The definition of a bully: A person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable – New Oxford American Dictionary.
Bullies want dominance over you. When a bully picks on you, yes there are adult bullies, or your child or grand, they are trying to demonstrate power. You have choices at your disposal depending on the situation or that of a family member you love.
I have been bullied, and at present, I am being bullied. The latter has been going on for several years. After struggling with my inner-self (and I mean struggling), I always come back to taking the high road…though I admit it has been hard not to want to lash out and defend myself.
The type of bully I am referring to has the ability to rally others behind their cause because they hold some type of power over the others. They may be able to reward them, frighten them, take something away from them or make them feel guilty if they don’t stand with them. This gives this type of bully the strength to habitually repeat hurtful tactics because they are able to create an imbalance of social power. They have their team. Their prey stands naked before them.
A True Story of Bullying by an Adult
Here is a story of a bullying episode I was involved in some years ago. I named the bully, Bullyinski. Under normal circumstances this person was nice. At the card table, she was known by everyone as a bully. Very few women would play cards with her because she yelled at the other players; intimidating them. A few of her close friends took it. I took it, too. Until one day, she told me to hurry up and play! Then she called me stupid. Tears welled up in my eyes.
The other players told her to stop but she persisted. I looked at her and in a soft and clear voice leaned in very close to her and told her to stop talking to me in that manner. She told the players, after the game, “If Susan plays again, I am not playing.” Out came her bully claws. She knew she was wrong but she knew she had power over her close friends. Her private jet flew one of the women around with her and her exorbitant wealth impressed the other woman. Neither of the women stood up to her. They were afraid they would lose their perks. Darling, they were worse than Switzerland. At least Switzerland is neutral!
Not Willing To Stand-Up to Bullies
I left the game. However, I knew the other women felt guilty about their actions but not enough to lose their very, very wealthy connection. But, I was glad to back away from the game, though upset that my ‘so-called friends’ conscience didn’t bother them enough to take a stand. I knew if they had stood up to the bully they would have still been their friend and maybe just maybe she would have learned a lesson. Darling, I never talked about her publicly but wrote a story about her, not using her real name, but everyone knew at the club who I was referring to when I wrote a story about Mrs. Bullyinski at the card table!
Let me be clear. Her bullying was not personally directed at me. Any woman sitting in my chair who she felt was slow would have received the same outburst. Unfortunately, a lesson was not learned and friendships were tarnished.
Now, there are several forms of bullying and you have several choices of action.
Passive Aggressive Bully
There are the bullies who are passive-aggressive. They are known as cunning and covert. And, they encourage others to follow their lead by some type of emotional force. This form of bullying isolates and socially excludes their prey from friends, people in the workplace and yes, family is not off-limits to this type of bully.
They never say a word, they take an action by leaving their prey off a guest list of a family wedding so other unknowing guests will wonder why the person is not there; did they not want to attend? My advice with this type of bully is to take the high road even though you want to retaliate.
CEOs and Upper Executives
There are the CEOs and upper executives of large corporations that bully their employees because they ‘think’ they are elite and powerful. In this situation keep your feelings to yourself. Your power is to keep a written account and document the date and time, their conversations, and actions.
There is the public cyberbully – the big company CEOs who today are going after half of the American population including a past President of the United States. These are public bullies who feel they have the right to take away our first amendment right of free speech because others have a different viewpoint. Use your voice and take a stand. Don’t be afraid. Remember, bullies are afraid.
There are private cyberbullies, too, that target you by phone, text, and email. Change your phone numbers and your passwords.
Childhood bullying is rampant. Observe your child or grandchild’s actions. Encourage them to talk if you notice a change in their behavior. Be a good listener. If they are being bullied, tell them it’s okay to feel scared, angry, and sad. Explain that the person bullying them is wrong. Find out what is happening by contacting their school.
The best way (in my opinion) to help your child or grandchild is to show them a way to feel good about themselves. If they are athletic, put them in a sport they love. And if they are artistic, sign them up for an art, music, or dance class and encourage them to take their activity seriously.
My granddaughter was teased because she is tall. My daughter and son-in-law nurtured her athletic talent and she became a star softball pitcher, winning a full college scholarship. My son-in-law practiced with my granddaughter, throwing balls every day after school. She joined the softball team. Through athletics, she was validated by her classmates and was never bullied again. Bullies are cowards.
Let’s not forget the sarcastic bully. Sarcasm can actually be hostility disguised. It can be a subtle disconcerting contempt that is very hurtful. Sarcasm takes place in the workplace and in family relationships. Most sarcastic people are angry, insecure, or cowardly. They are not known as happy people. There is humor in some sarcasm. You will know the difference. I suggest telling the person how you feel about the sarcastic remark. Tell them it is not funny but hurtful. If they continue, back off from this toxic relationship.
Today in Elsewhere
In Elsewhere, the new society, it appears to be the order of the day for many adult people to lash out and seek revenge. As more than 50% of us know, this is never a good path. And, it makes the other 50% feel satisfied at the moment and absolutely justified in doing their harm. But in the end, I believe, it rarely brings about anything worthy or good and in most cases, it exacerbates the problem.
