Do you know an adult bully?

Do you know an adult bully?

Bullying does not have an expiration date of high school graduation. In fact, 31% of adults report being bullied in the past year, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

Bullying is a coping strategy people use to gain power while reducing the victim’s power. Adults are more likely to suffer verbal bullying, which Psychology Today defined as insults or teasing over physical bullying such as hitting or pushing. However, both can be equally detrimental to the health of the victim.

Jennifer Zerfowski, a licensed clinical social worker at Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington, Ill., suggests two important steps when dealing with a bully.

  1. Determine if the battle is worth the fight: Zerfowski recommends asking yourself these two questions:
    • “Is this harmful to me and/or is it excessive?”
    • “Is this worth my time and energy?”
    • If the answer is no, Zerfowski advises learning to keep your cool and not reacting to the bully. This prevents the bully from getting satisfaction. If the answer to either question is yes, then Zerfowski suggests that you be assertive, specific and confident in communicating your thoughts, feelings and needs.
  2. Involve someone in higher authority: Zerfowski recommends using this step as needed for situations such as workplace bullying. Bullied adults will often take sick days to avoid conflict at work which can affect their career if someone in authority is unaware.

People have fundamental human rights, she says.

“Bullies try to take these rights away in order to take advantage of a person and control them,” says Zerfowski.

Bullying victims can face health problems both physically and mentally. Some symptoms can include changes in sleeping and eating habits, headaches, muscle pain, anxiety and depression.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or issues, consider talking to a counselor or primary care physician.

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  1. If you are not sure how destructive bullying can be, you may want to see what goes on at 1600 Pennsylvania NW in Washington, DC.

    • It is true that the Bill Clinton was credibly accused by multiple women of sexual assault and rape. And apparently Joe Biden, 2020 presidential candidate and former vice president, sexually assaulted Tara Reade (one of his staffers) in the 90’s. Using a position of authority to sexually assault women in the work place is abhorrent and is the end result of some of the worst forms isolating and bulling of subordinates.

  2. Point well taken. And yet these are mere blips on the screen compared with what has been occurring since January 2017.

  3. As a follow up, an 86% turnover rate is indicative of massive issues. The person responsible for this has a relatively overwhelming history of abhorred sexual assault. So, I guess we agree.

  4. The sad thing is when you as an employee take your complaint of bullying to the Human Resource department because the bully is your supervisor and it doesn’t get addressed. I had to quit my position and take a demotion to be able to not have to interact with this person again. I feel as if it has negatively impacted me as I have tried to advance my career. That is why I have my name listed as “anonymous”.

  5. Gentlemen, let’s not make this a presidential bashing. At some point ALL men have made some sort of advancements to women that is not their significant others, maybe even yourselves. Let’s leave what’s in the past there and focus more on future events as of now. It’s bullying we’re talking about not passed presidents 🙁

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations for over three years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family and keeping up with the latest trends.