If you were bullied when I was a child, the only silver lining was that you were able to leave some of the pain behind at the school gates, but now we live in a very different world. One that means children can be ‘connected’ 24/7 and I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must be to have that worry follow you around wherever you go.
This week is Anti-Bullying Week, and as I don’t have children of my own, I wanted to to briefly talk about how bullying can not only affect a child’s life, but can also manifest in adulthood.
I’m sure most of us have had some kind of personal experience of bullying. Whether that was being bullied as a child, or perhaps you’ve experienced it through a family member, but I wonder just how how many have lived through it as an adult?
As adults, should we be able to deal with bullies? Do we even recognise, or acknowledge that bullying goes on in adulthood? And if we do, do we act differently than when we were children?
Over the years, I’ve seen and heard of bullying in many shapes and forms. I’ve experienced the detrimental impact it has on all those involved, including those wrongly accused, but I wonder how many adults could look back and admit that they had a roll in bullying as a child, and I wonder how that shapes us as adults?
Bullying is clearly defined by ABA as ‘the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power’. If this happening around us as adults, how many of us have been on the receiving end, or perhaps you recognise this as your own behaviour? As adults, surely we should be more self-aware, take greater ownership of our own behaviour and it’s impact on others?
So, what do we do if we experience bullying as an adult?
Well, if it happens in your work place there should be proper processes and support in place to help you, however if it happens on a personal level, what to do, and where to turn?
Perhaps there are a few questions that need answering….. for instance, what value do you put on these people in your life? What kind of values do you look for in relationships and are these people meeting these needs? If not, what can you do to create distance, or what measures can you put in place to prevent them from hurting you further?
Even more of a priority during these times, we need to be asking, are we taking proper care of ourselves and are the people we have in our lives providing us with the genuine support and positive encouragement that we need?
On the other hand, should we all be taking a long hard look at how we treat others? Perhaps putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and asking ourselves are we treating others the way we’d like to be treated.
If you can’t talk to those around you, I urge you to reach out to someone that can help, here are just a few of the support resources available.