I have been working on this bully post for a few days now, and maybe the “bully tome” has gotten the better of me—because lately everything I watch on television, read in The New York Times, or witness while I’m out and about, comes back to a bully or a bully tactic.
Watching the knockout round of The Voice the other night, I found it hard to comprehend that Team Levine’s church singer Deanna Johnson was bullied in school. The Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine has been tirelessly working with this shy 18-year old beauty, who has been crippled with stage fright and low self-esteem for years — the devastating result of bullying.
Take a look at Deanna Johnson’s incredible Voice performance from this past Tuesday.
It is believed that bullying is aggressive behavior that occurs between school-aged children until they eventually grow up and out of their vicious behavior.
But bullying goes well beyond adolescence—it’s a rampant problem that extends to all walks of life.
Because many schoolyard bullies, who are long past their school days, never grow up and out and morph into adult bullies.
And adults can be some of the worst aggressors, who use their cowardly and downright manipulative bullying tactics day in and day out.
According to Vital Smarts, a corporate training company, 96% of people have experienced bullying at the office. And 79% of bullying involves emotional attacks, such as biting sarcasm or spreading malicious gossip.
Bullying is so commonplace, and so destructive, that it may possibly be the single most important social issue of today.
I’m not a big fan of the “ignore it” school of thought. I think ignoring bullies gives them way too much power and reinforces a sense of powerlessness in the target.
If someone is belittling, humiliating, or insulting me in a work setting, in my “friend” zone, at the Motor Vehicle department, when trying to make a doctor’s appointment, etc., etc., etc., I deal with the situation head-on.
Bullying cuts deep, but I try to remind myself that whether in a school lunchroom, the nursing home, or anywhere in between, the bully is the one with the problem.
And I let them know it.
The message I verbally convey to a bully is: Don’t mess with me, because I am not going to accept or ignore your bad behavior. While I try not to escalate a situation, more times than not, when I have responded to a bully by calmly but assertively explaining that I won’t tolerate their uncalled for cruelty, it doesn’t go well. But that doesn’t stop me from putting them in their place. (Note: I never put the police in their place. Just saying.)
I have to admit that on occasion a bully will arouse intense feelings of displeasure in me. And even though I know that fighting back gives the bully exactly what he/she wants, which is to get to me—I simply can’t turn the other cheek.
These miscreants feed on the putting of other people down because it masks their own inferior and insecure feelings about themselves. It’s only by making others feel less than whole, that they can raise their own self-esteem.
And as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that reacting to a workplace bully only further encourages and worsens their unwanted behavior towards me.
And I have made some nasty bully enemies, with the distinct possibility that they will escalate their campaigns of hatred and intimidation against me and will up the ante when it comes time to serve out a cold dish of revenge.
But I don’t care. I refuse to be subservient. I can take it. Bring it on, you cowards.
I am so tired and fed up by bullies thinking they can say and do anything they want, with no repercussions at all. And I have learned from years of being bullied, that their snarky, cutting comments, insulting innuendos and malicious rumors won’t stop until you make them stop.
I have a recurring shut-down-the bully scenario that I play over and over in my head: I contact a lawyer to write to the bully, with a threat of legal action, pointing out that he or she is subject to the laws of slander, libel, and defamation of character. I take down the bully and I win!
And if you ever witness someone being bullied, speak up and say something. Most people don’t want to get involved and want to stay out of the fray. But please consider the consequences of not getting involved and allowing a bully to keep on trucking. You are unintentionally sending a message to them that their abhorrent behavior is acceptable.
How many times have I heard from witnesses to bullying, as well as friends, business colleagues and family members that know the bully personally, who say “yeah, so and so is a real jerk.” But there is nothing they will do about it (and later, when you ask for their support, they deny having agreed with you at all).
Here is my shortlist of bully categories in no particular order of offense, although I find children who bully other children to be the worst bully offense of them all. Please feel free to comment on other categories.
White House Bullies
Children Who Bully
Airline/Flight Attendant Bully
Airline Passenger Bully
Business Colleague Bully
Medical Receptionist Bully
Motor Vehicle Worker Bully
Nursing Home Bully
Family Member Bully
Restaurant Customer Bully
Government Worker Bully
The Christian Conservative Bully
Sorority and Fraternity Bully
The Sports Fan Bully
The Axis of Evil Bully
The Wanna Be in Organized Crime Bully
The Rich and Famous Bully
40 thoughts on “Bullies Are Cowards and Why I Refuse To Turn the Other Cheek”
I`m with you 100% Teri, I think everyone has experienced bullying at one time or another, I know I have ,that’s when you want Mike Tyson as a friend !
If I understand correctly then the list is a lot longer than even all that you have listed. To add 2 to your list. I have been bullyed by people in education and medicine.
I have family involved in politics.The worst kind of Bully. Those with power!
Hillary Clinton won’t be our next President.
She will. The bully Donald Trump will certainly not be.
My family made certain that won’t happen.The OTHER side.
Thank you for this article. I have been bullied by my next door neighbor for the past 3 years. He’s a 50 yo male I’m a 68 yo single female. He has called me every vile name he can think of; comes out of his house to stare at me at all times day and night; when friends come over he stares at them. When they leave he goes to the street and watches them leave until they disappear (creepy!) Long story short has just been put in jail for 60 days because of this. I now fear when he is released something terrible will happen to me or my property. Are bullies cowards?
Yes they are Kathy. Please do not give into fear. You are a lot stronger than you think you are. Keep calm, and always get your resources and allies. Pray or ask the Higher Power to give you strength to endure.
Think of your best friend, pet, or child or sibling what have you. If they were going through this, how would you protect him/her? Now make this best friend, child or sibling your self and fight to defend you.
