The Basics of Bullying and How to Stop It

“All cruelty springs from weakness.” —Seneca, 4BC-AD65

There are those who say that bullying is behind all forms of violence, conflict, persecution, abuse, harassment, discrimination, and prejudice.

The death of Phoebe Prince in 2010, a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl who hanged herself after being harassed by a group of students from her school, puts a spotlight on bullying among teenagers. And in fact, there have been many notable cases of teen bullying, on and off the Internet (i.e., cyber-taunting on Facebook) that come to mind when we think of bullies.

However, it isn’t just children and teenagers who bully. Although it may not be as obvious, or as easily identifiable, adult bullying may be more widespread. “Independent research suggests that bullying is happening to around 1 in 4 people” (from “Life After Adult Bullying”). Bullying impacts many of us, regardless of our age.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying is defined as “an act of repeated aggressive behavior in order to intentionally hurt another person, physically or mentally” (Wikipedia). It is characterized as behaving in a manner to gain power over another person. And it is a form of abuse. I would suggest that if you rephrase the descriptive action from “repeated aggressive behavior” to “taking frustrations out” on those who are weaker or different, bullying becomes a much more commonplace and identifiable act. In fact, it is pervasive.

There are different types of bullies and different environments in which they proliferate. There are verbal bullies, physical bullies, serial bullies, gang bullies, cyber bullies, subordinate bullies, unwitting bullies, work bullies, sadistic bullies, and psychotic and sociopathic bullies. There are bullies at work, at home, in schools, in governments, in religious organizations, on the Internet, and in social cliques.

What Kind of People Bully?

Usually people with low self-esteem and a certain amount of unconscious resentment (envy, jealously) that pushes the bully to project their own feelings of inadequacy onto you while denying that anything is wrong with them. Not all bullies are serial bullies. Sometimes the average person loses it under pressure and takes out their feelings in a bullying manner. But regardless of how or why it is happening to you, it is not acceptable.

What all bullies have in common is the use of power to satisfy one’s own psychological shortcomings. Each time a bully moves against someone weaker, he/she feels better about themselves for an instant. But because that feeling doesn’t last, they do it again and again. Sometimes the bully appears to lack insight into their own behavior (unwitting bully), but more often the bully does know yet elects to ignore the moral and ethical considerations by which the majority of people are bound. The rules don’t apply to them. Or they have projected so much self-hatred on the other that they truly believe that those they are bullying deserve exactly what they are getting.

Why Are There So Many Bullies in Society?

One of the reasons bullying is so prevalent is because most bullies commit non-arrestable offenses. And so bullying becomes unconsciously acceptable. It’s an outlet–a way to express–frustration and/or rage.

There are adult bullies we can easily identify. Hitler was a bully; racists are bullies. Parents and older siblings have been known to bully. Certainly, gang members bully. But what about those who threaten, shame, or intimidate you into doing things you don’t really want to do? It happens to most of us, and when it does, we are being bullied. Even when it comes from a person or institution that you love, respect, admire–your government, your church, your significant other, a family member, a professional colleague. Sometimes there is a fine line between harmless coercion and harmful bullying. But you can feel the difference. You know when you are truly ambivalent and open to being talked into something versus when you are being pressed against your better instincts, wishes, or values. And if you are being bullied by more than one person (i.e. an organization or group), it is even more difficult to stand up for yourself.

More insidious and pernicious is the type of bullying that has less to do about forcing you to do something and more to do with “putting you in your place”–minimizing or even destroying you in order to make someone else feel better about themselves. People do this consciously or unconsciously because of a hole inside of themselves that they try and fill by being better than someone else. It gives them a sense of power and authority in the world that they may not otherwise experience. It is a way to externalize their own feelings of insecurity, inferiority, and/or rage by putting those feelings on someone else and then attacking them.

Some bullying is so subtle that you really believe the bully. They make you feel unsure of yourself; bad about yourself. They can even do it in the guise of friendship or love. It becomes more of a mind game than an outright violation. But it is bullying just the same. We will not be able to rid the world of bullies, but we can learn how to stand up to them.

How Do You Stand Up for Yourself to Stop Bullying?

First and foremost, recognize what is happening and remember that it is the bully who has the problem, not you. Unless they are physically threatening you, bullies are “paper tigers.” If you stand up to them calmly and confront their behavior rationally while asserting your rights, they will back down. If you call them out on their actions, they usually have no place to go–especially if others are witness to these actions. You don’t have to attack a bully; you simply have to calmly and self-assuredly stand up for yourself. You don’t want to give them reason to escalate by engaging in a heated or emotional manner. You may be thinking that this sounds easier than it would actually be. So start slowly. If you can’t immediately stand up to a bully, at least don’t play into their behavior by trying to appease them.

Let the bully know by your reaction that you are not cowed and quietly walk away. Think about what you want to say and either talk to them later or wait until the next time they behave that way and then call them out on it. Bullies don’t have any real power once they realize that you won’t engage in their game. Once you have exposed them; they will fade away.

© Copyright 2010 by Roni Weisberg-Ross, LMFT - West L.A. Psychotherapy Group, therapist in Los Angeles, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • JUDE

    June 14th, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    My boss is such a bully…has a special liking to bullying me and a few others…handles us some lenghty work at the last moment and gives us unreasonable deadlines and keeps shouting at us and keep telling us just how inefficient we are and how we can never match up to his younger past…I’d like to just slap him and tell him that he is nothing more than a bully and I am better than him,atleast in the aspect of treating others with some respect!

  • Doggo

    November 4th, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    Bork?

  • Julia

    June 14th, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    How do adults allow themselves to be treated like this? How poorly do you have to think of yourself as an adult to still allow this to happen to you?
    I can understand it happening to you as a kid, you have no real way to defend yourself. But as an adult you should have the ability to stand up for yourself and tell someone that he or she is doing wrong!

  • cynthia

    July 14th, 2016 at 8:14 PM

    way to be a bully Julia….!

  • Bonnie

    October 20th, 2016 at 10:51 PM

    Lol

  • anonymous

    July 30th, 2016 at 5:05 AM

    Not when the entire community is against you in a smear campaign! There is no where to turn when authorities start a rumor that is untrue, makes you out to be a terrible human being. Other people go along with this because they don’t want to become victims themselves. And many people think if the rumor is spread through an authority figure then the rumor must be true about the particular person that is being smeared.

  • Pat

    September 21st, 2016 at 7:54 PM

    Sometimes an attorney is the only way to deal with toxic people.
    Money and jail time just eliminated a bully from my life.

  • ana

    October 24th, 2016 at 3:26 AM

    this is sort off happening to me, only I have x7 teenagers using lies their parents used before they moved up the road. One recently, I was on a call to my job agent for interview and they came at me accusing that I was taking photos. I called the Police on this, but ended up driving away around the block before parking up at my home. They all stood and cheered. I was angry but also embarrassed. They came back again Sunday and went right up to my car as I stood watching from my window, again the boys shouting. I really do not know what I can do.

  • A.T.

    October 24th, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    Hi Ana, I am just another poster on this board, but your situation reminded me of things that have happened to me. Bad neighbors can make it hard to feel okay in your own home, and that’s just not okay. I’d like to comment from my own experience of being gang bullied (as a child). Whether these ideas and thoughts will work for you is not something I can say. You didn’t explain a lot about your situation, but if I understand, it sounds like the parents and now the kids have had it out for you. If I were in your shoes I think I would find an advocate (another neighbor, or friend, minister? Teacher?) who would go with me to address the parents, to ask them what I did to upset them… because as long as you let the lies continue, they will. You can explain that you asked your “friend” (advocate) just to be there because you found it difficult to approach them on your own. (The friend should be nice to the neighbor, so as not to appear threatening, which would hurt your cause.) You would need to be open to hearing what the neighbors perceive, and then be able to calmly correct any untruths and explain a little about yourself so they know you are a real and nonthreatening person and that you, like them, just want to be able to live and coexist with your neighbors. That may sound like over-simplifying because I don’t know your history, but even so, you can be that person who takes the high ground and therefore comes out looking strong. By opening a conversation in a nonthreatening way, you might be able to diffuse the situation. At the least, you are showing strength and that you are a person, not a target. If they tell you they don’t want to talk with you or they become combative, you can just matter-of-factly let them know that they can either talk with you, or you’ll need to get some authority figures involved. At that point, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask someone at the police department to talk with you about the harrassment and ask them to talk with the parents and kids. You said you didn’t follow through before with the police. I would urge you to believe in yourself; if you called the police, there was a real reason. And it would be most powerful if you could accompany the officer and let the neighbors know that you mean them no harm; you only wish to resolve the situation. (Again, you appear as the strong and healthy person.) Another way to go is with the school principal, since that is also someone with some authority who, if they choose, can use detention or suspension to regulate behavior. I don’t know the school system where you are, but generally speaking, if something happens just after the kids get off a school bus or are walking home from school, you are more likely to get the school involved. I speak from my experience as a victim of a childhood gang, and that is how it was finally handled. Some things have changed and I don’t know what your chances are of getting the schools involved now. But if you do… when you go to initially meet with the school counselor or principal, it would be helpful if you have an appointment and to, again, have an advocate of your own who can vouch for your character. (We all deserve to have someone stand up for us now and then.) These are just some thoughts from my own experience, but I do believe that it really is vital to not let these situations go on and on, because they eat at our self-esteem. It’s easy to become bitter; I’ve been there many times. But I hope you won’t let bitterness define you. You are so much more than that. I hope you’ll post again; I’ll look for it.

