Bullies are everywhere. We see them at home, school, place of work, market, social media, buses, neighbourhood, and any other place you can think of. People may even call you on the phone just to bully you.
Bullies can be our juniors, our peers or our superiors. They can be male or female. They can be children, teenagers or adults. But, they are always close associates. Yes, bullies are always the people we have contacts with, and that is why they affect us greatly.
I could remember my first experience with bullies. I was still in nursery school. That was many years ago in Katsina. This bully happens to be the son of my father’s close friend and we were in the same class – in Aunty Ramatu Nursery School, Katsina (hope he’s not reading this, lol). This boy was just on my case – he harasses me during lunch, loosens the thread used to make my hair, excludes me from group play in the playground, and so on. I could remember his father spanking him whenever I complain to him, but that only means I receive double the harassment next time.
This is just to show that bullying is not a teenager thing as some people think. We even have worse bullies as adults. In fact the one I encountered in Facebook some years ago taught me a lot about cyberbullying. That experience was where I started my lesson on taming bullies.
I don’t really know why people bully others because I have never been one. But I took time to study some bullies and found out that deep down they are insecure. Some of them have been bullied before and the only way they feel in control is by bullying others. They enjoy seeing people in pain and they derive satisfaction by using intimidation to cover up their incompetency (next time a colleague bullies you in the office, just know that he is incompetent and is threatened by your abilities).
Bulling can affect the victim in so many ways. For instance he will feel unconfident about himself, his emotions could be in turmoil, he will always feel bitter about his condition, he will want to hide from the limelight and, he may end up committing suicide. I don’t know why bullies are so mean to understand what they do to others.
It is possible that some people may not know when they are being bullied. Below are some of the ways people can be bullied.
a. Using harsh words
b. Pointing out embarrassing mistakes
c. Reminding you of your embarrassing past (they just won’t let you forget)
d. Threatening you with violence
f. Denial of benefits
The way you react to bullying determines if you are going to receive more of it. Below are the wrong ways of doing that:
a. Running and Cowering: This is so not it because you will only end up feeding the ego of the bully. And you know what? He will keep coming after you because he can’t survive without you.
b. Playing Victim: Never assume the role of a victim. He actually wants to see you cry. So, don’t give him that. Be strong and keep your head up.
c. Trolling Back: This isn’t proper either because it will end up making you toxic too.
d. Trading Words: You know, most bullies use unkind words to get on people. Don’t turn around and trade words with them, it will only make you look uncouth. Besides, it can expose you to violence.
e. Letting it Linger: Bullies usually tryout people to see if they can victimise them. If the person gives them room, they will come in and start their work. So, if you notice someone wants to turn you into his ego fanner, please call him to order immediately. Don’t give him that chance to go further.
f. Keeping Away from People: Sometimes victims of bullying try to stay away from people because they believe that is the best way to keep the bullies away. Or maybe it is because their self confidence has been compromised. Don’t let anybody make you feel so low that you have to start avoiding people. Don’t disconnect yourself. Keep your contacts and let the bully burn in his own corner.
g. Complaining: Complaining about being bullied isn’t always the best, unless you are quite sure that the complaint will yield a positive result. But most times it doesn’t because the bully will know that he’s getting to you and will only make it harder for you.
h. Befriending Them: Some people thought that making their bullies their pals will save them. Well, it never does. It only exposes such a person to worse devastation. In fact, don’t even be a friend to someone that bullies others because he will one day want to bully you.
So, how do we handle these bullies? How do we tame them? How do we get them off our backs? How do we shut them up?
Before we go into that, I’ll like to state here that all bullies are cowards. And, they are not smart. If they are brave and smart they wouldn’t spend the time for useful things to look for whose life to make miserable. So, whenever you see a bully, know that he lacks self confidence, smartness and brevity.
Alright, so these are ways you can tame those bullies trolling you:
1. Ignore Them: This is only possible if the person is just a casual passer-by, like someone you met on transit, or a passing comment in a social media post. In a situation like these, you can take a deep breath and waka-pass.
2. Block or Unfriend Them: This is better option in cases of cyberbullying. Outside that, it will be difficult to disassociate with your bullies.
3. Call Them Out: This option works so well. I learnt it from one of my bosses. If you, a subordinate, try to bully him because you have ‘connections’ in the ‘high places’, he will call you out in meetings and tell the whole house what you’ve been doing. This is also effective in cases of peers and in cyber bullying. See, don’t hide these people or they will be tormenting you in secret. Call them out where others will know their intentions and the table will be turned immediately. By the way, when I say call them out, I mean mention their names and say what they said or did.
4. Be Sarcastic: Sarcasm is a tool that can be used to correct vices such as bullying. Learn the wit and always have it with you when your bully comes for you. And be sure to throw the words where people will laugh at his foolery.
5. Secret Meeting: This can scare life out of them. Just target them when they are alone and give them a short intense private meeting. Be cool as you do this and make use of polite words. Never let this situation get out of hand (so you have to practice what you will say within those few minutes). Don’t threaten him, please; just let him know you will not tolerate his actions and vile words again. Trust me, he is not going to recover from this for a long time. This method can also work in cyberbullying, where you send them private messages.
6. Use Them: I once told one of my students this and the response I got was epic. Anyway, you can turn your bullies into your campaigners and advertisers. Remember they don’t have to know what they are doing. Make sure you give them something to talk about and they will spread the news for you. Don’t worry about what they will say, the major thing is that a lot of people will get to learn about you.
7. Argue Intelligently: Sometimes bullies come for us during presentations at meetings or seminars, or when we post something on social media. Don’t cower, argue it out with them but be smart about it. This means you need facts and figures to back up your thesis. Trust me, when a bully sees himself outwitted, he will take some time to recoup before coming for you. By the time he’s recovering from the shock you gave him, ensure that you use any of the tips given above to seal his mouth permanently.
8. Let Off the Steam: You know, sometimes being too ‘nice’, ‘gentle’ and ‘civilised’ to these people could make them feel they have the upper hand. You may decide to choose a hot day to let off the steam. Make it hot and snappy so you can throw him off-balance and give him no room to recover. Make sure you took the position of the offensive and send the right message home. However, be in total control of your emotions so you don’t resolve to physical combat. And, be sure to do it where people are so that they can help to put things under control in case anything goes wrong.
Well, get that bully off your back or get him to work for you.