Everyone has had a time in their lives when they have been a victim of bullying of some sort or another. We tend to think of such an occurrence as somehow related to children, but the truth of the matter is, adults can also experience this behavior from other adults.
As children the bullying is often seen in grade school. Perhaps one child is not as popular as other children, maybe the child is slower, or maybe the child is smarter – in any case the bully perceives the child to be different in some way, so therefore easy prey to be picked on, however the bully see’s fit. Hopefully the adults/parents of both the bully and the victim can identify the problem and work with both children to correct the problem.
Even with parental co-operation, bullying directed towards a child, can leave a life-long hurdle for that child to endure.
As adults we often see bullying towards others, but we seldom give it the proper attention it deserves. Instead of addressing the problem as “bullying” we label the bullies with titles that are “suitable” in our society. Titles like – “over achievers; keeners; work - aholics.” I’ve even heard such persons labeled as “True professionals”.
Bullies in the workforce, often take professional titles. Sometimes (not always) they do wear manager and supervisor’s hats - sometimes they don’t – but they really want to, and the only way they think they can – is to treat others like they are nothing of any consequence to anyone what-so-ever.
I’d be willing to bet that some adult bullies, were also bullies as children. Realistically I believe that most would like to be more than they are, so they prey on people that they think they can take advantage of to get where they want to go. They want to be noticed, perhaps by someone of authority. They want to appear better than the next guy, they want to bolster their own image – so they deflate someone else’s.
I would also be willing to bet that most employers deliberately allow bullies to continue their practices because it is embarrassing to have to deal with such individuals in an “adult” environment. After all… it’s all harmless…. Right? And maybe in some way bullies can actually accomplish what managers can not… you know… whip the staff in shape… ensure the most productivity possible…
If you believe you are a victim of such behavior it is imperative that you protect yourself – especially in the work environment. Document conversations and situations where you have had contact with the “bully”. If you have someone available to talk to about your experience – do so. Avoid the bully – don’t give them the opportunity to use anything you say or do against you. If you have to work closely with this person – stick to business only… no idle chit – chat. Never let them know they are getting to you – don’t show your emotions - keep cool.
Sooner or later the bully will expose themselves and you will have your day of sunshine…
I used to hate the saying “What goes around, comes around” mostly because a bully I knew used it on a daily basis – directed at me. The saying proved to be true – one day the bully was gone… and I reveled in the bright, bright sunshine!
The world is full of difficult people. Unfortunately we all have to meet a few along the way... No one gets to escape the unpleasant aspects of life, but we can support each other through the unpleasant times and help those we can help.