The previous content of this post, my narrative about being a victim to a several-year-long bullying pattern of behavior, has been removed in response to written demand from a lawyer representing the other party. I stand behind my story and the truth contained within but have better things to do with my time and money than defend myself from frivolous accusations.
However, I will not be silenced about cyber stalking and bullying. These are very real, very wrong approaches to conflict. Adult bullying is rarely written about but its effects can be as harmful and long-lasting to both victim and perpetrator as child-to-child bullying.
StopBullying.org, a program of the US Department of Health and Human Services, defines bullying as a pattern of using an imbalance of power to manipulate others. While this pattern often stops in childhood, it can continue in workplaces and communities.
PBS’ This Emotional Life writes “Research has found that as many as a quarter of American employees will experience some form of bullying at work. Different from constructive criticism or conflict, bullying is persistent, it focuses on a person rather than a task, and the recipient feels powerless to stop it. Worst of all, employees who experience bullying find that it’s just as hard to explain and stop the abuse as it is to suffer through it.”
The Washington Education Association details the potential toll on a bullying victim. “When one person bullies another, the targeted person’s emotional strength becomes strained. As a result of this strain, serious health conditions may arise. Psychological health conditions include stress, depression, and mood swings; loss of sleep and fatigue; feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, and low self-esteem. Physical health conditions may also result and include post-traumatic stress disorder, reduced immunity to infection, stress headaches, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.”
I found that adult relational aggression is difficult to address between adults with no clear authority figure. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some resources to help:
- Jenise Harmon, MSW, LISW, offers 6 Steps for Dealing with Adult Bullies.
- Jezebel.com, often a humor site, tackles this topic seriously and thoroughly in ‘How To Stand Up To Adult Bullies.’
- Workplace Bullying Institute has guides, offers coaching, and provides timely blog articles.
- If you are a victim feeling very depressed, get help from a mental health professional or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.