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For the past 2 weeks I  have been discussing “adult bullying” and the effects it has in our lives…

Bullying is summarised  as:

Repeated hurtful or hostile actions;

Intended to mistreat or control another or a group who are less powerful;

That may be verbal or non-verbal;

If you missed out on any of the posts you can click on links adult bullying part 1

adult bullying part 2


Today the finale I will  discuss ways to tackle adult bullying in our lives 

(1)Consider how it is affecting you:

If someone’s  snipping is a minor annoyance, just let it go… but if however, you are losing sleep, hate going to work, feeling depressed or unworthy because of the way someone is treating then you need to  address it by doing something… do not ignore it, ignoring it only reinforces a  sense of powerlessness in the target… So if someone’s belittling, humiliating, or insulting you at work or in your friend group, and it’s making you upset, it’s time to do something about it…  You deserve better, so let go of denial, anger, and excuses for the bully’s behaviour.

(2)Take a closer look at the relationship:

Is this a person you must be around? What do you get out of the relationship? If it is a friend or family member, a colleague, a boss … Evaluate that relationship and how necessary it is to you. One easy way to stop bullying behaviour is to no longer be around the bully. It is also worth thinking about what you want out of this relationship, friendship, so that you can articulate that later.

(3)Decide you will take action:

Once you have acknowledged the abuse and you have assessed your relationship with the bully, you can decide that you want to take action or not. You know what your life will be like if you take no action – you are being bullied and that likely will not change. Deciding to take action gives you a sense of empowerment that has been stripped by the bully.

(4)Document the abuse:

It is critically important that you document instances of bullying and abuse. What was said or done? When? Who was there? What happened? How did you feel? These are important questions that will not only help you see the severity of your situation, but give you some leverage should you consider legal options to stop the abuse.   so that if you need to escalate this problem to Human Resources, you have the information you need to make your case. Keep emails and notes..

(5)Seek help:

If you think you’re being bullied, it’s time to start talking to others who can help you manage this situation. Try a mentor, advocate, seasoned/experienced friend, even a legal advocate who specializes in bullying and inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour in the workplace. Tread lightly when approaching your human resources department. They work for the company, not you, so you have to be careful about what you share depending on how well liked and supported your bully is within the organization. HR doesn’t have the luxury of keeping everything you say confidential so don’t treat a meeting with them like a counselling session where you should share everything you think/feel or assume that they can or will fix the problem for you.

(6)Educate yourself:

Learn everything you can about bullying, your company’s policies on inappropriate behaviour and occupational law regarding this kind of experience. The more you know, the better your chances of successfully dealing with this situation.

(7)Set boundaries:

This is possibly the hardest step. Figuring out what you want is half the battle. The other half is to articulate what you need and what you want, to your bully. Setting boundaries can be an expectation of how you want to be treated, where and when you will be in contact with the bully. It is critical that you stick to your boundaries.


Confrontation is the final step in managing a bully. This is when you articulate your needs and expectations, establishing those boundaries. Take someone with you who you trust, to back you up and provide moral support. Be assertive not aggressive…

(9)In cyber bullying contact the necessary providers:

Contact the service or content provider through which the bullying is occurring.  For example, if you are being cyber bullied on Facebook, contact them.  If you are receiving hurtful or threatening cell phone messages, contact your cell phone company to obtain assistance.  Along those same lines, familiarize yourself with the Terms of Use for the various sites you frequent, and the online accounts you sign up for.  Many web sites expressly prohibit harassment and if you report it through their established mechanisms, the content and/or bully should be removed from the site in a timely manner.  To be sure, some web site administrators are better and quicker at this than others.

(10)If you’re a bystander, step in:

I don’t mean taking a stand or getting into the bully’s face, sometimes just the simple act of not giving the bully an audience or just taking the side of the victim is enough to get your point across.

Typical work bullying example:

In many cases, bullying is sustained by the silence of those who witness it but say nothing.

Cultural change occurs in small ways. When one woman refuses to gossip as a way to connect with another woman, or when another changes the subject when a group begins trashing someone not in the room, norms get redefined. But it’s damn hard to do it — especially when you want your colleagues to like you or invite you out for drinks, and when it might be really fun and juicy to talk about someone else. Being more vigilant about conversation patterns can be very helpful. If your social or professional circle spends a chunk of its time talking about other women, it’s worth asking what your relationship as a group is built on in the first place.

(11)Get out of the situation:

This isn’t always possible, and it shouldn’t be your first response, but if bullying persists despite all your attempts to stop it, sometimes removing yourself from the situation is the best option.

The one positive thing about dealing with bullying as an adult as opposed to a kid is that you have the choice to get yourself out of the situation. If that means getting a new job, moving to a new apartment or even a new city, adults have the benefit of removing themselves from the toxic situation.

(12)Consider therapy:

Finally, consider therapy if you are still struggling, or if you want to take a look at your own behaviours and part in the dynamic created by the bullying. While the bullying is NEVER your fault, there is always self-improvement

Food for thought:

Whether you are the bully or the bullied, it is important to recognize it and take steps to stop it. If not, it could continue on a destructive path, affecting the emotional health of everyone it touches.

Till next time