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Remember that old schoolyard jingle, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? That was not and certainly is not the truth today. Three-quarters of all children say they have been bullied or teased.  X Research source Bullying and teasing are similar, but one of the key differences between them is intention. Teasing becomes bullying when it is a repetitive behavior with the conscious intention to harm or hurt another child.  X Research source Bullying is one of the largest problems in schools, where the percentage of students reporting bullying at least once a week has steadily increased since 1999, according to the FBI.  X Research source Bullying can make kids feel hurt, scared, lonely, embarrassed, and sad. In addition, it can also make kids fearful of and unwilling to attend school. Here are some tips on how to deal with bullies at school.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the Mentally Strong People podcast.
- Prevention and Coping
If you were bullied as a child, you probably remember feeling helpless, unsafe, insecure, and alone. In fact, studies have shown that the bullying you experienced in childhood may have been so traumatic that you are still feeling the effects even today.
You may doubt yourself, have trouble trusting people, and lack quality friendships. This lack of healing and closure is especially true if the bullying was never resolved or addressed when you were younger.
Consequently, you are likely still living with the damage to your self-esteem. These lingering effects do not simply go away just because you grew up. Research shows that adults who were bullied as a child are at an increased risk for anxiety disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
There is hope for recovery. Here are ten things you can do to recover from bullying you experienced as a child or as a teen.
Acknowledge Bullying in Your Past
Victims of bullying often spend years minimizing the bullying, dismissing it, or pretending it didn’t happen. Or, they succumb to feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame, believing if they had been different or tried harder the bullying would not have happened. The only way to begin the healing process is to recognize that the bullying occurred and that you were not responsible for it.
Prioritize Your Health and Recovery
Victims of bullying often deal with a host of health issues. These can include everything from insomnia, stress conditions, and headaches to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety issues, and eating disorders. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing.
Remember, bullying affects more than just your mood and self-esteem. It also can have a serious impact on your health. Take steps to take care of yourself.
Reclaim Control in Adulthood
Feelings of powerlessness and helplessness can carry over into adulthood. As a result, you run the risk of living your life as a perpetual victim. Realize that while you cannot control what happened to you, you can control your reaction.
Start your recovery by taking control of your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
It is also important to own your reactions and realize that you can choose to make healthy choices. You have a choice on how to live your life.
Recognize Your Value and Worth
Bullying often causes people to lose confidence and self-esteem because it is packed with lies about your worth as a person. Reject the lies that the bully said about you and replace them with the truth about who you are. Focus on learning to be you again. To get started, write down your positive characteristics.
What are you good at? What are your strengths? What do people like about you? What do you like about yourself? Focus on the positive things you have going for you and reject the lies the bullies fed you.
Avoid Isolating Yourself
A big part of recovery from bullying is maintaining contact with supportive friends and family. Many times, victims of bullying isolate themselves and try to deal with the consequences of bullying on their own.
If the bullying you experienced as a child keeps rearing its ugly head, consider talking with a counselor about your past. It also helps to talk with friends and family or find a support group in your area. The key is that you do not go through the healing process alone.
Seek Trauma Support
Sometimes healing from a childhood trauma like bullying requires outside help and support. Talk to your family doctor and get recommendations for a counselor that specializes in healing from childhood traumas. A counselor will help you process and make sense of what happened to you. He or she also will be able to point out any unhealthy coping mechanisms you are using.
Focus on Personal Growth
Identify areas where you need to grow or heal. For instance, do you need to build your self-esteem or become more assertive? Likewise, you also may benefit from learning to set boundaries, taking a self-defense class, or by joining a health club. Make a list of areas where you want to improve or change.
It is best to make this list on your own rather than asking for someone else’s opinion. This way, you will own the changes you need to make. But if you are having trouble identifying your weaknesses, ask a close friend or family member what they see.
Change Your Thought Processes
Many times, people who are healing from childhood bullying ruminate about what they experienced or become obsessed with not experiencing that pain again.
Learn ways to take your thoughts captive. Set goals and focus on things that make you happy or bring joy to your life.
Avoid focusing all your time and energy on your past pain and your current recovery. It is not healthy to think about the pain and what you endured all the time. Set aside specific times to deal with the issues but do not allow it to consume you.
Find Closure to Move Forward
An essential part of your recovery is to move beyond what has happened to you. While you need to acknowledge how bullying impacted you, you also need to detach from it at some point.
The bullying you experienced does not define who you are. Instead, rediscover who you are and close the door on the past.
Some victims of bullying have found that writing a letter (that you never mail) to the bullies helps them find closure on what happened. Doing so, allows you to express all the pain and anger you were unable to express when you were a child.
Be Patient With Recovery
Childhood bullying leaves deep scars and recovery is not a quick process, especially if you did not deal with the bullying when it occurred. As a result, you likely have a number of wrong perceptions and bad habits to break.
Celebrate your progress no matter how small and give yourself time and space to heal. The changes may be small and slow but they are still changes. One day you will wake up and see a new person looking back at you in the mirror.
Growing up with Down syndrome, Susy was bullied at school. She shares her story to raise awareness that bullying needs to stop.
Growing up with Down syndrome meant that at times I had to face bullies. I want people to know that bullying is not normal and it needs to change – Susy.
When I was born I was so beautiful and special to everyone around me. I was really cute with thick black hair. I was also born with Down syndrome, a disability that means I sometimes have a hard time learning new things, have difficulty speaking, and am smaller than others.
There was good and bad in my childhood. My father left me and my mum when I was 1 ½, so my mum raised me by herself. I know my father loved me, but he didn’t show any emotion or pay any attention to me, and he wasn’t a large part of my life. My mum is amazing for what she did, and because of it we are best friends. My mum always has my back no matter what.
When I started school, I was in a special education class. I loved learning and even homework, I was the perfect student actually. I also had a group of friends who I spent lunch with including my best friend Crystal. But I didn’t love school because of how the bullies treated me which started when I was 12.
The bullies called me names like retard, loser, and baby. At the time I had a close friend who was in my class, and they would call us both lesbos. Being half Chinese, they would tell me to go back to my country and say other racist comments about my mum.
People also stared at me, watching every move I made. I hated the eyes on me, and I hated how they treated me so wrongly.
My friends would watch it happen, but they thought I had to fight for myself and stand up for myself.
In school I had a crush on two boys, but they didn’t notice me, and I didn’t tell them how I felt. I haven’t had a real date yet, but I know one day my dreams will come true and a prince on a white horse will sweep me off my feet.
Even today there are still people in my life who bully me and others around me. There are people who are rude, swear, lose their temper, and gossip about me and others behind our backs. The things they say about me, my friends, and even my mum are nasty and can affect my self-esteem such as calling me fat.
People can also think I look a bit odd to them, or sound odd, or do odd things. I used to talk to myself, and to some people that seemed a bit strange. They can’t see people who have a disability or Down syndrome as being ‘normal’, but we are.
When I catch the bus, people stare at me, and even act shocked because I have Down syndrome. When I am out with my friends, all eyes are on us. But when people do treat us as they would anybody else, it is amazing. Sometimes people talk to me and say, “Good morning Susy’, and ‘wow, you’re so beautiful’. It’s so nice, their smiles are amazing, and I feel blessed.
When I watch the bullying happening in front of me, it hurts my feelings and makes me very sad. I am just a person with true feelings trying to live my life and be happy. I’ve got so many talents, and a love for art and food. I draw everyday, bake, write recipes, and am even working on writing my own cookbook. I am an independent woman, I am meant to be every day of my beautiful life. I am no different to any of you, and my disability is not who I am.
My heart and my soul is in Aruma where I work in the Packaging business and where I get to meet all these lovely people. I am also part of the Employee Committee where we are working to raise awareness of bullying and violence.
