Most of us have witnessed or experienced bullying at some point in our adult lives and we know it isn’t pleasant, but when we talk about bullying, most of us immediately think about our schooldays.
So, What happens when that school bully grows up?
Do they change or do they carry on bullying?
Who do they target?
Why do they need to bully anyone at all?
Why do we let them get away with it?
The bully you know could be:
- in your family:
- someone you grew up with – brother, sister, father, mother, cousin…
- someone you go out with or are married to
- someone related to your partner
- someone who married into your family
- a neighbour
- a ‘friend’
- a friend’s partner
- a colleague
- your boss
- someone you encountered by chance – on a train or in a coffee shop
For some of us one of the biggest feats is recognising that we are being bullied at all. Bullies are very good at making us feel that we are in the wrong – and people can suffer for years before they begin to understand where the problem really lies.
Consider these questions:
(Adapted from ‘Stop Walking on Eggshells’ – Paul Mason/Randi Kreger – New Harbinger Publications Inc -California 1998)
- Do you find yourself hiding how you think or feel because you are afraid of the other person’s reaction?
- Are you blamed and criticized for everything that goes wrong – even when it makes no logical sense?
- Are you the focus of intense and irrational rages – alternating with periods when the other person is normal and loving?
- Is the person always denigrating or denying your point of view?
- Do you feel that their expectations of you are constantly changing, so you can never do anything right?
- Do you feel that it is impossible to address any of these issues with the person because:
- they won’t accept that anything they’ve done needs discussing?
- they deny they’ve done anything?
- as soon as you begin to speak about it, the the conversation turns into a catalogue of your faults, none of which stand up to scrutiny?
- Do you fear that if you approached anybody about it, nobody would believe you because the person is so charming and helpful to everyone else?
- Do you feel that you have no support and have to face the bully by yourself?
There are no quick-fixes when you are being bullied, but understanding your own emotional and physical responses can help you to recognise the dynamics of a relationship and allow you to make more effective decisions and choices.
28th March 2016