Bullies Are Not Just in School Yards

By September 1, 2011Career, General

Call it micro managing, harassment or bullying; it all kind of boils down to produce the same effects on its victims. Interestingly enough the people who are most often victims are not who we might expect to be anyone’s victim. Adult bullies are most often very competitive people who are intimidated by anyone who they, for many reasons, perceive as a threat. Their victims are the persons in the workplace (be it paid or volunteer) who stand up and speak up for the people they represent (i.e., teachers for students, nurses for patients, the co-worker who becomes the voice of his/her colleagues, etc.).

Bullies are often in a position of power or they report directly to someone who is in a position of power. They have no conscience when it comes to telling lies about their victims or manipulating circumstances if it will prevent their victims from being heard. Most victims are reasonable and responsible people. Part of the problem is they are “too” responsible, whereby they accept the responsibility for making a situation better. What they fail to realize is that there is no making a situation acceptable to a bully flagyl tablets. Victims often try to work things out without going to management typically because they are reasonable and believe a solution to any problem is attainable. They fail to recognize they are ‘playing the bullies’ game’ which involves keeping the behaviors covert.

Bullying, like emotional abuse, works to erode one’s sense of self. It keeps the victim ‘off balance’ and out of control. The problem is not in any one interaction or event involving the bully but is the cumulative effect of a number of incidents over time. Regretfully, when victims try to make sense of their situation, they are often offered solutions to problems (by well meaning people) that would be acceptable if the person they were dealing with was reasonable and responsible. Bullies are not reasonable nor do they accept responsibility for their bullying behavior. Bullies are most apt to bully one on one, so ensure all communication is in writing and/or witnessed when possible.

If victims are to heal, they need to stop trying to make logical sense of illogical behaviors.

It is important that victims report the abuse and recognize it for what it truly is abuse. People who have never been bullied tend to minimize the effects of the bullies’ behavior on the victims. Thus victims are often not understood and are therefore not affirmed, and until they feel heard, no healing will take place. It is also important that the victims speak up for themselves with the same passion they would for the people they represent.

Victims need to be empowered. Contrary to how it feels, bullying is not personal. It is about the bullies and their perception of how the victims are a threat. It is not about the victim. Thinking they have no control victims can feel as though the consequences of reporting the abuse is more than they can risk, which leaves them feeling helpless and hopeless. They need to believe that although they may not like their choices, they do in fact have them. Victims experience significant trauma. Showing themselves compassion and taking time to grieve will help with healing. Talking with a trained professional can also help. Bullies count on the fact that people in general do not like conflict and that they most often work to avoid it regardless of the cost. Get informed and learn to deal with conflict.

Bullies are cowards who really don’t care who they hurt. Many bullies are known in their workplace for who they are but are avoided by many bystanders who are afraid of the victimization. I understand the role of the bystander, but I have no respect for it. Some bullies may not understand the effects of their behavior on others. All bullies need to be confronted and told their behavior will not be tolerated. They need to understand the consequences of choosing not to stop.

There is valuable information on the Internet. I found the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety web site quite informative (www.ccohs.ca). Speak up! Don’t make bullying your problem.

Author Carol Shirley

Carol successfully counsels adults, adolescents, families in a wide range of areas including anxiety, depression, grief, loss and adjustment issues. Carol is experienced in facilitating behavioral changes in children and adolescents, reducing sibling rivalry, enhancing low self-esteem and finding alternatives to aggressive or acting-out behavior. Carol also helps both children and parents cope with the turmoil of divorce, the challenge of single parenting and softening the turmoil associated with moving to a new home or community. Carols works with parents who are seeking to improve the communication, conflict resolution and/or discipline skills. Through all of this, her gentle, accepting and sensitive manner helps make the learning and counselling process feel safe. Carol is skilled in workshops or topics such as anxiety, depression, grief/loss, learning disabilities, assertiveness, and stress reduction both generally and in the workplace. Carol is experienced in conducting, analyzing and utilizing psycho-educational aptitude and educational tests. Her work often goes beyond merely identifying attitude or achievement levels as Carol’s findings determine the manner in which the student most readily takes in and processes information. By identifying this, Carol can then help students, parents and educators to construct an efficient approach that enhances the student’s educational achievement by custom- building a strategy and approach that maximizes learning success. Whenever appropriate, Carol is comfortable going to the school and directly communicating her findings to the teachers and resource teacher. Furthermore, her availability doesn’t end when the assessment and meetings are completed. As the year progresses, Carol can serve as an advocate for the student and bridge any misunderstanding between parent, teacher and student. This follow-through is critically important to minimize the chance of misunderstanding, labeling, frustration, acting-out behavior and ultimately long-term failure and deeply entrenched negative self-esteem.

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