I have three girlfriends outside of work who I have known since I was a baby, Josie, Beth and Annalise. This year mum is planning a big party for me for my birthday, it’s mostly a surprise, but I know it will be amazing. The dream is alive inside of me, and I know the dream to have a wonderful life with everyone around me will come true.
I want people to know bullying is not normal. I feel very deeply against bullying and violence, and the issue is very close to my heart. Something has got to happen to prevent bullying in schools, in the workplace, and in the community.
If you are being bullied, speak up! Tell a parent, or teacher, or advocate, or support worker. You can help to put a stop to it.
For others, I really hope in the future you will think about what I have said, and if you meet someone with a disability, or anyone really, you will treat them with respect.
If you need to talk to someone about mental illness or a crisis in your life, please consider calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
Find out more about how we can help you to find a job with our employment supports for people with a disability.
Stockholm syndrome refers to a psychological condition that develops in a person who has been kidnapped or held captive involuntarily. People with Stockholm syndrome show positive feelings towards their kidnapper and may even establish a personal relationship with them. Experts on the subject suggest that it is an unconscious defense mechanism that the victim develops as a form of survival instinct. Stockholm syndrome also refers to situations of domestic abuse and other situations. Here we present how to treat Stockholm syndrome.
Treatment. To treat Stockholm syndrome it is important that the person sees a specialist doctor or a psychologist, to develop a strategy that enables them to overcome this situation. Involving health professionals is essential in these cases.
Do not insist. People with Stockholm syndrome fail to see the complexity of the situation. Do not try to convince them of what may happen or try to force them to change their mind. Just talk to them and calmly explain your point of view. You need to avoid pushing them further away from you in order to help them.
Show them affection. Try to show your love and support. You must convey trust so that they do not see you as an enemy.
Try to keep in touch. Often in this situation, the person tends to isolate themselves, so it is important to try to maintain communication. But try not to make them feel overwhelmed.
Keep calm. Often, this situation generates a feeling of helplessness. The important thing is to remain calm to avoid pushing the person away. Staying calm is the greatest help you can give. Be patient, they will listen to you if you convey trust and understanding.
Search for further information on the subject so you’re sure what you’re dealing with. Often, local health centers offer advice on the issue and may help to resolve this situation.
Listen. If they feel they can trust you, they will talk about their situation. When this happens, you should control your feelings. Don’t show you’re angry or infuriated if the person with Stockholm syndrome defends or identifies with the abusers. Listen to them, and when you think it’s necessary, give your opinion. However, be careful about the way you do it and how you say it, so as to avoid them becoming defensive.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat Stockholm Syndrome, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.
Emotional bullying is something everyone remembers from their childhood. Remember the biggest kid on the playground who wanted to play with a ball, so he just took it from a younger child? Or remember the time some kids surrounded someone who was a little different and teased and mocked them until they cried? Or maybe you recall the “cool” group of kids in school who would ignore you and never let you be part of their group?
You’re remembering emotionally bullying. Emotional bullying is when a person tries to get what they want by making others feel angry or afraid.
What is Emotional Bullying?
Emotional bullying isn’t just seen on the playground; emotional bullying, although likely subtler, is seen in adult relationships and workplaces too. An emotional bully might: 1
- Name-call, tease or mock
- Use sarcasm
- Put-down or belittle
- Ignore or exclude from a group
- Gang up on others
- Humiliate others
These behaviors can be seen in adult relationships, (see Psychologically Abusive Relationships: Are You in One?) like when an emotional bully makes another party “pay” for a perceived mistake or when an emotional bully constantly uses sarcasm in response to genuine questions. In the workplace, emotional bullying might be seen when “office pranks” are pulled in an attempt to humiliate a co-worker.
Effects of Emotional Bullying
And while some may write off emotional bullying as childish behavior or easily ignorable, research shows that emotional bullying can leave lasting scars on its victims (see Effects of Emotional Abuse on Adults). Moreover, those who have experienced emotional bullying are more likely to turn around and become emotional bullies themselves.
Emotional bullying can have negative effects on a person’s mental health. Victims often feel shame, guilt, embarrassment and fear. These effects of emotional bullying can result in:
- Low self-esteem
- Poor academic or job performance
- Threatened or attempted suicide
Emotional bullying can also lead to a version of Stockholm Syndrome, where the victim over-identifies with the emotional bully and even defends the bully’s behavior to others. 2
How to Deal with an Emotional Bully
The same advice that works in the schoolyard also works with adults: ignore or stand up to bullies.
Adults have more understanding of an emotional bully’s behavior than a child does and can see behind a bully’s actions to someone who may feel scared and alone and is lashing out. Adults can also understand that an emotional bully’s behavior is not about the victim but about the abuser. An emotional bully doesn’t just bully one person; they attempt to dominate others in that way as well.
Armed with this knowledge, someone who has been emotionally bullied can see the behavior as the symptom of an illness rather than as a personal attack. This simple change in point of view may be enough to make an emotional bully’s behavior easier to ignore.
Standing up to an emotional bully is another tried and true technique, however. When someone stands up to an emotional bully, the bully is forced to change. It’s unlikely that an emotional bully will ever change completely, but small alterations in behavior are possible and even more can happen if help is sought. Standing up to an emotional bully makes it more likely that the bully will realize that there is a problem and they may even be more willing to get help for it.
One of the definitions of “bully” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “a browbeating person who is cruel to others.” A definition for the word “negotiate” includes: “to arrange for or bring about through conference, discussion, and compromise.”
Since the very core of negotiation is compromise — and since that is often the very last thing bullies are prepared to do, it takes some thought to maneuver through a negotiation process with one. But it can be done!
The Toastmasters Interpersonal Communication manual lists some basic ways to improve negotiating skills, which can also sharpen your ability to reach a compromise with an aggressive communicator. These tips include:
- Breaking the ice before the negotiation process by making small talk (which establishes a more positive, relaxed atmosphere).
- Using “I” statements (which helps make people feel less defensive).
- Remaining honest and direct (so you don’t lower your credibility).
- Showing appreciation (which helps people become more amendable to compromise).
- Sticking to the issue(s) (which helps you stay focused).
- Listening to the other party’s position — and be willing to make concessions in order to help her or him benefit from a mutual decision (which creates a more likely win-win situation).
These tips will facilitate most any negotiation because they help you remain calm, positive, and succinct. When dealing with someone who is bully, there are even more tools that you may need to enlist in order to negotiate in a firm, professional manner. Listed below are some suggestions.
- According to a 2014 article in Newsweek, one of the best ways to handle a bully is to respond with a simple stare. Why does this measure work? The author maintains that it will give you the advantage because it often makes the bully uncomfortable enough to follow up with his or her own question—and, possibly, concessions. In this way, you are fighting the bully’s emotional sword fight with your own razor-sharp tactics.
- The website for The Negotiation Training Institute states: “The bully negotiator uses aggressive tactics such as emotion and anger instead of legitimate negotiation skills.” In order to handle aggressive negotiators, it is best to “catch them at their act and point it out to them.” The typical reaction of the bully, according to this site, is to back off when he or she is “caught.” It’s a simple as confronting the behavior with a rebuttal such as: “I’m not falling for that one!” Or the subtler reply: “I must not have heard you correctly. Please say that again.” In this way, you’re calling the bully out on his behavior, with the hopes that he or she will take it down a notch — or three!
- Finally, be willing to compromise in a bigger way than usual. As stated in the beginning, compromise is the core muscle to all negotiations. When dealing with bullies, you may need to make sure that they feel as if they have “won” in some way. For instance, if you’re negotiating a payment that a bully owes you, perhaps it would behoove you to offer something to “sweeten the deal,” such as decreasing the bill by a reasonable amount or donating an hour or two more of your time.
