ARE WE ALL REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW JERSEY: CAN ADULTS BULLY TOO?
With a massive awareness campaign throughout our schools and communities, there's a zero tolerance level when it comes to bullying a child. But what about when adults bully another adult?
I began watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey for the first time this summer, because I am so proud and intrigued to see my beautiful client, Amber Marchese make her debut this season.
In last week's episode (which I finally got to watch on DVR!), Amber was completely ambushed by at least three other women verbally. Then, I watched her get attacked physically. Her husband Jim, also misunderstood, was confronted by a mob due to a rather a smart business decision he made (IMHO).
Watching people that I know to be kindhearted, honest and forthright was gut-wrenching. Sure, I understand that a program like the Real Housewives of New Jersey has an entertainment value. But it's never entertaining for me to watch people I care about get bullied by other adults.
So this brings up the topic... Why do adults think it's acceptable to bully when they would never tolerate this for their children? Some housewives are bullies and some are the target of them.
A show like RHONJ might seem extreme, but it's really not.
Earlier this year an NFL player, Jonathan Martin, filed a formal complaint and suit with the NFL for the extreme bullying he endured from teammates. Some dismissed it as trivial, but it has destroyed his livelihood and reputation, even though he was the target.
As an active and professional blogger, witness this often in the online world too. Across Facebook forums, industry blogs, Instagram and Twitter, people go on personal attacks and belittle others who oppose an opinion or reel from misunderstood intentions. Expression morphs to Game of Thrones-caliber proportions. Has the digital age's e-facade made it easier for these types of people to be confrontational? Do "less confrontational" people find it easier to go on attack in the online space? Live and let live, even in the virtual world, I say.
Being the nonfiction junkie that I am, I did a little research.
According to Bullystatistics.org:
The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult. They try to humiliate victims, and "show them who is boss."
Adult bullies were often either bullies as children, or bullied as children. Understanding this about them may be able to help you cope with the behavior. But there is little you can do about it beyond doing your best to ignore the bully, report his or her behavior to the proper authorities, and document the instances of bullying so that you can take legal action down the road if necessary.
There are several different types of adult bullies, and it helps to know how they operate:
Narcissistic Adult Bully: This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
Impulsive Adult Bully: Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
Physical Bully: While adult bullying rarely turns to physical confrontation, there are, nonetheless, bullies that use physicality. In some cases, the adult bully may not actually physically harm the victim, but may use the threat of harm, or physical domination through looming. Additionally, a physical bully may damage or steal a victim's property, rather than physically confronting the victim.
Verbal Adult Bully: Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate another person. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage - to the bully - of being difficult to document. However, the emotional and psychological impacts of verbal bullying can be felt quite keenly and can result in reduced job performance and even depression.
Secondary Adult Bully: This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.
Workplace bullying can make life quite miserable and difficult. Supervisors should be made aware of adult bullies, since they can disrupt productivity, create a hostile work environment (opening the company to the risk of a law suit) and reduce morale.
It is important to note, though, that there is little you can do about an adult bully, other than ignore and try to avoid, after reporting the abuse to a supervisor (or moderator). This is because adult bullies are often in a set pattern. They are not interested in working things out and they are not interested in compromise. Rather, adult bullies are more interested in power and domination. They want to feel as though they are important and preferred, and they accomplish this by bringing others down. There is very little you can do to change an adult bully, beyond working within the confines of laws and company regulations that are set up. The good news is that, if you can document the bullying, there are legal and civil remedies for harassment, abuse and other forms of bullying. But you have to be able to document the case.
...The reality is we cannot change chosen behaviors of grown adults. But knowing how to deal with and identify them is beneficial to all. Even if you're not the victim of adult bullying, do have the guts to stand up for someone who is. Let's be adults now! Now, back to my regularly scheduled Sunday programming with The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Nervous to see what happens next. I'll be the lady in the #TeamAmber jersey popping antacids for the hour.
(Tune in to Real Housewives on Bravo Network, 8PM EST)
To read more, visit bullystatistics.org