How To Be Bully Proof

How to Not Let Bullies Get What They Want

The Release Valve Theory continued and how it related to me

This is the moment when I discovered my ‘release valve’ theory. The release valve is, in my thinking, when someone learns from an early age to try to release tension from a room, which sets them up to be bullied more often than the average person. My idea is that a recognised, learned behaviour can be unlearned to allow someone to become ‘bully-proof’.

In a job I was in where I got bullied, I noticed the following patterns:

  • There was tension already in the office when I walked in and it felt uncomfortable.
  • I got really awkward and seemed to say or do things that made me think ‘why did I do that?’ straight afterwards.
  • What I said or did were immediately picked up and commented on and the tension in the room disappeared. Actually, all the tension flowed towards me instead, making it more difficult for me to speak or move freely. The cycle of reactions between my work colleagues and myself continued.

What did I learn from this?

  • That it all started because of tension in the room. It was a publishing company and everyone was stressed to meet deadlines or targets and the new boss was putting pressure on people.
  • I subconsciously picked up on the tension, wanted it gone and used a learned behaviour to make myself the sacrificial offering or scapegoat to facilitate an end to the tension.
  • It worked. My work colleagues now had me to use to relieve their stress.

I didn’t know that subconsciously I disliked tension in the air so much that I would lend myself as an emotional punch-bag. However, by observing the dynamic in the room and the same pattern occur a few times, I could see that what I was doing was creating the dynamic and therefore setting myself up to be victimised.

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