  • Noonetotrust

    November 21st, 2016 at 12:16 PM

    A family member is going through the same thing. Neighbors are overreacting to charges trumped up because the so called victim worked for the right people. Can’t even look at a neighbor without additional charges being filed. Had to plead guilty to charges or would have been left to rot in jail..

  • Elsie

    August 7th, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    It can happen anytime a person is dependent on another person, whether they are an adult or a child. It is happening to me right now, at 62 years old, because I can’t afford to live by myself and have to live with an abusive family member. Rents are so high and Social Security so low that it puts many older adults at risk for abuse.

  • sara

    August 12th, 2016 at 6:22 PM

    Sorry Elsie! Can you maybe attend a good church and get to know some of the women there? There could be another woman who would love to share an apartment with you. One caveat–make doubly sure that you know her and your parameters. Also require references from at least two people. You never know; it could work out. This should take anywhere from several months to a year or so–but it would be something that you are working toward. You could both take care of each other; but it is crucial that you respect each other’s boundaries and privacy if it is to be successful. Just a thought. Also, make sure that you have a back-up plan just in case it doesn’t work.

  • debbie

    August 29th, 2016 at 3:54 PM

    You sound crass, like a bully yourself! Ya…just tell the bully to stop and they will…A-Ha! Don’t be ignorant.

  • lyndsey

    November 20th, 2016 at 3:21 PM

    I would also have said and thought exactly what you said here previously if I hadn’t been there everything that I have gone through for the past several months (almost year now). I have had my phone hacked, my bank account wiped in a very inconspicuous way, my pride and everything that I love in life completly stripped from my entire life. I had no clue in the beginning what was even happening to me and “my” belongings, mental and even physical health. I sound crazy and paranoid when I start to tell anyone what is going on. Because it is a very big group/crew of people simultaneously working together to run me out of their city. In the beginning when I started to notice the small things here or there I attributed everything to one persons doing. Until there was the straw that broke the camels back. I’m still not sure it was meant to indirectly open my eyes to the bigger picture and serve as a greater warning. Especially since I have yet to give up as easily as I believe they thought I would. The thing is that I will NOT EVER give up! I came to this new city with intentions of finding and making a better life for my future self and “GOD-willing” being able to give my unborn children a fair and happy life along with team effort from a loving and deserving husband/spouse. At this point I have become what most any would consider very dangerous.. For the simple fact that (I still have a few things) but really do not have anything at this very moment of what reallly and truly matters the most as far as our soul, human, purpose left in this world. If anyone knows how to convince a very large and influencial crew of people that you are sorry for whatever wrongs they feel deserve this type of punishment and can be forgivn and redeemed… I am open and willing to try any within reason and further self harmful suggestions.

  • Lisa

    June 14th, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    Roni, I’ve been told before that the worst thing you can do to a bully (in their eyes) is laugh at them because it takes away their power. Would you advocate that as a strategy? I’m thinking more of online bullies, not bosses or a person you have to deal with face-to-face. I would think brushing off what they say with a jokey comment that shows it doesn’t bother you would be a good tactic.

  • Teach

    June 14th, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    I just read a new study that came out in Canada about workplace bullying. The findings were that workplace bullying can be worse than even racial or gender harrasment. It’s a serious problem there and up until now, it’s not been illegal. A new bill that’s coming in this month addresses that.

    vancouversun.com/news/Bullying+work+worse+than+gender+racial+harassment+Report/3151623/story.html

  • JERRY

    June 15th, 2010 at 4:24 AM

    I have never been bullied and have never bullied anyone either. But I just don’t understand this online bullying…I mean, size or position does not matter online, does it…? Also, you have the option of ‘turning off’ the bully, right…?

  • Steve

    June 15th, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    adult bullies are laughable- they are doing it all to prop up their own fragile egos- let them know that you know that about them and I guarantee the bullying will stop faster than it began.

  • Frank

    September 17th, 2016 at 8:14 PM

    By saying this you are totally playing into the bullies hands. You are saying it is somehow the fault of the target. If you have not yourself been the target of a subtle, sneaky, spineless, devious, consistent bully – you don’t understand how this works.
    eg. my bully insisted (because he starts work an hour earlier in the morning than me) that he had to use the lab equipment in the morning (so I am only ‘allowed’ to use it in the afternoons – after he is ‘finished’) – BUT – when I complained to him about his time-wasting – he started making a point of sitting in the office for an hour or 2 every (EVERY) morning- to show that not only am I not ‘allowed’ to use the equipment – he is making the point that he is obstructing me from my job – AND that he is doing this to ‘get at’ me. But if I was to say to anyone that ‘every day he just sits at his desk in order to ‘push me around” – nobody is going to take me seriously! – nobody would – I would have to be a complete NUTTER to accuse somebody of this !! – do you get it???

  • Earnshaw E

    June 15th, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    @Jerry:you’re right.its not like they can follow you and taunt you in the real world…but they surely do,in the cyber world…its not as easy as just switching off or logging off…suppose you’re on a social networking site and this particular person is bullying you by posting fake info about you and writing to you.you can block that user but he will only create another user-name and get back to bullying you.and you would’nt want to delete your own account,would you…?!

  • Martha

    June 15th, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Phoebe Prince wasn’t a Massachusetts girl. She was from Ireland and had only moved to the US months before. Her heritage was part of what made that poor beautiful girl a target too. Jealousy was at the root of this bullying, over a boy she was dating. Those kids killed her with their words and taunts as surely as if they had shot her.

  • Cameron

    June 16th, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    Wouldn’t ignoring them to be a better strategy than joking about what they said, Lisa? Because when you joke about it, you’re drawing attention to whatever they posted. If you ignore it, it doesn’t get the attention they crave that it will. All the online bullies I’ve ever came across hate nothing more than their rants and bitchy comments being ignored as if they aren’t even there.

  • Pearl

    June 16th, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    I had a boss once that bullied every youngster in the place. He eventually was removed from the job because a complaint was made against him. Employees need to know they do not have to accept workplace bullying! You can report it to HR. Bullying bosses feed on your fear and assume you’ll never do that. Make it official if you can.
    Once you do, it’s all on record and they can’t bully anymore because of that. They know that HR will be watching because they don’t want a lawsuit on their hands.

  • rare

    August 3rd, 2010 at 9:12 PM

    only those who experienced being bullied can truly relate to those who are being bullied but help ,more often than not must come from those who have not experienced bullying. its easy to say how one can allow oneself to be bullied but its a fact its happening and the bullied are helpless. they dont ALLOW others to bully them far from it, if they can leave that situation, im sure they would but they cant. i dont know if im making any sense at all, maybe those who are being bullied can understand what i mean.

  • kc

    November 20th, 2010 at 6:24 AM

    Most often there is nothing you can do to a bully boss. Yes their superiors know it. You become a child dependent on abusive dysfunctional parents. If your a government employee. Only God can help you.

  • kit

    July 25th, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    Yep. Gov. Agency. I told a story once to a boss how previous boss got reported for unethical behavior and fired and I was involved. I wasnt bragging, it was a what would you do ethics question. Ever since then shes been very covertly staring me down and consistently “suggesting” this or that when things go awry. Meanwhile, shes made equally as many mistakes on the scheduling or other appointments. Which I never complain about. These people’s quality control and “you have a performance issue” is a joke and double standard. I will not work under that. I regret my honesty. Shes obviously threatened and has been

  • bullied

    January 22nd, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    KC, You’re right about that. As a government employee, my boss is one insecure guy. He’s about 6 years older than me and will harass or make comments on a weekly basis in passing, sending a zinger my way or commenting about my name. I always feel like he wants me to quit but says that I’m doing a good job. He’s got some health problems and is in pain but makes some of the most outrageous comments I’ve ever heard or known a manager to make. And upon review, he’s done it in staff meetings and to our group as a whole. It’s amazing that he hasn’t been taken to HR and warned about this. He also confided to us that he taught high school history, a student drew a knife on him and he broke the kid’s arm. He was fired, but I’m sure he verbally provoked the kid. The kid’s actions weren’t justified but adults are capable of fostering and antagonizing just as easily as children and teenagers. The only thing that assuages my angst is that I consider the source and realize the immaturity and delayed development of this individual. I often wonder if he ponders the thought about the mind/body connection and how it may be worsening his debilitating illness. Yes, I pray about this and other situations at work regularly.

