Are you being bullied?
When you hear the word bully, the first thought that perhaps comes to your mind is probably a school child being picked on by an older student. The thought that bullying only happens to children is a common illusion. We often forget that the target of bullying could be an adult and that bullying can be a serious, sometimes life threatening situation. An adult can be just as, if not even more, cruel whether verbally or physically than any child.
However, as adults, it can be very difficult to admit that we are being bullied and reach out for help, or even know where to look for it. Sometimes we can be bullied, and not even realize it or brush it off thinking that we somehow deserve it. It is important to understand that bullying is not just taking place in the school playground, but that bullying can happen anywhere at any time from the managing director in their boardroom or even in your own kitchen with your spouse or partner. The most important thing to remember is that bullying can happen to anyone and it is never acceptable.
In the workplace it is not uncommon for many forms of bullying to take place. While emotional bullying may be accepted as merely part of the office hierarchy, it can be seriously damaging to your job performance as well as your emotional well-being. Physical bullying in the workplace is much more obvious for what it is, being damaging to your self-confidence and general mental well-being.
The work environment is very conductive to bullying, as there is an already established chain of command, in addition to you being dependent upon the income from your job. These factors make it easier for bosses and managers to bully you, making you feel as though you have no other option but to go along with it.
The bullying may even be accompanied with the threat of losing your job if you seek help. Workplace bullying is not limited to your bosses, however. It can come from co-workers, clients or customers, or even the organization as a whole.
Keeping in mind that bullying results in a lowered sense of self-worth coupled with control, it is easy to see where behaviours at work, such as unreasonable demands or insistence on overtime at your own personal expense, can fit into the category of "bullying." There are actions that can be taken to help alleviate a bullying situation in the workplace.
Bullying at home is one of the most difficult situations because we find ourselves unable to change those we love or even to point out that they are hurting us. We never want to believe that people who claim to love us and share so much of our lives could hurt or have bad intentions for us.
A bully in the household takes many forms from our partners to our parents. It is hard for us to see a bully in the faces and eyes of the ones who care for us, and even harder for us to admit when we have been hurt. Within a home, we have a sense of how home life should be, and if anything is abnormal we are more comfortable covering it up and make it appear normal then to let it out into the open and make it right.
Families are the foundation, and when that foundation is hit by a disaster or a bully it is only a matter of time before that foundation gives way, causing everything to fall apart. Bullying at home is often kept as a private thing because we fear what people will think when we say we have a problem with the family; will they think there is something wrong with us?
This is very much not true. Many people have issues within their families, but they may never come into the light for fear of hurting or damaging the foundation of the family. This is also a touchy topic when there are children involved. Then, when your partner is bullying you, it is not just yourself you are worried about. It is what “will happen to my children if I choose to leave my partner” makes it hard to take control and get out of a very harmful situation.
Take action against bullies
When you are the target of bullying it is important to realize that you are not alone or powerless. There are many resources and people that you can turn to for assistance. Below you will find action that can be taken against the person or persons bullying you. You may want to discuss with us on our confidential telephone or email helpline which is the best course of action for you and may involve one or more of the following.
- Legal action
- Compromise agreement or mediation
- Gathering evidence against them
- Finding other work
- Informing the authorities
- Finding a new place to live
- Joining an action group
- Getting support for yourself
Throughout this experience, you must remember that being bullied is not your fault. You are not worthless and do deserve to feel safe and secure, at work and at home.