How to Handle Bullying
Bullies Are Weak
Bullying is not a sign of strength, it’s a sign of weakness. In order to be able to handle bullies, we have to understand why they victimise others.
People who bully may well have been bullied themselves or else they feel powerless in some other area of their lives. They bully to give themselves power or control over something. They generally prey on the weak, on those whom they feel confident will not fight back. However, in some instances a bully who is challenged can in turn become even more vicious, stooping to unscrupulous methods of retaliation.
Victimisation of others is a way of masking the bully’s own insecurities or inadequacies.
Types Of Bullying
Bullying takes on many forms and there are several different types of bully. However, they all have the same result; they cause misery and stress-related illnesses to their victims.
Bullying isn’t just physical. Emotional bullying can be just as brutal.
Bullying is being constantly criticised, belittled, humiliated, threatened or verbally abused. In the work environment, it can also mean being excluded, being overloaded with work, fabricating or twisting things that you have said, taking credit for your ideas or achievements, refusing to allow training or blocking promotion.
What You Should Do If You Are Being Bullied?
· Some people do nothing. Ignoring the bully who taunts and makes unkind comments can sometimes cause them to turn their attentions to someone else. This may solve the problem for you, but only by transferring the misery to the bully’s next victim
· Keep a journal of dates, times, places and detailed accounts of bullying incidents, including the names of any witnesses present. If you are able to secretly record conversations to substantiate any accusations you decide to make, even better. A bully will often lie and cheat, but over a period of time they are bound to trip up, so recording events, accusations, criticisms and conversations as they occur can serve as evidence in the future
· Tell someone – a trustworthy colleague, a friend, your partner, your parents or even your manager if it is appropriate
· Learn to be assertive. This may seem like a difficult option if you are essentially a passive person. However, becoming more assertive will not only help you to cope with bullying behaviour, it can assist you in all other areas of communication in your life and help to improve relationships and your self-confidence. When the bully realises that he or she can’t dominate you, you are one step closer to solving the problem
· Contact a bully support line or an appropriate organisation such as The Commission for Racial Equality or Public Concern at Work for example
· Write a formal letter of complaint to the bully highlighting what they are doing to you and how it makes you feel. State that although you do not wish to take further action, you will be forced to do so should the victimisation continue. Depending on who is bullying you, courtesy copy the letter to your line manager, your solicitor or your teacher
· Contact your Personnel/Human Resources’ department if you are being bullied at work. Personnel staff are trained to treat employee information and personal grievances in the strictest confidence
· Many companies have an anti bullying policy and if they fail to address a bullying problem, you may have a legal case against the company
· There are many legal Acts that may cover your particular situation. Some of these are the Sex Discrimination Act 1974, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Criminal Justice and Public Law Act 1994, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
· Make the bully your friend. This is a difficult one, especially when you are dealing with negative feelings such as anger and mistrust. However, when you make an attempt to empathise and understand the reasons behind the bullying, you gain empowerment and no longer feel so threatened by their behaviour
Bully in Sight by Tim Field, published by Success Unlimited
For children: (How do I feel about) Bullies and Gangs by Julie Johnson, published by Copper Beech Books
www.accesseric.org:81/resources/parent/bullying.html - (What Should Parents and Teachers Know About Bullying?)
www.parentbookstore.com/bullying.htm - (Resources for Parents and Teachers)
www.htest.careerbuilder.com/wl_work_9908_bullying.html – (Workplace bullying - When a co-worker is the target of a boss's abusive behaviour.)
Jan Andersen 1999 E-Mail [email protected]