  • roneyrode

    February 20th, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    they always mention what a bully hitler was and how evil he was. yet they forget to mention what a bully stalin was who had killed far more people than hitler did more brutally and stalin was a jew. you forget to mention what a bully the united states and israel is to the innocent palestinians murdering and massacrering and raping men and women. oh yeah it is also a typical techinique of the bully to call the victim a bully. thanks to malcolm x, louis farrakhan and kamau kabon and leonard howell thousands of innocent white people are being bullied everyday. you know the words: cracker, honkey, white boy etc. isn’t tha racial bullying?

  • Courtney

    April 22nd, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    @Julia that’s a pretty insensitive comment. People who are bullied don’t want to be and usually are preyed on because they may be shy or timid or don’t like to stir the pot.

    Also – what if your HR manager is the one DOING the bullying?

  • Steph

    March 24th, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    one of my Supervisers is a Bully to me and we work with kids and we have it posted every were this is a Bully free zone and I went to my manager and I need help on this. I tried doing everything in my power to say something and she goes to the boss and says Steph is Lieing I never did anything that is she saying to me.

  • Martha

    October 19th, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    I am 46 years old and am currently being bullied by my sociopathic x-husband’s sociopathic first wife. We were divorced over three years ago and this week, his first wife decided to call my current boyfriend’s x-wife (who she doesn’t know) and tell her a bunch of lies about me. Although all the information was false, this phone call has caused so many problems on so many levels and has hurt so many people I love that I am completely overwhelmed by my feelings of powerlessness. X wife #1 has been trying to ruin my life since day one and I thought when I divorced the sociopath that I had seen the last of her as well but she was just waiting for an opportunity. And, frankly, I don’t care what her childhood was like. Yes, adult bullying is real and it can happen because there are people in this world who have more hate than love in thier hearts.

  • Wendy

    November 22nd, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    I am a 36 year old woman who has been “mobbed at work”, my manager was a friend who has at every turn manipulated and abused her position as my manager. After years of this and plenty of attempts to discuss the issue and try and resolve it, i then complained to HR. BIG MISTAKE -The bullying escalated until everyone was constantly making personal comments and intimidating threats. I was unable to continue working
    any longer and i am now on the sick with depression and stress. My name is “MUD” and i have no redeeming qualities. I had started to feel better, however i have just had a massive shock!! People are abusing me online, the comments are EXACTLY the same as they were in work and although they haven’t mentioned my name it is very obvious who this is aimed at. I can’t stop crying, i am absolutely devastated. Can anybody help me? Has anybody got any advice which would enable me to be able to cope.

  • Erin

    December 7th, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    Would the owner of this post email me if you can? I would like permission to add it to a facebook page I am creating, “Resisting Adult Bullies”.

    I am currently dealing with a pair of adult bullies as well. SMART adult bullies. They never attack when there are witness’ around. I’ve resorted to purchasing a voice recorder in the hopes that at the very least, it will deter them from bothering me. It will either do its’ job or make matters worse…

  • well did it help

    October 21st, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    There more ways of torture than hitting or such, music,
    Roaring of a game, Motercycle s, small engines , how to Handel it and where to go for help.

  • Tanya

    December 10th, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Wendy, So sorry to hear that you are in pain over being bullied. Before you record someone, BEWARE. That may not be legal in your country/state/city. If your bullies are smart, combined with punishing and vindictive, you could find yourself looking down the barrel of a LAWSUIT. My bully is an extended family member who claims to be religious but is a nasty, nasty woman with control issues. She’s kind of sick right now because she abused me in front of a number of people and she’s been (in my opinion) spinning and spinning the story ever since to make her look good. Her mistake (and I think she rarely makes one when bullying) is leaving WITNESSES. I was completely faultless in what I did to “earn” her abuse and…get this….everyone agrees I did nothing. So, this is a rare time she has been CAUGHT and she is reeling from that. I stood up for myself in the moment (without yelling, naecalling, or anything else) and I am so proud that I chose to assertively (not agreessively – I’ve heard that the difference between assertive and agreessive is that assertive protects oneself whi9le aggressive over-steps protecting oneself and begins to trample on another’s boundaries). Now all she is left with is trying to convince others how wrong I was and the conflict is threading its way through the witnesses, with her even demanding apologies from the witnesses who have attempted to respond to her propaganda. The only sentiment I have for her is: CAUGHT. So, to all of you who have been wrongfully bullied, take my scoring justice as a karmic score on your behalf. Love and light to you all!

  • Tanya

    December 10th, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Oops, my recording comment was actually meant for ERIN,

  • Jen

    January 5th, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I have just had a run in with one of my very best friends. He’s turned it into something quite nasty and upsetting so in a bid to find out how to address it I hit the internet.

    It was such a relief to read this post. I could identify his behaviour exactly, it’s almost a box-ticking exercise. I know I’m not perfect either, who is, but it was good to see that his disproportionate anger and attack was not really deserved. Having always played the peacemaker/conciliator, I feel encouraged to stand up for myself for the first time in 10 years of friendship.

  • Kel

    February 6th, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I recently watched Dr. Phil after a lengthy period of not viewing his shows. I stopped watching because, to me, he seemed to bully his guests quite a bit by the way he treated them. I got the same feeling this time. After reading this article I am more convince than ever that my instincts are correct and Dr. Phil is a good example of an adult bully. We see more examples all the time just listening to judges put contestants down on shows like Idol etc.

  • A.T.

    September 7th, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    This article continues to provide a place to air bully victims’ stories… that in
    itself is reason to praise its author. While the article gives needed attention and a good explanation to why people bully, In my experience as a victim as well as observation, there are many situations where bullies don’t respond well to calm, non-emotional dialogue… Yes, sometimes that can work, especially if the person doing the bullying seems to be a somewhat reasonable person. But in many cases, bullies are control junkies who only back down if they perceive the other person as being stronger than they are. This is tricky. The question is, is (verbal) aggression ever appropriate? If you’ve been a victim of terrible bullying, I believe you’re more likely to answer “yes.” If you understand the difference between finding the place where the bully can hear you vs. becoming a bully yourself, you can tell the person clearly and with appropriate verbal force that you will no longer allow them to violate you without consequences. I don’t mean hysteria, I mean laying down the law–your law. It’s a lot like martial arts: if someone comes at you, you must show strength. My only problem with this article is that I think it gives the impression that you shouldn’t show anger when confronting a bully. My problem with that is that a bully perceives people as either strong or weak. We on the receiving end of a bully aren’t going to change the way the bully thinks or behaves in most cases. It takes a lot of counseling to do that. As a receiver of bullying I believe my goal is to stop the bully from perceiving me as their victim.
    The other reason I believe anger is appropriate is because as a victim you are angry, and it’s false and pretentious to let a bully think that their behavior doesn’t elicit anger. Personally I see myself as verbally shutting the door in their face with force. So, that means to me that through eye contact, tone of voice, physical stance, and brevity of words, I tell them: No More. This will stop Now. If not, then (consequences). I make it clear where the boundaries are and do not attempt to discuss anything else that would dilute the message.
    It’s taken 20 years of being with my husband to fully recognize and get him to recognize the bullying in his family and its consequences to both of us. I had been a victim of gang childhood bullying, but it took that long for me to fully “encircle” in my mind how much damage this family had done to both of us and be ready to stand up to it. He was so used it he no longer noticed or had the awareness until I wrote, with his permission, what I saw in his family history and how it had affected him, as well as the behavior of some of his family toward me over the years. We are in the process of confronting each of the siblings / participating spouses. Some participate in passive ways, by not correcting the lies that have been spread around. The instigators are getting the very firm approach; the kinder but more timid are hearing how they have participate by not speaking up. When it comes to bullying, there are only two groups: those who participate by instigating or allowing, and those who are whistle blowers. You are either one or the other. Thanks to the author and to those who have commented. To those who ask for help here and receive no answers, I am hoping that you continue to look for the help you deserve.

  • Claire

    February 16th, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    How does one find help against bullying and sexual harassment not related to an ex-husband or job?
    I need help and I need it fast! I do not know what to do! I feel helpless and right now hopeless!
    Anyone with any information, please please help!

