When we graduate from high school, most of us assume our worries of bullies are long gone. We finish college and secure a satisfying job that allows us to earn an income that will support our families.
But for many of us, once we settle into our jobs, we find the issue of bullying is still alive and well. The difference between our bullies then and our bullies now is that the “new” bullies are carrying briefcases and cups of coffee. They’re driving new cars and talking on smartphones. And they most likely have influence over the rest of your coworkers.
Every day, some victims of workplace bullies have to take a sedative just to be able to go to work. Other victims spend their lunch hours in the car to avoid the stares and whispers in the employee lunchroom. They take “mental health days” at least once a month and they toss and turn on Sunday nights because they know Monday morning will bring another round of anxiety and stress headaches.
Bullying used to be obvious (being pushed in the schoolyard, being yelled at in the school hallways, etc.), but workplace bullying is usually subtle. A workplace bully may exclude certain co-workers from lunch outings or coffee breaks, or the bully may speak down to their victim during meetings. No matter the tactic used by the bully, it’s up to you to diffuse the situation immediately. Use the Bible as your blueprint on how to handle your offender.
1. Confront the bully in private (calmly)
Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.”
Sometimes the person truly means no harm, but it is up to us to let them know how they are making us feel. Be clear about what is bothering you. And if the person laughs it off and continues to bully you, go to your supervisor.
2. Develop a new daily routine
Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing!
If you are being excluded from lunch outings, take yourself to lunch! Find a good book of devotion- als to read or go for a walk. Spend time with your Father, who loves you most!
3. Know your worth
Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made! God made you just as you are, so don’t allow another person’s actions to change how you feel about yourself. The light of God will always outshine the darkness of a bully.
4. Pray for your bully
(Luke 11:4) and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “She wants me to PRAY for that #$@%*?” But believe me, prayer works wonders. Pray for peace in their lives. Pray for the love of God to come in and heal their bro- ken hearts. You’ll be amazed to see how God can move in their lives!
Dealing with a workplace bully is never easy, but by addressing the situation immediately, you clear the way for a more peaceful (and productive) work day.
This article first appeared in Lioness Magazine.
Mama. Wife. Poet. Teacher. Maniac.