For many adults, dealing with bullies is not something that ends in childhood. In fact, some bullies grow up and continue their inappropriate behavior well into adulthood. Fortunately, as an adult, there are several steps you can take to deal with bullies and to bring an end to the torment that they try to bring into your life.
Don’t Take Ownership
Many people who are bullied by adults mistakenly believe they somehow deserve the ill-treatment they are receiving. To that end, it is important to remember that the person’s behavior is not a reflection on you and that it is not your fault. We are each responsible for our personal behavior, and this includes your bully.
While your natural reaction may be to become angry or upset by the bully’s behavior and actions, you need to do your very best to keep these emotions under control. Remember, bullies typically feel inferior or insecure in some way, so they feed off of the negative emotions they illicit from their victims. If you react to the bully’s behavior, you only encourage the bully to continue with what he or she is doing.
Many times, simply being kind and respectful toward the bully will eventually get him or her to come around. If you have encountered a workplace bully, for example, the bully’s behavior is often a response to feelings of insecurity or because the bully views you as a threat of some kind. By acting in a friendly and respectful manner toward the bully, you may be able to help ease these concerns. At the same time, you don’t want to put yourself in the position of being a pushover. So, if you have tried this tactic a few times and the bullying behavior continues, it may be time to try a different approach.
If kindness doesn’t work, your next approach should be to act assertively toward the bully. Assertive behaviors include things such as looking the bully in the eye and standing straight when addressing him or speaking in a clear and firm voice without sounding threatening when talking to her. Being assertive may also include directly addressing the issue by telling the person you have noticed signs that he is trying to bully you and asking that the behavior come to an end. Also, be sure to talk with your hands and keep them up. This creates a non threatening barrier between you and the bully. It’s much easier if the bully decides to escalate things you will be closer to stopping an oncoming attack and won’t have so much ground to make up.
Get Outside Help
If you have tried to address the problem directly and the bullying behavior continues, it may be necessary to bring in outside assistance. If at work, this person may be a trusted colleague or, if necessary, a supervisor. If it is a family situation, confiding in a friend or family member and asking for their help may be the right route to take. If the bullying has had an effect on your physical or mental health, you may also want to talk to a doctor. Another option is to take martial arts classes for adults, where you can gain the confidence it takes to stand up to a bully effectively.
Have you ever been bullied by an adult? What happened and how did you resolve it? Share your story by leaving a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.