Bullying by an Authority Figure. Steps to Take

Saying nothing to anybody about bullying perpetuates bullying.

Your integrity and dignity take priority over other considerations.

If you experience bullying, threats and an aggressive attitude, this undermines your sense of worth and robs you of peace of mind. Please address the issue.

Talk with those who have your welfare as their priority.

Action in the face of the authoritarian bully show ethics, integrity and respect for oneself and others.

Submission in the face of oppression, subtle or gross, sustains authority over your life. Others, who have suffered abuse, may also find the courage to speak up.

It is worthwhile to remember that the bully has probably endured bullying at some point in their life, perhaps at home or school.

The fear of being bullied generates an identity as the bully. The bully behaves in this way to keep people away from getting close to the vulnerability in their emotional life.

Do not get caught up in generalisations about the individual(s)/group. Any projections distort the fact.  You need a precision in your description of your experience, a sharpness of memory of incidents of what the authoritarian said, wrote or did. Time, date and place need inclusion.

If the person starts to explode if you address the issue with him or her, you may need to withdraw from the communication and leave them with their outburst.

If you argue, shout and threaten the bully, then the bully builds his/her defensive system even more. One bully fights another bully back and forth.

You may return later to discuss your concerns when the person has cooled down. You can invite a trusted person to accompany you to witness your communication with the bully.

A passive approach and an aggressive approach perpetuate the problem. Can you find the middle ground between these two extremes?

A clear communication with the other cannot guarantee a change of heart in that person. It may be a series of small, thoughtful steps that start to change the authoritarian.

Such initiatives may be ignored.

We employ words, spoken or written, to make clear our concerns. The written statement has an enduring value.

You write or speak up to change the unwarranted demands and belittlement from the authoritarian.

If you sense the bully takes steps, even small ones, to change the behaviour, remember to thank them and give encouragement.

Love and wise action make a powerful contribution towards healing the contracted mind-set of the bully.


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