This Friday is Pink Shirt Day, a day when people around the world wear a pink shirt to symbolise a stand against bullying, so this week we’re publishing a series of blog posts on workplace bullying. In our last post we talked about what bullying is. Today we’re going to talk about what you can do if you’re being bullied.

Being bullied can make you feel very alone. Sometimes it can feel like it will never stop, that no one can help you, or even that you deserve to be treated this way.

No one deserves to be bullied

All of us need a little extra help sometimes. Reaching out is a brave thing to do. Connecting with others can help you feel less alone, and empower you to start creating change.

It’s normal to feel frightened or even ashamed when you tell someone you’re being bullied. Don’t let this stop you from asking for help!

Find someone to talk to

Be mindful when choosing who to talk to. Figure out the best person in your community for you to approach. This might be your superiors, colleagues, a friend or someone you look up to. The important thing is that you trust this person.

If the person that you talked to doesn’t help you, don’t give up, find someone else. We know that some people often report bullying as being more severe than others perceive it. This sometimes makes it hard to connect with those that you reach out to, but don’t give up. Silence doesn’t change anything. If you’ve experienced bullying, a good thing to do is write down the where, who and when of the occurrence. This can make it easier to talk to someone about what has happened.

You can also call a helpline. Helplines are staffed by trained volunteers who are there to listen to what’s going on in your life, and help you to find solutions to what’s bothering you.

More tips

  • Find safety in numbers
  • Stand up for yourself – this can be really hard, but sometimes showing your strength and telling people their behaviour is unacceptable can be very powerful.
  • Walk away – often bullies thrive on attention. Starving them of attention by ignoring them and removing yourself from the situation is a powerful thing to do.
  • Write down what happened to you, as many details as you can remember.
  • Don’t attack others – you’ll just become a part of the problem.

Responding to Workplace bullying

It’s important to gather as much information as possible when you’re experiencing Workplace bullying in the event there might be an investigation.
For each incident keep records of:

  • the date, time and where it occurred
  • what happened (who was present, what was said, who said what)
  • if there were any witnesses
  • how you felt.

There are a number of actions you can take next, from an informal complaint to the bully in question, all the way to submitting a formal complaint to your manager, which could trigger a formal investigation depending on your employers company policies. You can learn more about these different options on WorkSafe NZ’s website here.

How to protect yourself from cyber bullying

  • Share only what you would be happy to have shared (keeping in mind that other people may share your information, too).
  • Have strong passwords and keep them to yourself.
  • Do not answer any emails/texts that you feel uncomfortable with.
  • Do not answer emails/texts/friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Be careful what you write – do not respond to others if you are angry or frustrated.

What can I do if I am being cyber bullied?

  • Do not react – it gives the bully power. Don’t reply to text or online messages (we know this can be hard).
  • Print out or screenshot examples of cyber bullying and show them to someone else.
  • Report cyber bullying to social media sites, phone companies or internet companies.
  • Block the phone number/profile you are receiving the messages from.
  • Save what has happened to show a friend or police.
  • Use assertive responses only if you need something to happen, eg, “Remove this post immediately”.
  • Ask for help.

In our next post, we’ll talk about what you can do to help someone who’s being bullied.

One of the components in our Psychological First Aid course discusses the topic of bullying. To learn more about Psychological First Aid, click here.