Finding courage and confronting anyone is a task that raises questions. Is finding courage – confronting a bully with it – and resolving the problem an impossible dream? What is courage? If you have not read Part #1, do study that foundational information before continuing.
The Bully’s Courage
The bully’s courage resembles – nothing. Bullies do not possess courage. For all their bluster, bullies are cowardly.
Finding courage and confronting a bully becomes easier when you know that. Bullies pick on people they sense are weaker than they are.
The Bully’s Victims
Remain unresponsive and yielding around a bully, and you may become a victim. The bully sees you as a weaker person, and sets out to conquer you. Maybe you do little or nothing when the aggressor tests your reactions to initial bullying. You do not fight aggression with aggression, but the bully defines passivity as the mark of an easy prey. You become a victim.
Can a victim make a bully back down? How do you go about finding courage and confronting a bully in such a way that he or she does back down?
Confronting a Bully
Effective confrontation calls for moral courage – the courage of convictions. Reliance on convictions can destroy bullying. Face the bully with convictions rather than preferences. Do not “prefer” that you get back your “milk money.” State your strongly held belief that you have a right to the milk money, and stand firm for that right. Consider this true story.
The college’s Executive VP welcomed his new secretary by saying, “My former assistant faced a desk piled high with paperwork every morning, but got most of it done on time – well, close to on time. This is a busy office, but I’ll understand if you have trouble at first.”
Ms. New Hire smiled, and got to work. By the end of the week, everyone including her boss expressed amazement. Not only was her desktop visible – it was organized and dusted!
That is when word reached the ears of Ms. Bully, senior office worker. Ms. Bully marched to the VP office, dumped a stack of her own department’s work, and ordered Ms. New Hire to do it.
“I’m sorry, but that isn’t VP office work,” the independent secretary said calmly.
“The secretaries all help me,” Ms. Bully declared curtly. “Your predecessor helped.”
Ms. New Hire refused to become enslaved. “My contract is with the Executive VP,” she said. “It would be a breach of contract for me to give him less than a full day’s work for a full day’s pay.”
Angry, Ms. Bully escalated her war. She delivered the work to other secretaries, disparaging Ms. New Hire at the same time. A week later, she returned. “You must help!” she told Ms. New Hire. “We have a campus-wide event coming, and this work has got to be done before that.”
Ms. New Hire stood her ground. “The workload in this office multiplied for the event, too. Perhaps you could take advantage of the student-assistant program.”
Ms. Bully stormed down the hallway, stopping at each door to vent her anger. As days passed, her visits to the VP office proliferated. She annoyed and badgered Ms. New Hire constantly. Finally, she complained to the VP himself.
The VP led Ms. Bully to Ms. New Hire’s office, and asked why she would not do Ms. Bully’s work.
“Sir,” she answered respectfully, “if work belongs to the VP office, I take full responsibility because of our contract and my convictions. The same convictions forbid me to become enslaved to other departments or use your time for their work.”
Ms. Bully bristled, but the VP said, “My secretary will not be helping you.”
Ms. Bully backed down, turned, and left. Ms. New Hire’s courage of convictions won.
Things to Remember
Your bully may act less refined. Keep these five things in mind as you prepare to confront.
- Determine which of your convictions (never your feelings) apply.
- Plan how you will tell the bully about your convictions (never your feelings).
- Tell an authority figure when you plan to confront the bully verbally.
- Approach the bully only when his or her friends are not around.
- Take someone with you. If the bully starts a fight, make sure that person watches as a moral and legal witness – possibly as help. Then humiliate the bully in some way.
Finding courage – confronting a bully – and coming out victorious can be your reality. You can stop being an enslaved victim of the bully and reclaim your rights and respect. Tread cautiously, and carry your courage of convictions.