Just Ordinary Bullying – The Bully and The Bullied

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...

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Self-Care Tip #251 – Help yourself break it down if you think you are a bully, or are bullied.

I was just bullied, folks.  I know.  Takes a certain someone to bully me but that person and the bullying materialized and I was left with my autonomics all barking, pupils dilated, and I had to break it down.  I was bullied.

Now, after some time and a good wonderful chat with my beloved, I am able to experience the pleasure of joining the popular group of bullied-adults.  It seems to be a posh crowd now who acknowledges that adults are in fact bullied – not only kids.

What is bullying?  I’ve linked this blog-post to various web-articles that have stated this question and answered it well.  The part I would like to highlight is the emotional bullying.

When we perceive either consciously or subconsciously that we are:

  1. Afraid
  2. Powerless
  3. Receiving implied threats (direct are obvious to us readers but the implied threats are not always as clear to us readers or others out there)
  4. Supposed to stay quite about it

Does any of this sound familiar?  If it does, you  might have read the blog-post, “He’s Never Hit Me.”  Much is the same.  I’m not able to say all that is different between emotional abuse and bullying as I don’t know of any formal scientific way of separating them.  However I will propose that emotional abuse is when it is repeated and includes system issues including the victim feeling shame and deserving of that treatment.  Bullying perhaps may not be repeated or it may and it might not be done to someone who is in a relationship with the bully before it happened.  (This is just Me, Dr. Q saying this though.  Just today in my research I have already found other sources describing it differently.)

Regardless though, what to do?!  I was bullied!

Break it down:

  1. Go to the fear.  Think about where it is coming from.
  2. Think about the power.  “Why am I feeling powerless?”
  3. Clarify the threat perceived.  We don’t have to do this collaboratively with the bully – who may after all, lack all ability to gain insight for whatever reason.
  4. Get it out of the closet as soon as you can.  Talk about it with someone.  Go to any authority who might have information to empower you.  If the bullied is doing something that is wrong, we want to know!  Right?!  If not, we want to know that too, and be as clear about it as we can.  This also helps gather an “army” around you… or you could call it support :).

Andy Becker from the Leadership Post says,

It’s not enough to say bullying is not tolerated; we need to empower ordinary adults to help stop it.

Well today, I guess I’m an ordinary person getting ordinary bullying.  The bullying isn’t special.  The way it affected me isn’t that special either.  But I am.

Similarly, the bully isn’t being served well acting out.  It’s not friendly to either of us.  We are both ordinary special people who deserve better.

Questions:  What has helped you when you felt bullied?  …or, …What has helped you stop bullying?  Please tell me your story.

32 thoughts on “Just Ordinary Bullying – The Bully and The Bullied

  1. You have really hit the critical points on this one (as you always do). Empower ordinary adults–so many of my colleagues don’t think they should interfere, or that it’s not their responsibility. I say, we have to do what’s right, even if it’s uncomfortable. Thanks for this reminder.


  2. School bullying still goes on despite administrative and social awareness and inclusion into curriculum to empower teens as well as redirect the energy of the bully by therapy for him. But it still goes on and admitting it or asking for help diminished the status in the eyes of peers as below slugs. If you fight back to defend yourself you are suspended as well as the bully. There are many examples of kids tired of being bullied and driven to bring a gun to school. And use it. It is a horrible matter for a teen to endure. But as you indicate bullying goes far beyond the teen milieu. Mother has ways of bullying adult children and husband/wife relationships are destroyed as either party uses bullying as the engine to act externally. If they have to compete or use intimidation it’s time for divorce.


      • Usually the bully had a long rap sheet and wound up incarcerated or dead in gang conflict. It is shameful that we would be happy about that but it’s true. Unfortunately, except when some intervention is initiated usually after threats and parent involvement, which is rare, I can’t remember any successful empowerment for kids so mistreated. Talk therapy is not part of the street. Anger management and conflict resolution programs in schools are not effective and that is not a criticism of the programs.A kid loses peer respect when so engaged. When the bullied kid finally reaches the breaking point to erupt in a fury of fists, the bully usually moves on to easier prey even though he could destroy the kid in a fight. For the unfortunate, it seems it will always remain part of the school experience. I am sorry I have no input that would be positive and give us cause to be optimistic in this matter.


