Tag Archives: child

Bullies: When The Bluff Is Blown


English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...

English: A Bully Free Zone sign – School in Berea, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Have you ever noticed that a bully and target relationship consists of peer-support on the side of the bully?  There may not be the matter of in-your-face cajoling from people surrounding the target, but harassment or intimidation continues permitted.  It’s a social game based on self-preservation for everyone involved.  If co-workers or underlings in the workplace are letting inappropriate treatment slide, then you can rest assure that none of them want to be targeted themselves.


The object of threat in this case is temporary.  Bullying only has its strength in the targeted person’s belief of who has the real power.  And this can be changed in an instant.  The reversal in power happens, when the target responds to the bully’s shaming remarks, with a word or phrase that requires a further explanation.  For example, when someone tells you “your too quiet” and the response to this is “explain”, the person who made such a statement has to come up with his reasons.  Lets say that the bully does start listing what he believes are valid reasons for saying this.  How about “Well you don’t talk much.”  And you repeat the word “explain.”  And then he says “Well I don’t hear anything from you when everyone else is talking.”  This guy has made you the most powerful person in the workplace or classroom.  And he has included everyone else in his obsession of your every action.  What makes your behavior so powerful?


As you are effortlessly making him work for his justification in the bullying actions, everyone else can see strangeness in such behavior.  Now, there is more focus on the bully’s struggle to defend the reason for such a weird action.  Who wants to follow “weird?”




Analogies that make the light come on

English: this is my own version of what bullyi...

English: this is my own version of what bullying looks like (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the written devices I design and pass around, are based on my work with kids who are targets of bullying.

One of the last things I want to do is tell the kid  “Oh you poor thing.  That really sucks.” and then try to help him or her feel better.

What does happen in my sessions, is the fact-checking and hard-nosed process of what role he/ she plays in this situation (target of bullying).  And I use a certain analogy to help myself get in there and act fast.  A target of bullying does not typically see a light at the end of the tunnel.  The child or adolescent has most likely been in this type of relationship for some time.  The role of accepting harsh words and humiliating actions becomes routine.  It is obviously not something enjoyed.  Otherwise there would not be the target and  no sense would come of labeling someone a bully.

I start to point out what the targeted person is willing to accept and take to heart from the other person, or people day after day.  I ask about how much time is being spent feeling consumed by fear and anxiety and letting the bully have all the power.  I make sure there is a conversation about how far this person has to go  to avoid triggering extra attention or torrents of humiliation from the bully.  It works to have all this stuff spelled out and made into awareness.  The analogy which clearly describes what is going on has visibly made the lights come on.  And I’m not afraid to use it.

Okay.  If you could imagine someone coming up to you with a platter full of horse-dung sandwiches and saying “Eat these.”  Would you eat them?

This is what’s happening every time you let someone’s words or actions rule your life.      DWP

The Economy of Behavior

Energy and freedom are two motivating factors we can make mention of when helping the client to look at current behaviors.  Certain behaviors can be considered as hot commodities.  One of them being a physical action which proceeds with very few words attached to it. 

When I tell a child to stop doing a certain action with his possession of an object or toy, it is more effective to take the toy and point to a seat.  No matter how much he/ she protests, I stick to my directive of restricting his freedom to sitting in my prescribed location.  The immediate consequence is his/ her restriction to a spot I pick and loss of the object or toy.  For me to stand there and argue or try to calm protests is to spend my energy when it is not necessary.  My action of swift physical action and few words attached is saving me energy and I have control in the transaction of freedom for the child.