The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54172   Message #837564
Posted By: Helen
29-Nov-02 - 11:17 PM
Thread Name: BS: bullying advice
Subject: RE: BS: bullying advice
Hi all,

As katlaughing pointed out, I started a couple of threads when I was being ruthlessly bullied by a senior manager in a large organisation where I worked. I can identify with just about everything said here. (He got away with it, by the way.)

I strongly recommend that you look at Tim Field's site about bullying

      Bully OnLine:

Tim Field shares his unique insight into workplace bullying, a cause of stress and ill health and the basis of harassment, discrimination, abuse and violence

It is a UK site, and very comprehensive, and more to the point, *practical* with lots of advice and suggestions on how to deal with the problem. I especially recommend looking at the page about why victims are chosen - i.e.usually because they are clever or good at something or are nice to other people, etc. What that means is that the victims are chosen by bullies *because* of their positive traits so it is an affirmation for victims/targets to read that page and remind themselves of what nice people they are.

Someone on this thread - sorry, I can't find the relevant bit again - said to try to work out what the bullies are feeling and why they are doing it. Unfortunately for me in my work situation it was my firm belief that I could find a way to work constructively with the bully which kept me down and out for so long (12 months) before I found Tim Field's site and could put a name to what was happening to me.

And that is where I do tend to believe that I had been giving out a subconscious message which attracted the bully, and my message was that I was too nice, too concerned with being professional in my work, too concerned with trying to find a way to work well with others, even in the face of conflict (which I later found out to be deliberately manipulated conflict).

I still believe in those things but not to the extent of suppressing my own needs and beliefs. I was erring on the side of extreme unselfish niceness, and now I try to balance my own needs with those of others.

The final silver bullet answer that I have found is that I demand respect. Sounds too simple, but I was always making allowances for other people's needs and wants, and their idiosyncracies while not allocating similar levels of allowance/leeway for myself.

Also, about 8 years before my bullying boss situation my nephew was bullied by a teacher in his first and second year of school - same teacher both years. My sister, her husband and I fronted the school and the education department about it, and had a win of sorts, but he still has some residual problems and was bullied by other students when he first started high school.

When I was at high school we had a maths teacher who I now realise fits the profile of a serial bully, and she managed single-handedly to devastate the well-being of almost every student in her classes. She was rewarded a few years later with a promotion to high school principal. Explain that to me!

I think that the "Ya - whatever!" response is not a bad idea. It shows the bullies that their tactics are having no effect, and they lose interest in that victim, but they do tend to find another one, so it's not the complete solution.

Tim Field's site will give you some information and links with reference to the UK school system, and how to tackle the problem. Threatening to take it up with higher and higher levels of management - and doing just that if necessary - is a good tactic. Threatening to go to the media with the story is another one.

But - above all else - which ever tactics you choose, the important thing is for your son to keep a diary or log of the incidents including date, time, place, witnesses (very important), nature of incident, who he reported it to, what the response was, whether any constructive action was taken, etc etc.

Even just making it obvious that he is taking notes of each incident may be useful. "Could you just confirm what you just said so that I can write it down correctly? You said: blah, blah, blah ... is that correct?"

PM me if you want to talk about this. Especially about the personal, emotional, psychological and physical effects. I know a lot about that from personal experience.

I agree, also, when people here have said that the fact that your son is telling you this is a very good sign, and that just showing him that you are supporting him is worth more than you will ever know. Most people I tried to talk to about the bullying just walked away or tried to brush it off with glib remarks, or changed the subject.

(enough of my rambling)