Bullying can take lots of different forms.
Physical or psychological.
Being talked about
They are all painful, alienating and in some cases can be frightening.
Whatever form your bullying takes, it can make you feel anything from irritated to devastated.
This can happen in any group of people. At work, or even at home or amongst your friends.
Just because you are close friends with or related to someone, it doesn't mean that their bullying 'doesn't count'.
You might feel worthless, alone, tearful and unsupported.
And it’s not always the case that you only feel like this when the bullying is going on, often it’s all the time.
If you feel this way then the bully has done their job.
The purpose for the bully is usually to make you feel lesser than them.
To make you feel that you’re not as good as others.
That you don’t matter.
That you are worthless and no-one cares.
This isn’t true.
None of it is true.
You are worthy, you do matter and people do care.
I do understand how it feels to be bullied. I also understand that telling you at this point in time that you are worthy may not seem totally plausible. But believe me you are.
Something to understand about a bully is that they are not happy within themselves. They are very insecure. They are essentially taking their frustrations and insecurities out on you.
If they make you feel a lesser person than them, then by default they can feel better than you. Not a very satisfactory or sustainable way for them to feel good.
It is quite sad that their only way of rising above others is to physically or metaphorically beat them down rather than rising in others estimation by being nice.
So how does knowing this help, you may wonder?
I believe it can. Here are some tips for the immediate future, starting with how that piece of knowledge can help:
1. Believe in yourself. You are worthy, you do matter and people do care. Being bullied is not a negative reflection on you but a negative reflection on those who are treating you badly.
Remember that you don’t deserve what they are doing to you. They are the ones at fault. Think about this. When you are alone, concentrate on yourself. Think about what we’ve said here and remind yourself every day that these people are having problems of their own. You are a valid and worthy person.
2. Talk to someone. Do you have a friend, a colleague or partner that you can talk to? If so, call them or text them right this minute and tell them that you need to get together to talk.
Tell them what’s going on. They may be in a position to support you either practically or emotionally.
3. Take action against it. What that action consists of will depend on the type of bullying that you’re experiencing and who is doing it. It may be a case of walking away, talking it through with them or reporting it to a person in authority.
A very difficult pill to swallow is that no-one can make you feel anything. The choice of how to react to any given situation is yours.
I appreciate that this may feel like a slap in the face at the moment but remember it because it will help you as time goes on.
The way that we choose to act or react says a lot about us. It sends off signals. It might say ‘I love myself’. It might say ‘I’m not worthy’.
If it is a bully that is reading the signals that we’re giving off , to them, you may be saying ‘I’m fair game’.
The fact that we give off signals is tricky one on a couple of different levels.
The first is that giving off these signals isn’t necessarily a conscious thing.
What we’re feeling is ’I’m really nice, a bit insecure and in desperate need of some friends’.
Someone nice reading those signals might take you under their wing and protect you.
Someone else may see it as a great opportunity for some bullying.
The second is that sometimes we give off these signals for a reason.
An example if this might be that you’ve just started a new job. It’s your dream job and you don’t want to do anything to jeopardise things. When the boss then starts being rude about you in front of others, you laugh nervously, knowing that the boss's actions are unacceptable but unwilling to risk this great work opportunity.
Before you know it the whole work place treats you with the same derision that the boss did on that first day and it becomes unbearable for you.
So it’s not a failing in you that might make you end up being bullied.
It's very often just circumstances.
What is in your control however is how you react to it.
I had very much first-hand experience of bullying when I was at school.
The ring leader was expert at it and to be fair I’d watched her do it to others since we first started senior school but didn’t realise the impact it was having until she turned on me during the last year.
It was cowardly bullying in the form of ostracism. I didn’t see it coming and didn’t recognise it for what it was in the beginning.
To this day I don’t know what it was supposed to be about although I know the real reason to be insecurity on the part of the ring leader.
The way I chose to deal with it was to carry on as if I hadn’t noticed. This kept me safe in one sense but it was a horrible year.
Prior to this, bullying was ‘tried’ on me on several occasions.
And this is how I came to the conclusion that it’s how we chose to accept it that determines how it plays out.
Now I wasn’t a hard-nut by any means. And I wasn’t part of the cool crowd.
The thing that saved me from bullying was that I didn’t recognise it as a concept.
I simply didn’t accept that someone could treat another person in such a horrible way when they weren’t anything special themselves.
If the bullies at my school had been impressive people maybe I wouldn’t have had the same experience but to me they were very mediocre run-of-the-mill people and so I couldn’t see the power that they apparently had. I didn’t get it.
As a result, any attempt by them at intimidation fell on deaf ears.
The consequence of that was that I didn’t get bullied by them. Whilst it wasn’t a conscious strategy, I didn’t let them bully me and so they couldn’t.
Whilst I wasn’t part of the cool crowd, I would say hello to them quite happily. I fully recognised they were cool and I wasn’t - which I was Ok with – and inevitably they would hang around in a different group to me. We were just two different groups of people as far as I saw it.
So my experience was that because I didn’t ‘let’ them bully me, they couldn’t.
This wasn’t a conscious thing at the time. Had I fully grasped the situation I may well have felt nervous and fallen foul to it but the point I’m demonstrating here is that I believe that what saved me was the fact that I didn’t respond or react and therefore they had no power over me.
Key points to keep you from bullying:
1. Believe in yourself.
2. Recognise the failings of the bullies
3. Know that they are essentially cowards and will only pick low hanging fruit.
4. Don’t be low hanging fruit! Head up high and refuse to accept that they have any power…..because they don’t unless you give it to them.
I appreciate that these things are easier said than done.
Whether you are the bully or the bullied, I urge you to get some help.
Get to the bottom of why you are doing it to others, or why you are allowing others to do it to you.
As a bully, your behaviour will be an indication of something else going on inside. If you don't address this, it will not only mean that others around you will suffer but you will too. You will never find true happiness feeling this way. It will be affecting you as negatively as it's effecting those that you bully.
As a victim of bullying, if you leave the emotions that you are experiencing unaddressed, they may stay with you forever. You may find yourself in a life coaching session in 20 years time talking about how the bullying you experienced made you feel that you couldn’t pursue the career path that you wanted, the relationship that you wanted, the happiness that you deserved.
Bullying is unacceptable behaviour and you deserve to be free from this and able to enjoy your life.
Whether you are being bullied at work, at home or socially, please do get in touch to talk about this and see how I might help.
I do understand how you feel and believe me, there is a way forward.
Who do you turn to?
How do you make it stop?
How do you get to feeling better?
Let's talk. I can help you to feel better within yourself and be able to handle the situation you in.
You are not alone.
by Jessica Hylands Confidence Coach