Dealing With a Bully

Love, Self

Bullies and critics come in all shapes and forms, even those who say they're "well-meaning".

Are you in a relationship in your personal or professional life with someone who is constantly and consistently critical? No matter what you do there’s always an element of something wrong with it? Bullies come in all shapes and forms and are very prevalent at home, in families, and in the workplace. They often leave us speechless and feeling helpless. Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Critics make you feel about an inch tall. They criticize everything you do and even if something you've done was great, they find a way to criticize how you do it. Often they begin the sentence with “Yes, that’s good, however I would have done it this way… "or ”You should have done it that way and it would have been even better" and then begin to describe in great detail how many ways you screwed up. Many of them cloak their constant criticism as "well-meaning advice". The question is, did you ask for it?

If you’re in a position where you're dealing with a verbal bully, then have some responses ready at the tip of your tongue. Don’t become them and bully back. Show the individual you will not tolerate derisive behavior and challenge them on it. For example a way to respond is “Are you sure you meant to say that?" Would you like to rethink that, perhaps?” First get clarification as to whether or not they intended to be a bully. If so, you can shock them into awareness and not own their opinions with a good response which might be “Can you say that again? I want to make sure I heard it right the first time." Then walk away. A verbal tug of war doesn’t get either of you anywhere but if you take the high road and let go of the rope, then there’s no tug of war. When you answer in one line, toleration-eliminating speech, they eventually back off.

Make sure someone else knows about this behavior (in a matter of fact sort of way). The more people who know about a bully and stand up with you against bullying, the less power that bully will have. Bottom line is, if you accept this kind of behavior, then you’re giving away your personal power to someone you least respect. What would that say about how you respect yourself?