It’s Never Too Late to Stop a Bully!

Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Featured Flag, This And that! | 8 comments

Sunrise from Coach Hill

Sunrise from Coach Hill © 2014 Diane Duncan

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’.

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for commenting Michelle. Standing up for oneself is hard! As women we are conditioned to suffer in silence. I wrote this blog post because I feel we need to speak up and let people know that bullying doesn’t stop after childhood or begin when we become senior seniors. It can happen to everyone and needs to be ‘called’ when it happens. It took me a while to realize that that’s what it had become and a mini-crisis to speak out. Next time I will not wait. Lesson learned.

  2. DIANE, I have been in a bullying friendship that ì ended last year.
    She brought in neighbors, coworkers ànd friends – all to support her viewpoint and to support the ongoing bullying. Standing up to it was the best thing & hardest lesson I have learned. I would appreciate someone telling me if I acted harshly or unfairly but some people can’t see how their behavior is hurtful. My thoughts are with you at this time.

  3. Margaret, I have been well trained in the past to ‘turn the other cheek’ and to ‘just take what comes’ but with all the profile now given to bullying, I realized this time I couldn’t do it! In the big scheme of things, nothing may change but I feel better for calling ‘a spade a spade’. I also grew up with lots of these old says! LOL

  4. Diane, I too have been a target as an adult — and the (yes, female) bully got away with her behaviour because she was my manager. I ended up leaving a job and was blessed to have another to go to, where conditions were much better. I can imagine it’s much tougher when one is a peer of the aggressor, because you believe you are on equal footings, level ground — that ground supposedly of respect and open two-way communication. After you have done all you can do, as you have, then hold your ground, stand firm and go forth confidently into a new, fresh place. God be with you!

  5. As someone who just went through 6 years of bullying, which finally culminated in my refusal to deal with it anymore by taking the action of leaving a job I really enjoyed, and having seen HR do absolutely nothing about it- no response, no addressing it, not a single thing- I have concluded that our society has gone past a certain point from which it can never return.

    • Leisa, at least this was a peer, who although she enlisted her ‘friends’ can be ignored without the trauma of changing jobs. Hopefully you have found a better situation.

  6. Thanks Janet,
    There have been some tough experiences this winter relative to this event. I’ve done a lot of reflecting on the whole issue of bullying. I’m glad that people are starting to talk about it and recognize it when it happens.

  7. You are in my prayers.

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