Bullying has been a long standing problem in schools, and most schools have adopted a zero tolerance approach to bullying. Whatever society says and does about the subject we will throughout our lives find times when we come across people who like to get their own way through the use of bullying. Whether it is in the schoolyard because they are bigger than us, or perceive themselves to be “tougher” than us, or whether it is in the corporate world because they are bigger than us or more senior than us, or just generally in our home lives when people try to impose their will on us.
The plain fact is that nobody likes a bully. They are filled with their own sense of importance, whether it be on the “macho” scale or the “social” scale or the “hierarchy” scale. Intimidation is a key component of their tactics, whether it is physical or some other form of intimidation and responding appropriately to that intimidation is critical in how things will play out.
When I was growing up in working class Liverpool I learned that if you let the bullies get away with it, then your life could become miserable. You also learned that taking bullies on “toe to toe” could be a painful experience. So the appropriate “tactics” become paramount in order to ensure you do not become a target of the bullies.
The easiest tactic was to be one of the “in crowd”, because it is rare that “insiders” are picked on. In school that wasn’t all that hard if you were athletic, played for one of the school teams or happened to be close to the “tough kids”. It worked for me.
A slightly harder tactic was to pick your battles and to send a very clear message that if anyone messed with you they would pay a price … and not always “toe to toe”! This is a good deterrent 90% of the time … and if you play it out well it can be done without too much pain to yourself. I resorted to this tactic just once, and the message was received.
The reality is that in today’s schoolyard, bullying receives more scrutiny than in previous times, but it is still a scourge that will never go away entirely. As we get older and more “civilized” we should expect that bullying would be a thing of the past. The reality is that we come across it throughout our lives and if we allow people to bully us then they will keep doing it.
Whether it is the person in a position of power or the person with a lot of money who thinks he can do whatever he wants, there needs to be consequences. I am not suggesting that if you find yourself in such a situation that you take the person out and beat them up … that would be wrong and you would be sinking to their level. I do however believe that bullies need to feel consequences for their actions, or else they will continue to bully others.
None of us need the kind of pressure these people bring to bear … and if you can give them a “metaphorical” black eye, then go for it! The more times we “hurt” the bullies the better chance that they will back off. It could be publicity … it could be exposure in the corporate world … it could be getting help from others capable of putting the bully in their place. It could be to hurt them financially, to bruise their ego or to “shut them down”.
A career, or a peaceful home life can be seriously hurt by these people … don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself!