You bully: “Stop it!” Be nice

Not long ago, when visiting relatives, I asked our granddaughter if she wanted to come to church with us.

GD
(Family Photo)

“No, thank you.”

“You sure?”

“No, I don’t want to.”

“How come?”

“The bullies are there.”

“The bullies are there?”

“Yes.”

“Who?”

“The same ones’ that bully me at school.”

A child won’t go to church because she doesn’t want to be bullied in a place where she should never be bullied?

Put church aside.  There is no place where bullying is okay.

Yet, it happens everywhere.

You know, an employee who doesn’t want to go to work for fear of being bullied by a boss and or coworker(s).

A child who doesn’t want to go home for fear of being bullied by a parent and or siblings.

A kid who doesn’t want to walk home from school for fear of being bullied by a neighborhood gang.

A athlete who doesn’t want to attend sports practice for fear of being picked on by a coach and or teammates.

And so-on-and-so-forth.

Point blank, it is never okay to bully.

Period.

Workplace Bullying

Some years back, when I lived in Washington state, I had an opportunity to hear Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie, founders of Workplace Bullying Institute, speak at the Oregon Health Science Center in Portland.  I had been following them through their institute and had purchased their book,  The Bully at Work.

The Namie’s define workplace bullying as:

… mistreatment severe enough to compromise a targeted worker’s health, jeopardize her or his job and career, and strain relationships with friends and family. It is a laser-focused, systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction. It has nothing to do with work itself. It is driven by the bully’s personal agenda and actually prevents work from getting done. It begins with one person singling out the target. Before long, the bully easily and swiftly recruits others to gang up on the target, which increases the sense of isolation. (Workplace Bullying Institute, 2015).

The Namie’s got into the workplace bullying business after Ruth was bullied when she was working as a psychologist in California.  Similarly, a friend of mine was bullied at a college.  Get this, her boss would actually look in her trashcan to try and find mistakes she had made; this is how toxic the department at her college was.

Can you imagine?

Aren’t there better things to do?

Like finding what people are doing right, seeing the good in them and building them up?

Anyway, my friend’s boss also had favorites who received promotions, outings and special privileges.

I have been bullied as well.  At work, in school, by a roommate, former spouse, and even at church.

It is not fun.  It doesn’t feel good or right; after all, how can it since that behavior is far from Christ-like.  And forget performing at your best.  When you know you are being watched like a hawk, and you feel like you are walking on eggshells, where someone is waiting for you to mess-up, and then focuses on everything you do wrong, you mess-up even more.  That then gives the bully justification to bully you further.  It is a sick, toxic and destructive cycle.

But bullying actually says more about the bully than it does you.

Workplace Bully Behaviors

To identify if you are a bully (i.e., what one might think, say, or do if a bully) take a look at this “Workplace Bullies” infographic:

What Bullies Say
(dmangus, n.d.)

Does any of this sound familiar?

If so, keep reading, there is hope for you.

Workplace Bullying Statistics

Additionally, here is another infographic from CareerBuilder (2014) with “statistics on bullying in the workplace”:

Bullying Statistics
(Workplace Bullying, n.d.)

As you can see, it includes various types of bullying behavior that was reported by employees.

If You Are a Workplace Bully

Comaford (2014) believes bullies act in “ineffective and appropriate way[s]” because they desire one of three things: “safety, belonging and mattering” (para. 14).  Abraham Maslow wrote about belonging in his Hierarchy of Needs model which I alluded to in a previous blog post: ‘Watch me, daddy’: How to overcome the need to be validated   “Safety, belonging and mattering” are good things.  Everyone wants to be needed and included.  But being a bully is not the way to accomplish that longing.

If you have identified yourself as a bully, the formula to quit is common sense, “stop it!” said church leader, Dieter F. Uchtdorf (2012).  He also provided a little more direction, as he declared, “When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it! It’s that simple” (para. 13).

After you “stop-it” I would add just love people, find what they are doing right, and see the good in them.

Maybe then, my beautiful and sweet granddaughter will attend church because she feels safe.