    Thank you!

  • Patricia R

    August 8th, 2016 at 7:43 AM

    My ex-husband bullies me on a regular basis and it makes me feel scared and frightened. He recently involved two of my friends with his bulling over the Internet. His bullying me also impacts our sons behavior. I live in the state of Texas, what measures do I have where I can stop him from bulling me.?

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    August 8th, 2016 at 12:34 PM

    Hi Patricia,
    Thank you for your comment. We want to provide you with some resources to help in your situation. If you are experiencing emotional, physical, sexual, or other kinds of abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (TTY: 1-800-787-3224). They provide free confidential support at any time, day or night. Call for resources about safety within an abusive relationship or while trying to leave one.
    In addition, you can search for a therapist in your area by using the GoodTherapy.org directory, here: http://goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html.

    Please know we are thinking of you, and wishing the very best for you and your well-being. ♥

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Dave

    July 1st, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    I am presently being bullied by an “organization” related to a rare but important fact about myself. Anytime I find someone like me in this regard, this corruptly run group eventually also finds this person and then turns them against me.

    I’m looking to find or form a support group for people a victim of similar misconduct.

  • judi van emmerik

    October 21st, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Hello, I was intimidated into having a hysterectomy that I did not need; because of a relatively minor incontinence problem I had. And I have found that I cannot complain about that to friends or family, they are not in the least even sympathetic about it. I am 58 years old and experience has taught me that even what I wrote above would be denied by those few in my personal circle. I do have some legal help out of state right now, and I do not talk about it to anyone around me. Sorry to have used the term “I” so much in this post.

  • Jim

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    I have never met a bully who was not a coward. When they are confronted by anyone equal in size and strength or bigger and stronger they show their true colors-SPINELESS. I have witnessed this more times than I can remember. I have no sympathy for bullies and when they choose the wrong “victim.”

  • Maree

    September 7th, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    I agree with your statement Jim.
    I do prefer the word target rather than victim. For many years I have belonged to Alanon Family Groups. A wonderful program to support Family and Friends and persons living, working or even prior associated with persons who have Alcoholism/addiction issues. I have often noticed the link between Active addiction and bullying Jeckyl and Hyde behaviours. The tools of this program along with my faith have been a major assistance in maintaining serenity and sanity and moving forward when experiencing being a target of bullying.
    To note bullying by a psychopathic/sociopathic personality differs as usually these personalities are hard wired and don’t change.
    With Alcoholism/addiction in the absence of psychopathy/sociopathy the bullying can be changed with the right interventions and abstinence from alcohol and drugs.
    The Alanon program when integrated into ones life along with a spiritual faith can restore Joy love hope and self esteem for the targets.
    I hope this will help those who are targets of bullying with another option for support.

  • Eddie

    February 6th, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    This is where the article fails the real-world litmus test: “If you stand up to them calmly and confront their behavior rationally while asserting your rights, they will back down. If you call them out on their actions, they usually have no place to go–especially if others are witness to these actions.” In the real world, this is where bullies either double-down with their insults, get physical, or their friends jump in and gang-up on you.
    There are several different strategies and tactics for dealing with bullies, however the reality is that few things will make a bully stop. YOU are one of them. Facing them head-on (online it’s metaphorically)and letting them know their behavior will not make you blink no matter how much they escalate usually deflates them. Usually when they realize they will not “win”, or will not be able to “defeat” you, they seek out another target.

  • Jenn

    February 7th, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    A bully is irrational. They cannot and will not listen to reason.

    The best way is to get out before it affects your health or mind. Why? Because the bully (or mob) is toxic and they will spread their toxicity all around them. Bystanders/witnesses will become quiet because they don’t want to be the next target. People will shift their focus from their work to avoiding pulled into the conflict or becoming the next target. Productivity goes down. Morale goes down. Customer service/satisfaction goes down. Revenues goes down.

    The only alternative is to get out of that environment before it affects your health and confidence. While you plan your escape, you need to stay on your toes. Document every encounter with the bully or mob – that is write all that was said. Paraphrase what was said, how it was said, who said it, where it was said, time and date – as well as any witnesses as possible. It will be a you said versus they said and the bully (and or mob) will lie. They have a goal and that goal is the elimination of you.

    To stay sane, read up on bullying and mobbing. Find articles online. Google Kenneth westhues, Anton hout, Tim fields, the Namies (Gary & ruth – founders of the workplace bullying institute)…these people have done a lot of work in the workplace bullying and mobbing field.

    Use your health benefits while you have it – talk to a therapist who has dealt with workplace bullying/mobbing.

    Go for walks. Get exercise. Meet friends. Take care of yourself and your mind. Do n

  • Stop gangstalking violence

    October 10th, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    I have moved several times to try to get away from gangstalking bullying. It just picks up in the next county. My guess is they are street gangs which are everywhere. Once you get in their radar; the wicked tares never leave you alone. Its sad and demonic.

  • Jenn

    February 7th, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    Sorry, I accidentally clicked submit!

    One last point. Donor stay quiet. Talk to friends or a therapist. A bully wants you to stay quiet so that you become isolated. The bully wants to make you feel small.

  • Faieza

    February 17th, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    I’m a mother of two adult kids who bullies me and my husband specially my 25 year old daughter never knew until I came across a article on youtube describing my daughter and I was shocked angry confused all the years I blamed myself and confused I do whatever for her but nothing is good enough very sad to see nothing I do pleases her.I migrated from one place to the other butto be with her when we find out she’s pregnant but nothing is good where I’m concern.She humiliates me speak behind my back so sad how can a child do this.my son recently copies her and they got no concern for my 10 year old who’s emotionally a wreck because of all this.we now moving back as many articles tell you to get far away from such people as she really emotionally drained me

  • Pat

    March 4th, 2015 at 12:38 PM

    I am being bullied by my landlord. If I defend myself she throws a temper tantrum and starts messing with my lease and deposits and raises the rent. I can’t move because of money issues and pets. She feeds her sick ego with her ability to scream at me while I have to listen to her verbal abuse and take it, or end up homeless. Her comment to me is, “you don’t know who you’re messing with.” I already had a meeting with the state housing reps. They told me to move and wondered why I’m staying there, but as I said, not many places accept dogs, cats and a horse at an affordable price. If she’s outside, I go in. I stay away from her, but she always is lurking on my rental property with her animals and friends and then finds some fathom thing to literally scream and threaten me and my husband for. She found a perfect unbeknownst victim as I am quiet and soft-spoken.

  • Darlene

    March 5th, 2015 at 10:34 AM

    I am a victim of gang stalking as the result of a viscious neighbor who lied and said I didn’t smething to her and now my good name is blacklisted. I am on some type of registry as a potentially voleent and ow I am montiroed 24/7. I have no privacy.As soon as I leav emy home and email or text message is sent out to a network of people and I am followed everywhere I go–in my vehicle and on foot. I have never done anything to this woman but she has been trying to run me out of the neighborhood for years. Now she has taken her harassment to a different level. Anyone aware of a registry like this, what it mght be called and how can I clear my good name. She apparently issued a false complaint against me and I was not contacted to get my side of the story. My life is a living nightmare if you can imagine. Prayer is the one thing that helps live through this but I would like my life and peace of mind back. Thank you or any thoughts you might have on this matter. There is alot of information on the Web about gang stalking. It is real.

  • Stop gangstalking violence

    October 10th, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    I’m being gang stalked too. People all over the world are complaining of this. My guess is its the drug cartels and gangs and we have somehow gotten on someone’s radar. The registry you speak if could be sites like whosarat.com where gangbangers but us on their registry. This is my guess. Pray. Justice will come to them from the lord someday. They think they are getting away with something but the Lord sees what they do. I’ve moved several times and it does no good. They are evil.

  • Me

    April 9th, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    Male family member has been bullying us for years. Now realizing he is not must a “jerk” but a bully who intimidates, criticizes, he is always right etc. Recently has hwon more signs of physic al intimidation – moving close to person, “Cornering” at times, very ugly mean grimace on face. Family is now talkingtogether about this. Some ignore, some having difficulty not taking personally wanting to “help” him. Should we be concerned about physical violence that now seems to be mounting? I feel this is possible. What to do to protect selves?

  • N

    May 14th, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    My Sister In Law is a Bully. My Mother & Father lets her Bully me in front of them. I tell my Sisters they won’t Lison too a word I say they tell me too be nice too Lori witch I have been doing so! Lori all those years before my Brother was Marryed too Lori & after he had pass on now she talks very bad about him. I even over Hurd bad things comeing out of Lori & her Aunt Rafina s mouth very bad about my Brother who is gone now my Family takes her side Lori smiles when I get in too troble by my Family. I can’t take it no more.

