Smarter Ways to Deal With a Bully
It’d be nice to think that once you’re out of school, you’d be done with bullies for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, that can be far from the truth, as anyone who’s ever had a bullying boss, co-worker, or friend can attest.
We all know what bullying looks like as a kid: name-calling, pushing, meanness, just to name a few. But how do you know that someone is an adult bully?
Often, in the name of security and keeping the peace, we may let bullying just roll off our backs. But if someone you know is a bully, they may take subtle actions such as:
- Ignoring you – This is a form of disrespect and aims to control you by keeping you guessing and never knowing. You make a request or ask a question, and don’t get a response.
- Being late, or not showing up at all – Again, this is another form of disrespect, but it can sometimes have more serious consequences, such as missing an important appointment or being late for a meeting.
- Starting rumors – The bully that starts untrue rumors is seeking to sabotage you and your reputation. Seeing you react (or overreact) to hearing lies told about yourself is what they thrive on.
- Passive-aggressive behavior – Backwards compliments, deliberate procrastination, having to have the last word…these are all examples of passive-aggressive behavior that a bully might exhibit.
These are only a few examples of how a bully might act like an adult to control a situation. How you handle each situation is the key to taking away the bully’s power.
First and foremost, if you find yourself being bullied a lot as an adult, take a close look at whether you’re playing the victim. Due to your upbringing, you may not even realize that you’re doing it, but often, a bully will instinctively aim for the person who already has a victim mentality. If that’s you, you’ll need to learn to stand up for yourself and become more assertive in the face of the bully.
If all else fails, simply separate yourself from the bully. This may be more difficult to accomplish in a work situation, but be creative, and try to create space between you and the bully. The less you are around them, the less harm they can do.
Also, try to remember that most bullies end up that way because of low self-esteem and a fragile sense of self-worth. By asserting yourself, you take away the bullies’ power, and maybe…just maybe…you’ll show them that they don’t have to be that way.
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