Guide to dealing with ridicule and bullies as an adult

Ridicule and bullies could be extremely damaging battering your self-image and confidence. Nobody wants it but unfortunately has to face in different stages of life right from childhood to adulthood and even in office. Dealing with these is not tough but needs specific strategies as discussed below.

How to deal with ridicule

victim of bullying

Ridicule or simply making fun of person or things harms a person both physically and mentally. The victims of these stigmas are generally either the physically challenged people or people who hold low caste in society. Making fun and playing pranks and humiliating is considered a form of crime. Now the question arises how to fight this. Well, here are the some ways to fight ridicule.

Legal action

Though there are no such laws for ridicule but yes if you are getting humiliated by a particular society of people or you are suffering humiliation for being a low caste then there are groups and various social organizations that can save you from getting criticized. If the ridicule goes to its maximum level then legal actions can be taken. For instances we have strict laws for omen ridicules and mock.

Consulting institutional head

bullying at workplace

Now if suppose people are making fun of you in an organization like school or offices or at your workplace either due to your inefficiency or any other reason then the best way to deal with it is to take the case to the head of the organization. In that case the best alternative can be found out. For instance if you are at school then the principal can change the section or the department head can change transfer you to different place where you will suffer no more ridicule.

Reaction to the situation

Now while people are making fun of you, the most important thing is your reaction towards it. The next two factors to deal with ridicule goes with patience acceptance and avoiding ridicule. When people make fun of you it’s better to ignore it. If someone comments on your inefficiency then acceptance works wonder. Let your ego fall down so that the man teasing you will feel ashamed.

The way you take the decision to fight ridicule is the most important as it affects your further status and ridicules. When you are complaining you should make sure that the effect should be strong on them and will be on your favor or else the consequences might turn to the worst for you.

Sharing your feelings

If your friends or coworkers are making ridicule then let them know your feelings. Talking to them and saying them not to do so may work. Sometimes we tease people without knowing how they are getting affected. In this case sharing your feeling will solve the problem to a great extent.

Changing friend circle

Ridicules also hamper the mental growth of children

Now if nothing is working then change your friend circle. Stay away from those groups those affecting you. It’s better to avoid them and going to a new group where you can get recognitions.

Ridicule in its biggest form can truly become reason for disasters. So, being a true human being one should not criticize other to such an extent that he/she will get affected. Small teases sometimes put large impact on the minds of the people. Ridicules also hamper the mental growth of children. Once they are humiliated they develop a fear symptom.

Fighting and revolt

Fighting back may not be that successful in coping ridicule. It might make the situation worst but sometimes it do works. Rather than fighting physically revolts have censored better records in solving such social stigmas.

Smart decisions

So it is better to check the condition first and then act accordingly. There are many ways to deal with ridicule. The best way is the one that you choose according to your situation. A small silence sometimes can work wonders and a small stone throw can cause a blunder. So step into the process of dealing with ridicule with a calm mind.

How to deal with adult bullies

adult bullies

Bullying does not essentially end with childhood and teenage. It abounds in the adult world too, escalating the need to address adult bullying, which is often damaging and sometimes fatal. Hence, let us take a look at some of the ways to deal with those who practice it.

Try dealing with kindness, not silence

Instead of attacking the bully, stay calm but assertive. Stand up for yourself and remain self assured that you are not guilty for what is happening. Send a clear message that the act (or emotion) is not tolerable and acceptable. Give a realization to the person (who is bullying) that you shall not indulge in his/her game.

Using kindness as a countering tool can help (though it may not always be effective). Lack of kindness may encourage the act of bullying; adult bully can experience some sort of threat from the target. Demonstrating positive responses (like saying good morning) can limit the negative tendency to bully. However, if your nicety is being misunderstood as your weakness, it is better to retreat.

Silence can be misunderstood as an encouragement for bullying even more. Stand up to bullying, and reveal what is being done is not okay. If it is a bad conversation, end it. If it is a threatening, take assistance from outside source (like a responsible person or police). Do not surrender to the threat and act according to need.

Demonstrate suitable response to bullying

Negative emotions companion bullies, making them feel insecure or inferior. Your displaying negative emotions (like anger, raised voice, etc.) can signal their success, and even magnify the matter to encounter more disturbing behaviors in times to come.

In dealing with adult bullies, it is important to adopt an assertive behavior. Assertive behavior can be in the form of firm eye contact, clear and firm voice, using specific words which clarify your non acceptance. In early stages of bullying, assertive behavior can yield favorably. However, what may work in one situation may not work in the other.

If possible, avoid the person in totality. Even if you encounter the person, try ignoring him/her as much as possible. Thinking that the person could shape up for betterment can be waste of time and resources. Avoid confronting head-on. Refrain from escalating the matter, so that it does not get heated up or turn upsetting. If there is a way to force the person to back off, implement it. Observe caution when dealing with a difficult person, who can prove damaging to you and your loved ones.

