Unless you were homeschooled in the wild or have some type of supernatural luck, you’ve probably tangled with a mean girl or bully at some point in your life. Unfortunately, bullies grow up and get jobs, so you might just run into them again in the workplace, on social media or even in your close-knit neighborhood community. Bullying is not just succumbed to childhood but it is also very prevalent in adulthood as well. Unfortunately, adult bullying behavior identically reflects childhood bully behavior: it methodically targets a person with the intention to intimidate, undermine, or degrade. The same tactics get used, too: gossip, sabotage, exclusion, public shaming, and many other conscious behaviors. Many adult victims feel as though they cannot take any action against bullying out of fear they may cause trouble, lose their job or be viewed as weak; however, there are many steps adults can take to discourage bullying and stand up to their perpetrator.
Take the issue seriously and present it in an objective manner
Yes, bullying can be a huge hit to your ego and it can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety however you must report this behavior from an objective standpoint. Whether you are reporting this behavior to school officials, your managers at work or to legal authorities; make sure you have all the facts documented in detail and try not to bring your subjective feelings into the matter. If you feel as though your boss or teacher will not take these complaints seriously then go two or three level higher up the ladder; talk to the school principal or your manager’s boss. Keep it straightforward and low on emotion. Rehearsing your story beforehand with friends, family, or your therapist will help you stay calm and collected. Use words such as “harassment”, or “abuse” as these terms have higher connotations in the legal system and oftentimes the term “bullying” may be displayed to others as juvenile.
Take care of your mental health
Bullying can be damaging to your mental health. Bullying can lead many adults to drink excessively, self-medicate, overeat and disengage from friends and family. Other adults will choose to fight back in a negative manner, which can result in self-destruction. Avoid succumbing to bad behaviors and make sure you are leaning on support from family and friends during this time.
Don’t let your bully know you are affected by their behavior
Bullying is a well-thought out manipulative behavior to cause harm or damage to another individual. Bullies want to hurt you. Victims of bullying should not confront their bully and they should completely disengage from the individual. It is important to not fight the bully but instead fight the actions by reporting them to the proper authorities.
Don’t be a bystander
If you see another adult being bullied, stand up for that adult. Help them document what is occurring, offer positive affirmations and provide any help or advice they may need. By allowing bullying to take place around you, you are indirectly supporting this behavior.
Don’t blame yourself
Sometimes, bullying can be so camouflaged and insidious that we start to blame ourselves. You did not ask for this, you do not deserve this and you may never know why the bully decided to target you.
Be prepared to step away
If you have reported this abuse and nothing is getting done, it may be time to step away from your job or find a new school. Bullying can result in severe psychological effects that can carry over into your personal life and no job is worth that kind of abuse.