Bullies love to push your buttons, to make you fear or react to them. When they succeed, they set a rigged game in motion and you play it. Don’t fall into their traps.
Knowledge is power. You can learn to recognize and avoid a bully’s six traps. If you fall into one, you can spring it.
Trap 1: Giving away your power
You wouldn’t let someone step on your foot. Don’t let a bully step into your mind. If you swallow a bully’s judgements or allow him to shape how you see yourself, you aid and abet him. You get to define yourself. If someone bullies you, realize they’re the problem. Don’t mentally eat their garbage or let it become yours.
Trap 2: Denial
When a bully first messes with you, you may want to give him a “free pass.” Don’t. When you stand by, not wanting to admit what’s happening, you give your bully the upper hand.
If a bully yells at you, don’t stand there and take it. Instead say, “I’ll come back when you’re not yelling.”
“I don’t deserve that,” says “I see you for who you are and what you’re doing” to someone making mean comments.
Trap 3: Expecting the bully to change
Hoping for good treatment from a bully because you’re a nice person is like entering a ring with a bull and hoping he’ll leave you alone because you’re a vegetarian. Bullies don’t want to change. You give your bully power when you leave it to him to decide to improve. You get to decide how you want your life to be and do what you need to do to change things. That’s power.
Trap 4: Stooping to the bully’s level
Don’t let a bully push you into bad behavior. Bullies have years of experience fighting dirty, enabling them to win if you climb into the ring. If you act as they do, you may become as much of a problem as the bully.
Trap 5: Pleading
If you plead or beg, you let your bully know he has the upper hand. Bullies respect only strength and power. What makes bullies change? – Negative consequences to them. Instead of expecting compassion, show the bully what they win if they treat you differently.
Trap 6: Letting the bully isolate you
In the same way a wolf steers a calf away from the herd, bullies isolate their targets. If you allow this, the bully can spread rumors about you or even convince others you’re the problem. Jump out of this trap by making friends with coworkers and building a strong reputation.