Authenticity is the thread that weaves through the entirety of my life’s work. Being authentic can mean doing the hard, persevering work. It may require confrontation or making significant changes, like leaving destructive situations. Bullying blocks our freedom to be appropriately vulnerable and can detach us from meaningful relationships, even our own deeper connection to Sacred within or True Self.
A troubling pattern I saw regularly in my ten years of formal coaching, with assessments, was people confusing dysfunctions and disorders with personality. Bullying is NOT a personality type!
Unfortunately, there is growing misinformation in our culture, implying that vulnerability is weakness and bullying is a suitable leadership style. I have experienced bullying. I also frequently listen to individuals involved with bullies.
Their stories recount tormentors in families, workplaces and religious/spiritual organizations. Bullying is not only rampant, but also commonly ignored.
When we allow bullying, we render the space unfit for appropriate sharing. Anyone who discourages a healthy measure of vulnerability is furthering this downhill trend of disconnecting people from one another, by allowing distrust, the spreading of rumors, lying and ultimately creating abusive atmospheres.
A bully makes an innocent bystander the punch line to degrading jokes and then deflects attention to the other by saying something like, you’re too sensitive, get over it or I’m just kidding.
A bully is the neighbor, co-worker or family member who skews the truth, twisting words to turn a person or group against another. Soon it is less about the bully and becomes more about the group of fearful, uninformed or nonchalant enablers of this damaging behavior.
If you are stuck in a situation where bullying is acceptable, find a safe place to work through your options. An emotionally healthy, confidential, competent spiritual director or counselor may ask the right questions or provide resources that will allow you to continue moving forward until the situation changes or you can leave.