How EMDR Can Help: Microaggressions in the Workplace

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You’re seeking out EMDR treatment because of microaggressions in the workplace. At work, your boss casually asks you a question that makes you the mouthpiece for your entire race or ethnicity. Or, maybe an assumption is made about you or your abilities because of your race. It is especially frustrating when you are passed over for a project or opportunity.

If this sounds familiar, then you’ve likely experienced a microaggression in the workplace. However, EMDR can help you to process and release the built-up stress from microaggressions. With treatment, you can learn how to better cope with day-to-day interactions, build assertiveness skills, and feel more comfortable in your work environment. Our skilled team of therapists at Moxie Family Therapy understands these issues and are ready to help you understand and overcome them!

What are Microaggressions?

Microaggressions are subtle but offensive comments or actions directed at people such as minorities that can be based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. At face value, they may not seem harmful or just come from a place of ignorance, but over time they can wear down someone’s self-confidence and sense of belonging.

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For example, if you’re constantly the only person and/or the only woman of color in meetings, that can be a microaggression. Another instance is, if people assume you’re the administrative assistant instead of the CEO due to your race, that’s a microaggression. Or, if you’re working on a project and someone tells you that it’s “not really your thing” or that you’re “not the best person for the job” when it’s clear that you are, that’s also a microaggression. A lot of the time, people who commit microaggressions are not even aware that they’re doing it, but that does not make it any less hurtful. Or, any less of an issue in the workplace.

What Can You Do?

If you’re the one experiencing microaggressions, it can be difficult to know how to react in these situations. You may be anxious when it comes to conflict or feel like you need to protect your job. However, it is important to remember that you have a right to feel comfortable in your workplace.

Get Those Assertive Skills Ready

One way to deal with microaggressions is to be assertive when they happen. This doesn’t mean getting into a full-blown argument with the aggressor but being firm in expressing how you feel. For example, if someone asks you an intrusive question about your race, you can say something like, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about that” or “I would rather not discuss that.”

You can also redirect the conversation by changing the subject.

This makes it clear that you are not going to engage in that type of conversation. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to fake or pretend that the microaggressions don’t bother you. However, you don’t have to share or dissent either. You can simply say that you don’t want to talk about it and move on.

Prepare Ahead of Time

If you know a certain individual or group is prone to microaggressions, it can be helpful to prepare ahead of time. This way, you’re not caught off guard and can have responses ready. Practice saying them out loud so that you feel confident and comfortable using them at the moment.

For example, if an aggressor is often asking about your political views, you may be thinking “what do I do if he says something political? I don’t want to lose my job or imply collusion with his own politics…” Instead of getting caught up in that thought, you can say, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about politics at work”. Or, “I would rather not discuss that.”

Go to a Supervisor or HR

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If you have told the individual or group that you are not engaging in that type of conversation and they continue to press the issue or make you feel uncomfortable, it may be time to go to a supervisor or HR. This is especially true if their behavior is making it difficult for you to do your job. Or, starts to affect your mental or physical health.

Receive EMDR Treatment

EMDR is beneficial for those who experience anxiety, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts related to their trauma. EMDR can help you process and work through the emotions you are feeling due to the microaggressions that are occurring in your workplace. It can also help you to develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with future situations.

EMDR Can Help

If you’re dealing with microaggressions on a regular basis or the aftermath of them, it may be helpful to seek EMDR treatment. This is a type of therapy that can help you process and heal from trauma. It can be incredibly helpful in dealing with the effects of microaggressions, whether they are happening currently or in the past. This way you can start to feel better and move on with your life. EMDR can benefit you by:

Shows a woman in therapy. Represents how EMDR in Orange County can help with micro aggressions.
  • allowing you to process and heal from the trauma of microaggressions
  • helping you to feel better about yourself and your work
  • providing you with tools and strategies to deal with microaggressions in the future

Microaggressions are a real issue in the workplace and can have a serious impact on your mental, emotional, and physical health. If you’re dealing with microaggressions, know that you’re not alone and there are things you can do to deal with them. However, it’s important to know that you don’t deserve to be treated this way and you have a right to feel comfortable in your workplace.

Begin EMDR Therapy in Orange County

Microaggressions can hurt but you don’t have to deal with them alone. Our team of caring therapists is here to support you heal and find solutions that work for you. To start your therapy journey with Moxie Family Therapy, please follow these simple steps:

Other Therapy Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy

At Moxie Family Therapy, we know dealing with microaggressions can be difficult. But, it might not be the only thing going on in your life. This is why our therapists provide a variety of therapy services online and in-person at our Orange County, CA-based practice. We offer counseling for young adultschildrenwomenteens, and couples. Additionally, we offer therapy for therapistsclinical supervision, adoption therapyart therapy, and play therapy. Our team is also happy to support the LGBTQ+ community. Contact us today and learn how we can help you reclaim your moxie.

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