Above all else, remember that you have more power than you think. No matter how the aggressive negotiator treats you, you can control your responses — and your decision whether to keep working with the bully or not.
Does your board president rule with an iron first? You don’t have to put up with it.
Maybe she’s been running the association single-handedly forever. Or perhaps he’s been a big shot in the business world and is certain the community needs his iron fist. Whatever the motivation, the homeowners association president becomes a dictator.
In meetings, bullies can intimidate fellow board members, the manager and association members. They insist on doing things their way. They refuse to entertain dissenting opinions.
Behind the scenes, they can be just as disruptive. They steer contracts to certain vendors and refuse to sign board-approved deals with others. They tell maintenance personnel exactly how to mow the lawn or clean the pool. They threaten homeowners over minor or perceived rules infractions.
But experts in association law and governance are unanimous in their opinion that bullies can be deposed. Boards and owners have the power to remove an association president who behaves miserably. It can get ugly, but every now and again, a board or community must stand up to a dictatorial president.
“Many people don’t even know that it can be done,” says Steven J. Weil, president of Royale Management Services in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “This is probably the hardest thing we have to deal with.”
Under most state laws and association governing documents, say legal experts, the board president has few powers beyond those held by other board members. Generally, the president is authorized to schedule meetings, open and close meetings, and sign certain documents on behalf of the association.
“A president shouldn’t be running around like a CEO,” says Jim Slaughter, a partner with Rossabi Black Slaughter in Greensboro, N.C., and president of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). “In a community association, the president is first among equals.”
Most laws and documents also give association boards the power to remove the dictator from the presidency at any time by a simple vote. In almost all cases, the president remains a member of the board, but has no more authority than fellow members.
Experts say there are five basic steps that can be taken to depose a dictator president, starting with the most limited procedure and escalating to the most extreme. If you’re lucky, only the first step will be necessary. Steps four and five are reserved for cases in which everything else has failed; these steps have a lower chance of success and can leave enduring scars on the community.
Step one: Talk to the dictator and seek a change in behavior. “The easiest and best solution, which people don’t do very often, is just go talk to the person,” says Slaughter.
Step two: Study the association’s governing documents and applicable laws. If this hasn’t been done already, pore over these documents with the association’s attorney. Make sure you know exactly how to schedule and conduct a vote to remove the president from office. The parliamentarian—if there is one—or a board member should prepare responses to possible efforts by the president to try to block a vote on removing him or her from that office. Then tell the dictator that such a vote is being scheduled and that it will occur even if he or she objects or fails to attend.
Step three: Vote to remove the president as an officer of the board. In most associations, this can be done at any time and without notice, though the vote can be placed on the agenda for a regular meeting, or a special board meeting can be called for such a purpose. Board members should anticipate anger and bellicosity from the dictator. Some will claim the board doesn’t have the right to remove them and might threaten to go to court. Board members need to hold their ground and refuse to get into shouting matches or other forms of unprofessional behavior.
Step four: Vote to remove the offender from the board. Once in a while a dictator who has been voted out of the presidency digs in and attempts to undercut the new president or even refuses to accept the fact that there is a new president.
Step five: File a lawsuit. This is a rare option, used only when a president takes extreme measures to try to hold on to power. Board members or property owners can seek a judicial order requiring the dictator to take or not take certain actions. Failure to conform puts the dictator at risk of being declared in contempt of court.
It’s not possible to predict how someone will behave once elected to a board or elevated to the role of board president. But there are some behaviors that have become associated with dictators over time and might tip off other board members that the person should be watched closely:
- Declining to schedule regular board meetings
- Refusing to allow dissent, constructive criticism or discussion
- Exhibiting intimidating behavior
- Conducting association business without consulting the board
- Pursuing a personal agenda
I hope you enjoyed my first blog. This one will give you lots of great tips. My coworker Corrine and I did a presentation recently for a service provider (you can see our picture with them above) and we thought you would like the information. She helped me write this blog.
Here is some information we found. First, let me share where we found it:
– Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome by Brian Chicoine and Dennis McGuire
– CDSS’s Educator Package
Here are some things you should consider when you are working with people with Down syndrome:
– Abstract vs. concrete ideas People with Down syndrome work best with concrete ideas. Sometimes it is hard for them to imagine abstract things. When you are trying to explain things, always use concrete ideas.
– Generalization There is a difference between “Always close this door” and “Always close all doors”. Make sure you are specific and clear.
– Photographic memory People with Down syndrome often store memories as pictures in their heads. You may notice that people with Down syndrome know almost all the words and actions from movies. However, one thing to remember is that when someone has a scary or bad situation happen to them, they can store that memory as a picture. So, if they are afraid of something, it might mean that they have a picture of that in their head and they can’t get rid of it. Please don’t force them to do something that we are scared of.
– Fixated on things People with Down syndrome can become fixated on things like organizing, personal grooming, collecting and arranging items etc.
– Self-talk It is normal for people with Down syndrome to talk to themselves. Dr. Dennis McGuire and Dr. Brian Chicoine said that 83% of the patients they saw in their clinic would self-talk.
– Grooves This one is important! Grooves are what Dr. Dennis McGuire calls rituals and routines. An “aspect of the personality of many people with Down syndrome is the tendency to prefer sameness or repetition.” This can be seen as stubborn because people with Down syndrome can get stuck on things. Please don’t get annoyed, there are benefits to grooves. Grooves can help us be more independent because most people are able to complete home and work tasks really well when these tasks are part of their daily routine.
Paul: I have routines that I follow each day, these help me get things done. For example, each day when I come into work, I say hello to everyone in their office, then I change my shoes, then I check my emails, I get a glass of water, and then I check my dropbox for my tasks. I like to have routines. When someone breaks my routine, I can get stressed. If someone is going to change my routine, it helps to get a warning and sometimes to think about the change. I work best when my tasks are broken down into smaller steps. Sometimes I take notes, or I have someone make notes for me.
Grooves can help people with Down syndrome relax. Some people with Down syndrome have a favourite activity they like to do a lot of the time. For example, I really like to listen to music, some of my friends like to write stories.
Dr. McGuire says that if people with Down syndrome ran the world:
– “Affection, hugging, and caring for others would make a big comeback.
– All people would be encouraged to develop and use their gifts for helping others.
– People would be refreshingly honest and genuine.
– We believe, too, that a stuffy high society would probably not do well in the world of Down syndrome.
– People engaged in self-talk would be considered thoughtful and creative. Self-talk rooms would be reserved in offices and libraries to encourage this practice.
– Order and structure would rule.
– The words “hurry” and “fast” would not be uttered in polite society. “Plenty of time” would take their place.”
This is from a great article the Dr. McGuire wrote that you should read. You can find it here.
Paul: People with Down syndrome can learn things best when they can see them. When someone is trying to teach me something at my jobs, I like to watch them do it first or see pictures. Use plain-language when you need to, that means staying away from big words or hard to understand ideas. Also, by letting people speak for themselves, you are helping them with their speech and communication. So when others are asking us questions, please do not answer for us unless we need help.
Many people with Down syndrome find adapting to new surroundings and adjusting to change difficult and may need extra preparation and help. Here are some more tips:
– Plan for transitions
– Give warnings about transitions
– People with Down syndrome may need time to respond….wait at least five seconds then repeat the same instruction if necessary. It can take them 7-10 seconds to process what someone says
– Look at what you want the person to do when giving them directions
– Pair a preferred activity with a non-preferred activity
– Be positive and reinforce people for specific tasks; many people will work for positive recognition and affirmation from you.
Some people with Down syndrome may have difficulty processing information from many sources at once, doing more than one thing at a time or responding quickly in some situations. They may shut down, become excited or act out when their senses are not working together properly. Some people look “stubborn” when they are experiencing sensory or motor planning difficulties. Slow down, give them time to process, try working on only one step at a time.
