Advice

How to respond to bullying as an adult

Learning to respond to bullying as an adult may be a key way to prevent it.
Bullying as an adult is usually overlooked but learning how to respond to bullying as an adult is important. Source: Mohamed Hassan (via: PxHere)
It may seem as if issues of bullying are only experienced by children and so, you may not feel that this week applies to you. However, with rising cases of workplace and university bullying, it is still important to consider how you should respond to bullying as an adult.

By Vicky Witts | Advice Editor

November can often seem like a chaotic time, with Remembrance Day, nearing deadlines and potential early Christmas shopping, and so it can be easy to ignore some of the other major events and issues going on. For example, Anti-bullying week. Starting on Monday the 16th of November, the week aims to bring focus to the issues of bullying within our society and the ways in which we can act to combat them.

It may seem as if issues of bullying are only experienced by children and so, you may not feel that this week applies to you. However, with rising cases of workplace and university bullying, it is still important to consider how you should respond to bullying as an adult.


Talk to a figure of authority

To ensure that the bullying that you are experiencing does not continue, one of the most direct courses of action that you can take is to report whoever is affecting you to a person in a position of power in your workplace or university, such as a personal tutor or boss. This is because they may have the power to formally undertake disciplinary actions and may be able to offer you support if you feel that you have mentally or emotionally suffered in any way as a result of the bullying that you experienced.

It may seem daunting at first to consider how to report and respond to bullying in general, due to a fear of repercussions that you may have, especially in workplace situations where the person bullying you may have more power than you within your work. However, by directly speaking to your boss, tutor or other authority figure, you may be able to effectively avoid any consequences of speaking up, as they may be able to put precautions in place to prevent you from being negatively affected if you report your abuse. In the case of Cardiff University and it’s students’ union, there are online resources where you can report most forms of bullying and discrimination.


Learn how to properly speak up

Speaking up for yourself and directly confronting the person that you feel is bullying you can often seem terrifying and may merely escalate the situation further if done incorrectly. Although there is no specific guide to follow to teach you the best way to confront a bully, there are some ways to make the situation go slightly easier.

For example, it is best to speak to them calmly, regardless of any anger that you may be feeling towards them, because any aggression may just make the situation worse. You should also openly express your emotions and voice to them the specific things that you feel are hurting you, as the person in question may not have even realised that what they were doing was affecting you if they have not taken the time to evaluate their actions.


Understand that admitting you are a victim is ok

The term ‘bullying’ can often come with the false association that bullying only happens to children on the playground. The stigma surrounding the term can often make it feel like the feelings that you are experiencing as a result of someone else’s actions are invalid, and consequently, that you should just allow it to continue and not respond to bullying at all.

However, this mentality is untrue and can negatively affect your mental health if you continue to be bullied and ignore that you may be a victim. Bullying at university or within the workplace is unfortunately common, with Forbes reporting a rise in the number of people experiencing bullying in the workplace from 75% in 2008 to nearly 94% in 2019. Similarly, an investigation by the Guardian found that nearly 300 academics in British universities had been accused of bullying students and peers. Therefore, whether it is by peers, lecturers, or employers, being bullied as an adult is not an unusual situation to experience.


Prevent yourself from unconsciously becoming a bully

At times it can often be easy to accuse people who you know to be a bully of just generally being horrible people. However, you should also consider that sometimes people can act without considering the repercussions of their actions and how they may be affecting others. Therefore, it is important to reflect on your own behaviours and interactions to ensure that you are not negatively impacting the mental wellbeing of others.

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