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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Lamb

5 Signs You Are a Bully

I don't know where to start sometimes - because I hold so much fear of offending someone. But then I remember, this is 2020 and people are offended by everything. So, I might as well begin.

As adults, we can be big talkers. We talk about the big plans for our life, we talk about changing the world, we talk about being better friends, parents, employees. We talk about our children and how we want the world to be a better place when they are older. How often do you say these types of things? How often do you act on them?

I’ll answer that question for you – you don’t act on them. Well, maybe 90% of you don’t act on what you say (yes, 90% is an arbitrary number, but you get my point). Of that 90%, the majority of you are trying your best to get through life, but some of you are making things worse for your children and your own life. You are a bully to other adults, showing your children and those who witness your outbursts how to act.

Let’s look at a few types of adult bullies, and the signs that you need to watch for.

You Berate Others

  • Do you get angry on the phone with a customer service agent? Do you yell at someone because your internet isn’t working? Do you ever ask yourself what yelling will do? Here’s a secret – it’s not going to do anything.

In fact, it could make the situation worse. Think about when you get yelled at – do you shut down? Stop listening? Get angry? I cry when people yell at me, but that is why I don’t work in customer service. I would be a mess. Instead, try to speak without raising your voice. This could mean a world of difference to the person on the other side of the conversation.

This does not just apply to phone calls, but in person as well. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and respect them and their opinions.

You are Condescending

  • Also: patronizing,superior, snobby, conceited, stuck-up. This is passive-aggressive bullying. You act calm on the surface, but are subtly putting others down by the way you look at them, speak to them, and speak about them.

Do you watch how you speak to others? When you are spoken to in a condescending manner, how does it make you feel? Personally, it makes me feel low, not good enough, and depending on the context – ugly, small, and depressed. You might not mean for words to come out this way, but become more cognizant of how others react to you.

You Hide Behind a Computer

  • Or, you hide behind text messages. Please, someone explain this one to me. Why do adults write such nasty messages to one another? On Facebook walls, twitter feeds, comment sections… it is absolutely heart breaking to read these. It is disgusting.

If you have to hide behind a computer screen to say nasty things to someone you don’t know (or even someone you do), you need help. I had a situation where I was constantly put down via text messages. I would get a pit of fear in my stomach each and every time his name came up on my phone. I couldn’t block his number because of many reasons, and it is one of the worst feelings I experienced. I would not write back, but message after message would come through. I could have said a lot back, but I had enough self-control to ignore them.

Something has to be wrong deep inside in order for you to spew such hate. I can only imagine what the life is of that person who has to put others down in order to make themselves feel better. I wish I could help.

You are Physical with Others

  • Or you threaten to be. This includes actual or simulated violence. It includes date rape, marital rape, sexual harassment, size domination… you get the picture.

Being physical with others is a more obvious sign of bullying, yet it is not often looked at as “bullying.” This type of bullying can turn serious quickly, and it is up to other adults to keep an eye out for these bullies.

You Take Advantage of Others

  • This is taking advantage of others by using your power/position, financial position, or information you have to put someone down. Blackmail is another way to put it.

In this situation, you are able to put fear into someone by holding something other their head, whether it is information you have on them or a threat, such as job loss. You are taking advantage of someone who has less power than you do.

If you want to start making the world a better place, start by looking at your own actions.

What happens with your children, or other children, see adults acting this way? Children look up to adults for guidance, and emulate their behaviors. Think of a 3 year old who copies you when you accidentally say a cuss word. Sure, it’s funny because they are so cute. But what else are they watching you do?

If you want to start making the world a better place, start by looking at your own actions. Start by treating others with as much respect as you want to be treated with (remember the golden rule?). Start by being cognizant of your actions and how they might effect others. Be kind.

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