You are the brave one for enduring this with patience, please dont give up the fight.
Remember Bob Marley’s song “Get Up Stand Up, Stand up for your right….Dont give up the fight”.
If you feel threatened because of him coming out of jail and retaliating, tell this to the police or your attorney. Get a restraining order. He is the sick one whose mind and heart is diseased, and a menace.
Get a male relative come over and sneer
at him he will leave you alone
Thank you for so much for this article! I have been putting bullies in their place, but as you mentioned, it sometimes only makes the verbal and emotional assaults worse. I’ve even had a bully who acted totally aggressive and inappropriately towards colleagues and superiors that is now blaming me for giving them a negative view of her. Really?! Several of us were on the same page about dealing with the situation, but when push came to shove, I was alone and then one of them broke our confidence and threw ME under the bus. I’m innocent…just a person who wants myself and others to be treated kindly and with respect. Now I’m constantly watching my back because I am not a bully and if I respond to her in any kind of aggressive way, I will be reprimanded (I’m sure of this), but no consequence for her whatsoever because after all it’s just a character flaw.
My question is, what is the most tactful way of dealing with a bully? Bringing the situation to superiors has proven ineffective because they don’t want to, nay refuse to deal with her as well. Not sure why they are in leadership position if they can’t deal with conflict, but I digress.
Please offer suggestions on how to deal with bullies and if turning the other cheek is better than responding, how does one turn the other cheek?
Targeted Individuals are bullied 24/7. Search “targeted individuals” if you have never heard of this phenomena. Thousand of people are effected and our government turns the other way. Only Richmond California police department takes it seriously and targeted individuals can make police reports with dignity there.
I’m also a targeted individual, and have been for the last 6 years. I was gaslighted, had malicious rumors spread about me and was also ostracized from any and all social circles I was involved in. This led to a mental breakdown that was severe enough to trigger a psychotic episode, and ever since I have had explosive reactions to real or perceived bullying. I fear that one day I may kill someone in a blind rage, because my youth was taken from me, and I fell into substance abuse (alcohol, benzos, painkillers). (This campaign of abuse also started when I was almost 18; I’m now almost 24). I am at a complete loss to even begin to repair my situation. Nobody genuinely cares for me whatsoever, and I think something broke in that 17 year old brain of mine, because ever since I broke down I haven’t had the capacity to feel loved.
I despise bullies.
Don’t let a coward destroy or have
power over you, be around people
that are suppotive of you, don’t waste
a minute around these cowards.I don’t know what your spiritual
life is like but get with a church or
temple mosque what ever, for
guidance, love and peace.please!
Dear one…you are still so young and your decisions are valid given what you describe… please find a counselor or someone who can help you using either a therapy called EFT… emotional freedom technique or EMDR another type of therapy endorsed for trauma. Please do not let these early experiences decide your future… and they will if you don’t seek help.
I’m about to turn 57… I was raped at age 13 by a known criminal…it turns out he was well known to police and on the run…. my church going family turned on me and others in the wider community also.
This changed the trajectory of my life in so many ways that continued to hurt me…I have been forced to deal with these problems 40 years after the fact thru having a nervous breakdown and finding myself in permanent red alert mode …
Please seek help soon…. don’t keep hurting on the inside with these memories..or let them determine the outcome of your life… learn to treat yourself as your own best friend, something I have finally learned.
Everyone needs to take responsibility for the quality of their own life…including the nasty people who commit crimes against others and those that support the fact with bystander apathy and or the people who judge and criticize. You are a child that belongs to the holy powers of the universe… and you were not created to suffer… rise up and claim your dignity and evolve to become the free heart soul you essentially are.
Arohanui Amanda NZ
I am a Targeted Individual that is being bullied and organized harassed by my ex husband who spoke these words to me, “If you leave me you will never see another day of privacy. He had it all done through his best friend who is a US marshal and many friends who are police officers. Since 2008 I have been followed and manipulated daily. I have also acquired epilepsy because he was physically and mentally attacking me from 1996 until 2008. I finally had enough of his cheating and I decided to leave him.
The Covert Bully. This bully often plays the victim when in fact he or she is the perpetrator. That is, the tactics of the covert bully are not the same as most, the aggression is passive and more manipulative. He or she tends to be very controlling and demanding but rarely allows others to see the aggression he or she feels. The covert bully knows how to wear a smile and fake a tear but behind the mask there’s just another sad person who deserves not anger but pity.
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I have a crazy, crazy story about a woman bully who continues to bully. We took her to court and were granted a permanent injunction as well as monetary damages. Of course, as is the usual of a bully, she feels that the law does not apply to her and continues in her attacks which have included calls to my employment, family members, friends, even strangers who do not know because she claims that I make up imaginary friends to stalk her!! She does not work, she lives on disability payments from the government, and spends hours writing about me in social media posts and blogs. I appreciate your point of view as I am trying to find a marketing niche that will allow more exposure and consequences for adult bullies.
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What about the ones you come home to? The neighbor bullies. The WORST.
I have experienced neighbor bullying Kelli, and you’re so right. Coming home and having to deal with aggressive neighbors is unfortunate. But in my opinion, the worst bully of all is the family bully. The family member bullying you might be a sibling, a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, an adult child, or even one of your in-laws. Oftentimes, family bullies resort to manipulation, humiliation, and intimidation. It’s important to note that family bullying is not the same thing as domestic violence, which occurs between dating, cohabitating, or married partners. Although the intention is the same and there is some overlap in types of behaviors, family bullying involves adult family members and not intimate partners. Unfortunately, bullying will never go away. It is part of human nature, built into every system we have in place.