Have you ever been bullied?
Even if you haven’t, chances are you know someone who has.
It doesn’t matter whether it was long ago as a kid or now as an adult. Even when you have the maturity to recognize bullying for what it is, the hateful actions of a bully can still wreak havoc in your life.
Being bullied feels like an assault. Whether it is on your person or your character being bullied can deal a debilitating blow, especially when someone has power over you such as a boss or a teacher.
Bullies tap into your fears and can do damage to your self image if you don’t find a way to take a stand for yourself and get the support you need.
Someone close to me experienced being severely bullied in the workplace over 5 years ago. Even today the impact lingers. He felt powerless because the bully was his boss and he had no idea how to get the support he needed to address it. He suffered in silence fearing that going to anyone in his company, including HR, would somehow reflect poorly on him and just make it worse.
Since then I have been much more awake to bullying in every dimension of life. With a teenage daughter now I have once again seen it play out in school and it looks a lot like it did when I was a kid, yet worse with social media and texting. It is amazing what someone will type and send that they would probably never say to a persons face. I have also both witnessed and experienced bullying in the online world among adults. After witnessing a series of bullying incidents I wrote this to share with a friend who was hurting:
A Letter to A Bully
You Don’t Know Me
You can judge my words.
You can judge my deeds.
You can attack me if you want
With what you think you know
Of who I’ve been and what I’ve done
Of who I am in my heart.
But you don’t know me.
You cannot really know anyone
With such hate in your heart.
You cannot know anyone
When you are unwilling to listen.
You cannot even know yourself.
So strike out if you must.
I will hurt, but I will heal.
And I will someday forgive.
But remember life is a mirror.
With each blow you cast it cracks,
Distorting your image of yourself.
You don’t know me.
You probably never will.
For I must remind you of your pain.
As you have reminded me of mine.
Yet another layer for me to heal.
A chance to become who I really am.
Kate Nasser prompted me to share this when she announced a special #PeopleSkills Chat on Thursday, April 3rd at 7pm on the subject of Workplace Bullying on Twitter and Google+. It’s being cohosted by Chantal Berchervaise on Twitter and Dave Moore on Google+.
I’ve been thinking about questions like “How can we tell the difference between bullying and simply bad behavior in the workplace?” and “What can you do if you believe you or someone else is being bullied?” As a coach, I wonder what can I be listening for and paying attention to so I can more quickly recognize bullying when it is happening. This inquiry is an important one for everyone in the workplace.
I am looking forward to the chat this week and hope you will join us. Click Here for more information about the chat and how to participate.
Here’s my question to you: If you wrote a letter to a bully what would you say?
Image credit: kgtoh / 123RF Stock Photo