Bullying, as we all know, does not discriminate. It has no age limits. I would like to touch based on adults and the workplace. I think sometimes we forget that bullying takes place in a variety of arenas not just schools. As we all know adults are just as capable of bullying if you recently read the story about the teacher who supposedly brainwashed young boys into bullying another. You can find the link in our news section. This is much more common than anybody would think. It happens on a daily basis whether it is about power or status in a company, and some people feel it is ok to treat others as if they are beneath them. I recently gave someone advice on an employee who was extremely stubborn and hard headed in this manner; however, so was the person asking me for advice, which makes the situation even more toxic. Regardless if someone works over you or is the actual boss, it does not give them the right to treat you with disrespect or in a condescending manner. Respect goes both ways, but some do not see it that way. We all feel we must remain quiet and take it due to fear of losing our job; however, can you truly be happy in this atmosphere if it is out of control? This is what you must consider.
Bullying at work can get pretty intense, which brings me back to someone getting fired. We are not discussing a simple disagreement or argument here. This also brings up the topic of anger and resentment that settles in. Bullying can lead someone to go over the edge. My advice is to act with some understanding and compassion as much as possible. It might seem difficult at first and even confusing as you feel justified, but it is not worth the moments that you will never get back wasting your time. People do not always change their ways though we might want them too. We are all stuck in our ways in some form or another. You never know what a person might be going through, but that is not an excuse to take their frustration out on another. That being said, we can always be the better person and just walk away; however, it could have a positive or negative outcome when they see you don’t care and stop or they do it more because you don’t speak up. If it continues to get out of control, tell someone. Don’t just take it to the point of insanity. At some point something will need to be said. Don’t be afraid to stand up and speak out.
You can also try to sit down with the person and have a conversation with them about how you feel you are being treated or even mediation. It is sometimes better to try to handle it with the person first to see what the issue or problem is, but that is not always the case. Unfortunately, the more a bully knows you are afraid, the more they will bully you. They know they can get the best of you, which is what you have to not let them do. The emotions that it causes are painful and hurtful. They will only fester until they explode in a way you might not be able to control. That is what you want to avoid at all costs.
I know at times you will feel that you did absolutely nothing wrong, and chances are you have not, but that is not the way a bully sees it. They see black and white. They feel justified just as much as you do in their actions towards another, and somewhere they are lacking something or needing something in their life. Again, this does not give anybody the right to bully someone else by any means. It is unacceptable in any situation. The best reaction is to first try and avoid confrontations as much as possible to see if that works. If that is not an option, find one that will be best suited for YOU. Do not ignore it if it continues.
Often we might sit there and take it for so long until it becomes impossible to handle. DO NOT do this. This is only hurting you more. There will be times it is not even worth answering back or arguing because you will not win. That being said, I can’t stress enough to stand up for yourself…without violence or harm of course. There is no harm in doing this in an appropriate way. You don’t want to become the bully. We all get in tiffs with our friends or angry. We all have disagreements and even speak harsh words or just have unhealthy relationships. This is where you either get rid of the relationship, step back, or really have a heart to heart.
This type of situation is not bullying or harassment. This is a simply a toxic friendship or relationship with another. We all have them or have had them, especially in intimate relationships. People confuse the two, and easily so. There is a major difference if you actually look up the definition of what a bully is or what harassment entails. Can we be a bully sometimes due to what we are going through? Yes. Does that mean we live life as a bully or do it everyday? No! We have all been there. If you deny that, then you are in denial. We all have a tendency within. We can be defensive or justified. These are all very different things, especially when someone is going through something that either you understand or do not understand. Look at the picture a bit more clearly before you accuse. If you are so angry in many moments in your life, then you need to take a deep look into that and why. Take care of you. I wanted to touch base on that topic because we do not want to make silly accusations based off of how we perceive something that is not the actually truth. In getting back to being an actual bully, if we do not take the bullies out of their comfort zone, they will continue to torture their victims. Work is a difficult situation to assess because of the fact that nobody wants to cause unwarranted tension in their job.
Who doesn’t want to be happy at their job and enjoy what they do? Nobody needs nor wants a bully. If you feel stuck because you can’t get another job, there are always other options. Talk. Always talk about your feelings to someone and reach out. This is vital. Let the bully know you are not going to accept what they are doing. If you are a witness or bystander, it is crucial that you not ignore the situation either. Say something or report the person. Don’t see it as getting someone in trouble or telling on someone. A work environment should not be stressful or chaotic. You won’t be stepping on anybody’s toes by reporting unacceptable behavior. It comes down to you or them, and a choice has to be made. Will there be consequences? There could be, as it is not an open and shut case. This is why it is important to be strong and stand your ground with both feet firmly on the floor.
I say this as I have had to do it myself. I speak from experience in the work environment and both times I made a move that ended it in some form. I too have a strong personality. I am Italian, I am from New York (that alone is enough…LOL. I like to insert humor into everything I write), and have a genetic disposition to be strong minded and sometimes very stubborn. I like to be honest and speak my mind, but some take things the wrong way or out of context. This happens often as well. Sometimes we might sound passive aggressive or come across as angry, especially when you are not hearing a voice; however, they were just moments for me as they have been for all of us at one time or another. That being said, I was the opposite most of the time. I was too nice and now if I see an issue creeping up, I quickly put an end to it or simply ignore the person to show them they will no longer stress me out. I had to let them see they have no affect on me as they once might have. People can be abrasive and condescending and nobody should be treated this way. There is no excuse for it. The workplace should be a place of teamwork. Ideally, not all workplaces are full of dancing unicorns and leprechauns; however, we are not talking common workplace problems or occurrences that are easily fixed. Bullying is a major deal and should not be taken lightly in any context.
Bullying does not belong in schools, the workplace, the home, or anywhere. The problem is that though strides are being made there is still a great deal of work to be done. Here at BKO we have our eyes on many projects and goals that we are consistently working on. Little by little each one will get done. One voice can create thousands. Believe in you, believe in faith, believe in others, and believe in change.
Written by Dana Jacoviello
Creator, Manager, Writer, Cyber bully investigator, mentor/coach or Bullies Keep Out aka BKO