Bullies are not news. Nor is it news that children or adults get bullied. But, of course, now that it looks like this behavior can lead to suicide, those in charge feel moved to legislate it.
Who are they kidding? Do they really think that’s the way to change behavior?
Now I found this interesting: According to European researchers, “ Kids with chronic illness, disability are more likely to be bullied”.
Hmm. I’m wondering what would provoke researchers to look at workplace bullying and chronic illness.
I can hear it now: Adults with chronic illness are more likely to be bullied by co-workers and bosses. All bullies must be reported and those who are found guilty will be fired.
It doesn’t take a PhD in psychology to understand why bullying happens. Two factors have to be present:
- There’s no one around to stop the bully and he or she has free rein.
- The person being bullied is vulnerable for one reason or another.
Let’s look at the second reason. What can make you more vulnerable at work than living with chronic illness?
- No one can predict when they’re going to get a cold or flu. But if you live with chronic illness, you know you’re going to get sick frequently, for longer periods of time and often, in surprising ways. That kind of unpredictability leads to feeling vulnerable and off balance.
- When you’re not feeling physically or mentally healthy and strong, you can easily feel dull witted and weaker than those around you. Sometimes you actually are — though sometimes it’s just how you feel. This type of weakness increases a sense of vulnerability.
- Chronic illness – pain or fatigue symptoms – can consume your energy and your time, leaving you with little left over. This makes it hard to get things done and others have to pick up the slack. This leads you to feeling vulnerable to how others respond to you.
There have been times that I’ve felt like crying when I hear what some people endure to keep working — to stay at a job. I don’t blame others for feeling resentful that chronic illness can mean that a person can’t always be the top worker. But when this is your story, when you’re living with illness, you don’t have to listen to the complaints, snide comments or unasked for advice.
And that brings me to point #1, why people bully. Bullies are almost always vulnerable people themselves. No matter how much you need your job, you don’t have to put up with abuse. Your challenge, should you be up to it, is to not allow the bully to bully you.
How is it going for you?