Unless and until our society recognizes bullying for what it is, the suffering of thousands of silent victims will continue.
Most bullies grow to become great big jerks. They graduate from snatching lunch boxes and pocket money to harassing, putting down, and even undermining their colleagues at work. If you have one within your circle of influence, here are some tips for understanding and dealing with bullies, no matter how old you are.
Stop Playing the Victim: The bully singled you out because they see you as weak and vulnerable. As is customary to bullies, they look for someone with some kind of trait that they can exploit. Bullies are looking for people that are willing to submit to their power play. If you make it look like the bully’s actions and words don’t affect you, it ruins it for them. Try to keep your ego in check and let it all roll over you.
- If someone keeps making jokes at your expense, laugh along with them.
- If someone makes sarcastic, fake compliments, thank them.
- When someone says something rude, pretend that you didn’t hear them.
- If someone harps on the same mistake or accident you made, tell them that you don’t care about that anymore.
- Keep your cool if you do anything embarrassing so you don’t give them any fuel.
Separate Yourself from the Bully: As an adult, you have a lot more control over the situation than you did when you were a kid. You may not be able to “tell the teacher,” but you also can choose how you spend your time. You’re not necessarily stuck with them as you might have been in a school situation.
Take a Stand: For some bullies, a little more force might be needed. If a bully keeps pushing you despite your other efforts, you need to push back. Not physically, of course, but verbally. If there’s one thing that bullies hate more than someone shrugging off their flak, it’s someone standing up to them. Many bullies will back down at the first sign of resistance, so this can be highly effective.
Tell Someone Who Can Help: Despite your best efforts, some bullies just won’t go down easily. When things have gone too far and you can’t seem to get them off of your back, it’s time to ask for help. It’s not weak or lame to reach out to others for help with your situation. It’s good to see how you can handle things on your own first, but some battles just can’t be fought alone.