  • N

    May 14th, 2015 at 8:38 AM

    One time I told her off my Mother told me too Applagize too her she fakes cry too my Mother my Family takes her side she’s been very evil for her bad ways.

  • Evette

    May 30th, 2015 at 1:11 AM

    My brother is a bully. He loves to bully my when my mum and dad are not looking. One Saturday, we were looking for some newspapers to read as it was in the timetable of ours. He told me to find some Chinese newspapers but I was to busy finding mine that I didn’t hear him. He then kicked me in the stomach. It was too pain that I had to kick him back. He continued to pull my hair,kick me, punch me. Please help me get rid of him. Please….

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    May 30th, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Evette. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • dandelion

    June 23rd, 2015 at 8:08 AM

    I’ve been living with my family friends for 3 years now, 2 years back from now the daughter in law for this family has been hating on me, then liked me, then hated me, and now its been a year since, the thing is she thinks I’m dating “her husband”, which I’m not. And now she keeps swearing at me and she keeps threatening me in everyway she possibly can. I’m tired of this I really am, I tried talking to her husband but he told me to do what ever I can to act on that that’s how she is and he’s also tired of her… The thing is I need to do something that’s gonna hurt her for the rest of her life, something that’s gonna put her in her place… Please help me

  • GoodTherapy Admin

    GoodTherapy Admin

    June 23rd, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    Thank you for your comment, Dandelion. We wanted to provide links to some resources that may be relevant to you here. We have more information about emotional abuse at http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-emotional-abuse.html and additional information about what to do in a crisis at http://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html

    Warm regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Suzanne

    August 11th, 2015 at 6:35 PM

    I have a new sister in law that is apparently intimidated by me. She went bridezilla on me at their wedding for no reason and then proceeded to yell at my mother in law, calling her a liar. There are 2 sons and I would never do anything to hurt their brotherly relationship. This girl is using her new husband to fight all her battles. I publicly apologized for my so-called wrong doing accusation at the wedding (I still don’t know what I did…) via email and sent it to my brother in law (because that was the email address I had.) I was then in trouble for not sending it to her. I can’t win. And yet she has admitted no wrong doing or inappropriateness. She is an only child and spends most of her time with her parents. My brother in law came to see me and my husband by himself, when we were in town. She will only see my in laws if they’re going out to dinner and, of course, if I’m not there. This target on my back needs to come off. I hate what it’s doing to my husbands family but I feel like I’ve done everything I possibly can yet she hasn’t accepted any responsibility for her actions. I’m tired of her bullying….

  • Laura

    December 2nd, 2015 at 2:44 AM

    This sounds so similar to my situation. My brother’s partner hates me and accuses me of all kinds of things. I have no idea where it comes from. My brother is fiercely defensive of her. It’s difficult when all the advice is to walk away from a bully- it’s difficult and seems impossible to walk away when they’re in your own family. I’m now heavily pregnant and she’s still doing it.

  • Hannah

    September 4th, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    I started being teased at a young age. Two girls started to bully me through middle school all the way into High School. I was followed everywhere I went, down hallways, followed into the bathroom, constantly being tormented. I had no friends, everyone was taken from me by the bullies or due to rumors. I spent most of my high school years in isolation to hide from this. It only stopped after the two girls left school in my late junior year. After High School, I slept for two weeks straight. I had no friends when I graduated, and started to try to change that. I thought now that I was out of school that it would stop. It didn’t. My sister started to bully me. She was so horrible that it was worse than anything I had ever gone through. It is still happening. It started out of hate or jealously, or something. She had always been an attention grabber. Now I know that the term for her is a “Serial Bully”. She began to do small things like stomping past my room everytime she walked by, constantly ignoring me, taking over areas in the house, glaring at me everytime she saw me, and much more. As small as those things were, they effected me the most. I couldn’t live in my home comfortably, these occurrences happened everyday. The thought of me being happy or succeeding made her be worse or devise more plans to get to me. It got to the point where she started to whisper things near me, and harass me when no one else was around. So only I knew what was happening. One day I was fed up with no one believing me. One day her Facebook was logged on and I used the search bar in the message box to search for my name, cuss words, the word she, and many others to find out any proof that I could of her talking bad about me. What I found out was more disturbing than I thought. She said to her fiancé “let’s hang up on her”. Yeah did. Living in a house where two people are being serial bullies is like living in a bottom of a small dark hole. I was hopeless. So I printed it out and showed my parents. They confronted her about it as well as her fiancé. They denied it. Yet I had it on paper. It’s been three years now. They moved out, and it’s still continuing. I am constantly paranoid, I can’t live a normal life, I’ve been ripped of growing as a person, and the worst part is my family knows and they still don’t do anything. I stood up to them once, and all I got was smirked at and talked down to. They’re sick people. And it’s mental, not physical. I don’t know what to do and I can’t live like this anymore. I’ve explained the truth and fought for myself and nothing has changed. It’s hopeless. I don’t know why I’m writing this here, I’ve never done with this before. I guess I still am not ready to give up. I’d like to think something can be done about this and I can start living again.

  • Jane

    September 29th, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    This is great information but I’m wondering what should we do when the fake profiles and blogs these cyber bullies have created in our names starts showing up in google search results. Is there a non-profit organization that helps you drive those profiles and help you to promote positive sites regarding oneself until you can have said profiles and blogs removed? Also, I think there should be a cyber bully registry, especially for these serial cyber bullies.

  • Nancy

    October 2nd, 2015 at 11:16 PM

    I could not agree more with these sentiments! It’s cowardly and hypocritical. Judging others constantly is a sad way to live.

  • J. Anita

    October 23rd, 2015 at 6:55 PM

    I am a woman, age 59. My brother bullied me in every way possible while growing up. Nobody did anything to stop it. He tried again after I turned 18. I pulled a knife on him with full intentions to use it. My life, past present and future flashed before my eyes but it didn’t stop me from protecting myself. When he took a step toward me, I stabbed at him but he jumped out of the way. He left me alone after that. That was 40 years ago and if he ever messes with me again I won’t miss.

  • Claudia

    December 21st, 2015 at 3:14 AM

    Thought-provoking analysis!

  • Chandra

    February 18th, 2016 at 4:49 AM

    Ignoring Adult Bullies is not always an option.
    For the better part of a year I have been dealing with the ramifications of a campaign of relational aggression instigated by a former contractor. They have damaged my social standing and business reputation with their lies and actions – to the point that I have had to close down my brick and mortar business (a small dance studio) all together. When this bully (and their associates / cohorts) felt they were not making enough of an impact on ME – they set about targeting those associated with me, and my business (blacklisting students and teachers contracted with me from performance opportunities and events).

    I am currently reworking my business model into something that will (hopefully) make it harder for these Bullies to affect our ability to earn a living with our art. I just had to let all of you know that ignoring bullying doesn’t make it go away… Evil / malicious people will still do evil / malicious things because it is in their nature to do so.

  • Liam S.

    March 5th, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    I was a target of workplace bullying for four years, which my parents were orchestrating. It has now progressed to gang stalking and has taken on a life of its own. I’ve lost nearly everything, and may now have no way out. My advice is to deal with these situations early before they get out of hand. If you’re in a toxic workplace then do whatever it takes to get out. Unfortunately, there are truly evil people out there who will stop at nothing to destroy others. Please see my blog below where I am documenting my experiences: organisedstalkinguk.wordpress.com
    Thanks,

  • Laura

    March 8th, 2016 at 3:36 AM

    I have been the victim of social adult bullying for about 2 years now. I am quiet and shy and borderline anorexic. I am scholarly and a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry. I have never had a lot of friends and always focused on family and work. But about 3 years ago my husband and I found this band we liked, the lead took a liking to us and we ended up helping out. At first I became wildly popular, I had some parties with this band, and all of a sudden everyone wanted to be my friend. It was very strange. I never asked for it, it was not real comfortable but it was kinda fun and different. Then everything changed. His crew got jealous and so did a group of toxic fans. The crew pushed us out and blocked us and many so called friends started to move away. But we stilled so loved the band and his music so we stayed to support. But things got worse. This group of so call friends started taunted me psychologically. I don’t drink or eat much due to my eating disorder and they constantly posted pictures of themselves eating and drinking and saying how they were the best friends. One started at me. She got in with a phony promoter and stared acting like a VIP. Giving silly VIP and backstage passes, excluding me. Asking what was wrong, I told her, nicely and calmly. It didn’t work at all. It got worse. I tried to distance myself at shows and socially. She stared emailing and texting me. Implying I was neurotic and passive aggressive. I did not want to turn tail and run from the band scene, but it continued so it could not be proved. I blocked her on Facebook and stopped talking to her. It got worse. The texts, the emails, the accusations. I continued to ignore her so she started verbally attacking a friend of mine she barely knew. It got really ugly. My husband tried to reason with her. All weekend one weekend till I could take it. It was ruining and consuming my life. It was not just her either. It was a group of them. One is a lawyer with some money actually who I feel is the silent instigator. When I reached out to her she told me she didn’t care and just wanted to go to shows and have fun with these bullies. I finally ended up having to refriend the one to make her stop hurting innocent people. It was calm for a while. But it hasn’t ended. They did something a couple of weeks ago against me. Hard to prove. They are show offs, and boastful and one has money and she has parties and buys people drinks and stuff. They are still taunting me. People stay away from me. I can stop going to shows but it will still be there. They have made me feel isolated, alone and depressed and worthless. I have emails and texts but no one wants to get involved. They have not physically threatened me so I can’t get at them legally. But they have mentally abused me for over a year now and they won’t let it go. I’m at my wits end. It has destroyed my nice peaceful life and I don’t know what to do any more. I have tried all the psychological tactics as noted in article but nothing works. I’m at my wits end.

