You may not hear a lot about adult bullying, but it is a problem. We don’t like to admit that a grown person honestly can fall back into an old childhood behavior pattern, yet it happens. Read on to learn more about different types of adult bullies and get some ideas on how to deal with them. Adult bullying is a serious problem and may require legal action if not managed appropriately.
One would think that as people mature and progress through life, that they would stop behaviors of their youth. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sadly, adults can be bullies, just as children and teenagers can be bullies. While adults are more likely to use verbal bullying as opposed to physical bullying, the fact of the matter is that adult bullying exists. The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult. They try to humiliate victims, and “show them who is boss.”
There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:
- Narcissistic Adult Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
- Impulsive Adult Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
- Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim’s property, rather than physically confronting the victim.
- Verbal Adult Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage – to the bully – of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
- Secondary Adult Bully: This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.
Workplace bullying can make life quite miserable and difficult. Supervisors should be made aware of adult bullies, since they can disrupt productivity, create a hostile work environment (opening the company to the risk of a law suit), and reduce morale.
It is important to note, though, that there is little you can do about an adult bully, other than ignore and try to avoid, after reporting the abuse to a supervisor. This is because adult bullies are often in a set pattern. They are not interested in working things out and they are not interested in compromise. Rather, adult bullies are more interested in power and domination. They want to feel as though they are important and preferred, and they accomplish this by bringing others down. There is very little you can do to change an adult bully, beyond working within the confines of laws and company regulations that are set up. The good news is that, if you can document the bullying, there are legal and civil remedies for harassment, abuse and other forms of bullying. But you have to be able to document the case.
Adult bullies were often either bullies as children, or bullied as children. Understanding this about them may be able to help you cope with the behavior. But there is little you can do about it beyond doing your best to ignore the bully, report his or her behavior to the proper authorities, and document the instances of bullying so that you can take legal action down the road if necessary.
There are different types of bullying that children, teens, and adults sometimes face throughout the course of their lives. Unfortunately bullying is becoming more and more of an issue as the types of bullying expands to new areas. More and more unlikely suspects are also becoming the bully themselves. For years, many thought bullies were just the classic case of the mean boy out on the playground that would push you down and steal your lunch money. However, times have changed and bullies are coming out of the wood work and are becoming meaner than ever. Many cases of suicide due to bullying, otherwise known as bullycide, are also becoming more and more rampant especially among teens and children who regularly face issues with bullying peers and adults. This is why it is more important than ever to learn how to handle bullies by squashing their attempt at persecuting others before the situation starts or gets out of control.
Types of bullying:
- Emotional bullying occurs when rumors are started about someone or a group of individuals. It also happens when malicious or defamatory statements are made about a person or group with the intent to hurt the feelings and emotional stability of the target. Emotional bullying can occur in various forms including face-to-face, behind one’s back, or anonymously via the Internet and social networking sites.
- Physical bullying is the most traditional form of bullying and occurs when the victim is injured physically with pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, burning, etc. It also occurs when the bully steals the victim’s personal belongings, destroys personal belongings, clothes, etc.
- Cyberbullying can occur in the form of emotional bullying, but takes place online via email, social networking sites, blogs, and more. Oftentimes cyberbullying is done anonymously and may include the victim becoming ganged up on in a series of bashing and hurtful statements. Many of these rumors and offenses are lies or extensions of the truth but are targeted at the victim because of jealously or the intent to hurt.
Who is bullying?
There are a few different types of bullies that range from the mean kid on the block to the vindictive teen girl behind the computer screen. Bullies also range in the form of groups as well as adults like parents, teachers, coaches, and other authority figures.
How to handle bullies:
While taking preventative measures, also seek emotional support or counseling for yourself and those affected. In many cases with bullies, the bully might have or had a difficult family or home life and might experience domestic violence, emotional abuse, and other forms of abuse on a regular basis. They might even be abused or bullied at home by a family member. These people need help as soon as possible before they perpetuate the violent cycle by becoming a bully themselves.
If someone you care about is exhibiting signs and symptoms of being the victim of already existing cases of bullying, there are a few tips and ways to teach them how to handle bullies.
One of these ways is to take the matter straight to the source of the bully (or his caretakers). There is a misconception that if the one reports the incident to another, they will be at risk for retaliation and even further bullying. However, this is typically not the case. The risk is worth it when it comes to protecting yourself or someone you care about against bullying.
Another way to handle bullies is to encourage those affected by the bully to travel in packs and maintain a solid group of friends. Having friends and a support group will make you less likely to be the recipient of bullying attacks. Those who are isolated or find themselves with few friends are often the primary targets for bullies.
Lastly, strengthening and building your self-esteem is another one of the best ways to handle bullies. Those with higher self esteem are also not at such a high risk of bullying attacks. If necessary get counseling or emotional support to help yourself and those you love build self esteem and to learn how to mentally and emotionally handle bullies.
Reference: Adapted from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/