Drop Your Fears! Talk Back to the Bully!

Published: 11th February 2008
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Are you having trouble talking back to that bully? She says something mean, and you're tongue-tied?

"Since when do you pull your weight around here?" she says.

Since ALWAYS you stupid jerk! I do ALL the work around here! You think it, but don't dare say it.

Instead, you say, "What do you mean?" and she just walks away.

There it was, another chance to stand up for yourself. But you chickened out again. Why don't you speak up and defend yourself? You may have a battle with fear raging inside, holding you back. But if you look closely at some of those fears, they will evaporate into the non issues that most fears are.

Here are six of those biggest fears, and some reasons why you can put them to rest.

Fear #1 You are afraid the bully will get mad at you.

She's already mad at you. You get to experience what's already there by speaking up. You get to see it on your terms and in your timing. And, you get to see the more annoyed they are, the stronger their reaction will be. You can be more of an observer instead of a reactor.

Fear #2 You may be afraid of looking foolish. That your voice will quiver, or your timing will be bad.
You look very foolish being bullied. You have nothing to loose. Almost nothing is worse than silence from you. Your voice won't quiver if you do some voice strengthening at home. Practice your comeback saying it over and over loudly and confidently any chance you get. Practice in the car, in the shower, in the mirror. Your timing may be bad at first. If you speak up to the little slurs first, coming from people you're not clocked in with, the consequences will be less.

Fear #3 You are afraid the bully and others will be even meaner to you.

That might be true. They will have grounds to be madder and meaner if you're obviously upset or angry, but don't speak up then. Wait to speak up when you're not as mad. If you can find something humorous or ridiculous in what she says, your amused reply takes the wind out of her sails. You also let the bully know that you will be taking issue with any mean thing she says to you in the future. That often slows a bully down.

Fear #4 You are afraid of acting too hastily, then being wrong. What if the person wasn't even bullying you?

If you stopped someone who meant you no harm, and were offended, apologize. But your comeback needs to be gentle and preferably light so it won't be offensive. You may be known as "sensitive" for speaking up for a while. But if it prevents you from being known as a doormat, which would you choose?

Fear #5 You are afraid you won't know what to say to the bully's reaction.

You don't need to say or do anything else. No explanations, no apologies (to a bully). Maybe a shrug. You have just requested polite behavior from her. You deserve that. Excuse yourself and leave the area a while if you can.

Fear #6 You are afraid of permanently burning bridges.

If you do make permanent enemies when you speak up, these are people you need to cross off your list of folks you need to care about having a connection with. Most bullies will respect you and your strength, even if they don't like you. As long as you gently, pleasantly request respectful behavior, you have done nothing wrong. No loss, if you burn that bridge.

Being aware of your fears, helps you overcome them. They aren't so big and insurmountable, especially if you understand some simple reasons behind why they make less sense than before! Don't let the battle with your fears make you lose the war with the bully.

Stop Workplace Bullying. Discover How to Speak Up to Save Your Job and Your Dignity. Visit http://www.stop-workplace-bullying.com and sign up for a free Stop the Bullies newsletter. While there, get the ebook everyone's raving about, Bully Blaster: How I Stopped the Bullying, and You Can Too.

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