For every person bullied, there is a bully. For everyone whose life is being made miserable by someone (or more) that ‘someone (or more)’ is the culprit. It mystifies me as to why an enormous amount of attention is paid to helping the victims of bullying out via methods involving resilience and assertiveness BUT very little is done to call out the bullies.
The defining feature of this cultural age of wellbeing puts far too much emphasis on getting people to deal with the rubbish dished out by other people. It’s a ‘put up’ mentality, to an extent.
Of course, there are genuine difficulties in one’s life when one has to put up with it and mental health care is paramount. At present, I am keeping a bedside vigil for someone who has been a mother figure to me. My wellbeing is being sorely tested. That is a one way system. Dealing with life’s problems can often be a one way system in the sense that the trigger or cause of these problems is an inevitability of life.
However, bullying is a two-way process. It happens in places where there are social interactions like in the workplace, school or at home. Yet, one hardly hears about how bullies are dealt with. In the workplace , HR tends to take the side of the bully because this person is often a manager or director who is more valuable to the firm. In school, the bully is often protected because to shame this child would mean having to admit that the school’s bullying policies aren’t working.
The power structures tied up with the bully offers them a fair amount of cosseting from sanctions.
Take action against bullies.
a) Is your child the bully? Here is something to help you.
b) Are you a bully? Go and sort yourself out. Here is something to help you.
c) Some great comeback lines against bullies are:
If you’re talking about me behind my back, clearly my life is a lot more interesting than yours is!
Let’s move on!
You finally found something funny to say?
I’m not sure why you keep saying these things about me, but I don’t care.
Be really cool and stop this!
Why are you talking to me?
Here we go again. This is boring. Let me know when you’re done.
I’ve been called worse from better.
Wow, did you come up with that all by yourself?
Pardon me, but you seem to think that I care.
I fully recognise that standing up to a bully isn’t an easy thing to do especially if your confidence has been knocked by someone who holds the power reins. Being repeatedly told negative things is a sapping experience especially when you feel that the odds are stacked against you.
An inability to stand up to a bully certainly isn’t a sign of weakness but a society which doesn’t call out bullies, whether in the home or in public spaces, is a weak one.
Photos courtesy of Lucy Ayettey Lyons Photography