Paul: If I am working on a task, like writing a thank you card and someone talks to me while I am writing, it can be hard to understand what they say. It is best to give me time to stop and look at the person so that I can listen. I also have a hard time when someone asks me to do something really quickly, sometimes I may need a minute or two to change what I am doing.
Final thoughts from Paul: One last tip I have for you is to treat people with Down syndrome like anyone else. I am a 30 year old man, I am not a child. I can have my own opinions, make my own decisions, and am independent. Yes, I may need some support sometimes, but I still like to be treated like an adult. Help people do activities that other people the same age as them do. Help them make good choices, but don’t make the choices for them.
I hope that these tips help you. And if you ever have any more questions, please let me know.
We’re hearing a lot about psychological safety, narcissism and subconscious bias in the workplace lately. But what’s beneath many of these challenges is BPD—Borderline Personality Disorder—a topic many tread lightly around.
Because unlike anxiety, depression, bipolar or other diagnoses, borderline isn’t easily treatable or curable. And very few people are actually diagnosed with this very difficult condition as “true” borderlines. True borderlines require navigation and survival strategies. So grab your galoshes, because we’re going in, friends.
We’re all a little bit borderline, so bear this in mind when you read the below. Here’s what BPD is, and how it’s part of your work and life. Then next week I’ll show you what to do about it.
What Is Borderline?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Method of Mental Disorders has a long list of criteria. Here are the ones you’ll most likely see in the workplace:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
2. A pattern of unstable and intense relationships
3. Unstable self-image or sense of self
4. Intense moodiness, rapid mood changes
5. Inappropriate, intense anger
6. Stress-induced paranoid thoughts or dissociative symptoms (loses touch with reality)
Heck, we all know someone that fits that criteria.
So what causes it? According to Christine Ann Lawson’s awesome work people suffering from BPD have suffered one or more of the following traumas in their past:
• Inadequate emotional support following parental abandonment (through death or divorce)
• Parental abuse, emotional neglect or chronic denigration
• Being labeled as the “no good” child by a borderline mother
When a child suffers one of the above their ability to attach in a healthy way is damaged. Then we’ll see anxiety, avoidance, ambivalence/resistance, or disorganization in their experience of attaching to others.
We’re All A Little Bit Borderline
Per Lawson, there are four types of borderline personalities:
1. The Waif: This person is helpless, sad, lonely and feels like a victim. They are trying to get others to give them sympathy and care-giving. They can be socially engaging then turn on you, seek help then reject it, and gives away, loses or destroys good things. Their mantra is “life is way too hard.” When you have a Waif in the office they’ll be emotionally exhausting and frustrating to be around.
2. The Hermit: This person lives in fear of threat and persecution from a dangerous world. They are trying to get others to share their anxiety and need for protection. They are a perfectionist and worrier, and if you misstep they’ll shut you out. Their mantra is “life is too dangerous.” When you have a Hermit in the workplace you’ll want to follow in their path, clearing up the fear they are spreading.
3. The Queen/King: This person feels empty, deprived, angry, and has an insatiable longing that cannot be fulfilled. They’re demanding, flamboyant, intimidating and feel entitled to invade the boundaries of others. They can appear all-powerful provided no one questions them. They want others to comply. Period. Their mantra is “Life is all about me, and should be even more about me. I am important and you are not.” A Queen/King in the office is tough–they’ll make others feel inferior and dismissed.
4. The Witch/Warlock: This person feels self-hatred and conviction that they are evil. They need power and control over others for basic self-esteem. The more fear and submission they can get from others, the more self-importance they derive. They are domineering, you’ll see them rage and violate the boundaries of others. Hostility masks their fear. Their mantra is “Life is war.” The Witch/Warlock is often the trickiest as they’re just plan dark and emotionally volatile.
By now I’ll bet you’ve seen some of the above qualities in many people you know—including yourself. Here’s a quick quiz, followed by a secret decoder (look at it afterwards!) further down this blog.
Check off any of the below statements that seem familiar, coming from your boss or other key people in your workplace. And if you say or think these things, put an X mark by it. Then you can reflect on where you learned this behavior!
Borderline Quiz Secret Decoder
Here’s the Secret Decoder System for the above quiz. Check out which Borderline types are most prevalent in your work and life. Then in my next blog we’ll cover how to survive and even thrive when interacting with these tricky types!
I hope taking the above test will help you see how common, and how challenging these behaviors are. It’s key to approach these scenarios with compassion, kindness, and yes, caution. Next week we’ll go into coping strategies for this complex situation.
Understand the behavior problems and challenges associated with Down syndrome.
What Are Some Behavioral Challenges Typical in Persons With Down Syndrome?
The definition of a “behavior problem” varies but certain guidelines can be helpful in determining if a behavior has become significant.
- Does the behavior interfere with development and learning?
- Are the behaviors disruptive to the family, school, or workplace?
- Is the behavior harmful to the child or adult with Down syndrome or to others?
- Is the behavior different from what might be typically displayed by someone of comparable developmental age?
The first step in the evaluation of a child or adult with Down syndrome who presents with a behavior concern is to determine if there are any acute or chronic medical problems related to the identified behavior. The following is a list of the more common medical problems that may be associated with behavior changes.
- Vision or hearing deficits
- Thyroid function
- Celiac disease
- Sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux
Evaluation by the primary care physician is an important component of the initial workup for behavior problems in children or adults with Down syndrome.
The behavioral challenges seen in children with Down syndrome are usually not all that different from those seen in typically developing children, but they may occur at a later age and last somewhat longer. For example, temper tantrums are common in 2-to-3-year-olds; for a child with Down syndrome, temper tantrums may begin at 3 or 4.
When evaluating behavior in a child or adult with Down syndrome it is important to look at the behavior in the context of the individual’s developmental age, not only their chronological age. It is also important to know the individual’s receptive and expressive language skill level, as many behavior problems are related to frustration with communication. Many times the behavior issues can be addressed by finding ways to help the person with Down syndrome communicate more effectively.
What Are Some of the Common Behavior Concerns?
The most important issue is the safety of the child. It’s crucial to have good locks and door alarms at home and a plan written into the IEP at school regarding what each person’s role is in the event the child leaves the classroom or playground. A stop sign on the door or asking siblings’ permission to go out the door can be a reminder to the child or adult with Down syndrome to check before leaving the house.
A description of the child’s or adult’s behavior during a typical day at home or school can sometimes help to identify an event that may have triggered the noncompliant behavior. At times the oppositional behavior may the individual’s way of communicating frustration or lack of understanding as a result of to his communication/language problems. Children with Down syndrome become very good at distracting parents or teachers when they are challenged with a difficult task.
Individuals with Down syndrome can have ADHD but they should be evaluated for attention span and impulsivity, based on developmental age and not strictly chronological age. The use of parent and teacher rating scales such as the Vanderbilt and the Connors Parent and Teacher Rating Scales can be helpful in diagnosis. Anxiety disorders, language processing problems, and hearing loss can also present as problems with attention.
These can be as simple as always wanting to sit in the same chair at the table or repetitive behaviors such as dangling beads or belts when not engaged directly in an activity. This type of behavior is seen more commonly in younger children with Down syndrome, and while the number of compulsive behaviors is no different than those in typical children at the same mental age, the frequency and intensity of the behavior is often more in children with Down syndrome. Increased levels of restlessness and worry may lead the child or adult to behave in a very rigid manner.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is seen in approximately 5 to 7 percent of children with Down syndrome. The diagnosis is usually made at a later age (6 to 8 years of age) than in the general population, and regression of language skills, if present, also occurs later (3 to 4 years of age). The interventions strategies are the same as for any child with autism and it is important for the child to be identified as early as possible so she can receive the most appropriate therapeutic and educational services.
