Bullying - school, workplace and home - what can you do to rise above it?

We have all heard of bullying, either through the media, by witnessing it first-hand through the lens of our children - we may have been victims of this unacceptable  behaviour by people within our social network, workplace or even at home.

With so much awareness of bullying and the implications and damage that this behaviour can cause, what are the solutions?

How do we rise above it and what really needs to happen to make changes?

I have many clients, from all ages, walks of life that share stories of being bullied and there is one thing that I share with all of them:

In life, we may be unable to change what other people do or say - we may be unable to control what happens outside of our world, our thoughts and our space - all we can do, is make choices that are good for us which is 'choose' to not let external factors affect us.

Easier said than done I hear you say..or is it?

Recently I worked with a young man who has been dealing with an ongoing and systemic bullying campaign from a school student and it became so intense that the only outcome for this young man was to 'fight back'.

Do two wrongs make a right? In general terms, no, but when it comes to being constantly and systematically poked and antagonized over months and months, we as humans sometimes lose our cool and we do strike out.

What was particularly sad about this case was that the school only took action, when things finally got out of control and sadly, looked at the event in isolation, seeing only the outcome which manifested with the victim lashing out and throwing that punch that sealed his fate. The antagonist behind the whole affair on the other hand, got off with a slap on the wrist.

Getting involved at this stage of the situation, being asked to deal with the dispute and conflict meant I had to reserve any judgement and bias and take into consideration all the elements that made up this scenario.

The parents were at a loss as to how this got out of hand and the school off course have rules and regulations around physical outbursts. They had to enact those policies to ensure safety first within the school grounds, so action had to be taken.

Without going into too much clinical detail, I was able to unpack the stages of the escalation and in a few sessions, was able to establish how this got out of hand, one that I have seen in my clinic with many conflict situations (as we know, bullying is a conflict situation, as are some relationship issues, workplace disagreements and the like...we can go on) and ask the question:

Can we simplify and reduce the negative outcomes conflict? 

When we find ourselves the subject of someone else's 'stuff', take a few moments to breath in slowly, slow your reaction time down so that you can remove the heightened sense of emotion, and review the situation so that you can control, your response.

To react is to buy into the other persons narrative and effectively, stepping out of your lane.  Stay in your lane, look and listen and review what has either happened or what you have heard and connect with your curiosity. When you are curious, you immediately take the 'personal' out of the situation turning it into an observer's perspective which is a simple and effective strategy to 'not take it personally' and control your potential choices in how you wish to manage the event, so to avoid escalation and outcomes that are not good for you.

Sometimes we need to bounce a few options around with a counsellor or therapist to remove ourselves from the situation and look at it from another perspective - find ways to regulate our own responses and learn strategies to decompress so that we don't get 'entrapped' into someone else's narrative and storyline, that will inevitably cause us discomfort, pain and embarrassment.

Being like 'Teflon' so that someone else's stuff does not stick, is by far the easiest and most effective way to protect you from another person's agenda and the process of bullying. Now that sounds like a plan!

Want to learn how to become nonstick? Let's have a check in and chat. There are ways to find the path of least destruction, in times of conflict. 

 

 

 

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