Recently I sat through a work seminar on bullying and harassment. They are pretty common training sessions now – and sadly there is never a shortage of examples of degrading and quite embarrassing behaviour.
As the presenter spoke I started to feel uncomfortable. I’m emotionally super sensitive and discussions like this are very hard for me to hear – especially when I don’t think it’s asking too much for people to just be decent adults that behave respectfully and courteously.
I was fortunate growing up that the bullying stuff never stuck – or I was far too naieve to notice. As an adult though this is an entirely different ball game – I no longer justify bullying behaviour – there just aren’t any excuses to make bad behavior tolerable.
The presenter made a simple yet vitally important point ~ “raise it to resolve it”.
We don’t raise bullying or harassing behaviours for so many reason:
– we feel silly,
– we don’t want to attract attention,
– we don’t want to be that person who makes a complaints,
– we don’t want to start trouble,
– we don’t want to miss a promotion,
– we are concerned about any fallout from raising it.
Instead, we start to modify our behaviour:
– we work quietly and lessen interactions with others,
– we avoid people, areas, situations, anything you think wont bring attention,
– we worry whether what we do will inadvertently upset someone,
– we stress,
– we can develop anxiety about work, or about emails or phone calls coming in, or meetings we need to attend,
– our sleep becomes disrupted,
– it impacts our family life, our friendships our mood…
And then we get to a point where we have done absolutely everything we can possibly think of to no longer come to the attention of that person… but the degrading behaviour continues – most likely in new creative shapes and forms – this leaves us more confused and perhaps we start to wonder why – is it me? Is my personality the offensive part? So we try to shrink yourself out of existence…
Let me tell you a little secret… that basically everyone knows…
…it’s not you…it’s not us… we are not the problem… we are the target… we are the dumping spot for this person to offload their crap without regard.
Our self care is absolutely paramount in these situations. This is the time where it is vital that we actively engage in ways to look after our mental health.
I beg you – raise it… raise it to resolve it…
Instead by not raising it we give that other person more power to continue. Our self esteem and self love takes a huge hit.
We change because of it and our mental health is too important to risk out of feeling silly about calling out bullying and harassing behaviour – irrespective of who the culprit is.
It is never wrong to speak up when you aren’t being treated well.
And when you raise it, make sure you are heard. If the person you have raised it with isn’t taking you seriously raise it higher and higher and louder until you are heard. Your gut instinct is hardly ever wrong…