It is deadly, can break up a family, or hurt a career.
I was always acutely aware of the rumour mill within the department. Growing up, the hallways were thick with chatter, lies or over exaggerations. There was nowhere to turn. The department had 2 physiologists on hand for anyone to go talk to, but guess what, they were the worst gossipers. They were known to find out information and would then spread it like wildfire.
I was trained to avoid them at any function, and my Father explicitly told anyone who worked for him, to avoid them if they wanted to keep their career intact.
Can you imagine, needing to talk to someone, but not being able to? The professionals who were hired to listen to you, end up ruining your career, especially if you have what we now know as PTSD?
So, when I joined, I knew the rules. Never talk to anyone about anything, and never talk behind anyone’s back. The psychologists were long gone, but there were a few key people who were so nasty, you knew never to give them any reason to spread a rumour about you.
There is something so toxic, so incredibly nasty, and yet, the nature of the department and its culture were never changing.