When most people think of bullying, they think of kids or teens but what they don’t realize is that it also affects the majority of adults, especially women.
A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association found that adults are being bullied at almost the same levels as teens. The survey included over 2,000 adults in the United States and found that 31% have been bullied in their adult years. This might be surprising to some as even the CDC in their federal definition of bullying defines it as aggressive behavior between youths or youth groups.
One of the most common instances of adult bullying happens in the workplace, most harshly between women.
“Adult female bullying is everywhere. So, it’s in the workplace, it’s on committees, sometimes within groups of friends, within friendships, on social media as we’re aware today. It’s behind the scenes unfortunately as much as it is in front of the scenes.”
The Workplace Bullying Institute found that women are bullied up to 80 per cent of the time by other women. The Stiletto Network, a Johnstown-based women’s networking organization, held a workshop regarding adult female bullying in the workplace and other sectors.
“Bullying is just a misuse of power in regards to a relationship with an individual. So, when someone is in a relationship or a friendship with an individual, they misuse their power of that relationship with that individual. It can be a one-time occurrence or it can be a repeated thing.”
Many of the women attending the workshop experienced bullying themselves in their adult lives.
“I’ve experienced it numerous times throughout my adult life on different jobs that I’ve had. So, this does hit home with me.”
“No matter what age you are, unfortunately it seems to occur.”
There are however some things you can do when you recognize bullying behaviors.
“First of all to disengage, to not engage with the bully. If it’s consistent, remove yourself, remove yourself from the committee, remove yourself from the department, from the workplace, from the office. If you cannot do that, one of the tips I learned is to make eye contact with the bully because they feel more empathy and they feel less empathy if they’re not looking at you in the eyes.”