Bullying Among Adults

Bullying has been a highly publicized over recent years. We tend to think of bullies as mean kids or teens, however bullying is also a problem among grown-ups.

Here are some statistics of bullying among adults:

  • A 2011 study at Indiana State University found that 15 percent of college student reported being bullied and 22 percent reported being cyber-bullied.
  • A 2010 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) found that 35 percent of the U.S. workforce reported being bullied at work. That would be an estimated 53.5 million Americans.

Bullying is defined by repetitive, health-harming mistreatment which can take the form of: verbal abuse, offensive conduct or behaviors that are threatening, intimidation, embarrassing/humiliating, and/or work sabotage which gets in the way of a person getting their work done.

Unfortunately, bullying does not always meet legal definitions allowing some victims to continue to be victimized and perpetrators to get away with it.

If you are the victim of bullying as an adult it can be hard to get people to take you seriously. Often bullies are bosses, therefore these can be very difficult situations to navigate. Research indicates most victims of bullying end up leaving their job either to a new one or due to being fired.

The best advice available is to try to not get emotional and to try not to be too passive. Being assertive can sometimes exacerbate bullying, however you do want to make it clear to the bully that you are not going to tolerate being treated that way. If you have an HR at your company, they may also be able to help support you in dealing with the situation. You may also want to look at other options or jobs available to you.

Bullying has been shown to be related to an increase in anxiety and/or depression due to the stress it places on the person. You may want to get help from your doctor or a counselor to learn ways to deal with your symptoms. Counseling may also be able to provide tools to help you learn to navigate bullying.

Some information adapted from Counseling Today March 2013.

1 Response

  1. Judie Grant

    If you come across as thinking your better than others, and seem to flaunt it around others, this can make you a big target of bullies. Bragging, religion and so forth will cause problems. Those things don’t make you better. Be prepared for some folks to not like you. We are all equal!!!

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