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Standing up to bullies

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Bullies have most if not all of these identifying characteristics:
• Dominating
• Defensive
• Deceptive

Recognise enablers

Some people and organisations make use of bullies or they pretend all is normal, or that a relatively small issue to the side is a more important focus than what the bully is doing. Or they just try to justify bullying. People with an authoritarian personality style often have an affinity for bullying leaders, and commonly form the core of their supporters.

Protect yourself

Sometimes you are stuck with a bully. Be careful. You may need to bide your time, weigh your options, and find an exit strategy as best you can. First of all, do no harm to yourself. Every suggestion offered here is in this context.

Have compassion

Compassion for a bully is not approval. It is calming and strengthening, and establishes an inner freedom.
And of course, the targets of bullies deserve our care. Even if you can do nothing to change their lot, your compassion is still authentic. It matters to you, and it may matter to others in ways you will never know.

Name it

Tell the truth to yourself. Tell it to others. And if appropriate, tell the truth to bullies and their enablers. Bullies may acquire institutional authority but never moral legitimacy. Name the lie, name the cheat, name the illegitimacy.

Stand with others

Bullies target lone individuals or minority groups to prove their dominance and create fear. So gather allies who will stand with you if you're being bullied.
And together, stand with and for those who are bullied. It may make no material difference but it always makes a moral and psychological difference to those who stand - and to those they stand for.

Punish bullies

“Punish” in the sense of creating disincentives, not cruelty or vengeance, not bullying bullies. Depending on the situation, you could:
• With moral confidence, name the bullying for what it is
• Dispute false claims of legitimacy
• Laugh at bullies
• Confront lies
• Build up sources of power to challenge the bully's
• Confront enablers
• Go up the ladder of authority
• Engage the legal system
• Remove bullies from position of power

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