How To Be Bully Proof

How to Not Let Bullies Get What They Want

Why Better to Learn to Be Bully-Proof than to Try To Stop Bullying

One thing about bullying is it takes so many different forms and appears in so many guises, some totally unexpected, that they are difficult to spot.

However, if you can spot bullying, the way to stop it becomes much easier.

Bullying can be:

  • Traditional schoolyard.
  • Giving someone too much work in the office
  • A parent criticising a child
  • Imposing unsolicited advice on someone
  • A war
  • A government department being unreasonable
  • Friendship that goes one way
  • A teacher giving one pupil too much attention
  • A teacher telling a child they are bad at a subject
  • A sibling leaving their sibling out when playing
  • Bossing someone around
  • Not listening when someone tries to speak
  • Threatening someone who has not provoked it
  • Isolating someone
  • Doing the hard sell
  • Posting ugly pictures of someone online
  • Driving up someone’s back bumper
  • Discrimination

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.57.35Any many more….

The problem with taking steps to stop bullying is there are so many incidents of it which go unrecognised and unacknowledged and the person being bullied finds it harder to realise they are being bullied and that they don’t deserve it. You’re in the bullies’ clutches when you are taken in by what they say or do.

The simple way to recognise bullying is that it is happening if you don’t like what is being said or done to you.

I suggest elsewhere to see what ‘difficult people’ do when they don’t like what is being said or done to them (even if it is deserved). They say “No, get your own ruler” or “Don’t talk to me like an idiot. I’m not.” That is being bully-proof.

Comedy

Many comedians have said they were bullied. Learning to make a funny retort is an excellent way to handle bullying, or any behaviour towards you don’t like. Just make fun of the “bully”. Here’s a Guardian article about it – follow this link

You must have experienced a situation when you have challenged someone who seems to be bullying you and they have laughed you out of the water? Often people have no idea when they are bullying as it is a form of communication instilled deep in human nature that our ancient ancestors may have needed to defend themselves against invasion or some similar threat.

It is a pro-active way to say “Don’t you mess with me”.

Bullying has some main characteristics, which I’ve mentioned a few times. The reason to repeat them is because they help us identify bullying behaviour and the ways to deal with it. The proof is in the pudding.

People might learn to be funny as a way of learning to be bully-proof. It does work to a great extent.

One way of doing it. A good way if you know how

One way of doing it. A good way if you know how

I had someone writing to me about my suggestion to become bully-proof rather than tackling bullying. They were speaking as if they were helping me, showing why they thought I was wrong, talking about their own experiences, saying why bullies were to blame not the victims (a word I deliberately avoid) and suggesting I read up on the subject.

I wasn’t comfortable with this but I argued my point. Then I said ‘Okay, if people think like you do, they can read all that other literature.’ The reply was like ‘whoa!’ with another long message saying the same things again. So I replied ‘I’m practicing being bully-proof right now’.

Next, I posted up a very comprehensive list of all the books I’d read on the subject. To follow are the films with bullying themes to appear on the film page.

I didn’t hear any more from this person. It seemed well intentioned, perhaps, but somehow missed the point of what this blog and book is about.

Essentially, treating others badly, or not kindly (“bullying”) has these characteristics:

  • It’s not personal – their target is picked at random to see if they get the right reaction from you.
  • They have lack of empathy for others. There is a lack of self awareness or even self-delusion.
  • They are using something they think matters to YOU not to them to attack you with.
  • They do it for the reaction to relieve whatever frustrations they are struggling with at that moment.
  • It is about them, not you, as they want to offload something going on in their lives.
  • if you ignore it, buffer it off, seem indifferent or say something (funny or equal in strength) back, they won’t like it.
  • Once they’ve learned they won’t get the reaction they want from you, they will find another target.
  • They talk to you as who THEY NEED YOU TO THINK you are, not WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE.
  • They act as if they have the backing of other people to reinforce what they say/do to you. This is made up and not real.

Bullying is a behaviour we are all capable of, as I believe it is a “pecking order” behaviour. To feel superior to someone, you need them to feel inferior to you. It is manipulation. The idea is to appear to be higher up the pecking order than others (to make themselves feel better).

To sum up many of these points, have a look at a great comedy on BBC iPlayer at the moment, Ja’mie Private School Girl. It is very funny.

So, bottom line: if you don’t like what someone says or does to you: teacher, friend, parent, sibling, partner, boss, colleague, stranger, then explore ways to stop them. If you don’t like something, you should not have to take it on board. Yes, often it’s too late and the damage has been done. However if you respond to someone and they stop, YOU NOW KNOW IT WAS JUST BULLYING and NOTHING MORE.

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