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How to Fight Bullying

Bullying just cost an American school a million dollars. That was what a judge ordered them to pay to a bullying victim because they did not take reports of bullying seriously. That might make that one school take bullying seriously in the future, but we cannot fight bullying with fines and anti-bullying policies on a piece of paper.

Preventing a bully from bullying is very hard. It is easier to create bullying resilience in children – and adults. We do that by helping them build up their self-esteem. If you know someone being bullied – or at risk – get in touch to hear how I can help.

Good Leaders Prevent Bullying

Workplace bullying happens much more often in organizations with poor management. An article in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology examined hundreds of bullying complaints and found that bad people management greatly increased the risk. That might be why anti-bullying strategies focusing on the individual has had so little effect. It also explains why bullying is much more common in organizations where the team leader is simply the person who has been doing the work the longest.

One positive aspect of this finding is that good leaders can prevent bullying. If you are a victim of workplace bullying, you might not need to quit the organization. You might be able to transfer to a team with a good leader instead.

Find Another Tribe

There are two kinds of bullying, and you fight them in different ways. Active bullying is when people do something, like yelling or hiding your tools. This is the kind of bullying everyone can see and that you can report to your boss or HR. Passive bullying is when people don’t do something, for example when they invite everybody else to an event. It is hard to report this kind of bullying, but you can still fight back.

The important thing is to have strong relationships outside work. Many people invest most of their time and energy in their jobs, and the people at work become your tribe. We have a deep ancient fear of being excluded from our tribe. In a hunter-gatherer society, exclusion could literally be life-threatening.

If you are the victim of passive bullying at work, join another tribe. It can be your church, an environmental organization, or a sports or crafts club. You do not have to depend on being part of the tribe at work.

Bullying Affects Your for Many Years

Bullying affects the victim for many years. I know that from my own experience and from many of my clients. Science tends to dismiss individual stories like mine as “anecdotal evidence,” but systematic studies of the long-term effects of bullying are starting to prove what I already knew.

Gathering solid proof that the problem exists is a starting point. What we need next is to find the best way to overcome these negative effects. I have learned and used many tools, and my favorite is the RIM method that I now practice and teach. If you have been bullied, even many years ago, contact me and hear how I can help you.

Is Everyone Quitting Around You?

Are your colleagues quitting their jobs? If one person leaves, that’s probably not a problem. But if several of your colleagues quit in a short time, that is a warning sign. Researchers call this “turnover contagion” – almost like quitting is infectious.

Many people quitting is a sign of a problematic workplace, often caused by a bad leader. If you don’t know why everybody is quitting around you, ask them in private. They might have been affected by bullying or other bad behavior that you were fortunate not to experience yet.

Workplace Bullying Happens Online Too

Workplace bullying happens online, too. Bullying complaints are up 44 percent over last year as organizations struggle to adapt their anti-bullying tools and policies to the new way of working. Increased remote work has shown that some organizations did not fix their bad workplace culture. Instead, they could simply keep bullying down when everyone was in the office.

Finding new tools to suppress online bullying might be possible, but that is just another temporary solution. The only real solution is to change workplace culture, so bullying is not tolerated.

If you are being bullied online at work, your organization has a bad culture. Fixing culture is hard and takes a long time. Finding a new place to work is much faster and easier.

Unchecked Power?

Does your boss at work have unchecked power? Over the centuries, we have learned that every power needs to be balanced by some other power. That’s why successful societies have split power between legislature, executive, and judiciary. That’s why companies have HR departments and maybe even whistleblower procedures.

Take a moment to think about how you would report bullying in your workplace. Are your anti-bullying measures effective, or do they exist only on paper? Do you believe somebody would take action? If you are not confident anybody would react, that is a red flag. It doesn’t mean there is bullying in your organization. But it means you cannot feel safe. That will affect your health and wellbeing. You might want to consider changing to another department or another company.

They Can Talk, But You Don’t Have to Listen

Free speech means people can say almost anything. It doesn’t mean you have to listen. Elon Musk has just bought Twitter and wants fewer restrictrions. That will make Twitter an even less welcoming place.

For your mental health and sanity, spend your time on social media in the well behaved corners of the internet. That means moderated groups on places like Facebook and LinkedIn. These groups have human administrators who will react if you report bullying.

Overcome the Effects of Bullying

The science about the effects of bullying is piling up, and it is bad. A recent paper in the Harward Review of Psychiatry showed that a girl who has been bullied is 27 times more likely to have a panic disorder as a young adult. A boy who has been bullied is 18 times more likely to attempt suicide.

Fortunately, there are also very effective methods to overcome the long-term effects of bullying and other psychic trauma. There is not much scientific research yet, but with the RIM method I use, almost every client has experienced a significant improvement with just three to five sessions. I am a Master RIM practitioner and RIM Trainer, and I would love the opportunity to tell you more. Please schedule a free call with me online.

You can also read about the RIM method on my website.

Build Bullying Resilience

Bullying is now a criminal offense in France. There are high fines and the penalties for the most severe bullying go up to ten years in jail. More important than the penalties is the additional teacher training that the new law also provides.

Anti-bullying laws and rules are necessary, but they are only one small part of the fight against bullying. We cannot force the bullies to seek the therapy they need, but we can make sure that bystanders are encouraged to step in. And we can give those at risk of becoming victims tools to improve their self-esteem to prevent bullying from happening. You can find many of the most powerful tools I have found in my book Life after Bullying