Have you ever tried to reach out to your co-workers or friends to tell them about your adult bullying situation, but they weren’t there for you? How about reaching out to your boss and they seemed to either minimize your situation or my favourite, tell you not to feel that way? Have you you also noticed, the more time and energy you devote to preparing to share, the higher your expectations tend to be? Yet, we do not often feel the support we were hoping to receive. Now what? Why does this happen?
The top three reasons why support may not be present for you when you are faced with an adult bullying situation:
1. Others do not know what to do to help; stopping adult bullying is not a topic they know how to coach.
2. Others do not realize that listening and empathizing can help, even if they do not know what other actions to take.
3. Others might not care enough to help. (Most people do/would care if they knew how to help solve adult bullying problems).
Here’s What You Might Experience When You Share Your Adult Bullying Situation:
* You are interrupted
* They don’t want to hear you out – they jump in, trying to tell you what to do – they expect you to be able to “fix” your adult bullying situation right away.
* They listen in order to hear gossip, not for your best interests.
* They disagree with your feelings about your adult bullying situation.
* They change the subject frequently or allow themselves to be interrupted.
* They revert the conversation back to themselves: “Oh yeah, that reminds me of the time when…”
* They use condescending statements such as “How is your bullying situation coming along?”
What Can You Do To Secure Support To Help Handle Adult Bullying?
1. Choose a friend or co-worker who is kind and a caring, empathetic listener. Who do you know that is kind? Someone that is interested is key – not everyone is – for many various reasons.
2. Let your friend or co-worker know they do not have to listen in order to solve the problem – you simply want their caring and concern.
3. For advice, seek professional help and guidance. If you choose a therapist, choose someone who has a specialty in conflict resolution and workplace bullying. Ask about their results so far. Make sure you feel comfortable with them.
4. For support at work, ideally you should be able to approach your boss for understanding and protection. If your boss is the bully, you can try an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) or HR (Human Resources) representative. Before approaching these more formal support routes, ask if they have a workplace bullying or adult bullying policy and procedure plan in order to assist a target with adult bullying. You can begin to get a feel for how far you want to take your situation.
5. Last but not least, co-worker support can be very influential and powerful. Having two or more co-workers who are willing to serve as witnesses or support while you take a formal approach to your support needs can be key.
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Valerie Cade, CSP is a Workplace Bullying Expert, Speaker and Author of "Bully Free at Work: What You Can Do To Stop Workplace Bullying Now!" which has been distributed in over 100 countries worldwide. For presentations and consulting on workplace bullying prevention and respectful workplace implementation, go to http://www.BullyFreeAtWork.com
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