Bullying & Harassment

Bullying happens at any age, irrespective of gender, with no bearing on seniority (CEOs get bullied too), popularity, length of service at work or our ability to get on with people.

Bullying can be covert, such as being excluded from groups, work, decisions or information, or more overt, including public put-downs, being embarrassed in front of others or name calling, insults, physical assaults and shouting.

We’re just as likely to witness bullying behaviour toward other people. But do we ignore it, perhaps thankful it’s not happening to us, or do we take a stand and do something about it? It’s not easy.

Usually doing something can be easier than we think. And the momentum of taking action can be very empowering, helping to regain our self-confidence and self-worth.

But we can also feel trapped and paralysed by the fact that this is happening to us. We can help you take stock of the situation and explore ways to manage it.

The following tips come from The Crisis Book, reproduced with permission and thanks;

Be safe. First and foremost, however you choose to respond to a bully, violence is not an option. And be mindful of any real threats to your own physical safety.

Leave the situation. If you end the phone call, leave the room or walk away from the bully, then you gain some control and demonstrate to the bully they have lost power over you.

Be strong. Rise above bullying by believing and trusting in yourself. You know you’re “better” than the bully. And the bully probably already knows that too.

Rise above. The bully will often have their own problems; maybe they are being bullied themselves. By pitying them, you gain more control, better empathize with their mixed-up behaviours and channel your angst. One way of rising above the bully is to visualize them trying to take off a tight wet suit!

Change. You might not be able to change how the bully acts, thinks or behaves, but you can change how YOU react and feel about what they’re doing.

Widen perspective. While you might become obsessive and paranoid about being bullied, it’s unlikely to be happening everywhere all the time. Enjoy where and when you are 'bully-free'.

Support. It might help to speak with a friend or work colleague for support. Maybe they can help you counteract the bullying or stick up for you.

Counselling. Therapy can help you assess the options you have to manage the effects of the bullying.

Keep calm. Often it’s how you react to the bully that ignites the fuel for further bullying. But you can stay calm, assert yourself, believe in your self-worth, change or leave the situation and end it.

Name it. No one likes to be called a bully. Often the bully doesn’t realize that what they’re doing is bullying. In the right circumstances, maybe you can tell them that what they’re doing is bullying behaviour and how it affects you. Often this is enough to end it.

Rights. You have a right not to be bullied.

Report it. If you able to do so safely, maybe it will help to report this to the appropriate authorities, whether at work or home.

Stay safe.