Bullying: It’s not just for kids anymore . . .

We’ve all seen the headlines- Child Bullied Into Suicide, Student Expelled For Bullying and Parent Arrested For Bullied Child.  But kids aren’t the only ones who are participating in bullying.  Adults bully each other at work, their kids’ sporting events, online, at church, in their marriages, even at the grocery store!

Bullying by Carrie Bayer, O'Conor Mortuary Blog

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jonathandowney

I’m amazed at the many different bullying types- face to face, cyber or cell, road rage, stalking- anything that puts fear into another can be classified as bullying.  It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone.  There’s nowhere to hide from it!

I’ve been bullied a few times.  As a kid I was locked in a pitch black bathroom at church.  As I screamed in terror, the kids holding the door shut laughed hysterically.  By the time an adult came to my rescue, I was scarred for life & to this day I am afraid of the dark.  In 1993, I was targeted by a man on the freeway.  He was looking for someone to run off the road to rob or worse.  I was driving to work at 4am, he paced me for a mile then began swerving into me, cutting me off & slamming on his brakes & trying to push me from behind.  This went on for 15 miles.  Thank Heaven for my huge brick of a cell phone & defensive driving skills!  I was able to fend him off until the CHP got him- he was arrested because he’d done this before!  I was so scared . . .

What can we do when we are bullied or witness it?  Most people do nothing to help themselves or another, they just hope that it will go away.  We deny that it is happening.  But does it ever really go away?  What can YOU do?  Below you will find information on what you can do depending on where you face bullying.

  • Workplace – Unless you are the Top Dog already, go to your boss.  Sounds like common sense, right?  It’s easier said than done.  The bullied usually suffer from anxiety because of it & are afraid to report it.  There is more fear in NOT reporting bullying because it will continue or even escalate.  Take charge, don’t let that happen! It is your boss’ duty to squash the bullying- please let them help you, they are your advocate.  Check out this website if you or someone you know is being bullied at work.  http://www.workplacebullying.org
  • Public- Also called Public Humiliation.  There’s usually a witness to this type of bullying which is great if they are willing to support you.  It can be a good idea to call the police or get the attention of a security officer.  If you are the witness, don’t be afraid to help!  Call the cops or security without waiting to be asked- you would hope someone would do it for you, right?  Get help for the poor soul!
  • Relationship- This type of bullying many times leads to spousal abuse- don’t let it get that far!  Please see this Q & A blog by Dr. Testa.  I wish I had known of this a few years back…  http://www.drtesta.com/ask.htm

Have YOU ever been bullied?  My guess is YES- most people experience it at some time in their lives.  As uncomfortable as it is to talk about, I believe there is power in sharing.  Tell me all about what you have endured & how you handled it.  Also, do you step up & help when you witness bullying?  What has worked?  What hasn’t worked?

 

Carrie

About Carrie

Hi there! I'm Carrie and I am a licensed embalmer, crematory manager & funeral director at O'Connor Mortuary. I am so blessed to have found my calling in life & am grateful to practice it at an amazing place like O'Connor. I began as a part time service director in 2004 while I was finishing mortuary school then served my embalming apprenticeship & worked my way up from there. I'm experienced in all areas of the funeral profession & love every aspect of it. I live in Huntington Beach where I enjoy riding my bike or skateboard on the boardwalk, spending quality time with friends or relaxing at home with my pets. Thank you so much for reading my blogs, I'd love to have you comment as well!
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  • Anne Collins

    Carrie, good article and great links. Being compliant by nature, I am often perceived as someone to “push around”. When I consider it unimportant, I allow it. To be able to do that, I have to be healthy emotionally inside and not easily offended. Personally, I have learned, when I sense it has become bullying to put a hand out, flat palm facing the other person and say something like “That’s enough!” If I need to follow it up, I raise my voice at least a level. If that doesn’t stop it, I stand and move toward them a bit and clearly state this is at an end. Then I usually attempt to leave the area to avoid escalation from which neither can save face.