  • Tammy

    March 27th, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    This is a very good article. It is also very true. Adults do have bullies. I have seen it more so in the workplace with those who are in authority – bullying/emotional abuse to the staff. Companies stipulate that they are anti-bullying. However, an employee points out the behaviour to the upper management, somehow the employee who brought it forth ends up getting punished. I would like to see companies talk the talk & walk the walk. Protect your employees from internal bullying. If the person in authority is bullying/causing emotional abuse to someone at work, what is he/she doing outside the office – does the behaviour extend.

  • Evie

    May 19th, 2016 at 10:54 PM

    This article does a great disservice to victims. To imply that we allow ourselves to be bullied is like saying we allow ourselves to be raped. The suggestion that a calm confrontation will stop every bully — or even a minority — presupposes that all are fundamentally rational and willing to project the consequences of their own behavior. Furthermore, it assumes the bully recognizes that the necessary evidence can be gathered to report to an authority figure — presumed to exist — who’s willing to take punitive action. This is laughable. To whom does one report, for example, when a person is spreading vicious rumors in a social circle? The police? The author not only clearly lacks imagination but experience as a victim. Most bullies outsize their victims in either strength or status, and even when they’re lateral to their prey, a lifetime of experience has taught bullies that they’re not likely to be made accountable. Furthermore, subterfuge is their stock in trade, and they know how not to make tracks. Many have poor impulse control. Others fly into violent rage. It is in their own self-interest to be charming and manipulative, and chances are if a victim speaks, he/she might not even be believed. However horrific the effects, most bullying is so subtle that it leaves no evidence trail. My advice? There is almost always some means of retaliation, even if it comes through a back door. Get creative. Because all bullies have one thing in common: They never believe you can screw them back. And in almost every case, you can. Otherwise, they’ll continue for a lifetime with impunity. Help prevent the next victim.

  • Kathleen

    August 5th, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    My problem is that I don’t think like a bully, so screwing them back is a problem for me. I have no problems getting my butt kicked, though.

  • A.T.

    September 10th, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    Evie, I can relate very well to the work situations you describe. Sorry for the length of this and my other post. So cathartic! I have had to finally leave a few good positions over my work life in order to get away from bully behavior. The last time was a job I loved where I accomplished a great deal for the organization, and the bullying was from the top down. I believe there was jealousy and insecurity among most of other staff of eight women and they didn’t want to work as hard.
    It’s too bad there aren’t better standards and training for management… The workplace seems to be a breeding ground for bully behavior. When I worked as a temp I saw it in many work places, and luckily I could then be more of an observer. It has made me more cynical of human nature, although I do know that most of it is really a statement about how many families are stuck in unhealthy patterns and then repeat these patterns in their careers.
    More recently I’ve been wondering why I tend to be a target, and have come to believe it is for three reasons: first, because I have a sensitive nature, and second, because I was brought up to be polite. I have a strong set of values around being civilized. I also tend to think “out of the box.” So I often stand out, or apart from the “group.” I wonder if these qualities are common among targets of bullying?
    For me, it got so bad that I finally decided I could only work in positions where I would work alone–sales. That worked for awhile; then I took a job again in my field and within a few months I was up against a thick wall of cronies to the ultra-rich boss. It was a disaster, and I was physically and emotionally exhausted.
    After 40 years of workplace struggle, I gave up–and was very lucky to be able to stop the merry-go-round at that point, because I believe it was literally a disabling experience. I am a strong and aware person in many ways and know how to stand up to people when I need to, but having to play those games day in and out is NO way to live. A lot of what I still had to give was not accomplished.

  • Art

    June 2nd, 2016 at 8:55 AM

    It’s very alarming that Donald Trump is a bully. His inability to not assassinate or belittle the character of apparently anyone who promotes an opposing perspective to his views is meet with an un-proportional response which is very dangerous because of his power.

  • Maree

    June 6th, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    Bullying is rampant in our society.
    I have experienced bullying both in my family and the workplace. There is a way through. I am happy to assist others who experience this violence known as bullying.

  • debbie

    August 22nd, 2016 at 7:13 PM

    I have been bullied for over one year now by the same person, my previous landlady. When I rented an apt from her in June 2015, I had a lease for 1 year there, which I fulfilled, & also left the apt immaculate. Backing up a little the 11st week I lived there, I knew it was a horrible mistake…there were mini spy cameras all over my apt. You could her them clicking. Her daughter lived above me & the landlady was always up there. They followed me around the apt from room to room & especially the bathroom during my most private moments & they would constantly talk about me & laugh at me. I couldn’t sleep in my bedroom after one episode when landlady husband was live filming me & taking still shots.I woke up they were talking while doing this & apparently thought I would not hear them talking & the noise of the cameras. It was so bad that I would stay gone for hours & even sleep in my car in the winter until I couldn’t take it anymore. I then stayed at a homeless shelter to get away from those creeps. It was January & I went back to my apt & felt better about it because I had a friend stay with me for about a month. After she left, the antics started again, only worse. I was sick with an upper respiratory illness, & the bulllies blew tons of cigarette smoke down through the hear vent & I developed Asthma. The smoke came from the vent where by where I slept on the couch. Every time I went to the bathroom they would beat on the ceiling with a stick. It gets even better. It was near Spring, & I was happy that I was going to be moving in June 2016..this year, & I figured I could tough it out til June & looked for a place to live. Well, come to find out, her husband put a GPS on my car & not only that, but put mini cameras in the car which are still in my car. So obviously they found out by the GPS where I moved to. This is so bizarre. , but they. ( landlady & hubby) befriended the woman above me or bribed her with cash or whatever & now my previous landlady stays above me doing the same things. There are cameras in my apt, she blows smoke down through the heat vent, bangs on ceiling & follows me all over my apt from upstairs. Watches me in the bathroom AGAIN. I have no privacy at home or in my car. I contacted the police and they said they couldn’t do anything & to call my present landlord which I did & she basically told me she thought I was crazy in so many words. I have no supportive family here & I still sleep in my car at times because I feel safer & I need to get away from her physical presence. She still talks about me while standing above me upstairs & I can hear her. She laughs at everything I do from cooking, applying make up, to going to the bathroom. She has gotten the neighbors involved & has allowed them to look in on my life & talks Crap about me to my new neighbors in my apt building. She is there all the time. I don’t get it. I texted her daughter once & pleaded with her to tell her mom to go home. And she was rude & defensive. I have taken a mental beating & it continues. The stress of it is making me physically sick. Please HELP!

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    August 23rd, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    Hi Debbie,
    Thank you for sharing your experience. Please note that GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, treatment, medical treatment, psychotherapy, counseling, or mental health services. A qualified therapist may be able to help you with the stress you mention. You can search for a therapist near you on the GoodTherapy.org directory here: http://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html

    The events and situations you describe seem extremely worrisome. If you feel you are in immediate danger, it is very important you seek help immediately. Please call 911 in the US or visit your local emergency room to get help and alert the necessary authorities.

    Please know we are thinking of you, and we wish you the very best!

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Christina H.

    August 19th, 2016 at 1:39 PM

    My sister is 26 years old and she bully’s me. My parent say just ignore her, but it’s hard because she keeps saying stuff over and over again and it’s the same thing. I have tried to stand up for myself but I sometimes stutter and can’t makes a sentence because I am in a state of shock because she keeps doing this and Everyone says it’ll pass or she’ll get over it. She abuse me verbally and sometimes physica but not enough to leave a mark and that’s a basic sister punch. We live under the same roof. I don’t know what to do. I’m getting to the point where I’m getting stuck because of the stress of it. Also when I do try and defend myself she mocks me. I’m at a loss. I am younger than her and she knows how to get inside my head. I just ignore it and I feel worse doing that than standing up for myself.

