      Koralee Phillips 5 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Hi Trsmd Thanks a lot of your input.

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      Trsmd 5 years ago from India

      My view of such bosses, is that either satisfy their ego or leave the company in search of better boss, but who knows that the latter boss may be still worse...Thanks for SHARING:)

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      Koralee Phillips 6 years ago from Penticton British Columbia Canada

      Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate your feedback.

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      Bill Tollefson 6 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Good HUB! I like how you have describe all the different types. I am sure this would be very informative for people who think they are being misused or abused by their boss.