How Should Parents Approach Behavior Issues in Their Child With Down Syndrome?
- Rule out a medical problem that could be related to the behavior.
- Consider emotional stresses at home, school, or work that may impact behavior.
- Work with a professional (psychologist, behavioral pediatrician, counselor) to develop a behavior treatment plan using the ABCs of behavior (antecedent, behavior, consequence of the behavior).
- Medication may be indicated in particular cases such as ADHD and autism.
Intervention strategies for treatment of behavior problems are variable, and depend on the child’s age, the severity of the problem, and the setting in which the behavior is most commonly seen. Local parent support programs can often help by providing suggestions, support, and information about community treatment programs. Psychosocial services in the primary care physician’s office can be used for consultative care regarding behavior issues. Chronic problems warrant referral to a behavioral specialist experienced in working with children and adults with special needs.
Unless you had magical childhood luck or were homeschooled in the wilderness, you probably tangled with a mean girl or bully back in your day. Unfortunately, mean girls and bullies grow up and go to work, where you might just encounter them again—just without the lockers and swirlies this time around. This week, Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen offers nine tips to deal with workplace bullying.
While we want to believe that adulthood means the end of off-limits lunch tables, demeaning back talk, and snarky gossip, unfortunately, middle-school bullies and mean girls grow up and go to work. Bullies of the playground often grow up to become bullies of the workplace, which means too many of us find ourselves in eerily familiar scenarios to our dark days of junior high.
Unfortunately, grown-up queen bee and bullying behavior remains the same as back in the day: it systematically targets a colleague with the intention to intimidate, undermine, or degrade. The same tricks get recycled, too: gossip, sabotage, exclusion, public shaming, and many other deliberate behaviors.
Bullying takes a real and profound toll on stress levels, self-confidence, and even our grasp on reality if the bullying is prolonged and unfettered. What to do? This week, we’ll cover 11 tips on dealing with grown-up bullies in the workplace.
Tip #1: Know it’s not your fault. Sometimes, bullying can be so covert and insidious that we start to question ourselves. You might wonder: am I really the least valuable contributor to this project? Am I somehow inviting this torment by being too quiet, too outspoken, too (fill-in-the-blank)?
Rest assured, you didn’t ask for this. You never would have invited being subjected to unfounded criticism, overt exclusion, or targeted gossip that pokes holes in your self-esteem and confidence.
So even though it’s hard, remember: it’s them, not you.
Tip #2: Make immediate corrections. If the bullying isn’t entrenched yet, call out the bad behavior when it happens. For instance, if you’re not into being called “Big Tuna” or “Pama-lama-ding-dong,” say so right when it happens, in public if possible. Say calmly, “That’s not my name—please call me Jim” or “I’m not on board with that—please use my name.” Don’t try to joke about it or soften it, which could send the message that you’re nervous or vulnerable. Just state what you want. The goal is to show that there’s no fun or reward in provoking you.
Tip #3: Don’t confront the bully. However, if the bullying is entrenched, contrary to some advice you might see here on the interweb, don’t confront the bully. You read that right—don’t confront him or her. Why? Put simply, it won’t work. Bullying is a systematic campaign, not an “Oops, my bad.” A confrontation just shows the bully that the crusade to get under your skin is working.
Tip #4: Find strength in numbers. A 2013 poll asked over 600 bullied workers what they did to take care of themselves while being bullied. Unfortunately, the most popular response was to withdraw from friends and family, and the second was to go down a self-destructive path of drinking or overeating.
When we think about it, withdrawing and self-medication makes sense: feeling persecuted, especially without just cause, often makes us turn inward to try to make sense of the emotional twilight zone. Why am I being treated this way? Am I not seeing things clearly? Especially if your aggressor is otherwise well-liked or charismatic, or others don’t believe you, all this can be very isolating.
However, about 25% of respondents did report taking care of themselves in a healthy way, like exercising, meditating, or spending more time with family and friends. And this—especially surrounding yourself with family and friends—is the way to go. Indeed, a 2011 study showed that bullied adolescents can promote their mental health and protect their grades by turning to supportive friends and family. Thankfully, the phenomenon doesn’t stop with adolescence: turn to your colleagues, family, and friends to help validate your sense of reality and remind you that you don’t deserve this cruel treatment.
Tip #5: If you take formal action, keep it about the bottom line. You may be tempted to go to your boss or the bully’s boss, but consider going higher. Why? Often the bosses know exactly what’s going on, but the bully has spent time cultivating that relationship (read: kissing up) so they’re ingratiated to authority. To bypass this, go two or three levels higher.
When you get a meeting, don’t make it about your feelings. Don’t tell long stories about what the bully did to you. It’s not fair, but keep it straightforward and low on emotion. Rehearse your story beforehand with friends, family, or your therapist until you can tell it without getting upset.
Also, instead of using the term “bully,” which can conjure boys-will-be-boys images of schoolyard scuffles, consider using the terms “abuse” or “harassment,” both of which have legal connotations and are less dismissable by higher-ups.
Most importantly, be ready to talk about the problem in terms of the bottom line. Emphasize that your bully’s behavior is costing the business in terms of money, time, performance, and morale. If other employees have left due to the bully, bring up the issue of turnover costs, expenses for headhunters, productivity lost to training and startup, and the cost of having positions vacant. Talk about productivity and how stress, distraction, and discord caused by the bully end up costing the whole team. If possible, calculate everything out in dollars.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the Mentally Strong People podcast.
Contrary to popular belief bullying doesn’t disappear along with the acne, driving courses, and ACT prep tests of the teen years. In fact, it continues into adulthood and can be found in just about any setting. Aside from online bullying, workplace bullying and even sibling bullying, bullying also occurs in families among adults.
Sometimes family bullying happens simply because the adult bully has never learned how to relate in a healthy way. Other times it occurs because the family bully wants to manipulate and control situations. If you are faced with a bully in your family, here are some suggestions on how to handle the situation.
Avoid Getting Emotional
When dealing with a family bully, remain calm and avoid acting out in anger or frustration.
You cannot control the bully, but you can control your reaction. Remain calm and try to disengage from any interaction with the bully.
Meanwhile, write down the incidents and include important details like the date, time, place, and type of incident. Doing so will help you identify any patterns in the behavior. What’s more, this information will be useful down the road in avoiding further altercations with the bully.
Turn to Someone You Trust
Share the details of your experience with a trusted friend. The key is to find someone you can confide in.
Steer clear of gossip. Look for someone who will support you when a bullying incident occurs.
Some people opt for telling another family member instead of a friend, but be careful in doing so. Sometimes family members feel they need to “fix” the situation and will end up creating more problems in the process. The important thing is to talk to someone who will keep what you say in confidence and not make the situation more difficult. Just remember, it is never a good idea to keep silent about the bullying. Telling just one person can help you feel less isolated and alone. What’s more, it helps to have someone listen to what you are experiencing and validate your feelings. Just be sure to pick someone you can trust.
Make a Choice
When the bullying occurs, you have a choice. You can leave, fire back with a witty comeback or try to ignore the bullying. But do not give the bully what he wants by reacting negatively or emotionally. Maintain your composure and be respectful. Just because the bully is behaving inappropriately does not give you license to behave that way too. Make every effort to maintain your dignity and choose how you want to respond.
When it comes to a family bully, it is important to create firm boundaries between you and the bully. For instance, if your husband’s aunt repeatedly insults your cooking and humiliates you in front of your guests, tell her that her comments are insulting and you want it to stop. If she continues, consider not inviting her to your home. Make yourself clear and stick to the rules you set. She may never change her behavior, but you do not have to tolerate it just because she is family. Anytime family members continue to cross the line in their treatment of you, you need to limit the amount of contact you have with them.
