1. Keep a record of incidents.
It is vital you keep a record of every incident and the date and time it occurred – this will be your evidence if/when it comes to making a formal complaint. Also, keep a note of the names of people that witnessed any of these exchanges incase you need to call on them to corroborate your story at a later date.
2. If you feel like it is a safe and appropriate action to take, speak to the person that is bullying you.
Have you ever said something to a friend and upset them by accident? Chances are, it has probably happened loads of times. It’s a similar thing with bullying, as the definition, by default is subjective – meaning that everybody has a different threshold of what they consider to be bullying. Sometimes, the person who is bullying you may genuinely have no idea that it is affecting you. Equally, they are most probably going through a difficult time themselves and might relate to how you’re feeling. This is why we have found that speaking to the person who is bullying you can be really effective.
If you feel it is a safe and appropriate action to take, maybe try talking to the person who is doing the bullying. Remember to challenge the behaviour, not the person – so instead of accusing the person of being a ‘bully’, explain why their actions or words are causing you distress. For example, instead of saying “you’re upsetting me”, you could say “what you said/did has upset me”. If this does not resolve the issue, please see point 3.
“Even if you don’t want to report it, it is important you share with someone what you are going through”
3. Make a formal complaint.
If you have tried talking to them and this has done nothing to resolve the issue, your next step is to make a formal complaint.
Every workplace will be different but there should be appropriate reporting channels in place, such as:
- The HR department in your workplace
- Your manager or supervisor
Through one of these channels you will be able to file a ‘grievance‘.
4. Remember you are not to blame.
Remember that the person who is bullying you is the one with the issue, not you. It is in no way your fault; people experience bullying not because of their sexuality, gender identity, race, appearance, disability or any other unique factor; it is because of the attitude towards the factor. The only thing possible to change is attitudes – you are perfect the way you are.
5. Seek support.
When you’re going through a stressful or difficult situation, it can be hard to find perspective or see things with clarity.
Even if you don’t want to report it, it is important you share with someone what you are going through – you shouldn’t go through something like this alone as it is extremely stressful, and can be emotionally draining and taxing to endure bullying. This stress can have an impact on all areas of your life, including your mental wellbeing, ability to communicate with others, performance at work, self-esteem and confidence. It is therefore incredibly important that you tell somebody you trust about what you are going through.
It is vital, during a traumatic time, that you have a support system and people who you can rely on when you are feeling low, or unable to cope. You can always contact us here at Ditch the Label if you need to talk.
6. Stay social.
Depriving yourself from any sort of support or friendship certainly won’t do anything to resolve the issue. We know it might feel like the best thing to do, but it will only make things worse in the long run by silencing you and reducing your self-esteem. Try to keep up with your normal social life and activities you enjoy – the distraction if anything, will help lift your spirits and remind you of the positive things in your life.
7. Take legal action.
If you have tried point number 2 and nothing has been resolved, it might be time to think about taking legal action. You will need to seek legal advice before taking this step from a solicitor or advice agency.
8. Don’t think of yourself as a victim.
Often people who are bullied can feel like a ‘victim’ but it’s important that you don’t disempower yourself and let the bullying dictate who you are. You need to find ways to regain control, confidence and self-esteem – we have a great guide on how you can rebuild your self-esteem here. Remind yourself every day that you are worthy, in control and that things will get better. Head to our blog to read stories of how people have overcome similar situations and gone on to do great things, it will help reassure you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Know that there are always other options out there. Do not ‘tough it out'”
9. Don’t tough it out.
Sometimes, due to financial pressures or other responsibilities it can feel like you have no other option but to stay in a job – even if it is making you miserable. Know that there are always other options out there. Do not ‘tough it out’ if you feel like it is negatively affecting your mental health, confidence or self-esteem. It is not worth it. If you are being bullied in the workplace and cannot seem to resolve it after having tried all of the above points, the best thing you can do is leave. Life is short, so seek other paths – ones that lead to happiness!
10. Look after yourself.
It is important during this time, that you take good care of your health and mental wellbeing. As well as finding a support system, you need to make sure you are looking out for yourself too. Little things like eating a balanced diet, working out, getting a good night’s sleep, relaxing and having quality time with friends and family can really improve physical and mental health, which will in turn, reduce stress. Reductions in stress increase your clarity of vision, allowing you to better analyse difficult situations, which will make them much easier to deal with. We also suggest that you seek emotional and mental support from a GP, therapist or counsellor.