Bonita Springs — Bullying has been around since the beginning of time. There has always been someone who is bigger than another, or someone who simply wanted the other person’s lunch. Bullying happens in our schools, in our families, at the office and even in our golf foursomes! Cyber bullying has now made its way into the headlines too. All of it is equally unacceptable, yet too often we continue to sit back and be non-reactive. Yes, people are bigger, hungrier, have a better golf swing and/or more authority, but that doesn’t mean their size, golf handicap or authority should be used to intimidate others.
Most likely, we can identify a time in our lives when we were bullied. Even as adults many of us continue to experience the effects of bullying or perhaps, we were the bully. Clinician’s Research Digest (June 2012) reports that “preliminary research suggests that bullying in childhood and adulthood share some commonalities even though they occur in different settings.“ Additionally, “bullying behavior has been found to be stable from childhood through adulthood, with highly aggressive children continuing to be highly aggressive adults.” (Clinician’s Research Digest, June 2012)
With that information in hand, what can we do to prevent bullying in our society, in our families, in our workplace or on the golf course? The first step is to recognize its occurrence and regain control of the situation. Recognize the intent of the bullying and utilize your intellect to examine the situation to check for the validity of the comments or actions of the bully. Often times you will find that they are more a projection of the bully’s own weakness, failings and incompetence, rather than your own. Recognizing these factors will allow you to remain in control of the situation.
Next, take action! Now, I’m not suggesting that you use your golf club to take a swing at your partner, or worse yet tap their ball into the water — aggression is NOT the best response to bullying. But do take action by examining the situation and recognizing bullying for what it is: an act of intimidation and don’t succumb to the desired effect. Realize your own self-worth and work continuously to believe in yourself, your strengths and abilities. By not relinquishing the control of your actions and emotions, the bully will likely tire of their efforts to be bigger and stronger and perhaps look inside themselves for a way to respond as you did; with dignity and righteousness.
Finally, recognize your rights and tell the bully to stop! You have the right to live, work and play in a place free of fear and intimidation.
Stan J. Strycharz, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist practicing in Bonita Springs. He can be contacted at www.drstan.net.
Don’t ignore bullying. Recognize the signs of someone who is a bully and do not tolerate their behavior. Be forthright and tell them their behavior is unacceptable.
Create an environment where bullying will not be fostered in your family, workplace or school place; where it cannot grow or thrive. Don’t invite bullies into your space, and if they are there uninvited — don’t let them feel welcome.
Ask for help. If you are unable to handle the situation – ask for help. Sometimes professional advice or an ear to listen will help you better sort out the situation and address it more proactively.