“Bullies are cowards! And bullying is not alright!”
“PERSPECTIVES” are excerpts from my forthcoming book of the same name, available from Partridge Publications Q3 2015
Welcome to my life
“No, you don’t know what it’s like
When nothing feels all right
You don’t know what it’s like
To be like me
To be hurt
To feel lost
To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you’re down
To feel like you’ve been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down
And no one’s there to save you
No, you don’t know what it’s like
Welcome to my life”
― Simple Plan
I don’t know the author is, but this speaks volumes. Thank you for publishing it. It could just as well have been written by a bully victim.
Strange as it may sound, some people accept being bullied – especially at work – as being part of life. It is not part of life. Period. I had bosses who sometimes displayed a tendency to bully – and the relationships normally terminated soon. I don’t get bullied. And I don’t bully. I repeat my quote “Bullies are cowards. And bullying is not alright”.
Bullies repeat their behavior over time until it becomes a pattern and the victim accepts it. It is therefore very important to realize this ASAP and break the cycle.
If you cannot, then your next best option is to leave as soon as you can – whether it is a personal (husband/wife/partner) or professional (work) relationship. Bullying is not alright!
Being bullied leads to physical, emotional, mental and social issues, insecurity, anxiety, sadness, depression, headaches, not to mention feelings of worthlessness and damage to self-esteem, problems with trusting others, making friends and being social, self-hurt and even death. Victims often feel and become suicidal – and if this happens to you, please seek immediate help. Talk to a confidante, your parents, or your doctor. You are not at fault. The bully is.
And bullying is not alright.
There are a multitude of types of bullying that manifest itself in different ways, including physical violence, name-calling (are you stupid or something!), threats, visible social exclusion, spreading rumours, ignoring requests for help but extending help to others, and many more. It can be face-to-face, cyber-space or behind the victim’s back.
It is possible to be both – a bully and being bullied. I have seen it tolerated in the workplace of small companies, medium sized organizations and multi-nationals. Victims are often scared to speak up or do something about it for fear of being bullied more, lose their jobs and their income.
If violence is defined as doing harm to others, then bullying fits the definition. The day should come that it is against the law– more so than physical violence should be. (Sneak peek: I will do a blog on violence against women – which is an outrage. Please note that I am a male). I am aware that in some countries it is possible to sue but it is still not common. I would like to see a zero-tolerance approach to it – by governments.
Bullying is not alright.
Victims may – amongst other:
- Feel both angry and scared. Scared to be bullied and angry at themselves – wondering what they did wrong in life and why it is happening to them.
- Be at their wits ends and wonder if the bullying will ever stop.
- Waste precious moments of their lives, trying to figure out how for it to stop or avoid it.
- Withdraw into themselves – become lonely, feeling trapped and helpless.
- Try to please the bully beyond any reasonableness – and still keep on being bullied.
- Fear retribution. And become timid.
A friend of mine’s son – a boy of small stature – was bullied at school, his pocket money and later his food taken off him. He was then threatened with physical violence if he did not bring more money to school. He turned to stealing from his parents, started gambling thinking he can make money that way, and by the time he was in his next to final year, was expelled for taking drugs – trying to escape reality. He got into gang fights, was stabbed several times and landed up in hospital with severe injuries – his parents fearing for his life. Bullying lead to substance abuse, academic and social issues, violence. His personal, social, mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual life is a mess – to this day. And no doubt a reason for some of his parents’ grey hair. He is just but one case.
Bullying is not alright.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
If you see someone- self-harming, or hear someone talk about it, reach out and get professional help for the person as soon as possible.
Search websites. There are some very good ones.
HOW TO HANDLE IT
- Write it down. Keep a dossier, date, time, event, persons involved. Write to the person who bullies you. And keep / document any response.
- If it continues, write again, this time copying the person’s manager and HR.
- If the company has a corporate ethics or employee support group, contact them.
- Update your CV – you may have to leave your employer.
- If nothing happens, leave. That is not a company to work for.
- Let you parents take your case to the Principal. If nothing happens, move schools.
- We have mentioned above that your next best option is to leave if things do not improve permanently. Many cases exist where people have been murdered by bullying partners. It is a regular news item.
Advice to a bullying Boss: If you cannot accord people respect, take the honourable way out: Don’t manage people.
- Bullies are cowards. Bullying is not alright.
- Many people accept that bullying is a part of life. It is not.
- Bully victims run a gamut of emotions which can result in even death.
- Bullies repeat their behavior until a pattern is established. This pattern must be broken.
- Bullying is violence. It takes many forms and is done in many ways.
- Advice to bullying bosses: Stop your bullying. Respect people or give up your management position.
- Don’t be bullied. Develop the mindset that you are equal to others.
- Don’t bully.
- Face your bully.
- Seek help.
- Move out or away – if you must.
- Believe in yourself.