It takes a lot to stand up to your bully. Everyone who’s seen just about any preteen movie knows that. What about standing up to an adult bully? And what about an adult that isn’t bullying you but someone in your presence?
It’s tough. I remember recognizing my first “adult” bully. It wasn’t pleasant. I was in a group of guys, some many years older than I. One of the fellows was filling in this dart match for a team, and the opposing player he was matched up against was one of the best in the league. It should have been obvious to all involved who was going to win. And awesomely enough as guys go it had to be a blow out. Fair enough. But it couldn’t be left at that. Passive aggressiveness at it’s finest. The better player couldn’t even give this newbie-someone who hasn’t picked up a dart in who knows how long-someone who needed a refresher on the rules-a chance. He clobbered him and enjoyed it and reveled in high-fives and hand shakes and cheers from his friends. Very unsportsman like. Very disturbing. I hated it. I didn’t do anything though…besides talk about it amongst a few close acquaintances I had there; one whom had grown up being bullied by said unsportsman like player.
I didn’t do anything. I didn’t feel very poorly about not doing something because I felt a girl speaking up in this situation couldn’t possibly make any part of it better. So I kept my mouth shut. And I have become increasingly aware of adult bullying.
I’m trying to do my small part to change it. And I have found out, as all bully-interferrers do, that it gets much worse, and it gets pinned on you, before it will get better.
Enter Stage Right: My boss.
He’s a generous man, a loving family man, but he’s mean. He says things that shouldn’t be said about people. I’ve always just let it go. But recognizing it as bullying I decided I wasn’t going to allow him to talk of such people in negative manners in my presence. He is welcome to his opinions and to share his opinions but he can not say horrible things about undeserving people in front of me. So I started to tell him what he was saying wasn’t nice, was mean, was rude, etc etc… And such things go worse, and he started picking on me! He’s made foolish comments before and I’ve sort of laughed them off or ignored them to keep him from getting the satisfaction of irking me…but he’s getting more intense and so much more cruel. To the point today that my co-worker couldn’t believe how degrading he was to me FIRST thing this morning when he came in.
Honestly I was one comment away from walking out the door for the day. And it wasn’t even 10 o’clock yet.
Bullying is bad. It’s unfair and it leads to some pretty awful things. I don’t think myself a crusader for standing up and putting up with all his bullshit or anyone else’s. But I do hope that I may enlighten someone, even if not my boss, on the ridiculousness of bullying and it’s evil, life-taking results.