What Is Adult Bullying?

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Have you ever wondered about the following question: what is adult bullying? Have you ever asked yourself if you may be its victim? The answer might always be a yes; no one is above being victimized, bullied, or abused. And often it’s subtle enough that you yourself are not fully aware of it, or of its direct and indirect impacts on your life and your personality. Read on to understand more about adult bullying.

|​SEE ALSO: How to Recognize Adult Bullying|​

What Is Adult Bullying? A Real-Life Story

Linda Brady was a friendly and outgoing employee of an internationally based firm. She had a strong position, took her work seriously, and was also very attractive. Along with some of her co-workers, Linda was eligible to attend a training seminar abroad. She submitted her application but, for some reason, it was turned down.

She spoke to the sub-head of the co-operation who assured her she would be considered for the privilege next year – the next year came and it happened again. After three times in a row, Linda realized that she was the victim of ‘subtle sabotage’ and that she would never receive the chance to upgrade in that particular field. Linda had experienced bullying by a higher-up.

What Is Adult Bullying? The Definition

Bullying is defined as various types of abuse aimed at an individual or group of persons repeatedly by another person or group. There are different types of adult bullies and it helps to understand how they operate. To find out the answer to the question, what is adult bullying, read the following tips:

  • Conceited Adult Bully: This type of adult bully is egotistical and shows little or no mercy for others. They feel good when in control or when hurting people.
  • Imprudent Adult Bully: Adult bullies in this category lash out at their victims and have no emotional control.
  • Somatic Bully: While an adult bully may not use physical abuse, he or she may threaten to hurt victims and destroy their belongings or property.
  • Verbal Adult Bully: Words are powerful and have a very strong effect on people. Verbal bullying can cause victims to lose interest in their lives in general and may even lead to depression.
  • Ancillary Adult Bully: These are people who ‘suck up’ to bullies and avert attention from themselves by helping bully others. Secondary bullies may feel guilty about their deeds but will let it go in favor of saving themselves.

Adult Bullying Facts: Self-Esteem Issues

Even though the basic characteristic of a bully is low self-esteem, research suggests that they really feel superior to others. Instead of having a regular self-outlook, they have pathologically high views of themselves; this is very unbalanced. When a bully feels as though they are thwarted; this ego threat causes them to lose control and lash out in defense to maintain their ‘dignity’ and superiority before their ‘perpetrators.’

What Is Adult Bullying? Personality Issues

One would suppose that, as a person matures, they would give up their childish habits. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Adult bullies exist and their main goal is to assert power over another person and make themselves look untouchable. They try to demean victims with an ‘I rule’ attitude.

Adult Bullying Facts: Signs of Workplace Bullying

Below are signals of workplace bullying gleaned from research by authoritative government experts in this field. While some of these behaviors may not seem related, regular recurrences are signs that answer the question, what is adult bullying, in the workplace:

  • Being excluded from on-the-job social events
  • Co-workers excusing themselves from the work area when you come in
  • Others being late or absent to meetings you call
  • Receiving the “silent treatment”
  • Having your presentations ignored
  • Colleagues refusing to assist when you ask for it
  • Having co-workers spread lies about you that no one refutes

There is not much you can do to change an adult bully because they see no reason for change. They take pleasure in making life difficult and uncomfortable for people and are not interested in discussing anything. The good news is that, if you have proof of bullying, you can file suit of harassment on the job, but you have to provide that proof! Below are some methods you can try to deter the adult bully.

Don’t Blame Yourself

If you have been bullied by another adult, do not blame yourself for that person’s actions. Everyone is responsible for their own behaviors. The adult bully is a coward who only seeks to get a rise out of you and to vent out their own feelings of inferiority and insecurity. You must show them that it does not affect you as best as you can.

Be Nice to Them

This does not always work, but if the bully received only poor treatment during their lives, a little kindness may go a long way. However, if you have tried this 2 to 3 times and they continue their bullying, the time is right to give up. It will make it clear to them that you feel their behavior is normal and they will stop trying to annoy you.

Be Assertive

Stand up to them and show them you are not afraid by openly confronting them about their actions. It may not work right away, but constantly displaying confidence and standing up for yourself by looking them in the eyes and remaining calm may cause them to crumble. In all cases, whether you choose to do it passively or actively, stand your ground!

Want to find out more about adult bullying? Read our interview with Chloe Carmicheal.

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