Life Advice



Barton Goldsmith: When bullies do their thing

Barton Goldsmith, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Bullies are not just limited to the schoolyard. Workplace bullies are all too common, as are bullies at home. And of course, there is no shortage of social media bullies, or those who like to make their demands known publicly. We also have — and there are those who even applaud — a few celebrity bullies. Not exactly a good example to set for the children of the world.

A bully may claim they love their family, yet they will harm those closest to them when they don’t get their way. A bully may save their negative, pent-up projections for their fellow employees and turn into Attila the Hun at work. But bullies can take less obvious forms as well.

Even road rage is a form of bullying from people who just can’t hack it when they don’t get their way.

If someone is bullying you, there is a solution. You can usually find a way to make them stop.

Here’s an example. A group of employees was feeling undervalued at work because the self-proclaimed group leader kept taking full credit for the others’ work. If anyone confronted him, the bully would make some kind of threat, akin to blackmail, until the person who was trying to fix the problem backed off. Finally, the group did their own work without including the bully and then presented their work to the boss. The boss immediately recognized what had been going on, which solved the problem. The bully was later fired.

Sometimes the bully in the family is the 3-year-old who may have become too used to getting their own way. In this case, simply valuing, teaching and rewarding kindness — and doing it consistently — can shift the family dynamic. It takes a total family effort and, trust me, it’s worth it. When kindness starts at home, it prevents the roots of bullying from taking hold.


Once a bully sees they can get what they want through physical power or intimidation of some kind, they like the feeling that comes with it. They feel empowered, and those of us who have suffered at their hands have to learn to take our own power back. Sometimes that may mean taking a loss or walking away from the relationship, whether personal or professional. Bullies are abusers, and abusers won’t get the message until they lose something big.

Depending on the situation, you may need to quit your job and reinvent yourself or leave your home and find a new life somewhere safe and supportive. If physical abuse is going on, this is your best option.

In other cases, you can often fight and win something back from the bully. When you stand up for yourself and you win, it changes your life.

Maybe you don’t win it all. You don’t need to profit or get even from this process; you just need to get free, so keep that focus. Look at yourself and understand that you don’t deserve to be treated this way by anyone.

Please stand in your power and take it back from whoever tries to take it from you. This is your essence as a human being, so don’t let it be hijacked. And you don’t have to do this alone. Many support groups offer answers. Just ask the Google gods.

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