It’s Never Too Late to Stop a Bully!
A Bully has crossed my path!
With the recently increased profile of bullying in our society, I want to make a comment. It doesn’t stop with childhood. It’s not always physical. It can be disguised in many ways.
As a person of certain years, I have not had a lot of experience with bullies for many years. I am a straight speaking person who calls it as she sees it and people usually know where I stand on an issue. People usually respect that. In fact I’ve been told that my directness can be intimidating at time. So be it!
I’ve thought long and hard about writing this post but I’ve recently become the target of bullying. As a result I’ve been reading and thinking about the topic a lot. Even the novel I am reading, historical fiction, has many instances of adult bullying that are jumping out at me. I have concluded:
- Bullying is always hurtful.
- Bullying doesn’t stop with childhood.
- Bullying takes many forms.
- Sometimes it is verbal.
- Women are particularly adept at verbal bullying.
- It can take the form of gossip and innuendo.
- Sometimes it is a behavior refined through the years and not recognized for what it is.
- Bullying behaviour often arises from a sense of entitlement, position or power.
But how does one respond when one becomes the target of bullying?
- Does one ‘take it’ as we have been taught –be nice and in the hope it will go away?
- Does one try to find out the trigger/cause for the bullying action?
- Does one try to defend themselves?
In my situation, I’ve tried all three.
- The first prolonged it.
- The second resulted in rebuffs to my requests to discuss the situation and in frustration, attempts on my part, to communicate via e-mail.
- A third incident that occurred, upon investigation turned out to be an accidental miscommunication but escalated as a resulting of the lack of trust that prevailed.
- A fourth incident, drew additional people into the interchange, and by this tactic, the aggressor involves them in the bullying behavior.
So where do I go from here?
I’ve been around the block often enough that, as the song by Doris Day goes, ‘Que sera, sera’. I’m sad, but it’s not going to be a dominant factor in my life. I’ve done what I can throughout the process to dig to the bottom of this episode and to set things right but my efforts have been rebuffed. I’ve stood up for my principles and I’ve ‘called’ the bully on her actions. I move on.
How often do we turn the other way, turn the other cheek, and let the behaviour continue? If our children and grandchildren are to learn alternate ways of acting and reacting, what is our responsibility to model a different behavior?
Yesterday’s Facebook posting of a Forbes quote, “Women bullies will often befriend you and then air all your secrets later”. aptly fits this situation. For me, this has triggered a need to support the Stop Bullying movement, to be more mindful of how others around me behave. Last summer I got drawn into the relationship that led to this episode. I ignored the warning signs. I accept that the perpetrator is probably in denial and thus will never change. That’s her problem, not mine. Sadly I will be more cautious of new relationships for a while. Hopefully I can regain my trust in the goodness of human nature that I usually take into my interaction with other people. Once again, ‘Que sera, sera’.