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The other day I wrote an entry on bullying. Today and for the proceeding few days, I wanted to explore that a bit more in that we usually think of this in terms of kids. It’s not just kids; it is a part of our adult world too at work, in public and at home and it hurts us just as it did when we were children. We still have feelings as adults and those feelings are just as important now as they were then.

Let’s first look at what bullying is and as you read this I want you to think if this happens to you, or do you do this even without knowing to someone you work with or love. Be honest with yourself as you read this:

What is bullying?

  • constant nit-picking, fault-finding and criticism of a trivial nature – the triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying; often there is a grain of truth (but only a grain) in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication
  • simultaneous with the criticism, a constant refusal to acknowledge you and your contributions and achievements or to recognize your existence and value
  • constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential
  • where you are in a group (e.g. at work), being singled out and treated differently; for instance, everyone else can get away with murder but the moment you put a foot wrong – however trivial – action is taken against you
  • being isolated and separated from colleagues, excluded from what’s going on, marginalized, overruled, ignored, sidelined, frozen out, sent to Coventry
  • being belittled, demeaned and patronized, especially in front of others
  • being humiliated, shouted at and threatened, often in front of others
  • being overloaded with work, or having all your work taken away and replaced with either menial tasks (filing, photocopying, minute taking) or with no work at all
  • finding that your work – and the credit for it – is stolen and plagiarized
  • having your responsibility increased but your authority taken away
  • having annual leave, sickness leave, and – especially – compassionate leave refused
  • being denied training necessary for you to fulfill your duties
  • having unrealistic goals set, which change as you approach them
  • ditto deadlines which are changed at short notice – or no notice – and without you being informed until it’s too late
  • finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented
  • being subjected to disciplinary procedures with verbal or written warnings imposed for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation
  • being coerced into leaving through no fault of your own, constructive dismissal, early or ill-health retirement, etc.

Relationship Specific with some examples

  • Sarcastic:

“Those pants are getting a little tight on you…but I guess you’re just too busy to worry about a little thing like how you look.”

  • Comparing:

“If you were willing to stay at home the way John’s wife does, maybe our kids would be in the accelerated classes, too.”

  • Guilt-Tripping:

“It looks like I just can’t expect everyone to give a hundred percent to relationships the way I do.”

  • Condescending:

“Well, maybe if you paid attention to the news, you’d understand what I was talking about.”

  • Manipulative:

“You don’t care about what I want! If you understood me, you’d understand why this is so important to me!”

  • Threatening:

“If you don’t give me what I want, you can hardly blame me if I go looking for somebody who will.”

  • Insulting:

“How can you be so stupid?”

  • Isolating a spouse from friends and family.
  • Discourage any independent activities such as work; taking classes or activities with friends.
  • Accuse their spouse of being unfaithful if one talks to a member of the opposite sex.
  • Expect her/him to partake in sexual activities that he/she is uncomfortable with to prove their love. Or, withhold sex as punishment instead of communicating openly their displeasure.
  • Constantly criticize the spouses weight, their looks, they way they dress or anything in general.
  • If the spouse does not give into the control they are threatened, harassed, punished and intimidated by the abuser.
  • Uses the children to gain control by undermining the other parent’s authority or threatening to leave and take the children.
  • Control all the financial decisions, refuse to listen to their partner’s opinion, withhold important financial information and make their spouse live on limited resources.
  • Make all major decisions such as where to live, how to furnish the home and what type of automobile to drive.
  • You feel as if anything you do or say will be met with anger or dismissal. Your feelings and desires just don’t seem to matter to your spouse.

So how many of these applied to you either on the giving or receiving end? Please understand that this list is not all inclusive.

Now I want you to comment on this post in how you feel when you are treated like this as an adult if you’re on the receiving end. If you are on the giving side I want you to tell me what it feels like to realize that you do this to someone.

Over the next few days and posts we will look at the following and discuss all of this together:

  • Where are people bullied?
  • What is bullying (detailed look)?
  • Recognizing a bully
  • How does bullying cause injury to health?
  • How does it affect relationships and families?
  • Answers to frequently asked questions on bullying