Anytime someone bullies you, it is important that you learn how to stand up for yourself.
Being assertive means that you are honest about how you feel without acting aggressively, engaging in name-calling, or being a bully yourself. Be specific about the problem without getting emotional.
But be prepared for the bully to challenge your perceptions or tell you that you are being unrealistic or too sensitive. Do not own these accusations. They are just another attempt to control you or manipulate the situation. Try to say something like: “We are not talking about my emotions. We are discussing your behavior.” Then, restate what you want to change.
Family bullies are able to quickly discern whom they can control and manipulate. Avoid looking nervous, insecure or defeated. No matter what happens when you set boundaries or assert yourself, stay strong. It’s also important to remain respectful and do not give in to any pressures from the bully.
Take Time to Recharge
Being around a bullying family member can be draining. Take time for yourself afterward. Go for a walk. Read a good book. Get a massage.
Do something that will help you de-stress and get rid of the negative energy that a bully brings.
What’s more, if the family bullying begins to take a toll on your emotional health, be sure you look for a counselor that specializes in the family issues. And most importantly, limit your contact, or refuse to have any contact with the family member until she can treat you with respect.
When you meet someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, you might notice two things right off. He or she is just as smart as other folks but has more trouble with social skills. He or she also tends to have an obsessive focus on one topic or performs the same behaviors again and again.
Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 2, 2020
American Academy of Pediatrics: “New DSM-5 includes changes to autism criteria.”
American Psychiatric Association: “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” “Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder.”
Asperger/Autism Network: “Asperger Syndrome Diagnosis in Children.”
Autism Society: “Asperger’s Syndrome.”
Autism Speaks: “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about DSM-5,” “Asperger Syndrome,” “Interventions and Treatment Options,” “Social Communication Disorder: Parents Seek Guidance.”
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet.”
Nemours Foundation: “Asperger Syndrome.”
American Academy of Pediatrics: “New DSM-5 includes changes to autism criteria.”
American Psychiatric Association: “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” “Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder.”
Asperger/Autism Network: “Asperger Syndrome Diagnosis in Children.”
Autism Society: “Asperger’s Syndrome.”
Autism Speaks: “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about DSM-5,” “Asperger Syndrome,” “Interventions and Treatment Options,” “Social Communication Disorder: Parents Seek Guidance.”
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet.”
Doctors understand the chromosomal abnormalities behind Down syndrome, but they still can’t pinpoint exactly why it occurs. Here’s what experts know about a baby’s chances of having Down syndrome.
Characterized by an array of physical and intellectual symptoms, Down syndrome affects one in 700 babies today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And though researchers have pinpointed the chromosomal abnormalities that cause Down syndrome, they still don’t know much about why it happens.
- RELATED:What is Down Syndrome? Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
“For the most part, we simply don’t understand (Down syndrome causes) as well as we would like,” says Kenneth Rosenbaum, M.D., founder of the division of genetics and metabolism and co-director of the Down Syndrome Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. This can make it difficult to understand whether you’re at risk for having a baby with Down syndrome. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of Down syndrome and what factors may increase your chances.
Causes of Down Syndrome
To understand your baby’s chances of Down syndrome, it helps to know what causes the condition in the first place. Most people are born with 46 chromosomes (clusters of genes) in the nucleus of every cell. The chromosomes form in pairs with 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. Down syndrome happens when a baby is conceived with a full or partial extra copy of one of these chromosomes—specifically chromosome 21.
Experts have pinpointed three different types of Down syndrome: trisomy 21, mosaic Down syndrome, and translocation Down syndrome.
Trisomy 21: Most people have two copies of chromosome 21 in each cell, but those with trisomy 21 have three copies. About 95 percent of Down syndrome cases are trisomy 21.
Mosaic Down Syndrome: While some cells have two copies of chromosome 21 like usual, others have an additional third copy. Mosaic Down syndrome occurs in 1-2 percent of cases, and affected people may have fewer physical and intellectual characteristics of the condition.
- RELATED:Signs of Down Syndrome in Babies
Translocation Down syndrome: There are two full copies of chromosome 21 in the cell, as well as a partial extra chromosome 21 stuck to an entirely different chromosome. This is the result of a process called translocation, and it occurs in 3-4 percent of Down syndrome cases.
What Factors Affect Your Chances of Down Syndrome?
Although Down syndrome is a genetic condition, you most likely will not have any family history of it. “In most cases, the extra chromosome seems to happen by chance,” says Emily Jean Davidson, M.D., clinical director of the Down Syndrome Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. That said, some factors might increase your chances of having a baby with Down syndrome. Here’s what to know about them.
Maternal Age: Down syndrome can occur at any maternal age, but the possibility increases as a woman gets older. A 25-year-old woman has a one in 1,200 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. By 35 years of age, the risk increases to one in 350—and it becomes one in 100 by age 40. The chances of Down syndrome further increase to one in 30 by age 45, according to the National Down Syndrome Society. If you’re over 35 and thinking about getting pregnant, you and your partner may want to undergo genetic counseling to more precisely pinpoint your risk.
Maternal Folate Metabolization: “There have been theories about whether it’s due to how well the mother metabolizes folate, but there are just as many studies saying no as studies saying yes,” Dr. Rosenbaum.
- RELATED:All About Prenatal Testing for Down Syndrome
Genetics: Two types of Down syndrome—Trisomy 21 and mosaic Down syndrome—don’t have any heredity component. However, according to the National Down Syndrome Society, translocation Down syndrome is passed from parent to child in one-third of cases. This accounts for 1 percent of all individuals diagnosed with Down syndrome.
If your baby has a translocation, physicians will suggest checking both parents’ chromosomes to see if the translocation arose in the baby (most commonly the case) or if either parent is an unaffected carrier. If so, genetic testing can pinpoint the cause and determine your individual chance of recurrence. Generally, translocation Down syndrome has a 3 percent chance of occurring again if the father carries the translocated chromosome, and a 10-15 percent of recurrence if the mother does, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.
History: If you have one child with Down syndrome, (trisomy 21 or translocation), your chance of having a second child with the condition is about 1 percent.
- RELATED:Why I Chose to Have a Child With Down Syndrome
No matter your risk, remember that Down syndrome occurs before conception. “Nothing you do during your pregnancy will increase your risk or reverse what has already happened,” Dr. Rosenbaum says. “All you can do while pregnant is take the best possible care of yourself and your baby by eating well, taking prenatal vitamins, and following other common sense advice.”
October marks National Bullying Prevention Month. If you have kids, they’re no doubt attending school assemblies to address the bully in the classroom, on the playground, or even lurking anonymously behind a computer screen.
But what happens when the bully lives in your home?
Learning to recognize the red flags and tactics to deal with taunts provide helpful skills to deal with the bullying significant other, spouse, or parent.
Stacy Kaiser, Editor at Large of Live Happy and licensed psychotherapist says bullying is about “trying to gain power and control, to get one up and make the other person feel insignificant or one down.” In a functional relationship, the partners support each other, something missing in the bully equation.
How can we recognize potential bullies before we end up heading down the aisle?
Kaiser’s Red Flags
• Overly critical
• Passive Aggressive or Aggressive: Some bullies may verbally attack you, while others are more underhanded, controlling finances and keeping you in the dark or undermining your efforts.
“The targeted spouse may not know until the ring is on. By then, the targeted spouse may believe he or she can make the bully treat him or her differently but that typically does not happen,” adds Kaiser. “The bully has to want to change on his or her own.”
Are all Bullies Narcissists?
Bullying tactics are pretty much a hallmark of narcissistic behavior but not all bullies are narcissists. The two are not mutually exclusive, Kaiser explains. However, bullies and narcissists both have a need to win and be in control above everything else. Bullies are masters at manipulating their acute awareness of the target’s emotions and vulnerabilities, something a true narcissist may not be able to do.