Confide in a close and dependable person

friends discussing the serious matter

There should not be feeling of shame or embarrassment when dealing with an adult bully. The person has a problem and he/she finds you an easy target. It is helpful when you discuss the matter with a close associate, who can understand the problem. He/she can be a family member, partner, close friend or any other person who can assist in resolving the issue. Do not feel ashamed or uncomfortable talking about the problem. Support can guide you in finding a permanent solution, provide confidence and skill to handle the situation anytime.

Document each and every detail

Adult bullying is a concerning issue, and can require legal interaction to sort out the problem. Educating yourself about ways to handle unpleasant incidents is an important step in ending the problem. In this line, documentation is a crucial component. Keeping a record of the sequence of events, including the smallest details, can prove extremely helpful in shaping things favorably. Keep track of each and everything you think can work in your favor, should you prepare a case later on. If the person engages in cyber bully, get a hard copy of all the correspondence and preserve a file.

Get out of the situation

Although you are at the receiving end, it is not due to your fault. Remember the fact that individuals owe accountability about their treatment to others.

Sometimes, the best way to deal with adult bullies is to walk away. Some bullies never grow up to change for good. Even after repeatedly opposing the bad behavior, you cannot stop him/her from bullying, it would be best to quietly remove yourself from the scene. However, this should not be done as your first attempt in dealing bullies. You may want to opt for a change of job, place of living, or any other thing depending on the requirement. As a grown up, you can implement many choices which you probably could not do as a child.

You can also get help from your institution, particularly if there is a provision for dealing such situations. If it seems too taxing on your health, consult a doctor for suitable relaxation techniques.

How to deal with bullies in the office

bullies in the office

Bullying is not just confined to playground. Even adults can experience bullying at the workplace. Workplace bullying fills you with a feeling of dread about going to work which adversely affects your confidence and performance. You can deal with such bullies in your office by following a planned strategy. Just remember that whatever the situation may be, you have to stay calm and focused.

Observe and see it from their perspective

Most of the people are of the opinion that a bully harasses or abuses their colleagues because of some personal grudges. This is found to be true in most of the cases, however, sometimes there may be other reason behind such behavior. You have to observe and see it from their perspective in order to determine what’s driving them to act how they are. Try to take a moment to consider where the other person may be coming from and is it just you who is being treated harshly or is it everyone? Is this person always aggressive? May be the person with whom you are not getting along is stressed about something that has nothing to do with you, such as personal issues at home or with other colleagues. Although these issues cannot excuse the way they have been impacting you, but still, you may understand the reason behind their bullying nature which can help you in dealing with the situation.

Document the bully’s actions

Document the date, time and details of the incident whenever you have experienced bullying. Record all the specific examples of bullying including the name of the employees who witnessed the incident. All of this proof may help you later down the lane. Bullying can even occur in email or correspondence, therefore, save all those emails and notes, or other such evidence of bullying. The bully is not only hurting your feelings but also he is sabotaging the business, so if you finally decide to take help from Human Resources, then this documentation will provide the sufficient information to the HR to decide in your favor.

Talk to your coworkers

coworkers talking

Note whether the bully targets only you or pulls the same behavior with other coworkers. Ask your colleagues who are also experiencing the same problems to document any incident they witness when the person in question is bullying any of your coworker. If even 4-5 of you have experienced bullying and have documented all those incidents, then also it is sufficient for building a solid case against the bully in front of management or HR. Even if everyone knows that a particular person in the office is a bully, then also the management needs evidence in order to take appropriate actions. Also, you will require witnesses along with documentation if you decide to press charges in the future. According to the study conducted by Zogby-WBTI, only 4% of bullied employees file a complaint in state or federal agencies 3% employees decide to sue.

Tell management and HR about the bully

It is time to call in the big guns if all of your previous efforts have gone in vain. Go to the HR or your manager with your documentation and address the issue from an employee’s perspective. Demonstrate the impact of the bully on the business and elaborate on how the behavior is damaging your work and concentration, and file a formal complaint. The HR investigation process is explained in most of the employee handbooks from where you can decide your next move. If you are not sure about your options, then speak informally to your manager or human resources department. Inquire about the company’s office bullying policy but don’t bring up any names at this stage. Explain the situation and the way it is affecting your confidence and work. Listen carefully to the solutions provided by the human resources. You can regain your conflict free workspace and neutralize the bully behavior with your personal courage and persistence.

Know when to leave

young woman leaving the office

You may even have to consider the possibility of leaving if you have asked for help and then also nothing changes. No one advocates such decision as this will only encourage the bully, but above all, you have to think about yourself. You are not going to get anything by staying in a negative environment just to prove a point. Other than this, there are certain legal steps which you can take. But before making any decision, investigate your options thoroughly. Remember that we all deserve a friendly and peaceful environment to work in and if your organization fails to do so, then it is better to move on.

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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