I get a lot of questions about bullying and judging by the Google figures related to my website bullying is a hot topic. I provide training and advice to organisations that want to tackle bullying, and personal consulting for individuals who are concerned that they are being bullied.
If you want guidance on the subject, start by downloading the free article Bullying and Harassment; climate control from my website. You could also buy my book Difficult People; a Guide to Handling Difficult Behaviour, which has a whole chapter on what to do if you think you are being bullied.
There are also numerous guides on the web, but be warned, some of them adopt a strong ‘victim stance’ and while making people who have been bullied feel understood, which is of course important, they are not very objective in the advice they give. For example, if you have ever been really bullied you’ll know how useless the advice is that you should ‘talk to the bully’ to try and sort things out.
This may be sound advice generally, but bullying is a conditioning process – by the bully of their target – which renders the ‘victim’ incapable of talking to the aggressor without losing their composure and their confidence.
That is the whole point of bullying, to psychologically break the target down, and so to expect someone who is being bullied to approach their target may even cause more harm as it plays right tinto the bully’s hands.
Tackling bullying is the responsibility of the employer as they have a duty of care to protect staff from undue stress or threats to their wellbeing. Someone who thinks they are being bullied should get help from HR , Management, or their union. Even this can be risky as we cannot count on others handling a complaint responsibly, but the key is that people who are being mis-treated, through bullying or otherwise, need help.