Dealing With The Bully - Fighting Back Without Fighting

Dealing With The Bully - Fighting Back Without Fighting -  Steve Wickham

I hate bullies. Actually, that is incorrect. I hate bullying behavior  It's unfair to categorize people as "bullies," as it is such a nasty tag. People might choose to engage in bullying behavior  but that does not make them "label-able." Throughout this article wherever I refer to a bully personally, it is usually for literary variety or other reasons as I'd prefer to not label people.
Even though we can be bullied anywhere, it is most likely to occur in a place where we have established, regular, well-attended relationships; a nurturing ground from which this insidious and terrorizing behavior can germinate and grow. For this reason, I want to focus on this sort of harassment in the working context, and how I believe it can be handled to ensure the situation doesn't escalate.
The root cause of bullying behavior is fear. The perpetrator is doing two things: firstly they're initiating this form of terror, and secondly, they're working from fear when they behave this way. It might not seem so, but they're more scared than you are deeper down. How ironic is that? The person who is instilling the fear does so because they are full of it! Their hope is that by behaving this way, they can influence our behavior toward doing the thing they want us to do, by making us afraid. This is the only way they can feel safe within themselves; by having their own way in the matter. And what they are most scared of is a response that will be counter to, or 'other than,' what they had in mind.
This introduces the ultimate weapon in fighting fear-tactics. It is very rare that one method works in all situations. In the general sense only, we actually need to work with these fear tactics to succeed. This takes courage. Not to fight, but to be-friend the perpetrator. The essence is not friendship. It is removing the energy from the conflict, by quietly not reacting to the behavior whilst be completely respectful. For the perpetrator, they don't expect this reaction; it catches them off-guard and they are momentarily vulnerable. There respect for you may even grow when you don't seize on the opportunity to 'put the boot in.'
The sort of bullying that I find so prevalent in office and industrial environments I've worked in, for instance, with supposedly mature and "well-adjusted" adults, is what I like to call 'exclusionary bullying.' This behavior is enacted on people who are shown to not fit the "crowd set," and are thus ostracized. This is subtle bullying.
It is manifested by deliberately setting the victim apart, and by excluding them from the communications 'frame.' It could be other disrespectful behaviors like not giving them eye contact, or 'fobbing them off.' Probably the biggest issue for the perpetrator is a lack of respect. Exclusionary bullies tend to find those of a similar mind and engage in the behavior in little teams. It's really quite pathetic.
Plumbing the depths of this problem further, it can be said that bullies are proverbial fools-you can actually feel sorry for them; they're scared creatures. They have little self-worth, and though they pretend life is grand, it is anything but that within their hearts. The ancient Hebrews called this sort of person weak-hearted, meaning there is no depth of character within them. So you can see we can feel sorry for them. They have such problems with the deadly sins of pride, envy, anger, and sloth; we can feel very grateful we don't have such problems.
Running through Proverbs I can see such good advice like: a gentle answer turns away wrath (15:1); the hot-tempered (and hatred) stir up dissension, but those who are patient and loving calm a quarrel and cover all wrongs (15:18, 10:12); and, whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends (17:9). We should be able to live at peace with everyone; and everyone should desire it, though sadly this is not the case.
By reacting the way that's discussed means:

  • You will protect yourself first by not reacting to the fear you will inevitably feel-this requires courage in the moment;
  • You will also "foster love" in the relationship with the bully; a fight with only one person fighting cannot be sustained; and,
  • You will gradually de-power the situation, and over time you should note the negative energy between you and perpetrator diminishing.
  • It will also show and model to others how to handle this sort of person and situation sensitively, and in a way that respects everyone.

  • And if you're impacted by exclusionary and very subtle bullying, hold firm. Continue being respectful and objective. Make a firm commitment to behave this way. If you slip up, don't worry, just start again.
    Finally, we must be careful that we don't fall for cowardly acts like:

  • Placating the bully; or,
  • Flattering them.

  • If we did this we'd be nurturing their already out of control ego. If we are concerned for peace and wish to be at peace with everyone, desiring the best for the situation with this perpetrator means striving for a balanced friendliness that doesn't give them anything to 'feed on.'
    © Steve J. Wickham, 2008. All rights reserved Worldwide. Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified Christian minister (GradDipDiv). He is also has training and leadership Diplomas. His passion in vocation is facilitation and coaching; encouraging people to soar to a higher value of their potential. Steve's interest in psychology is matched by years of experience in the psychology of safety in workplaces. Steve's key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us. An advocate for a fair and just life, Steve implements wisdom strategies to his life through a passion for Proverbial wisdom. His highest goal is doing God's will, in enhancing his life, and the lives of others. Article Source: Article Source:

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