Are you being bulllied? Eight ways to find out.
Shakespeare asks how one can ‘smile and smile and be a villain.’ Well, if you’ve suffered from bullying, you may be wondering too. It is the false charmers in the office who know how to bully their way to victory, at our expense.
Bullies are sugar-coated so no-one can see where their poison is coming from. Colleagues at the same level often deceive us into thinking they are our friend. This ‘friendship’ may culminate in the dramatic ‘stab in the back’ when the promotion or award goes to them, not you.
A bully is clever with words. Here are just a few of the weapons favoured by a bully.
1. Exaggerating the tiniest, most minuscule flaw in your work in order to show you up as generally inept.
‘You missed a comma out a couple of times in that report you wrote.’
2. Hinting that people have a problem with the way you communicate.
‘Have you ever tried to do anything about your accent? My girlfriend is Swedish/Chinese/from the Seychelles and she’s got a tutor to help her.'
3. Suggesting that you need help with a basic skill.
‘My neighbour is doing a numeracy course for total beginners – I’ve brought the leaflet in for you specially.’
4. Embarrassing you when you know you have a genuine issue such as with your weight.
‘I think you’ve lost weight at last - your trousers don’t look nearly as tight.
5. Quoting ‘evidence’ of so your called mistakes and claiming to have the support of others.
'We’ think it’s good if you spend more time learning the data, as ‘we’ve’ noticed you making mistakes on the phone.’
6. Bullying by doing nothing
Being ignored or getting a shrug when you have asked a direct question is also bullying.
7. Lack of praise and acknowledgement
Ignoring work well done or when you have accomplished a difficult task is bullying.
8. Meetings - a bully's paradise
Bullies love meetings where their actions ring far louder than words. You struggle to get your point over whilst they: raise eyebrows, snigger, shuffle papers, stare at the wall or out of the window, sigh, yawn, check their phone or look at their watch.
What you can do about it
Bullying is painful and disorientating. We lose control and perspective. We begin to wonder: is it me? This is a dangerous line to take and the bully will win if you continue with this mental attitude. It is essential to stop the bully because it will get worse, and there is no way of knowing where it will lead to.
Here are some tried and tested steps.
- Never let a bully think you need them. A bully can only be a bully if you will be a victim. Never justify or explain yourself to a bully, cry, bring them a gift, apologise, accept their invitation to lunch, share a confidence, ask them to your place socially, or seek any help from them. They will use it against you.
- Assert yourself appropriately. Saying (or emailing if it is easier) something like, ‘You seem to have a problem getting on with me. I have arranged a meeting with (a very senior person) to clarify our roles.’ Ambition is a bully’s vulnerable spot, as they are desperate to impress. Deep down, a bully will know the real truth about themselves and fear exposure. Sometimes this is enough to call their bluff and have them running for mercy.
- Speak to a wise, true friend and ask for their advice. A good friend will want the best for you, and many of us have experienced bullying, or witnessed the tactics of a bully, so can share the wisdom. Try to focus on practical solutions rather than emotional reassurance and commiseration alone.
How hypnotherapy helps
If the thought of dealing with a bully is still overwhelming, or if you feel the situation is too complex or has deteriorated too far, why not seek a little professional help? It may be that you need to work at a more subconscious level - your reactions to the bully may be rooted in unconscious childhood conflicts, or struggles and traumas from another source which hold you back. A hypnotherapist is specially trained to deal with these matters at a deeper level and a few sessions can make all the difference to your confidence.
After hypnotherapy it may be the bully’s turn to become disorientated as they try to figure out where your inner glow of self-assurance is coming from!
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