Coming from a Middle Eastern heritage and growing up in Regional Victoria – I was picked on a lot for my race.  There was even a point where I was getting into a fight every week – I won more than I lost – but all I have today is “Boxers Nose” to show for it.

I remember one strange experience, where I just started at this high school – the “School Bully” decided to pay me a visit and prove himself in front of a cheering crowd of people saying “Get the Iranian Kid!!”

Anyway, I took 2 hits to the head and really didn’t want to fight at all.  I eventually realized that I had no choice (and also had a Blue Belt in Karate) and jabbed him in the nose.  It was very strange, blood everywhere and he went down and begged for mercy.  Then the crowd cheering went very quiet and the bullies gang all dispersed.

It was the biggest anti-climax of my life, a big honest thrill – but I was expecting the combat to last at least a few rounds!

Now moving onto the workplace, I have found this strange parallel.  Whenever I have stood up to workplace bullies (or people just unfairly pushing me around if “Bully” is a too stronger term) I have many of them to get really angry and say something they regret or some to even break down crying and go on sick leave.  Some have even “Dobbed” on me, only for us to go head to head in front of the HR Manager to either watch them get overtly aggressive or even use the “Water Works” as a means of making out “The Bad Guy I Am”.

In simple terms, like my school yard experience – I have found Bullies are often very good attackers, but very weak defenders.  You stand up to them and they may blow up, but then they usually back off – or even suck up to you!  The words “Bullies” and “Integrity” don’t belong in the same sentence!

This really fried my brain in that, I always though “Good Attacker, Good Defender”.  Wrong! I have found that generally the people who attack the most are generally the weakest and even at times, I have had the pleasure of watching these people leave the company or incur the wrath of a well trained HR Manager.

One of my big mistakes though has always been standing up to these people too late! Instead of “Nipping it in the bud” – I would always take late action when I am tired and sick of them. So my advice to you? If you are being “Bullied” or perhaps a softer word “Pushed Around Excessively” – my suggestion is to really think about why you are letting people do that. My fault has always been “Others are better than me, therefore I have to take it”.  When I got out of that thinking, it made “Bully Beating” easy and even fun at times! But be careful though! The solution for hate is certainly not more hate!

So if it’s your co-worker, boss, staff member, partner, family member or whoever – my suggestion is to stand your ground. No one respects a wimp and “Doormats” are only used for people to wipe their feet on, no? * Thank you to “Greencolander” from Flickr for the great image.


3 Responses

  1. Hi Ed

    In psychology circles any behaviour where someone is trying to create a power imbalance by using strategies that impact on another’s rights is considered bullying. The usual cycle is:
    1. The target experiences indirect, subtle attacks
    2. Target reacts
    3. Bully percieves an attack (despite the Target’s reaction being assertive)
    4. Bully escalates abuse to be more direct and humiliating
    5. Target is annihilated
    6. Bully moves onto next target

    My favourite term for a work place bully is “Office Psychopath”.

    So we all need to become resilient to bullying, report it where required, and if we are further invalidated by the workplace possibly involve WorkCover who will conduct an investigation into the company.

    I advise my clients to make WorkCover claims if their workplace does not follow the two rules to dispute resolution: 1. Acknowledge, reconcile and restructure; 2. Provide restorative solutions.


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