    • Carrie Bayer

      Thank you for sharing, Anne! I too find myself just letting it happen when Im bullied but as I get older I am getting better about standing up for myself. However, I do tend to stand up for others when I witness bullying. After the fact, I reflect on it & think to myself “What were you thinking, you could have gotten hurt!” But, I think I’ve always put others first no matter the situation. Thank you for your comments!

  • Patricia Kolstad

    Carrie . . . thank you so much for this great information on a topic that is “so in our faces!” Interestingly enough when I entered the 7th grade you were considered the lowest of the low. We 7th graders were scared to death because this was “Junior High” and there were 9th graders to contend with. We came from being the 6th grade older kids to the 7th grade babies. I was so frightened. In those days they called is “scrubbing”. Holding the new kids down and rubbing their faces with red lipstick. I remember it like it was yesterday . . . walking home from school and having to older boys on bikes, following me. I started running as fast as I could, but they soon caught up with me and rubbed my face – each with a tube of red lipstick. I was crying, so scared – they not only painted my face but ruined my new white sweater. I remember coming in the door and my mom looking at me with shock! I told her what had just happened and she put me in the car and drove me back down our street and around the blocks to see if we could find the culprits. They were nowhere to be found. The next day my mom went to the principals office, with me in tow, and complained to the Principal and the Dean of Girls. The next day I was to come into the office at last period and go with the Dean to the
    bike rack to identify the boys. I remember looking into their eyes when they past – frozen and never making a sound.
    I told the Dean that I never saw them . . . and that was that. How many times has a frightened child kept from telling the truth because they were scared to death? Remembering this now after all these years helps me to realize that we need to stop bullying on every level, just as you said. Thank you for your mentorship and your willingness to share great insight and resources to our friends and community. Bravo, Carrie!

    • Carrie Bayer

      Wow Pat, this is powerful! Isn’t it amazing how we tend to protect the ones who bully by being silent out of fear? That means they have won in many cases. It takes tremendous courage to stand up to a bully- it’s scary! I have found that most bullies are all bark & no bite but to take that chance that they truly could hurt you is enormous. Some say that if you meet a bully’s level with equal aggression, they will back down. But, I don’t think that is the safest route to take. It may work, but I feel there are better ways to stop the situation. Thank you so much Pat, I appreciate you sharing your pain.

  • Lori Bristol

    Carrie,
    We have shared many heart to heart conversations about how we have been hurt by others over our lifetimes .
    Thank you for bringing awareness to adult bullying.
    It happens more than people may realize.
    Thank you for your courage to share.
    Love you,
    Lori

    • Carrie Bayer

      Lori, I love our in depth conversations so much! We have much in common & it’s great to share in so many feelings. One thing I learned while doing research to write this is that some bullies don’t know that what they are doing qualifies as bullying. That really opened up my eyes & has made me more aware of how I treat others. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone that way. Thank you for your input, I appreciate it more than you know!

  • Kari Leslie

    Wow,
    What a great topic! Though I won’t go into details about my experiences, they definitely left a lasting impression on me. The two that stand out the most were in 7th grade, and 10th grade. Being the “new” person often times makes us the easy target. I think we can all relate to that. It’s hard to find your place and “fit in” when you begin anything new. As children we don’t understand all the implications. “Why are these people being “mean” to me? They don’t even know me.” When we are older, and we are bullied we may wish harm or “karma” on the person, yet that small child till surfaces and the same words run through our minds. Seeking the help of an outsider is often times the only answer, and you have given some really great resources here.
    Well done Carrie.

    • Lori Bristol

      Well said Kari!

    • Carrie Bayer

      It’s true, Kari- many times it’s the new kid who gets bullied the most, even if that “kid” is an adult in a new situation. On the flip side, there have been a few times where I’ve seen the new kid (both youngster & adult) who is the bully. I have a feeling they do this to avoid being bullied by their new peers in a “strike them before they can strike me” kind of approach. That leads me to believe they have had some serious issues being bullied in their past & it makes me sad for them. They are pushing away people who could potentially be amazing friends. We should all embrace the new kids, no matter their age! Thank you Kari, your comments ring true.

