How to Avoid Being Bullied

Photo courtesy of puuikibeach

I’m a fairly strong-willed person. I don’t typically let people use me as a doormat, and my opinion is something I’m not terribly afraid to share. But even I have found myself in a situation where I felt like I was being bullied. It hasn’t happened too many times in my life, but when it did happen, it was quite disturbing and distressing.

Feeling victimized can happen to the best of us – at home, at work, or socially, and figuring out how to handle it can be tricky. Adult bullies are really good at mind games, and if you’re not used to their thinking, they can get pretty good at making you look the fool. Even though we typically associate bullies with middle school, some grown women never outgrew their mean girl mentality.

This type of behavior can range from mildly annoying to harrassment. As a thirty-seven year old woman, I honestly did not think bullies existed anymore until I met one first hand. It takes a lot to shake me, but when I finally realized that it wasn’t going stop, I had to figure out the right way to address it.

Things to remember if you feel like someone is trying to push you around:

  • Bullying behavior has nothing to do with you. People who try to belittle others have internal issues that need to be worked out.
  • Determine how much your life is being affected. If you feel harrassed, it’s time to stand up for yourself.
  • Approach a bully with care and remember that aggressive people are already insecure. Assert  yourself but don’t get in anyone’s face.
  • Choose somewhere private to talk and don’t get overly emotional. Bullies tend to be out of touch with their own emotions, and the situation could quickly escalate toward anger.
  • If reasoning doesn’t work, get out of the situation and do your best to remove this person from your life.

It’s important to stand up for yourself, and you can also help prevent this from happening to someone else, too. Be more conscious of excessive negative gossip as an easy way to prevent aggressive women in your group of friends from targeting someone. Change the subject if it keeps swinging around to someone else’s dirty laundry. At age thirteen or seventy-three, it’s never fun to be on the receiving end of a bully. Whether you’re the victim or friends with the bully, do what you can to put an end to mean girl behavior for good.

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    • Carolynn Ananian

      This post really hits close to home.  I was bullied in school and it didn’t stop until I did what you suggest and calmly told the bullies to cut it out or I was getting the principal involved.  One didn’t, so the school stepped in.  I would add to your post that, even as adults, it’s important to document things and not hesitate to get authorities like HR involved if something escalates.  Bullies suck enough when it’s among your social circle, but it’s worse when your career and liveliehood are threatened by someone else’s harassment.

      <Be more conscious of excessive negative gossip as an easy way to prevent aggressive women in your group of friends from targeting someone.

      You’d think we women especially would understand the importance of sisterhood, but I’m saddened by how many of us still belittle each other.  Not cool!  I’ve found local goddess circles extremely helpful - they’re women-friendly groups where girls and women of all ages gather to bond and nurture each other.  If you don’t have a goddess circle located near you, you can start one yourself.  I know of a few in NJ, Tokyo and Philippines.  If anyone wants to know more, just ask me and I’ll direct you.  Peace, y’all!

      • Adrienne McGuire

        So true, Carolynn. I was going to mention documenting everything, and I’m glad you added that in there. Luckily, my situation ended before that need arose, but had it continued I definitely would have started making notes.

        It is so sad the way women belittle each other, and thank you for your suggestion about goddess circles. I also feel that women will never fully appreciate other women until they are completely at ease with themselves.

        Working on our own inner peace and harmony allows us to accept others so much more easily without jealousy or spite.

        Thanks for reading, and your helpful comments!

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