  • Gigi

    August 25th, 2016 at 5:34 PM

    I’ve been bullied many times in the workplace. I recently quit a job of three months as my supervisor was psychotic and didn’t respect me. I’m accountable for not being assertive until recently and the next day I resigned, via phone with no notice. Today I’m in a better place, financially secure, and I don’t need to stay in unhealthy work environments. I’ve read many adult bully articles over the past couple of days. Regardless of the reason your being bullied you have to assert your self and protect who you are..and still learning this, to be in an uncomfortable place, keeping my power and self.

    I was bullied as a child and my parents enrolled me in tae kwon do for 4 years and I trained 5 days a week. It made me physically stronger, and mentally, I became more confident and felt part of a community at the karate class. It was one of the best things in life I received. Today, I’m usually bullied by heavy women that have a position over me. The last job was a 58 year old man, masters in psychology and undergrad in social work. Go figure!

  • Anonymous

    August 27th, 2016 at 2:57 PM

    Well done.
    A big concern is bullies in the family or workplace who study psychology. I believe this knowledge increases the risk of the bully misusing this information to do more harm.

  • A.T.

    September 10th, 2016 at 12:42 AM

    My comment should have been a response to Tammy, not Evie (Evie, you made some good points as well!

  • Pam

    September 10th, 2016 at 4:21 PM

    Our community city & historic district is afraid of our abutting property owner related to his “powerful person status”. We truly live in an government “city” of good ole boy decision making. Allowing this person to erect a fence on my property not enforcing city code, emailing me to not touch a trench he excavated on my property because he started the property to be his. City then would not let us even apply for correcting this 6 on wide 6 in deep trench for the safety of Hallowern children but then let him build a fence on the property. I had to litigate to make him move the fence judge ordered through another correct survey to remove fence. This man , his wife, and 26 year old child & 2 dogs electronic watch us to come to property line bark, growl lunge at every opportunity constant bullying harassing . There are no recourses for us even to litigate would not be beneficial. So many comments on this site and mean people prevail. How can it be do difficult when there are civility , what would a judge and attorney prefer in their life a person like all the above or one that chooses to act responsibly with kindness & u

  • Dayne M

    September 15th, 2016 at 1:52 AM

    Its one thing for an adult to commit suicide over bullying usually from someone in their workplace, but it is really sad when you hear of a teenager committing suicide over being bullied at school, and it happens more than we like to admit it. I believe that we need to educate our kids at an early age about how to identify and deal with bullying. I also believe our schools should run programs showing kids how to deal with bullying. I have attached a couple of links for people to check out, especially young parents and teachers.
    youtu.be/3SLRmbRJN-U
    bullyingzone.com/

  • Empath

    September 19th, 2016 at 6:43 PM

    What is the bully is a much older sibling and they are bullying you over the inheritance they think they should get – even if they only recently stepped up to help. Now dealing with a smear campaign, lying, and having the police called. I am not willing to go through the trauma that I endured as a child. Will never trust these people again and that is what makes me feel like an idiot – that I was halfway fooled.

  • Hautshot

    September 29th, 2016 at 5:23 PM

    Excellent article and comments on bullying. We have a gang of three bullies in our homeowner’s association. Hard to know where to turn for support. Seems easier to not associate with these bullies. Why is it that abusive people seem to volunteer their time in these type of activities? Need more info on resources and support how to deal with a gang of bullies.

  • kiwi

    November 21st, 2016 at 2:07 PM

    i would appreciate some guide lines on what to do in this situation i have found myself in i am 60 years old and have lived a relatively quiet life – moved to a gorgeous wee country town and was thoroughly enjoying it – i joined a pottery club made up of local women from the area – i started to notice what i called catty behaviour – 1. you got ignored when you arrived to do some pottery – 2. if you were spoken to and asked how your week was by the time you finished saying – great having a wonderful time – they were rolling their eyes and looking away – 3. totally ignored and not spoken to was the norm most weeks – unless they wanted something – 4. after showing a fellow potter how to do a simple technique which was different to the so called un-elected president of the potters group – was told the next week “people from the city who move to the country should learn to shut up – they think they know everything and they dont so why dont they shut up” after that i was ignored and finally no5 – 2 weeks ago the pottery club had a fire – yep some twat on the local council approved a kiln to be set on a wooden floor which of course went on fire – it took a number of years but the constant firing of the kiln dried the wood out so much it just went ‘poof’ up in smoke one afternoon – the head of the local volunteer fire brigade told his wife – the un-elected president of the potters group – ‘there was asbestos in that roof’ she told me this the next day – so 4 days ago we were told to come and clean up – i asked if the asbestos had been cleared and all i got was a repeat of come and clean up – so i rang the local sub office of the council and made the same request – the receptionist became very snarky with me when i wouldnt divulge the informant – i had also involved work and safety who told me not to go in – the council didnt and since i had been told to go in i went in – well – it hit the fan – not one person would speak to me but i should be 6 foot under with the looks and attitude – apparently i have caused no end of trouble – but i figured since i have nursed men with asbestos related diseases i didnt want a bar of it – but that doesnt count in their eyes – now i am not being spoken to – have had a couple of terse emails requesting i return the couple of items i had borrowed – have asked them to collect them but they will not – they ‘are too busy’ – it probably doesnt sound like much but it is an insidious form of bullying i feel where i am at fault for them not being allowed to enter the building – and having to wind up the pottery club until further notice – i am finding to be ostracized in this day and age and at my age to be totally demeaning and i dont like how they can make me feel so scared – and i shouldnt let them make me feel anything – i just need to know how to get the items back to them because i know if i turn up with them i will be verbally attacked – i am stressed enough and am now ill – and spinning in circles as to how to handle such a weird bunch of women

  • A.T.

    November 21st, 2016 at 10:38 PM

    Kiwi, So sorry to hear what you’re going through. You obviously did the right thing with the asbestos problem; I hope you don’t have self-doubt about that. If someone is doing a cover up, the county Health Dept. should know about it. If there’s a newspaper, maybe they should know about it. Some people may not like you for it, but others may see you as a hero. As for the women. I am just a participant on this forum like you and the following are just my personal opinions. When people act catty like that, I think there is often a “mob” mentality in play (have you read some Sociology? I find these concepts about human behavior to be helpful sometimes). That behavior isn’t gender specific, but there is another layer of weird competition when it is all women. But either way, people who aren’t very self-confident and/or self-aware easily fall into a group dynamic whereby they feel the need to prove that they are not the outsider… therefore there has to be an outsider for them to feel secure about being accepted in the group. (Pretty sad way to live, I’d say!) The only type of person who has a chance (and not always) of fitting in, at least at the onset, is one who is able to be very subservient and shy, in order to not appear as a threat. This can appeal to some of the group’s “members” nurturing side, to take the new person under their wing. The problem is that you then have to stay under the wing for a very long time and spend a lot of mental and emotional energy trying not to stand out. And in that type of group, you’ll then have other distasteful dynamics to deal with. So if you are different from them, and you also have knowledge or abilities they don’t have, you are at a great disadvantage. I often have trouble with these types of groups because over the years I developed a strong personality, probably out of a response to having been bullied. That translates to friendly but not willing to be defined by them. Groups like that don’t like people like me. And to be honest, I’ve come to the point of deciding that it is better to be alone for awhile than to be abused by people who act at their most base level. In time, I believe most of us can find real friendship (again). I’m 62. It takes a lot longer now for me to find friends than when I was younger, but after many months of having no friends around me, I found a group of people who are so much more genuine, and I’m hopeful. Being in a small town can be disappointing and isolating, and if you decide to stay there, it may take longer. I gave up on the idea after trying it for about 5 years and decided I needed the choices of the city. (That may not be your experience.) Personally I find my salvation in people who’ve hit bottom or have gone through trauma but have come through it. Many of them have lost enough to have stopped lying to themselves about what’s important. Hope you’ll sign in again to this forum; I for one would like to know how your story unfolds. Thinking of you!