References

Comaford, C. (2014, March 12). How to stop workplace bullies in their tracks.  Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2014/03/12/bust-workplace-bullies-and-clear-conflict-in-3-essential-steps/#780df5c87912

Deseret News Faith. (2017). Memorable sermons from LDS leaders in fewer than 10 words.  Retrieved from http://www.deseretnews.com/top/2354/0/Memorable-sermons-from-LDS-leaders-in-fewer-than-10-words.html

dmangus. (n.d.). Recognizing workplace bullies for what they are is the first step [Blog post].  Retrieved from http://dmangus.blogspot.com/2016/01/recognizing-workplace-bullies-for-what.html

Namie, G. & Namie, R. (2009).  The bully at work: What you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity on the job.  Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Bully-Work-What-Reclaim-Dignity/dp/1402224265

Workplace Bullying. (n.d.). Statistics on bullying in the workplace. [Pinterest post).  Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/workplace-bullying/

Workplace Bullying. (n.d.).  Workplace bullying [Pinterest post).  Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/workplace-bullying/
The Running Mormon (2016, June 29).  I was bullied at church.  Retrieved from  http://www.therunningmormon.com/2016/06/i-was-bullied-at-church.html

Uchtdorf, D. F. (2012, April).  The merciful obtain mercy.  Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-merciful-obtain-mercy?lang=eng

‘Watch me, daddy’: How to overcome the need to be validated

Validation.

Everyone seeks it.

Wants it.

Needs it.

True statements?

Depends on who you ask.

S. Michael Wilcox (2011), a non-fiction religious writer,  believes children have a validation seeking tendency in them he calls, “Watch me, daddy.”  You know, the phrase that refers to kids constantly saying, “watch me, daddy, “watch me, daddy,” “watch me, daddy” as they are climbing all over jungle gyms, going down slides, taking swim lessons or a myriad of other kid things in which they want parents to say, “wow, look at you,” “I see,” “great job,” etc.

Yet, some continue the “watch me, daddy” syndrome into adulthood (Wilcox, 2015).

It may not be a bad thing.  Unless, as Krombert (2014) posits, you are a “serial attention seeker” (para. 7).  In her piece, Attention Trap 1, she opens with a series of questions, after requesting you to “picture yourself at a party” and then ask:

  • What do you do?
  • Do you scan the room looking for someone to flirt with?
  • If no one flirts with you, do you feel less desirable?
  • Do you feel best when flirting with a person whom you know is attached to someone else in the room? (para. 1)

Krombert (2014) explains, “If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may have fallen into what [she] call[s] an ‘Attention Trap'” (para. 2).

In my opinion, the more confident and sure of oneself, the less need to seek validation.  The less of the former and latter, however, the more.

Some of the most humble and grounded people I know, in my sphere of influence, do not have to let others know they are even in a room.

One I know is a billionaire; yet, works to provide opportunities, without fanfare, for others through time, philanthropy and service.

Yet, I have had to learn to become like this.

In my journey to find myself and place in life and with God, sometimes I took my “spiritual-being” helmet off and put my “human” one on.

Where I had to be noticed.

Had to let every one know.

Had to do the whole “watch, me daddy” dance.

Some grow out of this dance; some do not.

Yet, I believe anyone can.

My experience tells me that those who are spiritually grounded –and not just in words, but actions– are less likely to seek validation than those who are not.

Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist and creator of the often quoted Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model, though, believes, that in his middle rung people need to feel a sense of belonging.

maslows_hierarchy_of_needs-svg_
(LifeEdited.com, 2017)

This is normal.  It is what Krombert describes “as either the long-term reinforcement of the self that comes from good friends, family or a committed relationship” versus what she refers to as “the short-term benefits of narcissistic behaviors in which we seek attention, admiration or adoration” (para. 3).

Yet, for those who are ‘serial attention seekers’?

Krombert warns, you could become “addicted” to attention if you need it to fuel your self-esteem (2014).

So the next time you are around people, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I need to be noticed?
  • Why do I need to be noticed?
  • Are my motives pure without any underlining meaning?
  • Could I fly under the radar?
  • Do I need validation to function?
  • Am I loyal?
  • Am I true?
  • Am I congruent?

Yet, a Retired Army Colonel and Chaplain I know provides the best question of all, “Would the Savior approve of your behavior?”  After all, He knows your motives.

If you find you are a serial attention seeker, time to reassess and ask why.

Do some soul-searching.

And put that spiritual helmet back on.  After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  Not the other way around.

Then study how a spiritual being needs validation.

Last time I checked it was only through the Savior.

That is good enough for me.

How about you?

References

Krombert, J. (2014, June 10). Attention trap part 1: Narcissism, validation and self-worth.  Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-out/201306/attention-trap-part-1-narcissism-validation-and-self-worth

LifeEdited.com. (2017).  Moving up and beyond Maslow’s hierarchy.  Retrieved from http://lifeedited.com/moving-up-and-beyond-maslows-pyramid/

Wilcox, S. M. (2011).  The Michael Wilcox collection. [CD ROM].  Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company.