  • Carrie – Great post! It is sad to think in today’s time & age we are having this issue still in school, the work place, at home or even at the store. I have been on both sides of bullying, when I was younger I was not so nice all the time and I have regrets of my youth. As an adult I have tried to make up for my past, I have stepped into some fights/bullying that I felt was not fair. I took a couple of good licks trying to do the right thing, it maybe Karma that came back to me? I will still stay the course and help out a stranger if they are getting bullied or picked on, even if I have to get my butt kicked.
    I am glad you are willing to share your insight & wisdom, thank you for being so open.

    BRAVO Carrie!

    • Carrie Bayer

      Thank you for your candid comments, Neil! It takes guts to admit you have been the bully. It takes great character to reverse that behavior into a positive act by taking a stand against bullying. I commend you for having the spirit to right your wrongs & stand by your fellow beings in these situations. I read a news story on one of the forgotten victims of the LA riots 20 years ago. His life was spared because of a brave pastor who stopped a group of rioters from lighting him on fire. The pastor stood over his beaten & bloodied body, held up his bible & said to the gang “If you kill him, you will have to kill me, too.” What courage that took!

  • Sweet girl,

    It is interesting the way you have been intertwined in my personal and work families. We have seen great and difficult times together and I am so proud of you for persevering. It doesn’t always feel like winning but because you have waded into the hard stuff, you have chosen to let them shape, mold and transform you. The result is the miracle of a transformed life. Well done!

    Jeff

  • julie

    Carrie,
    Great article!
    Unfortunately, I think bullying is at an all-time high because accountability is at an all-time low. Not only do we blame others for our anger, hatred, and bigotry…we feel we are justified in our attitudes, so we bully. On the other side if we witness bullying, we have been taught to mind our own business to the point of turning our face from wrongs done to another, probably out of fear mostly. I don’t know if I was taught or it was because I understood what it felt like to not fit in much of the time, but I found myself fighting for the “under dog” throughout my school years and I tend to do the same, still. We MUST look out for each other! We must be willing to speak up, especially for those unable or not willing to speak for themselves! We must NOT give up if we see a problem, we speak up and the issue does not get resolved….be a darn loud squeaky wheel until it does!! One of my boys was being bullied by other boys that used to be his friends all thru elementary school, so I was surprised when he told me they were teasing him and threatening to hurt him. I went to the Principal of the Jr.High and was assured the matter would be dealt with. I could tell by our conversation he did not take it as seriously as he should have. When the taunting did not stop, I continued to “squeak”, finally reaching a Vice Principal who seemed concerned. The next day, that man was waiting on my side of the wall the kids would jump over to harass my son. Not sure who was more surprised, the boys or me! A few choice words and threats of detention was all it took. That was the end of it! I squeaked for my son, but I would and have done for many other kids. I have even stopped my car to check on kids who seem to be fighting and have broken up fights between kids in the park. Yes…it’s risky and yes I am sticking my neck out just as I hope anyone would do for my kids/grandkids! (If it looks dangerous, I use my phone and call police instead) Bullies can be intimidating, but where there is one bully…there is usually more than one willing to stand up to them, if we join forces against bullies, we can defuse them!

  • This post is still resonating with me as I look around at former relationships of mine and begin to see strange patterns I didn’t know were lurking there. I think I’ve experienced a slowish type of bullying through friendships that weren’t healthy, that made me feel crummy, guilty and sad. While I know this isn’t exactly what you are talking about it does seem to relate to at least the abuse aspect and it’s a difficult thing to get over.
    One of the big things that’s been helpful for me is to realize that there are big parts of the problem that aren’t me – it really is them, THEY are the problem. While I’ve contributed through allowing their treatment in stopping that and turning away from them I’ve been able to take care of my biggest fault – letting them get away with it. It’s hard to turn from people, it’s also really hard to admit that they are hurting you, but unless we turn away and make efforts to end their power over us we’ll never be able to put a cap on that hurt.
    Thanks so much for writing on such a profound and deeply embedded topic. It’s truly a blessing to see that I can relate to someone and know that however much I’m hurting – it’s normal. Love you, Carrie!

  • Amy

    Great Post! It’s a topic that no one really wants to talk about, sadly it does exist and more than you know.