How to Fight Back Adult Bullying



We’d like to think that as the years progress, certain adolescent experiences fade. From acne to academics and body issues to bullying.  Sadly, adult acne is real. Academics can get even more challenging. Body issues seem to compound as we realize our “fat years” were actually our healthiest. And, as if beating ourselves up for those issues isn't enough, we also still deal with the occasional bully – even other grown people. (Using the term “grown” loosely here, of course).


In rare cases, bullying from adults is less physical and more verbal, social and emotional. We certainly acknowledge that physical bullying can happen too and if anyone is shoving, pushing, etc. you definitely should tell a professional or call appropriate resources.


For today’s blog, we are focusing on less of the physical, but equally-damaging verbal and social bullying that happens between adults – especially adult women.  Whether it is in the office, on social media platforms or in social circles mid-convo, it happens.  And far more often than we’d like to admit.


We asked a general question  of what women would share with their friends as advice when dealing with adult bullying.  Here’s what you all had to share:


When it comes to the workplace, Veronica had some great insight to share:

“This happened to me. Whether the bullying is happening from the boss or a co-worker. Either way, consider the following as some easy steps to make sure documentation is recorded.

  1. Contact someone in charge (H.R. or boss).
  2. Detail the situation in which the event (s) have occurred.

Having proof, or an eye witness will help.”


It can be difficult to report, as we oftentimes feel like we are “tattling” but the truth is, that if something is interfering with your quality of life, it is also going to affect your work quality. 

Rest assure that you are doing your team a favor by handling this responsibly. It isn’t about complaining.  It is about stating that you are a professional, desiring a professional environment so that you can do what you are paid to do, well.

If that falls on deaf ears of management, then it’s time to find somewhere you will be valued.


This leads us into a response we received from Jenna, who stated, “Know when to just walk away. Have at least one go-to person who speaks truth into your life AND listen to them during these hard times.”


This is perfect and is two-fold.  Firstly, having a confidant whom you can express to in confidence and candid dialogue can help you determine – and from an unbiased position – whether or not you are over-reacting, under-reporting or otherwise.  They can share with you what they believe is your next most practical; and prudent step.


Which could very well be leaving.  Transitioning jobs, transferring locations, swapping social circles or similar. Sometimes, we stay in places for longer than we should, enduring what we shouldn’t because we are settling and value ourselves at less than what we actually are.  At the very minimum, a human being deserves a safe environment where they can fully express themselves (respective to rules and respective roles) while not finding they have to curb their personality or passions. 


Of course, there is a time and a place.  Work isn’t exactly a place to “play” so be mindful of what you’re putting out there. Especially if religious or political issues are not beneficial or relevant to your productivity. Yes, be you. But don’t expect expressing yourself to be well-received in environments that aren’t meant for all facets of your personality show.

What we do encourage, is that the greatest expression of yourself does show in the appropriate places and times. For instance, a social circle, where you are surrounded by friends and fun, should be a place where you can be fully you. No holds barred.

If others don’t care for your presence or your personality, you can find your tribe elsewhere. No one wants to walk on eggshells or withdrawal from close friendships all because someone else doesn’t feel comfortable with your expression.


So, you can report it and stay to see change, if any is made.  You can also leave and start over with new colleagues, employers and friends. Or you can take an approach that is a bit more head-on and direct.


Krissy shares, “I’ve learned with bullies that it’s all about power. If you stand up to them and make it known you won’t tolerate their behavior they will back off. It honestly has everything to do with them feeling powerless and weak somewhere in their own lives. NEVER let yourself be a victim!”


We like this advice as it does one of two things.  Firstly, it prompts us to tackle this issue we are having from a mature and straightforward approach.  Secondly, it is addressing a level of compassion and understanding (not to be confused with tolerance) that the bully is likely lacking in some area of their own life, and projecting it onto you.


Whatever the reasons and wherever the bullying is taking place, you always have options.  Remember to stand up for yourself and consider talking with a friend, addressing it head on, reporting it to professionals meant to assist with such and departing when your environment isn’t honoring your basic values as a human being, let alone, the many talents you bring to the group or workspace.


Have you dealt with adult bullying? What did you do?



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