We tend to think of bullying as something that happens in the school yard. You certainly don’t instantly think of adult bullies.
You would think that as we have evolved as a society, bullying would be less acceptable and less prominent in day to day life.
Once upon a not so long ago, teachers were caning their students, trades demoralising their apprentices and many a work force ruled with an iron fist.
You would think … that in a society focused on diversity, that endorses and spends millions of dollars improving ‘bonding’ in corporate teams to increase productivity and a society intent on taking a hard-line with school yard bullies, we would be different. Better.
But we all know this isn’t always the case.
Bullying is as rife today as it always has been, it just takes shape in more subtle and manipulative ways. But equally as painful.
For me, I have experienced far more bullying as an adult, than I ever did as a child.
What I have witnessed in this experience which blows my mind, is how often we all bend the knee to the bully.
We’re scared of the bully, so we give her what she wants to keep her at bay.
It’s the co-worker we’re too afraid to approach, the teenager that will rip your head off for looking at her, it’s the ex-wife that can’t let go, it’s the online troll with nothing better to do and it’s even the disorganised entrepreneurial bully that constantly mucks you around.
And so far too often, the bully gets it way. Give the baby it’s bottle.
Don’t detonate the bomb…chill.
How to handle bullies as an adult is something I seek answers on, because I don’t have them……and I need them. So, I’ve turned to my friends (people more qualified than I) for advice…
You may have heard of Rowena Hateley, the queen of women empowerment and personal development, life coach to the stars (well me and the womens Dockers team, that counts as stars right?). Well like I always do when Im stuck, I rang her up and said can you help me out with this bulling stuff and here’s what she gave me……..
We all know bullies aren’t fun, nor do they make us feel good. Crushing hurt, self-doubt and your confidence at an all-time low are some of the side effects of being on the receiving end of bullying behaviour.
Approach this issue like any other…you can’t change another’s behaviour but you can change your reaction to it and thus create change in the situation.
Firstly, let’s identify some of the different types of bullies going around…
Type 1, let’s call her moody, sulky and down right pessimistic. She is the one who manages to get her own way by imitating the black hole of Calcutta with her energy, body language, and her stare…draining!
What to do…this little lady is out of balance in the receiving department. Moody and sulky be come’s the person who is not giving enough and just sitting back and taking (who would have thought?). Encourage this person to do more, building their confidence (which is the real issue). If you haven’t got it yet…stop giving them so much to appease them, it will only make matters worse.
Type 2, the powered tripper! It’s all about control baby! She speaks at you, but doesn’t engage you. Have you heard of doing it my way or there is that highway?
She hasn’t yet taken the webinar on listening, delegating or creating a win/win scenario. She will however take your ideas…
What to do… you have heard of passive-aggressive, right? Time to stop being P/A and develop your assertion skills. Yep, you need to learn how to assert yourself. First, have some energy sessions (Reiki, Kinesiology etc). If you have been on the receiving end of this type of bullying you will have some underlying authority issues. Secondly, listen, when they stop (and they will, eventually) assert your position, directly and succinctly. Low confidence makes us mumble, stumble and whisper. Remember your body language and speak up. State what you can and will do, clearly. Be polite, positive and give compliments/gratitude where you can, this person is insecure.
Type 3, Miss Disorganised Dolly.This lady has you in a spin because she can’t get organised. Holding up your project and making you sit on your hands while simultaneously pulling your hair out…frustrating. She forgot the memo on how to answer her phone, return an email and answer that question in your text message. Have you heard she’s having a really hard time because x, y, z (fill in the blank) continuously!
What to do…it’s called boundaries people. Yep, you have to spell it out! I would like you to respond to my email by…can you write that article and have it back to me by…if I haven’t received your response by (inset date/time) I will choose another business. Communicate your needs gently, and don’t take them personally! You have done nothing wrong. This person is generally unhappy and they fear failure. But don’t let their behaviour affect you, cut and run if you have too.
Lastly, whilst writing this I’ve had lengthy discussions with friends over this topic and there are two things that I think are key to remember when it comes to bullies.
- Maintain your integrity. It’s so easy to get dragged into a mud slinging battle and reduced the same level as the bully. Keep your head up and maintain integrity at all costs – this has to pay off in the end right?
- If you rattle the cage you provoke the beast. Sometimes its best to give as little as possible for the beast to feed on, keep your interactions to the bare minimum.
Rowena is an Intuitive Life Coach with a Bachelor of Psychology, Bachelor of Science (Nursing) and Post Graduate in Midwifery. Confused about what she does? Imagine your Psychologist meets your Clairvoyant…fun, hey! Contact her for a one to one session if you are searching for help with life’s big picture issues, you know…direction, clarity and decision making, or even some much-needed therapy and energy work.