Bullying is a form of abuse where many people refuse to accept accountability and blame. Most people abandon the notion that anyone of any age can be victimized. People readily assume this action only happens in classrooms and on playgrounds. On the contrary, this behavior is also perpetuated in workplace settings and among family. Those who make a decision to bully are seeking some sort of internal reward. It can be to elevate their self-worth, deflect attention from their own shortcomings or simply just to fit in. Sometimes people treat others poorly because it is a habit or a learned behavior. Regardless of the reason behind the abuse, there are two main ways this form of aggression is carried out; indirect and direct. In this article I will compare and introduce the two and provide you with some great coping techniques you can use.
Direct (Tacky Tommy)
The direct method is pretty cut and dry. An offense is made that leaves no question about the intent of the one carrying out the behavior. This is what I call bully punches. They strike, dead on with an attempt to maim or destroy their target’s inner self confidence. It is usually in the form of a verbal slur or an overly harsh criticism. The delivery is often blatant and tactless. This can often be confused or disguised as constructive criticism. Words used to hurt, embarrass or shame a person especially in a public setting are clearly abusive practices most bullies employ to get their point across. Regardless of the reason behind the abuse, the direct approach can knock one off of their feet. It is often the most effective method used. It gets your attention and depending upon how you react, it can also reap a great reward for the bully.
Indirect (Mr. Nice-Nasty)
The indirect method is less obvious. These bullies are aware of their impact and more cunning than their direct counterparts. Their method is often subtle. They prefer the less obvious and not as easily detectable approach. People who use covert tactics normally have something to lose. It can be they care about their reputation, position in a company or they are concerned about how others perceive them. As a result, they are less likely to use the “Tacky Tommy” tactic. These bullies can either strike swiftly or slowly. Either approach can leave you wondering if you were attacked at all. They often laugh or minimize the effect of their blow by making it seem harmless. At times they may put you down, but make it appear as if they were only joking. Oftentimes, they say hurtful things but classify it as helpful insight. These actions are often disguised as if it was done for your own good. Well good doesn’t cause pain.
Now that I have explained the two types, I can provide you with some easy ways to cope and handle these types of attacks. Remember it is all in the mind. The most important thing to do is realize that the way people treat you is not an indication of your self-worth. When being mistreated, you can only control yourself . How you react will play an important role in future interactions with this individual and how you deal in these type of situations.
COPING With Attacks:
- Choose your battles – Consider the source. Remember there is no need to show up for every fight. Not all situations require a response or call to action.
- Gauge the Impact – Does it have major negative impact on your life? Ask yourself; does this in anyway impact my reputation, ability to make money or does it just bruise my ego?
- Plan of Action – If you choose to approach, do not be distracted by their reaction to your concern. Most direct people will not be apologetic, while many indirect people will often apologize. Both will most likely act as if their behavior is unintentional. So make sure that when you decide to react not to be offset by their lack of empathy or ability to understand your point of view. Stay focused on your primary goal.
- React Appropriately – Remember most people are bullies because they want to get a reaction out of you or to impress their audience. Do not feed into their needs. Most major outburst or reactions toward their behavior only fuel their desire to attack even more.
- Be Realistic – Do not expect an immediate change. Some bullies will move on to another victim while others will continue in their abusive behavior towards you until they grow weary or bored. Remember you can only control how you react.
- Stress Check – If the impact of the abuse is severe, handling it in an one-on-one situation may not be the best approach. You may not be capable of addressing the individual and intervention may be necessary.
- Positive Surroundings – Often people who live a positive lifestyle are the least impacted by bullies. This is mostly true, unless the behavior is coming from a boss or someone who can directly impact your livelihood.
Check out my next article about how some bullies pick their targets.