Have You Given Your Bully The Slip Yet?

Bullying happens not only in the playground or park, but in the dormitory, office, boardroom or prison too. Anywhere where one person has the need to dominate and oppress another. Bullying results in feelings of weakness, vulnerability, helplessness and shame in the victim. When we've put the bullying behaviour in its rightful place these heavy feelings melt away and a new perspective and resourcefulness can take their place.

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Bullying has always happened and I doubt it will ever stop - whether it's in the playground, park, dormitory, office, boardroom or prison.

I've worked with many people over the last 20 years who've been bullied in all of these places – and they all shared feeling of weakness, vulnerability, helplessness and shame.

When we've put the bullying behaviour in its rightful place these heavy feelings melt away and a new perspective and resourcefulness can take their place.

Recent video evidence shared across social media has exposed terrible bullying between teenagers, and even by the police.

It seems to be a part of human nature.

Are we all capable or being a bully?

I think that depends upon the definition of bullying.

Defence of our loved ones and possessions may result in us harming someone who's threatened us in some way. But our intention is different to that of a bully - who only defends a fragile and wounded ego.

No baby is born to be a bully. Bullies are created by their early circumstances. Bullying is taught.

A bully needs to feel powerful and have the ability to make someone else feel inferior to them. The bully may have once been the victim themselves, and have now switched the drama around to make others feel like they used to feel.

If you've ever been bullied you'll know how dis-empowering it is – and that's the intention of the bully, to make someone feel bad, inadequate, deficient, useless, incompetent, weak, foolish, stupid, or unwanted. A transfer of pain - 'You feel it - so I don't have to.'

These feelings of inadequacy and weakness tap into our deeper survival needs and the dread of not being seen as OK by others, being the outcast, excluded, rejected or abandoned.

When we can't stop the bullying we reinforce our lack of power, and the need to be rescued and protected by someone more powerful.

What makes a bully?

  • Too much emotion - of fear, sadness and anger - and not enough thinking
  • Lack of empathy for how the victim feels
  • No compassion or desire to prevent suffering
  • A strong need to have power and control over someone else
  • A need to manipulate others through fear, and to gain control over their feelings
  • To reduce feelings of envy by depriving someone of something

How to disarm a bully

  • Empathise with them and their struggle to feel powerful and significant – and see that they are acting from a wounded place, and with lack of self-awareness.
  • If possible isolate the bully from their gang of supporters and encouragers - whom they're showing off to and trying to impress. The bully may be much more timid one-to-one than they are when following the expectations of their gang or 'tribe'.
  • Rehearse asserting yourself clearly – when you are being bullied you'll be too emotional to create an effective adult verbal response so have a few well practiced phrases to draw from in the moment..such as - “what are you feeling as you are doing this to me.... what would your grandparents think if they could see you now...you must be really hurting inside to want to hurt me like this....”

OK these may not work in every instance – let's hope you don't have many instances to deal with!

  • Get your own gang of support around you – whether at work, college or amongst your friends if you are being bullied during your social life
  • Don't be intimidated by someone's professional status – bullies come in all shapes, sizes and clothing and a professional qualification cannot by itself repair the early damage that a bully has endured which has shaped their behaviour towards you. Certain professions carry power and control – and perhaps a uniform of belonging to a clan. Others in that clan will protect themselves by defending and minimise any bullying behaviour towards you. Believe yourself to be strong and resilient and that justice will come.
  • You may need to record what is happening as evidence to be used against the bully – be prepared to have this recorded (written, filmed, audio recording) by someone as soon as you can when any bullying starts

What can you do if YOU are the bully?

  • First of all make a link to where this behaviour has come from – where did you learn to look, feel and behave like a bully?
  • Allow yourself to feel what you felt back then – which may have included feeling helpless, terrified, suffering in pain, despair, humiliated, and rageful.
  • Put those painful feelings where they belong – with the person or people who taught you to become a bully
  • Make the decision to start treating people with respect, kindness and compassion – even if you haven't had that yourself. By treating people as you'd like to be treated you will be doing yourself a favour and helping to heal your own emotional wounds from the past.

Are you bullying yourself?

Not all bullying comes from outside. We may be bullying ourselves without even realising it!

We cannot help but recreate what we know from our familiar life-script – which we've had handed down to us and/or have created from our own earlier experiences.

This can result in an internal battle between our inner bully and inner victim – and we treat ourselves like the 'underdog'. We then berate, ridicule, reject and maybe even loathe ourself and our 'weaknesses' (which were defined by someone else - usually the wounded inner child inside our parent or other bully).

  • Focus upon and challenge what you are saying and doing to yourself – don't ignore it or accept it as OK
  • Be clear about any times when you're feeling bullied - but when this isn't actually the case. It may be that your inner victim is transferring past experiences onto the present time and feeling in ways that don't belong to the current situation.
  • When your inner victim sub-consciously directs the way you walk, act and respond to people, you may well find that you are activating the bully in someone else – who may treat you as their victim before even realising they are doing so.
  • Ask yourself - What unspoken messages might I be sending out that attracts a bully who sees me as the easy target they are looking for?

We need to give our bully the slip – whether they're inside or out.

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR

www.maxineharley.com – where you'll find a full page of FREE RESOURCES to help you to understand the effects of your childhood emotions, and how they still impact your life; and how to S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life – with Self-awareness – Education – Learning new skills – Emotional intelligence and balance – Control, clarity and choice – TRANSFORMATION!

You will also find 5 self-help online courses - to improve your relationship with yourself and your past, with your partner/spouse, your children, and in your work/business life

www.maxineharleymentoring.com - helping women to understand and manager their emotions, boundaries and behaviours - and to FEEL better, so they can BE, DO and HAVE better at home, and in their career or business!

www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk - a series of 10 self-help online workshops - of Psycho-Emotional-Education - to help you with a wide range of life difficulties (e.g. anxiety, stress, anger, depression, relationships, self-esteem and confidence, happiness, mindful living, self-awareness and development)

www.qpp.uk.com - changing the sub-conscious belief system and S.C.R.I.P.T. (c) Sub-Conscious-Rules-Influencing-Present-Time

Maxine Harley

MIND HEALER & MENTOR - Psychotherapist (MSc), Author, Columnist & Blogger. Please see www.maxineharley.com and www.maxineharleymentoring.com, S.E.L.E.C.T. Your Life Company Ltd.

I help women to FEEL better - so they can BE, DO and HAVE better! As a MIND HEALER I specialise in helping women to recover from a troubled childhood and toxic parents, to heal and transcend their emotional wounds, re-parent their inner child, and make peace with their past. This enables and empowers them to become better parents, partners, professionals - and all round happier calmer people :-) As a MENTOR I offer different levels of therapeutic self development - including MINDING YOUR BUSINESS, MINDING THE GAP, and MIND MASTERY...please discover more at www.maxineharleymentoring.com


Go to the profile of Allen Taylor
over 3 years ago

I worked at a place where I was getting bullied and I took notes times dates and reported it and the company done nothing.

And started pushing me out the company so I had to leave.

Go to the profile of Maxine Harley
over 3 years ago

You did the right thing Allen, but sometimes an environment (and the people in charge of it) are too toxic to change and all we can do is leave, and find a healthier place to be.

I've got another article about this coming up soon.