I had a terrible incidence sometime last year. I was verbally bullied by a colleague at work and it saddens me to think so many people go through this daily. Whether at home, at work, or in school verbal bullying is extremely disheartening. You need to learn how to stop it if this happens to you.
To deal with verbal bullying you need to get away from it. Don’t wait to hear more, distance yourself from the person as much as you can. If in a position to, report it. It may not save your situation but you may be protecting someone else. Do not retaliate as this may cause more trouble for you. Instead think about how to address the issue. You can opt to face the bully or just walk away from the situation.
Interestingly, some verbal bullies are really nice people who hardly have any idea the amount of harm they cause by practicing it.
Effects of Verbal Bullying
Verbal bullying may be underestimated especially when there is no evidence but it has severe effects. Here are some of them.
1. Causes loneliness
2. Discourages the victim
3. Lowers productivity – in school or at work
4. Causes low-self esteem
5. Spurs depression
6. Extends to physical abuse
7. Intensifies other issues such as sickness
8. Increases substance abuse and
9. In worst-case scenarios, causes suicide
4 Ways to Deal with Verbal Bullies
You would think from all these effects bullies would tone down, no they don’t. In fact, about thirteen million school kids get bullied annually. Think about what the numbers would be if we added adults. It’s unimaginable, right?
Here are helpful anti-bullying tactics you can use.
1. Give a cold shoulder
Let’s assume the bully is the colleague who sits next to you. Ignore them, wear headphones, and listen to uplifting music all day. Act as if you hear none of their rude talks. Most bullies are looking for attention and if you can’t offer it, they get tired pretty fast.
2. Be calm
This isn’t similar to ignoring them. By being calm I mean you withhold reaction. You want to insult them, yell at them, throw something, or scream, but you take a deep breath and remain quiet. This may take all the energy you have but it’s helpful. Responding aggressively will invite more verbal bullying and may even end up in a physical confrontation.
When that colleague at work bullied me, I went to the HR manager and reported immediately. It’s not advisable to tell the bully that you will report them as they may precede to physically bully you. However, I still recommend you report to a trusted authority figure.
4. Collect evidence and whistle blow
I would never do this unless I really have to. But, if you can record those incidences and anonymously forward to an authority, it can help. For instance, in an office setup you may record and whistle blow. You can send the clip anonymously to the human resource or security department.
How to Stop Verbal Bullying
There comes a time when you can’t take it anymore. You want to stop the bullying and you want to do it personally. Here is my advice.
1. Compose yourself
You cannot face your bully when you are emotionally unstable. Maybe you are crying, shaking in anger, or yelling. Compose yourself first, gather courage, and straighten your posture.
2. Get company
If you think facing the bully may attract physical abuse, don’t go alone. Have some strong friends nearby to back you up.
3. Speak with confidence
Look at the bully directly when addressing him/her. Use a calm assertive voice
4. Have your message ready
Ensure you have a few, stern but respectful words to use. You can say, “Stop it, Steve, I have had enough.”
5. Do not retaliate
If the bully decides to answer back, do not argue, remain unmoved, turn around, look him straight in the eye, and firmly stop him. You can use one firm word such as stop! Or enough!
6. Walk away
When done, do not stay around in wait as they think what to do. Be the last to speak and leave them at that moment. This leaves them defenseless.
5 Ways to Avoid Verbal Bullying at School
Verbal bullying in school unlike physical bullying and cyberbullying is almost taken for granted yet it has the same or even worse effects. The good news is there is hope for verbal bullying victims.
Here’s how to deal with verbal bullying at school.
1. Set a good example
The only way not to be a bully is to set a good example by being kind while you speak to people.
2. Be active
By engaging in fun activities during free time, you can easily get rid of those degrading thoughts.
3. Have a hobby
Find a hobby and immerse yourself in it so that you have minimal time to think about it.
4. Make good friends
You can also focus your attention on the few good friends you have. They will protect you from the bullying and also influence you positively.
5. Confide in someone
If it still bothers you, confide in someone you trust.