  3. Wow! This one brought up WAY too much pain. I’m feeling very vulnerable and uncomfortable and hurt and stupid at the moment. The bullying I have experienced as an adult (and, yes, as a child also!), especially since I had my breakdown, has been wide-spread and emotionally devastating…from my employer, a pastoral counselor, and a few family members, particularly. I let it happen. I never fought it. I ran away and, I realize now, I have no idea what else I could have done. My first reaction, when reading this and then reading what I just wrote, was to say “they ruined my life”, and I guess, to one extent or another, they did – at the time. I thought I was passed that until this morning. I can’t believe the hurt is still so intense. Because it can be so insidious (if that’s actually the right word) , bullying is often the worst kind of torture and, I can see, is the best kind of torture for innocent kids and sensitive adults….and, pretty much, there is nothing legal that can be done…is there?


    • i hear u nance. realizing the past is what it is can hurt. i know that there have been many states that have tried to pass legislation against bullying adults but it hasn’t happened yet. thank u for sharing w us. keep on!


  4. I abhor bullies. I think the worst kind are those that terrorize fellow students in school, as pointed out by Carl. It’s pitiful that we cannot find a way to stop it. My grandson finally flat out refused to go to school, the best thing he could have done. We enrolled him in school online. He earned his diploma, went to vocational college, and has a good job and great self-esteem. Bullying. It makes me want to ROAR.

    Adult bullying. My first hubby would have been a bully if I cold have been bullied. I hope I didn’t bully him. I’m sure I tried. I’ve grown a lot since then. We both survived, but our marriage didn’t. It lasted 20 years too long, I guess. No, I shouldn’t say that. We loved one another, but we were incompatible culturally and in many other ways.

    I remarried. My second husband died. (No, I didn’t bully him to death.) He was a gift to me from God, as is my third husband. We’ve been married almost 15 years, happily.


  5. There are two incidents of bullying I would like to address here. One happened to me when I was hard of hearing before I got my hearing aid. Another nurse (I am a nurse) would talk to Dr about how I should be fired because I such and such, I couldn’t hear the rest and felt too intimidated to butt into the conversation. This particular nurse always made me feel powerless and scorned me. Bullied at work.
    Finally someone else showed me all the trouble I was having was because I couldn’t hear and I gratefully got an hearing aid. I never knew what to say to the bullying nurse who continued to abuse me in other ways when we worked together. I gave her too much power over me. And I didn’t know how to stop doing it until the day I retired.

    The other incident is that my grandson is bullied at school and hates to go . What can be done?


      • Yes, natural shame. It’s kind of the victim scenario. Now with my new me I’d say “excuse me, are you talking about me?” and confront the abusers. And I would tell other nurses about it. Also confront the doc when in private. Get the whole story.
        it was a god send to get the hearing aid.
        Even thought it didn’t stop the bullying from that particular nurse, I could hear people talking and they weren’t mumbling to me anymore. That boosted my self esteem. Before I thought they didn”t really want to talk to me and were mumbling on purpose. Kinda paranoid huh?


  6. where are all ordinary and we are all special everyone of us have gifts that not everyone sees i was bullied but you know being bullied has made me a better person i probably care a little bit to much but i do care the thing that allways helped me was i felt i was better than them


  7. I was bullied, of course, as I’m sure most people have been. The worst was in first grade, when a boy threatened to kill my mom and I and wouldn’t allow me in part of the playground. (Sometimes he was nice in class, but I never trusted him again.) One day, a girl told me he wasn’t over in that one part of the playground, but when I went over, he came and backed me up against a wall and wouldn’t let me go. Luckily, the teacher told us to line up, so I ran away. My mom told the teacher at the end of the year (I was too afraid to have her tell the teacher before) what was going on, but the teacher said he had a hard life and wouldn’t do anything. Luckily, I stopped going to that school. Many others were mean at times, too, but luckily the worst time (after the first-grade boy), the teacher found a reason to move her to another seat without making it obvious, and it was mostly better.


      • Like Carl, I don’t know if there’s anything they can do. The best way to handle a bully is to avoid them, if you can. If not, I don’t know. You can’t get violent or you’ll get in trouble, and talking with them isn’t going to help. It seems the only way is if other people actually decide to help the victim, and I mean really help. In school, at least, bullies need to be severaly punished or kept only with other bullies so they can’t hurt anymore innocent people, like in classes with only bullies with a very strict teacher. I think I’ve heard boot camp may work on bullies. Alone, I don’t know if there’s much of anything the victim can do.


          • Hmm. Don’t know. At work, perhaps their boss can talk to the bully, and if that doesn’t work, maybe something can be done so the victim has less contact with the bully, or if the bully is really making the workplace, or whatever, unpleasant, then they may need to be fired. It’s not fair that they’re making other people unhappy at work and probably less capable of doing their jobs properly. Outside the workplace, it’s probably easier to avoid bullies. At school and work, you’re more trapped.


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