Step 1: Regain Control
- Recognise what is happening to you as bullying - it is the bully who has the problem, which he or she is projecting on to you.
- Criticisms and allegations, which are directed at you or your performance are not about you or your performance. Do not be fooled by believing the criticisms and allegations have any validity, they do not. The purpose of criticism is control; it has nothing to do with performance enhancement.
- Criticisms and allegations are a projection of the bully's own weaknesses, shortcomings, failings and incompetence; every criticism or allegation is an admission by the bully of their misdeeds and wrongdoing, something they have said or done, or failed to do.
- You are not alone: surveys suggest this is happening to 10% of the population.
- You may be encouraged to feel shame, embarrassment, guilt and fear, this is a normal reaction, but misplaced and inappropriate. Guilt and fear are well-known as tactics of control. This is how all abusers, including child sex abusers, control and silence their victims.
You may be wondering Why me? Most of the times the answer is Mental Illness. Bullies have a mental problem.
- You cannot handle bullying by yourself: bullies use deception, amoral behaviour and abuse of power. Get help. There is no shame or failure in this - the bully is devious, deceptive, evasive and manipulative - and cheats. Often, the bully is a sociopath or has other disordered personality. If you are dealing with a sociopath - I estimate one person in thirty is a serial bully with sociopathic traits - remember that naivety is the greatest enemy. You must see the disordered personality behind the mask and realise that the serial bully has a completely different mindset, often one that will never change - except to improve their skills of manipulation, deception and evasion of accountability.
Step 2: Plan for action
- Find out everything you can about bullying. It's essential you do your homework before taking action.
- Keep a log (journal, diary) of everything: each incident, numbers and regularity and especially the patterns that reveal bullying. With most forms of mystery, deception, etc it's the patterns that are important. The bully can explain individual incidents but cannot explain away the pattern. It's the pattern which reveals intent.
Keep copies of all letters, memos, voice recording, videos, emails, etc. Keep everything otherwise the bully will deny everything later.
- Denial is everywhere. The person who asserts their right not to be bullied is often blowing the whistle on another's incompetence (which the bullying is intended to hide). Expect the bully to deny everything, expect the bully's superiors to deny and disbelieve everything.
- The serial bully likes to play people off against each other so try to reunite yourself with them against the bully. The bully gains gratification from manipulating and watching others destroy each other. The bully has done this before and will do it again.
- See your doctor: bullying causes prolonged negative stress which results in psychiatric injury. Psychiatric injury has nothing to do with mental illness, despite what others (including some mental health professionals) may say or infer.
If stress is diagnosed, make sure it includes the cause, eg stress caused by conditions in the workplace. If depression is diagnosed, make sure it is recorded as reactive depression.
- Plan to claim compensation for the psychiatric injury caused by bullying.
Step 3: EXPOSE
- Once you've identified your bullies you can expose them and attack them legally.