Do you sail into new friendships, groups or projects expecting only sunshine and rainbows? Or have you found yourself limping away, licking your wounds and feeling hurt, disillusioned and discarded?
Launching a new project into the world can be a daunting experience, especially if you’ve invested a lot of your authentic self into it. Don’t expect it to be plain sailing, but neither should you have to tolerate abuse, harassment or bullying of any kind.
Like domestic violence, bullying takes many forms and some of these are steeped in subtlety and innuendo.
I set up a new venture recently that attracted a great deal of interest from “Strong Personalities”. These chameleon-like characters emerged from the woodwork but soon dissipated in disinterest as I declined to engage in their games.
But one determined character remained to make life interesting; the classic “serial bully”, described as bully type 1 at this link.
Interestingly, when I discussed this challenge with an adviser, their response was “Don’t worry about her. She is a renowned strong personality”
I don’t see any strength in, for example, belittling, humiliating, undermining and excluding behaviours.
I think the term “strong personality” is a weak, “politically correct” term for a bully.
So let’s call it what it is. Lets call it out. Some people are bullies. Some of these bullies are women. Some of these women thrive on putting down, publically attacking, shaming or belittling other women.
Don’t let it be you.
Here are my 7 strategies for surviving & thriving in the presence of a “strong personality”!
- Watch for Warning Signs
- Stories don’t add up or keep changing to suit the situation.
- Calculating and devious in private but pleasant in public.
- Accomplished liar, control freak, huge ego, narcissistic, emotionally untrustworthy.
- She needs to be “all things to all people”, doesn’t accept blame, is always right.
- She sees the worst in people all the time, hypocritical, lacks empathy, thrives on conflict.
- Be self-aware; don’t become the emotional bully.
- Honour your Instincts
- Something in your gut tells you something is not right.
- Putting it down to paranoia? Don’t. Trust your gut!
- Google it; you’ll be surprised at the amount of information out there.
- Trust your intuition. Nine out of ten times it’s right.
- Believe in yourself – you know what’s happening here.
- Formulate a Strategy for Stress
- Act immediately. Stress is a killer.
- Manage your thoughts. Ask yourself “is this thought of any value to me?”.
- Change the way you respond. It’s like tug’o’war. Drop your end and the game is over.
- Understand why some women are mean to other women.
- Know that you can choose what to think.
- Exercise Empathy
- Empathy can be learned; “look for the human behind everything“
- Stand in her shoes. Why is this person attacking you?
- Most attackers are coming from a place of fear.
- You don’t need to reach out physically; just think the thoughts.
- Feel gratitude for your ability to feel empathy. Gratitude = Happiness.
- Stay connected with your Core
- What is your normal care routine? Stick with it, especially now.
- Don’t have a care routine? Get one now.
- Meditate, or learn the skill. Here’s a great free app to get you started. (Not affiliated in any way).
- Change your routine; get up earlier and do your self-care.
- Walk in nature. It’s the best medicine for your soul.
- Protect yourself from the Protagonist
- Document, document document. Screenshot. Save. Record.
- Seek help. Bullying is isolating. Reach out immediately.
- Take a step back and reflect. Stay calm.
- Summon the grace to allow benefit of the doubt where possible.
- Don’t try to “set the record straight”. She’s not interested in truth.
- Forgive but Don’t Forget
- Forgiving yourself or someone else is good for your health.
- Forgive the protagonist for her actions. They are based in fear and insecurity.
- Forgive yourself for getting into the situation in the first place.
- Forget the pain and anguish as soon as possible. Breath. Walk. Live.
- Do not forget the lesson. It will come around again!
SUMMARY: Women who are bullies are practised chameleons who need prey in order to function. They also need our empathy and understanding. Once you understand what’s going on for them, it’s much easier to handle.
Have you been targeted by a bully? How did you feel? Please keep the conversation going and share your experience below ❤︎