Wednesday, July 25, 2012



Maybe it’s your unruly neighbor who is part of your Home Owner’s Association, a co-worker, a member of your professional organization or even a fellow parent at your child’s school – you’ve encountered an adult bully.


First - examine the situation at hand and assess what you can do vs. what you cannot do depending on the bully themselves.

There is always a root to a cause.  And bullies only bully for a real reason – and it stems from insecurity, inferiority complex and lack of maturity.  While you expect this from children who are not emotionally developed, this can also come from adults who are not emotionally developed as well. While this is not your problem, bullies sure can create a lot of problems, awkward and uncomfortable situations as well as unnecessary stress, anguish, sometimes more severe like lack of sleep, or even illness manifested.

What can you do?  

·         Empower yourself trying to address the situation directly to solve the problem.  You will often find that most ‘bullies’ do not like confrontation.  Ask if they are holding a specific resentment toward you or if there is something else going on in their personal life.  At least you are attempting and trying to get to the problem at hand.  If the bully resists or reacts worse, you know you’re hitting a raw spot and are on target with your assessment.

·         Talk calmly and see if there is anything you can do to resolve the conflict if there is one. If there is not any they will admit to or they avoid you and don’t want to talk to you, then you know you have done what you can as an adult to try to resolve the situation. If there is something that you have unknowingly done to spur on the bullying, you will know about it, as they will tell you.  And chances are that it will come out as anger.

·         Wait it out. If you’ve done the above, let there be time for some of what you have addressed to sink in.  It is likely no one has addressed the bully before and it may come as a shock. If you have done nothing wrong and nothing has been pointed out to you – see if the bully changes course.  What you can do is stand firmly on your beliefs and do what is in front of you – beit your job, participation in your association or group or your child’s sport/activity or whatever this project is where the bully resides.

·         If the bully continues and you’ve done what you can do, you have a couple of options.  You can walk away and take refuge into a healthier environment or you can get proper support from family, friends, clergy, or other associates who can give you the strength to deal with the struggle.   They say that ignoring the bully makes them go away.  Sometimes this is the case, sometimes this is not. Sometimes the harassment continues so they can get some sort of reaction out of you because they actually crave the attention. Bottom-line when they are needing the attention, you know you are dealing with someone who needs constant feeding of praise or acknowledgement.  While the behavior is narcissistic, this is really a matter of trying to gain constant ‘control’ – and usually this behavior comes from someone whose life is out of control.   And they need help.  If you really don’t know this person well enough to suggest it, get out of the situation.  If they happen to be a loved one, seek an intervention to see if this person can get help. 

·         People generally are not aware of what they do and how it affects other people unless they are evolved enough to be conscious of their own behavior and actions/reactions and what it ends up doing to others.  You can invest your energy in these people if you believe this is a relationship you wish to work on and keep.  Otherwise, it is suggested to move forward and into better, healthier situations for your own mental well-being.   If the situation has to do with work or a group that is attached to something you cannot truly walk from – you will need to develop coping tools to deal and get through until you can get to a better situation.  It is in your best interest to take care of your health, exercise to relieve the stress, meditate, read, sleep and eat well and give your body and mind a chance to rest and relax often so you do not physically tax your body from what emotional distress you absorb and take on in having to deal with a situation like this as best as you can.   Make small forward movements every day to work toward a better scene – whether it’s looking for a new job, or a new group/hobby or something that can inch you closer to a place where you can be peaceful and be around people who respect you.