Bullying, What is Bullying?
Today there is a lot of press about Bullying. There is even a movie about it that is in theaters now. When you hear the word bully you might think about a teen-age ruffian who is constantly picking on the neighborhood wimp. Actually, bullying lasts well into adulthood. A recent survey found that 41% of American workers experienced some kind of bullying at work this year. It doesn’t only happen at work. Many find themselves tormented by fellow employees, spouses, neighbors and even aggressive friends.
Adult bullies usually have a history of being bullied in childhood by another child or an over aggressive adult. They tend to be opinionated, judgmental, and coercive. If a person repeatedly makes you feel intimated or humiliated, you are probably dealing with a bully. These people tend to abuse power, repeatedly give undeserving criticism, and have excessive expectations and repeat threats. Lying and fighting are also characteristics of a bully.
The subject of bullying came up for me in several instances in my workplace lately. One of my employees, wanting her own way, showed up at my office one day with a so called lawyer. Even though there was no legal reason for her request, she thought bringing an attorney would intimidate me. Instead I let her go. How many people do you know, when they don’t get their way threaten you with “Calling Their Lawyer”. You should tell them to go ahead and call them. Chances are you won’t hear from them again. Another bully keeps calling every one, every day with the same request, over and over hoping I’ll finally give up just to get rid of them. I won’t. Because if I do, another bully will just show up in their place until I take a stand. You don’t have to play these games or even answer the phone. The entire workplace efficiency is severely reduced because of the overwhelming energy drain the bully can put on the whole group. It’s not really your job to deal with the bully’s issues. Projection behavior and denial are hallmarks of a bully. What all bullies have in common is the use of power to satisfy one’s own psychological shortcomings.
Each time a bully moves against someone they perceive as weaker, he/she feels better about themselves for an instant. But because the feeling doesn’t last, they do it again and again. Giving into them makes it worse. Sometimes the bully appears to lack insight into their own behavior, but more often the bully just lacks the moral and ethical behavior by which the majority of people are bound. The rules don’t apply to them. Or they have so much self-hatred of the other that they believe that those they are bullying deserve exactly what they are getting. This is narcissistic behavior to the max.
People do this because of a hole inside of themselves that they are trying to fill up by being better than someone else. It gives them a sense of power and authority in the world that they may otherwise not experience. Low self-esteem, envy, jealousy, insecurity and rage are feelings that push a bully to put those feelings on someone else. They can even do it in the guise of friendship or love and can be so subtle you really believe the bully and feel bad about yourself.
So, how do you handle this? First, recognize it is happening and remember it is the bully that has the problem not you. Unless they are physically threatening you, bullies are paper tigers. If you stand up to them calmly and confront their behavior rationally, they will back down. Do not try to appease them. Let them know by your reaction that you are not cowed and quietly walk away or hang up. Think about what you want to say. I always ask “Holy Spirit let me look at this differently”. Wait until the next time they act out and call them on it. They don’t have any real power. Real power is silent and kind. Once they realize that you won’t engage in their game, they will fade away.
And lastly, if you are being bullied, ask yourself: What is the energy vibration in me that is attracting the mirror? Could I be bullying someone? Is there a weakness I need to look at?
Even though bullies exist in our world, there really are no victims, just lessons and opportunities for change. Loving yourself is the most important lesson. Only speak to me in love and kindness.