Navigating the Maze of Workplace Dynamics: Introducing the DARVO Series

In the complex and ever-changing workplace, we face a variety of challenges and interactions that test not only our skills but also our character. As we strive to create a workplace culture that reflects the health, vitality, and integrity that we all value, it is essential to acknowledge the complexities of human relationships. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It is this transformation and renewal that inspire us to look within and around us—to recognize and refine our behaviors in the light of God’s truth.

As we seek to build healthy workplace culture, we need to understand and address behaviors that undermine trust and accountability. This is why I feel led to guide us through an exploration of a concept known as DARVO—an acronym for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. Developed by Dr. Jennifer Freyd, this pattern can be a subtle yet potent force that disrupts harmony and clarity in our interactions.

This series of articles will dive into DARVO, offering insight into how it might manifest in our workplace and, importantly, within ourselves. Here’s a glimpse of what we will explore together:

  • Understanding DARVO – Unveiling the Tactic: Unpacking what DARVO is and its origins.
  • The Screening Process – Identifying DARVO Tendencies in Potential Hires: How to discern and deter these tendencies in our teams.
  • Leadership Challenges – Dealing with DARVO as an Employer: Strategies for leaders to address and heal DARVO-affected dynamics.
  • Navigating DARVO Among Peers – A Coworker’s Guide: Practical advice for recognizing and handling DARVO in our daily interactions.
  • Self-Defense Against DARVO – Protecting Yourself and Others: Empowerment to face DARVO with courage and clarity.
  • Creating a DARVO-Free Workplace – An Organizational Approach: Cultivating an environment resistant to DARVO’s divisive impact.

In these discussions, we will look to help reveal in more detail the nature of DARVO, as well as, to hold up a mirror to our own hearts and habits. It is a journey of reflection and humility, recognizing that none of us are beyond reproach, and all of us are in continual need of the grace and redemption that Jesus offers.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) This prayer encapsulates the posture with which we approach our topic: with a willingness to learn, to change, and to grow.

I pray that we will not only become quick to be able to spot the signs of DARVO but also develop a personal awareness of how our own actions and responses may need changing. Let us be open to God’s work within us, molding us to be leaders and coworkers who reflect His love and truth. And in those moments when we recognize DARVO—whether directed at us or coming from us—let us respond not with defensiveness, but with the humility and strength that our faith inspires.

Let’s try to make our workplaces into places where integrity, trust, and humility are the foundation of our professional relationships and our collective success.