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How to maintain your self-respect despite workplace bullying
And understand the mindset of unkind people
Although the title states "workplace bullying" this information might be relevant to any form of bullying. I use the word "bullying" to refer to verbal assault rather than physical.
1. Understanding the bully
Bullies have a problem and their way to make themselves feel better is by putting someone else down. Their problem might be obvious or it might not but common causes include
- a history of bullying - the bully may have been bullied before either by family or others and ended up feeling insignificant and angry, leading to them taking it out on someone else
- jealousy - jealous of your looks, brains, popularity etc
- power - the bully feels powerful and in control
- attention seeking - the bully has discovered that people take more notice of them when they are being abusive towards others
- being different - if the bully finds you "different" in some way they might think their actions are justified and they will gain support from others. At the root is their feelings of power and control over you by being unkind
2. Understanding yourself
Our thoughts are our own responsibility. We can choose to wake up with a smile or a frown whenever we wish. We can think about positive things or negative and however difficult this can sometimes be, it is always a choice - your choice. It's a common misconception that we can be "made to feel" a certain way but this is incorrect. How we feel is how we have chosen to respond to a certain stimulus. This might come as a shock because many people go through their entire lives without realising this.
We have a choice, to either be negatively affected (for example, upset and angry) or not affected at all. To be "not" affected, this is what we must do: After a negative experience, stop yourself from thinking about what just happened. Going through this experience again in your mind will give you the same negative emotions all over again. It may take a little practice if you've never done it before but it is perfectly possible to do this. When your mind wants to go back to it, choose to think about something positive instead or a happy experience from the past.
How to maintain your self-respect
Remember your understanding that the bully has psychological problems and you may begin to feel a bit of pity for them. Remember that they are the one with the issues not you. Although they may be bigger or stronger than you their behaviour is shameful.
After an episode allow yourself to stop unconsciously re-living it inside your mind (as you have probably always done before) - I suggest that you have something nice ready and waiting to consciously think about instead. Ask people to avoid using the word "victim" about you because the real victim is the sad and rather pathetic bully - they are a victim of their own personal circumstances and background which is something which they probably had no control over.
When the bully realises that you're no longer being affected by their actions there's a good chance that they will lose interest in being unkind to you.
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