Bullying is more about feeling powerful than caring about you or the relationship. It’s about feeding the ego. However, bullies aren’t necessarily narcissists. Narcissists have no empathy for others and only care about what they want.
In a 2013 article published in The Atlantic, “All Bullies are Narcissists,” Joseph Burgo says, “Bullies and narcissists follow similar psychological strategies for building and defending identities. To a certain degree, his self-image depends upon having (those) losers to persecute. I am a winner because you are a loser.” Studies suggest bullies may actually possess normal or even above average self-esteem but are motivated to avoid shame – which they do by putting others down.
“The goal of the bully is to win. Most of us would feel horrible if we walked away after making someone else feel bad but not the bully. Bullies feel better when they walk away after making someone feel bad,” says Kaiser.
Can You Protect Yourself Against a Bully?
Kaiser says bullies tend to target people who may not feel comfortable setting boundaries. Use direct, concise sentences like “I don’t like that,” or “That’s not okay with me” to set limits. Bulllies (and narcissists) need direct sentences instead of long speeches.
Attempting to set limits doesn’t mean you’ll change the bully’s behavior but even if you don’t change the bully, “the goal is to stand up for yourself,” adds Kaiser. “It’s about self-preservation and self-respect.”
What Can You Do to Protect Your Kids from a Bullying Parent?
When your spouse or partner extends his bullying tactics to the kids, you’ll need to insulate the kids in any way you can. That may keeping the kids safe through law enforcement or controlled visits. “It’s hard to tell a kid to stand up to a parent,” says Kaiser. “Try to give the language to say ‘I don’t want to do that or I don’t like it when you yell at me. Bullies tend to escalate so it’s a slippery slope.”
Can Ignoring the Bully Ever Work?
People often acquiesce because they don’t want things to get worse. Kaiser says the act of giving in just reinforces the bully to keep bullying. It becomes a bad cycle.
It’s a delicate dance to deal with a person like that. “Ideally, you shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone like that. If you are in a relationship with a bully, you’ll have to take a stand even if it just makes you feel stronger. You’ve got to be consistent and follow through, just like you do with parenting.
What About Divorcing a Bully?
If you decide to divorce a bully, you’ll need a support system for suggestions as well as a place to vent and brainstorm ideas. You’ll need professional and emotional resources, a counselor, lawyer, consultants, as well as friends on your side.
Whether or not you decide to leave the bully, Kaiser suggests you take moments where you can escape and feel free to have fun by yourself, with the kids or with friends.
Dating or marriage with a bully is an extremely stressful road. Should you choose to get to the other side in a healthy way, you (and kids) will be better able to deal with difficult people. Kaiser notes, “You’ll never put up with that again because you’ve seen it and lived it.”
Bullying can take many forms, but it’s harmful no matter how it happens. Some bullies use verbal taunts and intimidation while other bullies rely on physical violence. If your child has been bullied, you have the responsibility to act to help protect her. Many strategies have the potential to reduce or eliminate bullying when you, your child and school employees use them properly and consistently.
Teach your child to avoid the person or persons bullying her. There is nothing wrong with staying away from the bully and it doesn’t mean that your child isn’t standing up for herself or ignoring the problem. Avoiding the bully is a simple way to decrease the bullying behavior and to help your child protect herself.
Stand Up For Yourself
Show your child how to look a bully in the eye and loudly request that he stop it right now. This empowers your child to take control of the situation, but it also calls attention to the bully. The fact that your child is calling the bully out is often enough to make him stop or to bring the behavior to the attention of the teachers who can take further action.
Make it clear that your child can tell a teacher or other adult at the school if she’s being bullied. This is different than tattling and is an essential step in bringing the bullying to the attention of caring adults who can step in and take disciplinary action.
Act out potential bullying scenarios with your child. Pretend to the be the bully and encourage your child to stand up for herself or go tell a teacher. This practice can give your child the courage necessary to tell someone about the problem so it can be solved.
Find A Friend
Encourage your child to hang with her friends. Often, bullies target a lone child, and if your child is surrounded by friends, or even just one close friend, it can deter a potential bullying situation.
Ask for Improved Supervision
Take action on behalf of your child. There is only so much your child can do to prevent bullying and, as the parent, you have a responsibility to protect your child. Ask teachers and other adults at your child’s school to keep an extra close eye on your child, which can increase feelings of safety and security and deter a potential bully.
Talk to the School Board
Ask your child’s school or school board about anti-bullying programs. If there isn’t a program in place, find out how to start one in your child’s school. Gather parent support and present a proposal 1.
Volunteer At the School
Volunteer at your child’s school. This will allow you to keep an eye on your child, but it also provides an extra pair of eyes to supervise students and step in before bullies have a chance to bully. Encourage other parents to volunteer, as well, so there is always some extra supervision.
Speak up. Teach your child to tell someone if she sees someone else getting bullied. Keeping quiet does a huge disservice to a child being bullied and allows the situation to continue. If you see bullying, you should always speak up as well, by telling a teacher or the principal about what you’ve noticed.
Don’t Give Up
Stay active and persistent. The bullying problems aren’t likely to improve overnight, but with consistent work, you, your child, other parents and the school employees can work together to decrease the instances of bullying at the school.
When my daughter was in first grade, she came home complaining about a girl who bullied her. I went to the teacher and explained and asked that she keep an eye on the situation. A few days later, the teacher reported that my daughter was mistaken–there was no bad behavior.
Upon further questioning, the teacher admitted that she stood in the center of the playground during recess so she could keep an eye on everything. But there had been no pushing or shoving, therefore, no bullying! I couldn’t believe I needed to explain to a teacher that mean girls use words to torment others, not pushing and shoving.
Even by the ripe old age of 7, this particular mean girl had learned how to behave around the “boss.” Imagine how much more time the 35-year-old in your office has had to perfect her (or his) bullying craft! It’s no wonder that bullying often goes unnoticed and uncorrected. Managers, like teachers, are busy putting out the fires they can easily see, and the subtle torment goes by unobserved. And sometimes managers are the bullies.
- Physical bullying. This includes threats, intimidation, and harassment. Someone who keeps stepping forward to push you into a corner physically or touches you inappropriately is a physical bully even if you’re not “hurt.”
- Tangible/material bullying. When the bully uses power or position (I’m your boss) to control the victim, this is tangible/material bullying.
- Verbal bullying. This can be anything from “teasing” to threats to gossip to sexist language. These bullies use their words to torment, even when they may not have any actual power over the victim.
- Passive-aggressive or covert bullying. Ni says this is infrequent but “in some ways it’s the most insidious.” He describes it as including “negative gossip, negative joking at someone’s expense, sarcasm, condescending eye contact, facial expression, or gestures, mimicking to ridicule, deliberately causing embarrassment and insecurity, the invisible treatment, social exclusion, professional isolation, and deliberately sabotaging someone’s well-being, happiness, and success.
- Cyber bullying. This can, of course, include any type of bullying, just delivered electronically.
So, how do you stop this in your office? The steps are easy to pay homage to, but much more difficult to actually carry out.
Know your staff
Granted, if the CEO or HR manager of a 300-person company can’t know everyone well, there’s no way one person can do this for a company with 1,000 or 10,000 people. But you know your direct reports and people in your area of responsibility. You may have seen Glennon Doyle’s account of her son’s teacher. She writes that the teacher asks the students to submit a list of classmates they want to sit by each Friday. She then looks for patterns:
Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know whom to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?
You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down–right away–who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.
While this is a bit silly in the adult world, the concept is the same. What group goes to lunch together? Who sits alone? Who is copied on negative emails? Who avoids whom?
Knowing what the social dynamic is can help you stop bullying before it takes hold.
