Stand Up to Big, Bad Bullies at Work

Most of us have either been one or combated one during some point in our lives. The “one” I am referring to is a bully. Bullying is an act of persistent, aggressive behavior which may include verbal, physical and written abuse. A bully’s intentions are to intimidate and hurt others, physically and/or mentally and their primary purpose is to assert power and control over the target.

While most people are familiar with bullying as an adversity among children at schools, many are unaware of the fact that adults are also tormented by bullies at the workplace. I, too, was unaware of this widespread problem until I was bullied by a tyrannical supervisor at a hotel in Ocean City, Maryland that I was employed at a few years ago. I was naïve and under the impression that adults were too mature and civil to behave in such a childish and vulgar manner.

The characteristics of an adult and child bully are very similar. In both cases, they behave in such an abusive manner because they are usually hiding their inadequacies or acting out of jealousy. Employees who are overachievers and popular among co-workers often fall prey to a workplace bully. Bullies feel threatened by any employee who outshines them, especially ones who are more competent than they are. They will undermine their target, attempting to make them seem inferior. They believe humiliating and belittling them in front of others will boost their own worth, and that they will gain respect from co-workers.

Whether it is a child or adult being bullied, the inflicted effects can be toxic to physical and mental health. It frequently causes them to experience post-traumatic stress syndrome and in many cases, victims turn to suicide. Always remember that health is much more vital than wealth. It is crucial for people working in a hostile work environment to defend themselves and stand up to bullies in an effort to extinguish the abuse. This especially applies to workers who are parents, because it would be hypocritical of them to not tolerate their children to be bullied at their schools if they themselves tolerate being bullied at their workplaces.

Everybody will struggle with an abundance of challenging and unhappy times throughout life; it’s unavoidable. Life is fleeting and passed time is irreplaceable. Unnecessarily living miserably in a toxic environment five days a week is not only a waste of one’s most precious and valuable asset (time) but also hazardous to physical and mental health and in extreme cases, deadly.

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