Soft toys and bullying! ~ The drama over a soft toy was an excellent example of how adult bullying is childish behaviour!
In this post, I will share 4 ways a soft toy reminded me just how much bullying behaviour is childish, yes even in adults, and 4 ways to deal with it you can immediately implement.
We recently picked Kenny’s grandson up from school, all of us excited for the afternoon plans we had together 😊 Upon getting into the car Kenny’s five-year-old grandson saw that is 18-month-old brother had a soft toy from home, and so he decided he wanted his soft toy from home too!
All of his happiness and excitement for the afternoon disappeared in a flash.
All he could see was lack ~ the toy he did not have!
And proceeded to whine three words over and over and over again.
“I want Simba!” Simba being the name of his soft toy.
He whined this, with the occasional sob included for good measure, for 20 minutes, from leaving the school to arriving at our afternoon venue, 20 minutes have never lasted as long.
Now, Kenny’s grandson is not a bully, and he never mentioned his soft toy again, after he knew what we were doing for the afternoon.
That 20-minute journey DID highlight a dozen ways that bullies use this sort of behaviour in adulthood, and I’m going to share 4 of them with you now.
1 ~ You have something they want
Intellectually you know that their bullying is all about THEIR insecurities, although this doesn’t always help you deal with it. Especially when the adult bully can present as a normal human being and probably holds a position of authority.
The bully will bully you because you have something they want.
They don’t have your intelligence or quick wit, so they want to take your praise and steal your credit, they want to make you look small and themselves look capable.
They don’t have your skills, talents, abilities and confidence, so they want to be sure you don’t step into the position they hold, they want to make you shrink so you don’t topple them.
They feel better when they are in control, and this control often means taking what you have. The only thing they feel secure in, is being a bully.
2 ~ This behaviour is designed to wear you down
Like the whining for Simba, bullying is designed to wear you down, it’s relentless. It can be a few small words and actions repeated over and over again
This is a typical bullying tool, it starts off so small, you almost didn’t notice it, then it happens again and you notice something isn’t quite right, over time you know something is wrong and yet you can’t quite explain it, when you can explain it you would feel foolish as it seems too insignificant to mention, this is the power of the bullies strategy.
It is designed to make you question YOURSELF, not them, to give into them, and they are often successful.
3 ~ This behaviour works for them, that’s why they keep doing it
The bully has used this behavioural strategy many times before using it on you because it works for them.
They can keep this bullying up longer than you can keep your dealing with bullying behaviour up because they are energised by it and you are drained by it. Besides they are only focusing on bullying and this comes naturally to them. You are focusing on being reasonable, understanding, often times looking for reasons and explanations, attempting to ‘fix’ or ‘help’ the bully AND holding down your day job!. No wonder it works for them and not for you.
In their experience, eventually, you will become so exhausted, frustrated, and resigned that you will give up and they will win, in their eyes at least.
4 ~ If the child doesn’t learn to be an adult this childish behaviour will be carried into adulthood.
Now clearly they look like an adult and can come across as an adult, they may even present as charming. The thing is, they are still a child in an adults body.
They don’t have the capacity to acknowledge their insecurities, they probably operate with an excess of denial.
They don’t have the vocabulary to articulate that they feel insecure because you have more skills and talents than they have, and they don’t have the adult capacity to understand and start work on building their vocabulary and, or uplevelling their skills and talents.
They don’t have the emotional intelligence to understand that feeling insecure is a guide to help them grow in self-confidence and self-esteem, and again they don’t have the vocabulary to articulate how they feel.
All they know is that they feel better when they are in control and they want to keep in this comfort zone as it’s easier for them than working on their self confidence, self esteem, emotional intelligence, vocabulary, skills and talents.
4 ways to deal with (adult) bullying behaviour that you can immediately implement.
1 – Acknowledge your skills and talents.
We are too quick to dismiss the skills and talents we have and the bully knows this.
Step into your power and acknowledge the threat to the bully they feel you are. List everything and anything you are skilled, talented, capable, competent and confident in, don’t leave anything out as it may be an insignificant thing to you but it will be huge to them.
Honour your list by allowing your qualities to shine.
Understand that this situation is a demonstration of their insecurities, not yours.
2 Keep your focus on why you are there.
If your bully is your boss, keep focused on the clients you serve, the accounts you look after, and the processes you manage.
Remember that there is a customer who benefits from the work that you do and this is where you will place your energy, attention and intention. The wearing bullying behaviour belongs to your boss and does not belong to you.
If your bully is in your family, keep focused relationship roles you have chosen rather than have been given, for example, if your bully is a mother in law, focus on your role as a spouse that works for you and your partner, and this is where you will place your energy, attention and intention. The wearing bullying behaviour belongs to your mother in law and does not belong to you.
3 Refuse to accept childish behaviour
If the bully wants to act like a child let them.
You are not their parent, do not step into a parent role at work.
You are at your work to deliver a role, not to revert to playground behaviour, keep your focus on your purpose and your boundaries.
4 Be the adult.
Because they are behaving badly does not give you permission to join them.
Do not lower yourself to their level. Keep your patience, keep your temper, keep your self-control, keep your self-esteem, keep your self-confidence, keep up your self-care, your values, and your good opinion of yourself.
This too shall pass and you will be proud of yourself that you kept being true to yourself until it does.
Understanding that bullying behaviour is childish is simple – it’s not always easy.
For the best of us, it’s a really challenging thing and it will take time and effort to remove yourself from it. It will require you to build energy resources to have the resilience to deal with it.
The good news is it can be done
Hit reply and tell me how you recognise bullying behaviour as childish.
Remember to join my Facebook group The Courageous Community for tools, and tips in being courageous in a situation such as this and much more.