  • liz

    November 22nd, 2016 at 11:12 AM

    thank you so much for your kind reply – you are right – after years of bullying from family and work place – i normally dont stand for it anymore – but this time – phew – it has been an insidious sideways slither back into being bullied – and i dont like it – i am determined to stand up for myself – when i look back over the last 3 years of having lived in this gorgeous wee town – i dont regret it – but i am not taking it anymore – e.g. i have been in this pottery group for 2 1/2 years – 18 months ago i had an appalling accident and shattered my leg – titanium rod from knee to ankle and only in the last 6months have i managed to walk in a reasonable way – i was bed bound for 3 months before i could even start to learn to walk again – found using the bathroom to be a mission i can tell you – well this group of women didnt even come to see if i was alive – they didnt come and see if my husband (who is 70) needed any help – they laughed it off and said it wasn’t as bad as i thought – huh???? – me with the smashed leg didnt think it was that bad??? – i had to be put in the rescue helicopter and flown to the nearest hospital 200km away – thats when i started to take note of their catty behavior – catty remarks and catty put downs – i guess this may have been coming for a while – and yes i would ask the question in a heart beat about the asbestos – it not nice nursing old guys who have had asbestos related diseases and i for one dont want a bar of anything to do with asbestos – oh i live in new zealand by the way and the local council authorities are very insular/incestuous – you never question them – umm – i do – but enough of that for the mo – i am so happy you contacted me – i gathered strength from you and your reply and knowing i have done the right thing – i will not be pushed – bullied or manipulated by these women
    i will stay in touch with you – you are amazing

  • A.T.

    November 22nd, 2016 at 3:31 PM

    Hi Liz, I was happy to see your reply! So glad to hear that some of my words resonated. You sound like you are a strong and kind person. You’ve come through a terrible time with your accident and having to learn to walk again! Shame on those women. They sound like they have lived in the wee town all their lives and have no self-awareness to show for it. But not to even superficially have contacted you to see if you and husband were alright is beyond–. Your words “insidious sideways slither back into being bullied” are such an apt description of what happens to so many of us, I think… for me, I put up with it for too long because I don’t always have a good compass to tell me when I’m being too sensitive, so I wait. I don’t always respond to a put-down or thinly veiled insult, but I’ve come full circle on that thinking and hope I’ll start confronting right away. An unpleasant moment up front is better than letting the bully think I am a willing long-term target. I’ve been trying to come up with responses that can work in most situations to put a “pause” into the person’s behavior. One response I’ve come up with is to ask, “What exactly are you saying there?” and to call them out. But sometimes bullying is about attitude and talking only behind your back. My new rule for myself is that if I don’t get a good feeling the first time, I know I am observant enough to have usually made the right assessment. They say to go to something at least 3 times, but try as I might to allow it to change, my first gut response almost never changes. Another reason I have more confidence in this is that the first time I attended a “good” group, my gut said “Yes” and that hasn’t changed. Of course, that is a group with an unsaid creed that you are there to be tolerant of differences and supportive overall.
    You are in NZ–hope you weren’t close to the epicenter of the earthquake last week! My parents both died of lung disease 6 months apart, and I know about asbestos from my past work with a lung disease group. You didn’t say whether the laws are lax or if it’s just that the local council doesn’t have enough oversight at the regional or national level, but either way, it sounds insidious.
    One of my very favorite song writer-performers was Laura Nyro, who died very young from cancer. Her voice and lyrics are amazing, and I draw strength from them when confronting “the world” of human behavior. One that moves me so much is called “A Wilderness.” She wrote it for her daughter, but I like to think she also wrote it for herself. Here are some of the lyrics:
    Earth calls to you
    Every day in every way
    Momma’s puttin’ on some warpaint
    For a little bit of combat
    You asked the reason
    You gotta fight for your freedom
    Sometimes every day
    In every way…
    Many people pass by
    Caught up in roles and rules
    Many rivers run free
    I don’t wanna crush
    The wilderness in you child
    Or the wilderness in me
    How do we keep them both alive?
    Somehow they must survive
    Somehow they must survive
    Though there’s so much fire
    And so little time…

  • A.T.

    November 22nd, 2016 at 3:36 PM

    Oops: The lyrics from Laura Nyro I just posted have one mistake I’d like to correct. They should read, “I don’t wanna crush the wilderness in you child or the wildness in me…”

  • liz

    November 22nd, 2016 at 9:01 PM

    A.T. – wow – just walked past the computer – and thought – wondered – are you there??? and there you were – i can not tell you enough or thank you enough for the strength you have given me – my head is clearing now of the stress and fear they had reduced?? me to – and its not going to happen anymore – you are right – they have all lived in the town and surrounds – 2 are farmers wives – for many many years – too many probably – the 2 farmers wives have a princess attitude – i am so trying not to be catty – but i do not think anyone has said no to them – till i rolled on up full of the joys of spring and 30 plus years of knowledge in pottery – well – how sad too bad – they have to realise that there is more in the world than them – but yep – i am gaining strength from you and your kind wise words – i hold my ack straighter and am not hunching over as much – even started to sort out my soaping room and my sewing – not only is there a cat and a hubby to care for in this wee house but i design little girls clothing and i make soap – bake – and do all the other traditional things that women of the past have done – and i love doing it – even though they have ridiculed my lifestyle – my domesticity as they called it – but hey – i know how to bake bread and if those earthquakes come any closer i will live – they will panic – and as for the earthquakes – thank heavens no – they are not near us – we did feel one but its more of the ozzy swirly earth movement – not the jolting and heaving – scared the living daylights out of the cat though – poor wee thing – a friend near Culverden got a beauty last night – her house might be condemned because its twisted and moved off its foundations – i wouldnt be a happy camper with that lot – i am going to investigate making some salt soap – apparently you can use it in any water and it foams up – even sea water – which will save on their fresh water – and yuck – the sewage problem sounds disgusting another problem i am so glad i dont have – ah – onwards and upwards – things to do – situations to concur and rise above – i so love hearing from you because there is no one here in the area i live in that i can talk to – no help groups – nothing – so buddy – your it i guess – thanks heaps

  • A.T.

    November 23rd, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    Liz, It is great to meet friends who share a lot of the same types of experiences and thinking. I appreciate it as much as you do! We can keep in touch via this comment section or you are welcome to contact me via my business website, which is smartfamilysafety.com/ (this is the only safe way I know of to put us in touch from a public comment forum). If you do that, just select “Contact Us” at the bottom of the home page and request that they pass along your email address to Anne. Whatever you’d like to do is fine, this is just another option. I’m impressed that you are trying to be fully functional, and it sounds like you’re very creative… that’s so great! I find it hard to focus on anything when I’m in the midst of a crisis like that. I am getting back to some interests but slowly since I’ve had a recent crisis with someone in my husband’s family. Things like that really set me back. Tomorrow is our Thanksgiving so I may not be online over the next couple of days. Hope you have some good days ahead, and look forward to hearing from you again!

  • A.T.

    November 23rd, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    Just found another article on this website that really gets to the heart of some of the common characteristics of people who get targeted by bullies:
    http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/coping-with-bullying-as-quirky-gifted-sensitive-adult-1123165

  • liz

    November 30th, 2016 at 1:07 PM

    hello world out there
    i really am not as bad as people make out
    its been one hell of a month with bullying gossip and lies for me to handle
    first off there was the asbestos issue where i have been bullied out of the pottery club because i queried whether the asbestos had been removed when a fire occurred there. fine and dandy i thought – thats over with – then – hold onto your britches – off it went again – a so called friend of both my husbands and i rang us up one night last week – he went off his trolley at my husband using foul language – swearing like a trooper turning the sky blue with it – he and my husband would go and gather the firewood together from a farmers back blocks – this old man has decided its his wood and his land – what i said??? his wood??? his land??? it belongs to a farmer and its up to him whether we can get the free wood – silly me – thought that was the end of it – yesterday morning i found out the town gossip is about me – again – what have i done i thought??? well – apparently i have told the local council that a member of the town has been doing illegal building on his house – when i asked??? no one will tell me – so i told this person who i have supposedly complained about if you want to believe the gossip – fine – but ask me as i am supposed to have done this – they wont – i feel totally stunned – this community wants to believe gossip started by this old man who has been nasty with my husband and they wont speak to me – the one who is supposed to have caused this trouble – when will it ever stop??? – i would love someone to tell me when i rang the council and what i said – i didnt do it but that doesnt matter – according to the town but i know the truth and facts dont matter in this case – i keep to myself – i have done now for over a year after my accident where i ended up being helicoptered into hospital – i live rural so a long long way from the nearest hospital – at that time people i thought i knew didnt even come to see if i was alive – so since then i have kept to myself and really dont interact with many people in this wee town – how do i get over the latest attack – because thats how it feels – i dont gossip – i dont go to the local hotel and drink every night so i am not in with the drinkers crowd – i dont visit people and discuss other people over a coffee – i live a quiet lonesome life – what do i do??? – i look forward to anyone’s help on this and maybe a view from another angle

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