It may feel weak to be silent and humble, but it actually takes a very strong person not to allow emotions to rule their actions. Amen.
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“Worse than Switzerland. At least Switzerland is neutral”. I don’t follow your train of thought, or I am uninformed. Could you tell me what is going on with Switzerland?
Thank you Honey
I am smiling. Nothing is going on at this time in Switzerland. Switzerland never takes a side in a disagreement. They stay neutral. Warmly, Honey
I was bullied as a child by a neighbor child. I finally stood up to her after she dumped a dogs water bowl on my head. We got in a fight which i won with my girlfriends cheering me on. The bully and i became best friends after that. I have never let anyone bully me after that even though they have tried. I speak up.
On another subject have you ever been acquainted with a book snob. I’m afraid we have one in our book club.
No. Do you mean a no it all? She has to impress the group? Your book club at home? I am glad you never let anyone bully you again. What do you say in bully situations? Warmly, Honey
I recently dealt with this at the stable where I kept my horse. One of the workers and the manager were bullies..my husband and I looked for another stable but everything else was full and had a waiting list..we were stuck. In my younger days I would have let them both have it..but I knew my horse would suffer if I did. So I stepped back and drew on my years of meditation. I realized they had unresolved issues and maybe they were doing the best they could..I started sending them positive energy. ‘I hope you heal and I wish you well’..I silently repeated this while picturing them in my mind..it worked. They both changed their attitudes without any discussion.
You took the high road and they learned a lesson and followed your lead. Good for you. A job well done for all four of you. Warmly, Honey
This is a great column and addresses a common occurrence that we face all the time. I will always take a stand and I’m not afraid to speak out. People may not like what I have to say, but one thing that they can be certain of is that I’ll never say something behind someone’s back that I wouldn’t say to their face.
You are wise. Good for you. I respect and applaud you. Warmly, Honey
I was writing, and it zoomed away on me!
Switzerland, the original fence sitters 😉 I always remember once when I was a young woman, fishing with my husband, we asked an elderly Swiss gentleman, if we could fill our water flasks at his well, outside of his house, and he refused..who refuses someone water? That memory sticks with me! haha!
I enjoyed your ‘bully’ advice Honey. I have been ‘bullied’ earlier this year, and then excluded from a group, because the founding member 🙂 was the one in control, if you like, of her minions. I refused to accept the status quo. I was relieved on a core level really to see the end of them, I have mentioned this before, as it had become an untenable relationship, we were all too different. I am loyal, that’s my fault, and had hung in there for too long, (I had known this individual ‘bullyinski’ since we were in our 20’s) I resisted even when all directions pointed to the exit sign.
I am left with an insatiable desire for retribution tho! It’s been 6 months, and I still have moments of discomfort over it.
I will however, notwithstanding my ‘altitude sickness’ take that high road, it’s not me or in my character to retaliate, even tho I do find the old phrase ‘revenge is a plate to be eaten cold’ delightful at times! 😉
I have altitude sickness too. And, I would like to retaliate in a regal manner but have not figured out how. Looking back I should have nipped the situation in the bud because it was important. Bullyinski wasn’t important. For your piece of mind, you gave yourself a very positive answer: You were too different. Look for friends who ‘mirror YOU’ not who you HAVE to mirror. Those relationships are never happy ones. Have a happy day. Warmly, Honey
Thank you Honey,
We were always so different, this friend and myself, but it never got in the way, (there was no mirroring ever) but it never made a difference, until it did, I guess. I agree, it’s so much easier with friends who we admire and who mirror us..a toast to that. Or, if even we have different views and opinions, we can respect each other, and live happily, in spite of them. I have friends and acquaintances who are entirely different to me in every way, but it’s smooth sailing. I think it boils down to respecting ourselves, and our friend’s choices really. I have always been an ‘agree to disagree’ person, not all are like that unfortunately.
Have a great weekend! XO
I agree with you. When I said mirror I meant: values. Honest. kind. etc..I also have friends who are very different and I enjoy them so much, too. Warmly, Honey
I agree Honey. Looking back, this person wasn’t kind at all, or honest either really. I caught her (always kept it to myself of course) out many times on stories told to others that didn’t take place etc. When you’ve known someone for so long, they forget what they told you ‘happened’ They always say ‘you have to have a good memory if you make up things!’ ha! So I agree, truthful, kind etc, are the top priorities in any friendship. Unfortunately, some friendships were founded so long ago, we tended to overlook folk’s ‘warts’ so to speak, as ‘it was how they are’ Then as times progresses, it becomes more evident..
Have a great weekend.. Bridget X
It is never to late to add ‘new acquaintances in your life!’ And, keep the old, too. Warmly, Honey
SO true Honey, thank you as always.
It’s Friday again. So I wish you a wonderful weekend!
I wish you a wonderful week-end. Warmly, Honey