Recognize

Published April 11, 2013 by Vida Caramela

First, people need to recognize bullying for what it is.  Bullying should never be confused with personality conflict. Bullying involves repeated mistreatment of a target by one or more individuals. Webster’s dictionary defines a bully as a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. When we see a bully push a kid on the playground or take away his lunch money, we have no problem identifying the behavior as bullying. But when the bully uses emotional abuse instead of physical abuse, or when both the bully and the target are adults, it’s much harder to peg. From studies of workplace abuse, Blase & Blase (2006) derived a list of non-verbal emotionally abusive behaviors, which include staring, dirty looks, snubbing. ignoring, violations of physical space, finger pointing, and slamming  or throwing objects (p. 124).  Blase & Blase also site examples of abusive verbal behaviors, including angry outbursts, yelling and screaming, put downs, lying, public humiliation, threats of job loss, name calling, excessive or unfounded criticism of work abilities or personal life, unreasonable job demands, blaming, exclusion or isolation, initiating malicious rumors and gossip, withholding resources or obstructing opportunities, favoritism, dismissing an individuals feelings or thoughts, not returning phone calls, and behavior that implies a master-servant relationship (p.124-125). Whether the bully is in the schoolyard, at home or on the job, he or she will use tactics of  intimidation, harassment, isolation and shaming. These are classic signs. Even if the bully is not using these tactics on everyone around, as long there’s at least one target, then it’s bullying. (Next Blog – Bully Fix: Step#2)

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