Stand Up to Adult Bullies
Organized by: Ali Gilmore
When we think of bullies, most of us think of children being the victims—bullied on the school bus, on the playground, over the Internet or through text messages, but adults can be bullied too.
Examples of Adult Bullying
A neighbor who blows leaves into your yard while cleaning up theirs, the parent of your child’s teammate who starts rumors about your child, a rival sports fan who yells profanity and spills beer on you during a game—these are all examples of adult bullying behavior.
Consider this situation...You place your house on the market with a realtor you've just met. Just 9 days into the listing they pressure you to take an offer you consider too low. You say no, but they apply even more pressure stating you won't possibly ever get your asking price. You request support from the broker and then request to be released from your contract, but receive no response. After several days you pull your house from the listing and exercise your right to free speech by posting a negative review on Yelp. Instead of calling you and asking to find a way to settle the matter reasonably you are met with retaliatory hostility and threats of court action, demanding thousands of dollars in payment for services unrendered or else. Every time you agree to their demands they come back with more demands, sarcasm and an ever increasing cost to resolve the matter, continuing a cycle of insults and threats, never actually allowing the matter to resolve.
This is a very real situation, one that our friend Siobhan (Shivon) is facing right now.
After several weeks of trying to strike a compromise with this bully, Siobhan agreed to a financial reparation (that skyrocketed to $8,750 from the original $3,500) only to find they slipped into the agreement after her acceptance that she must "remove the negative Yelp review" along with gag order to never be able to speak of the situation publicly, essentially silencing her and violating her rights to free speech.
Today Siobhan is saying "No more" and has sought legal representation to end the harassment once and for all. You can show your support by sharing this campaign over your social media, by contributing to her legal fees here or by making a donation to any of the following charities that Siobhan volunteers for: Last Chance at Life - Animal Rescue (http://lastchanceatlife.org/donate) and Team Janine - The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (www.lls.org).
Why does bullying happen?
Bullies are opportunistic and tend to prey on people they perceive as a threat or that they dislike because of differences. They often choose targets who excel and are capable, dedicated, popular, intelligent and attractive but whose interpersonal style tends to be non-confrontational.
A bully’s goal is to gain control by making others feel angry or afraid through the use of verbal abuse such as; name-calling, sarcasm, threatening, mocking, insulting, ignoring or discrediting the person by spreading rumors.
Does this sound familiar? If you are being bullied, do not just ignore it and hope it goes away. It will not. If you are a witness to someone being bullied, do not just sit idly by. Being a passive bystander is the same as condoning the bully's action.
How to deal with adult bullys
Take inventory. Consider the motivation and the psychological state of the bully. Many bullies have been victims of bullying or abuse themselves. They most likely feel insecure or inadequate and are putting you down to make themselves appear more powerful.
Don’t take the bully’s behavior personally. His/Her actions have nothing to do with you and everything to do with his own problems.
Document what’s happening. Where and when does the behavior occur? Record the words the bully has said to you. If e-mail or texts have been sent, print them. Although each incident is significant, it is the pattern that reveals the intent.
Pay attention to your physical and emotional reactions, and remain calm. Bullies are looking for an emotional reaction, not a calm, problem-solving response.
Decide what course of action to take. If you get angry, your judgment gets clouded and you may say something you will regret later. If you withdraw, you suffer in silence and the cycle continues. Ask yourself if it is possible to distance yourself from this person. Maintain an open body posture (don’t cross your arms or glare). A calm, direct voice tone conveys assertiveness.
Remove yourself from the situation. You must work to change your own response to bullying by being assertive and setting healthy boundaries.
Get support! Confide in someone you trust—a family member, partner or close friend. An employee assistance professional can coach you in effectively handling strong negative emotions such as anger, shame, anxiety and depression that can result from bullying. If a bully threatens you with legal action, do not cower. Stand your ground!
Most of all, if you are being bullied or know someone who is, don’t just stand there. According to Megan Kelley Hall, co-editor of Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories, “The bystander definitely has the power to help change the climate. Almost half of all bullying situations stop when a bystander gets involved. Helping doesn't mean 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."
Take a stand against adult bullying!
Click here to see the yelp review.