If you notice bad behavior, do something about it. If an employee comes to you to complain about a co-worker, listen. Bullying that isn’t based on protected class (race, gender, religion, etc.) isn’t illegal, but it’s just as damaging.
Don’t let bad behavior go unchecked because you’re busy. How much busier will you be when your best performers leave because your office bully was intimidated by their performance?
Make behavior expectations clear
If someone is bullying someone in your office–in whatever form–this is something for an official performance improvement plan. Yes, if the person doesn’t meet the terms of the PIP, you let him or her go at the end of the 90 days, even an outstanding performer.
Yes, lots of businesses let the stars do whatever they want, but it’s not worth it. Bullies are often stealing praise that should belong to others and taking credit that they haven’t earned. They drive good performers out. So, fix or fire. No exceptions.
Set an example
Do you play favorites? Intimidate and threaten? Do you talk about one of your employees’ faults with a different employee? Do you betray confidences? Then you’re part of the problem.
Leadership comes from the top down. If the boss can’t be nice, no one else will be. If you reward bullying behavior, people will bully. If you put a stop to it, treat people fairly, and call out bullies, you’ll reduce the drama.
Bullying doesn’t have to invade your office if you don’t want it to. You can put a stop to it.
Sherri Gordon is a published author and a bullying prevention expert.
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the Mentally Strong People podcast.
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- Job Stress
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- Effects on Health
- Management Techniques
- Situational Stress
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When it comes to the mean girl phenomenon, it is not limited to the tween and teen years. Sadly, mean girls from middle school and high school often grow up to be mean women in the workplace. Only their behavior is often more subtle and sophisticated than it was in high school. This can result in many women feeling like their workplace is high school all over again.
Yes, it’s true that most workplace bullies are men. However, while male bullies tend to be equal-opportunists (they bully other males and females in equal numbers), most women prefer to target their own. According to the 2017 Workplace Bullying Institute survey, female bullies target other women nearly 70% of the time.
You will inevitably run up against mean girls in the workplace, no matter how old you are. For this reason, it’s important that you know how to identify them. Here are the top seven warning signs that a woman you work with is a mean girl.
They Exclude Others
Intentionally excluding someone from a group is a sure sign of an office mean girl. These women use relational aggression to socially isolate others while attempting to increase their own status at work.
As a result, they will act as a clique, leaving other women out of lunch dates, meetings, and after-work gatherings. They may even discuss the details in front of those who are being isolated to demonstrate their power.
Women usually target other women based on their own insecurities. For instance, an office mean girl may consciously undermine your ideas because they feel threatened by your talent or ability. Or they might boycott your social gatherings because they hate the fact that your life and career are progressing and they’re stuck.
They’re unable to acknowledge anything good about you or anyone else because they think that someone else’s success reflects their failure.
They Take Credit for Others’ Work
Maybe they’re just too lazy to do the work themselves. Or they may think they’re not getting enough recognition for their work—or that you’re getting too much credit.
Whatever the reason, know this: Their irritating need to constantly take credit for everything stems from a place of deep insecurity. And because they have such a strong desire to get to the top of the corporate ladder, they will do anything to get there, including using other people.
They Spread Rumors or Gossip
Women are most competitive in environments where resources—including men, bonuses, and promotions—are limited. They don’t think there’s enough to go around and they’ll do anything to take out or tear down “competitors.”
For instance, if they believe another woman is threatening their status or position at the office, they have no qualms using their arsenal of indirect aggression tools to make their lives miserable. This can include making up lies and spreading rumors about her work ethic, office relationships, and even her personal life.
They Are Manipulative
On the outside, the office mean girl appears to be charming, helpful, and empathetic, but in reality, she is cold-hearted and calculating.
They collect as much information about you as possible. Information that they later use to pit people against each other, manipulating them and their insecurities. As a result, they tend to inflict emotional pain on their victims over long periods of time.
Women like this twist facts and situations to make themselves look innocent. This also makes it harder for others to believe the target if the target complains.
They Struggle With Anger
Sometimes office mean girls have poor impulse control. They are quick-tempered, tend to yell a lot, and may even use profanity. These women also are prone to using direct insults and name-calling.
They are not above rolling their eyes and coughing to undermine what other people are saying. When that doesn’t have the intended effect, they may start yelling, criticizing, name-calling, and belittling.
They’re Power Hungry
These women want power and control. They want to be the ones calling the shots. But instead of earning that right through respect and teamwork, they often speak disrespectfully to others, insist on having things their way, and put other people and their opinions down. What’s more, they use the power and control they already have to their advantage.
Some of these women may be bosses. Others may just use their strong personalities, excellent verbal skills, influence to walk over other people.
A Word From Verywell
If you are dealing with an office mean girl, it is important to make the most of your current position, that is until you can find a better place. Make sure you respond professionally and keep documentation of what is happening in case you need it. But in the meantime, be sure you also get out and meet other people in your industry.
Try to build bridges and network as much as you can. And then when the opportunity presents itself, make the move. You cannot expect to deal with an office mean girl indefinitely, so be on the lookout for a better place.
If you’ve spent any time in sales, odds are that you have probably had to deal with a buyer who has let their bargaining power get to their head. In other words, they have a tendency to act like a bully. Recently I spent time with a CEO who was being bullied by a buyer whose work represented a big part of her revenues. It is a very difficult situation. For her and other companies in a similar situation, my first recommendation is to figure out what is the bully’s motivator. These are the five typical motivations:
- Compliance – The buyer is going through the motions, including shadow-boxing on pricing in order to make the right appearances without any real desire to change things.
- Consideration–The buyer needs a win, but is willing to give you something for your flexibility. This is a negotiation where both sides are willing to provide concessions in the discussion.
- Accommodation–The buyer feels the need for a discount or a win in the discussion with no willingness to provide a concession.
- Domination–The buyer wants to penalize or injure a supplier for either the purpose of making a point, establishing a position, or “righting a wrong” based upon some sense of having been taken advantage of in the past.
- Termination–Buyers sometimes use unreasonable demands as a way to drive a vendor out of their company.
Once you have determined what the motivation is, you have several ways to deal with the bully. There are risks in confronting any bully but if you back down straightaway, that will always be that person’s expectation of you.
Option 1: Seek negotiation parity–You want there to be a more equitable and balanced approach to the discussion. Try this:
- Common ground–Start by seeking issues that are not in dispute and ensure that both of you agree on them.
- Narrow the topics–Focus the conversation on what the real dispute is. Usually this is limited to less than three core items.
- Establish penalties for both of you–Make certain that you can articulate the buyer’s risks as well as your own. This shows partnership benefits and penalties for losing partnership
- Don’t huff, puff, or bluff–Don’t get involved in bluster or threats.
Option 2: Create time and distance–By slowing the dialogue down, you can bide your time and wait for the bully to select a different issue or target. This takes some of the negative energy out of the disputes and allows for other reasonable voices to speak on your behalf. Then return to the conversation.
Option 3: Enlist an intermediary–Sometimes, you have to find the reasonable voice and bring them to your point of view. This is delicate because bullies don’t like interference. What your supporter is going to need is an understanding of the concessions and performance you have already provided, the market conditions, and a clear ask on your behalf.
Option 4: Make a series of small concessions–Often a bully needs to win something, anything, or they do not feel that they have done their job. Make the person feel important by emphasizing the rarity with which these types of concessions are given by your company.
Option 5: Go over the bully’s head–The most tempting and the most dangerous strategy. Most of us recognize why. However, when you have tried all other routes and you feel you are going to lose anyway, then it is time to make the move.
Bullies are a part of the business climate. Often times under the guise of procurement and negotiation, the process becomes just a more civilized version of bullying. It’s inevitable that you will have to deal with bullies, so take the time to become more effective with your tactics.