How To Cope With Bullying As An Adult

Bullying is not only happening in the playground. People experience bullying as an adult too. In the workplace, amongst groups of friends or neighbours, or even between family members. If you’re being bullied, here is a two-step action plan to emotionally deal with what’s happening to you.


Step 1: Regain Control

You may be encouraged to feel shame, embarrassment, guilt and fear – this is a normal reaction, but misplaced and inappropriate. Guilt and fear are well-known as tactics of control. This is how all abusers, including child sex abusers, control and silence their victims.

I’ve heard it estimated that one person in thirty is a serial bully with sociopathic traits. Yes, it could be as prevalent as that. (Remember that naivety is the greatest enemy and will work against you being able to turn this around). You could see the disordered personality behind the mask and realise that the serial bully has a completely different mindset, often one that doesn't change without doing personal development work. 


Step 2: Make a plan for action

  • The serial bully likes to play people off against each other so try to reunite yourself with the other people
  • Consider leaving. Regard it as a positive decision in the face of overwhelming odds which are not of your choosing, and not of your making, and over which you have no control. In this type of situation, walking away can be the best thing to do, for in doing so, you regain control.
  • Confirm and validate your experience of bullying – i.e. admit to yourself that this has happened/is happening to you.
  • Remember that you are not alone in your experience of being bullied
  • Keep in mind the injury to health caused by bullying and harassment – and take time to look after your health and repair and re-heal.


Bullying is an obsessive-compulsive behaviour and therefore repetitive; it’s often a lifetime behaviour. It is most likely the serial bully has a history of this behaviour which a little investigation will reveal. The serial bully displays an arrogance and fully expects to get away with their behaviour. The purpose of bullying is to hide inadequacy. And people who bully to hide their inadequacy are often incompetent in an area (that they’re hiding from you).


Bullying is for control or is when the bully has felt under threat (of exposure of the bully’s own inadequacy)

  • Overcome the feelings of shame, embarrassment, fear and guilt that bullies use to control you
  • Work hard to regain your sanity, stability and objectivity
  • Remind yourself of your own personal power – i.e. I am a person who can choose what I think and how I behave – Regain control of yourself and your life, and break the bully’s hold over you

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