Earlier this month, we wrote about “What to Do When You Think Your Partner is a Bully”…
And since that sparked more discussion, we wanted to share some of those ideas with you.
Usually we think of a bully as using aggression to get what he or she wants.
In our broader view, bullying behavior can come in all shapes and sizes…
1. Become belittling, sarcastic and superior
2. Get angry
3. Get quiet and passive aggressive
4. Insist on having their way with no other option
4. Manipulate with backstabbing sweetness
Whatever tool is used (and we’re sure there are more), the other person can certainly feel powerless and left with no choice in the matter.
There are 4 ways people usually react to bullying behavior…
1. Allow the person to run over them because it’s easier than fighting
In this case, you might have a “what’s the use” attitude and that you’ll never win no matter what you say or do…
So you just give in.
We’ve seen adult “children” use this tactic when the parent can’t stick to boundaries or has trouble setting them in the first place.
The fears vary but usually the parent fears he or she will lose the “child’s” love so does whatever they want even if it may not healthy to do so.
2. Getting defensive and fighting back
If you’re holding onto the idea that you have to fight in order to be heard and understood…
It usually ends the same way with escalating anger and nothing getting resolved.
It might be a natural response for some to bullying behavior but it usually doesn’t stop it and just creates greater problems.
At some point, you have to see where your pushing against the other and getting defensive leads…
And it’s not helping your situation or getting you what you want.
3. Becoming passive aggressive
When a bully shows up in your life, a common tactic is to agree and then do what you want.
While this might work for awhile, it usually just creates frustration and anger between the two of you.
It might seem to be an easy way to get around someone else’s demands…
But never solves your relationship divide.
4. Deciding your own path
This might seem to be a passive aggressive approach but it’s really very different.
You start with “you” and examining your stories, seeing whether they’re true or not.
We all make up stories about why someone says or does something to make sense of it.
But the problem is that those stories come from our past experiences that are unique to us…
And while they make sense to us, may not be what the other person means at all.
So finding out the whole story about what the other person wants and why without reacting in the same way you have in the past…
Can create an openness between the two of you for understanding.
After understanding, you can choose to not play the same game you have played in the past.
You can choose to have a boundary when you know deep inside that’s what’s best for you in the moment.
In other words, you can say “no.”
If you’re in physical danger, of course, get the support you need and don’t put yourself in that situation.
It’s also helpful to realize that it might be that the other person thinks you’re the bully even though you don’t see it.
Letting go of bullying behavior in a relationship is certainly possible when met with love for yourself and for the other.