Have you ever been disrespected or bullied by someone? Were you able to respond to that bully in a way that valued you?
Here are seven keys to addressing an adult bully and giving them an opportunity to apologize. They might apologize, or they might not – I’ve experienced both. Either way, success is yours, because you have spoken your truth. Your self-confidence builds, and eventually, if a bully starts up, you can dismiss them quickly, and easily, without getting upset.
1. Be emotionally honest with yourself.
Are you emotionally honest? Ask yourself: How do I feel when a person is abusive to me?
Angry? Hurt? Paralyzed with fear? Numb?
The important thing here is, to be HONEST WITH YOURSELF about how you feel. This is the primary key to freeing yourself from the prison of victimization.
2. Accept yourself – don’t judge.
Keep the focus on yourself, not on the bully. Accept your present moment, whatever it contains. Beware the ego coming in and dismissing your feelings, saying things like: ”It’s no big deal,” “I’m fine” etc.
The Ego doesn’t like us being put down so it might try and distract you by focusing on the bully or rationalizing you out of your feelings. Stay with your present moment reality, no matter how uncomfortable (uncomfortable is good because it means you are moving away from an old habit that doesn’t serve you), simply allowing things to be as they are, without judging yourself.
Have compassion for yourself – you’re doing the best you can with the best conscious awareness you have at the moment.
3. Listen to your body.
If you don’t know how you feel, your body will tell you. Are you contracted in fear or rage? Is your heart heavy with pain? Or do you just feel numb all over?
Whatever is happening, allow it to be so. Your body is your friend. It acts as a shock absorber in stressful situations to help you deal with things. Pay attention because the body gives us warning signals when we are not in harmony and at ease with a person/situation.
The more in tune you are with your body, the easier it is to address things early on before they escalate into something worse.
4. Get support.
Find a friend or a family member you are close to, SOMEONE WHO LOVES YOU VERY MUCH. Tell them what happened. This will bring you some instant relief and the powerful, loving support you need to speak up to the bully.
Allow yourself to RECEIVE the love of your friend to fill yourself up and build your confidence.
5. Be willing to let go of the person or the situation.
Before you address the bully, spend some time in self-reflection and realize that you might have to walk away from this person, or from this situation. Friends can be helpful here to help you see things clearly. You might not have to let go, but you might. A lot depends on the response of the bully. Do they apologize? Do they “get it”? If not, they are highly likely to bully you again.
6. Speak your truth.
Speaking your truth means RESPECTING YOURSELF enough to let people know that YOU DESERVE RESPECT. Bullies will transform, or leave. Either way, you win!
The best case scenario is to speak to the bully in person, in a calm, respectful manner, simply stating how you feel about what happened.
Bring a friend as a witness and for support. If that is not possible, talk on the phone (your friend standing by). Third best option – send an email or letter.
Know this truth: bullies, underneath their aggressivity, are cowards. In many instances, they are embarrassed you’ve called them out and apologize, which allows the possibility of taking the relationship to a whole new level. If they don’t apologize, see #5!
7. Be courageous, and allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens over time when you go on being more and more courageous.
In the beginning, the only difference between a coward and a courageous person is that the coward listens to their fears and follows them; the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person can say, for example, “What you said hurt me,” in spite of inner trembling and a constricted throat.