Bullying can happen in adulthood as well as to children

Bullies in the workplace common and can be reported to HR

Bullying in the workplace is not gender conformant and it gives birth to low self-esteem.
Bullying in the workplace is not gender conformant and it gives birth to low self-esteem.
Image: 123RF

While many people have encountered bullying at one point in life, many think it stops in their childhood, but for some, it unfortunately continues in adulthood. 

As you grow older you are often taught to build a tough exterior. But as an adult, a bully can come in the form of an intimidating boss or colleague; a controlling romantic partner; or an unruly neighbour.

Clinical psychologist Dr Cino Shearer explains the different forms of bullying adults face and, most importantly, how to deal with workplace bullying. 

Does bullying have an age limitation? 

Bullying has no age limit and it sometimes can be faceless. One can experience bullying well into their senior years and in order for bullies to effectively bully, most of the time, they don’t require face-to-face interaction.

Hence we have something we call cyber-bullying on social media platforms. Cyber-bullying has no age limitation and certainly does not require a face-to-face encounter.

How does one know they are being bullied? 

When you have continuous messages or occurrences that, firstly, attack your character and makes you feel demeaned. Secondly, makes you feel smaller than you are.

Thirdly, affects your psychological wellbeing which makes you anti-social or have issues voicing your opinion on a public platform because of what somebody or a group of people said or continue to say. Then you know you’re being bullied.

What should you do when you realise you’re being bullied? 

When you realise you’re being bullied, it is not advisable to confront your perpetrator because what they will do is ignite their behaviour towards you and make things worse. Instead what you do is seek to find an outlet.

This could be by means of talking to somebody you trust about it – be it a spiritual leader, teacher, a friend or a relative. It should be somebody you can trust to talk about your feelings and you being bullied. However, if you do experience extreme bullying, you can open a case at your nearest police station should the bullying persist.    

Take us through workplace bullying

Bullying in the workplace is not gender conformant and it gives birth to low self-esteem. You find that most females bully other female employees because there is this notion that there is not enough space for all of us females at the top.

So, you find that most female employees bully their junior female employees with this notion as opposed to a sisterly mentorship programme where a sister helps another sister up!

You can also find that among your peers you are being bullied because of your weight or because of your features but bullying in the workplace is common. However, it can be reported to an HR consultant and if nothing is done about that, the furthest thing to do is open a case at a police station.

According to Refilwe Kgoete, a social worker at Agisanang Domestic Abuse Prevention and Training (Adapt), bullying in adults is often managed by the victim but children or young adults might find it harder to handle. Kgoete gives signs to look out for that your child is being bullied and how to help build their self-esteem. 

What are the three signs that show your child is being bullied? 

When your child starts to vent out at other children. Has unexplained cuts, bruises or scratches. Seems to be afraid of going to school or taking part in organised activities with peers.

 Is there a way to ask your child whether they are being bullied? 

You need to make your child feel safe to talk to you. Once they are, you can start asking about the signs that you’re seeing.

How do you help rebuild your child’s self-esteem after they’ve been bullied?

Consistently seeking professional help and listening to your child without judgment.

 As a parent, how should you go about your child being bullied? 

You should allow your child to talk about the bullying incidents. Listen and not judge. Try to find out more information about the child who’s doing the bullying. Once you know who the bully is, then you can take the next step by going to your child’s school and make the teachers know that you are aware of the bullying. You can also ask to have a meeting with the parents of the bully. 

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.