Bullying: It’s not just for kids anymore . . .

We’ve all seen the headlines- Child Bullied Into Suicide, Student Expelled For Bullying and Parent Arrested For Bullied Child.  But kids aren’t the only ones who are participating in bullying.  Adults bully each other at work, their kids’ sporting events, online, at church, in their marriages, even at the grocery store!

I’m amazed at the many different bullying types- face to face, cyber or cell, road rage, stalking- anything that puts fear into another can be classified as bullying.  It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone.  There’s nowhere to hide from it!

I’ve been bullied a few times.  As a kid I was locked in a pitch black bathroom at church.  As I screamed in terror, the kids holding the door shut laughed hysterically.  By the time an adult came to my rescue, I was scarred for life & to this day I am afraid of the dark.  In 1993, I was targeted by a man on the freeway.  He was looking for someone to run off the road to rob or worse.  I was driving to work at 4am, he paced me for a mile then began swerving into me, cutting me off & slamming on his brakes & trying to push me from behind.  This went on for 15 miles.  Thank Heaven for my huge brick of a cell phone & defensive driving skills!  I was able to fend him off until the CHP got him- he was arrested because he’d done this before!  I was so scared . . .

What can we do when we are bullied or witness it?  Most people do nothing to help themselves or another, they just hope that it will go away.  We deny that it is happening.  But does it ever really go away?  What can YOU do?  Below you will find information on what you can do depending on where you face bullying.

  • Workplace – Unless you are the Top Dog already, go to your boss.  Sounds like common sense, right?  It’s easier said than done.  The bullied usually suffer from anxiety because of it & are afraid to report it.  There is more fear in NOT reporting bullying because it will continue or even escalate.  Take charge, don’t let that happen! It is your boss’ duty to squash the bullying- please let them help you, they are your advocate.  Check out this website if you or someone you know is being bullied at work.  http://www.workplacebullying.org
  • Public- Also called Public Humiliation.  There’s usually a witness to this type of bullying which is great if they are willing to support you.  It can be a good idea to call the police or get the attention of a security officer.  If you are the witness, don’t be afraid to help!  Call the cops or security without waiting to be asked- you would hope someone would do it for you, right?  Get help for the poor soul!
  • Relationship- This type of bullying many times leads to spousal abuse- don’t let it get that far!  Please see this Q & A blog by Dr. Testa.  I wish I had known of this a few years back…  http://www.drtesta.com/ask.htm

Have YOU ever been bullied?  My guess is YES- most people experience it at some time in their lives.  As uncomfortable as it is to talk about, I believe there is power in sharing.  Tell me all about what you have endured & how you handled it.  Also, do you step up & help when you witness bullying?  What has worked?  What hasn’t worked?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.


  1. Anne Collins says:

    Carrie, good article and great links. Being compliant by nature, I am often perceived as someone to “push around”. When I consider it unimportant, I allow it. To be able to do that, I have to be healthy emotionally inside and not easily offended. Personally, I have learned, when I sense it has become bullying to put a hand out, flat palm facing the other person and say something like “That’s enough!” If I need to follow it up, I raise my voice at least a level. If that doesn’t stop it, I stand and move toward them a bit and clearly state this is at an end. Then I usually attempt to leave the area to avoid escalation from which neither can save face.

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Thank you for sharing, Anne! I too find myself just letting it happen when Im bullied but as I get older I am getting better about standing up for myself. However, I do tend to stand up for others when I witness bullying. After the fact, I reflect on it & think to myself “What were you thinking, you could have gotten hurt!” But, I think I’ve always put others first no matter the situation. Thank you for your comments!

  2. Patricia Kolstad says:

    Carrie . . . thank you so much for this great information on a topic that is “so in our faces!” Interestingly enough when I entered the 7th grade you were considered the lowest of the low. We 7th graders were scared to death because this was “Junior High” and there were 9th graders to contend with. We came from being the 6th grade older kids to the 7th grade babies. I was so frightened. In those days they called is “scrubbing”. Holding the new kids down and rubbing their faces with red lipstick. I remember it like it was yesterday . . . walking home from school and having to older boys on bikes, following me. I started running as fast as I could, but they soon caught up with me and rubbed my face – each with a tube of red lipstick. I was crying, so scared – they not only painted my face but ruined my new white sweater. I remember coming in the door and my mom looking at me with shock! I told her what had just happened and she put me in the car and drove me back down our street and around the blocks to see if we could find the culprits. They were nowhere to be found. The next day my mom went to the principals office, with me in tow, and complained to the Principal and the Dean of Girls. The next day I was to come into the office at last period and go with the Dean to the
    bike rack to identify the boys. I remember looking into their eyes when they past – frozen and never making a sound.
    I told the Dean that I never saw them . . . and that was that. How many times has a frightened child kept from telling the truth because they were scared to death? Remembering this now after all these years helps me to realize that we need to stop bullying on every level, just as you said. Thank you for your mentorship and your willingness to share great insight and resources to our friends and community. Bravo, Carrie!

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Wow Pat, this is powerful! Isn’t it amazing how we tend to protect the ones who bully by being silent out of fear? That means they have won in many cases. It takes tremendous courage to stand up to a bully- it’s scary! I have found that most bullies are all bark & no bite but to take that chance that they truly could hurt you is enormous. Some say that if you meet a bully’s level with equal aggression, they will back down. But, I don’t think that is the safest route to take. It may work, but I feel there are better ways to stop the situation. Thank you so much Pat, I appreciate you sharing your pain.

  3. Lori Bristol says:

    We have shared many heart to heart conversations about how we have been hurt by others over our lifetimes .
    Thank you for bringing awareness to adult bullying.
    It happens more than people may realize.
    Thank you for your courage to share.
    Love you,

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Lori, I love our in depth conversations so much! We have much in common & it’s great to share in so many feelings. One thing I learned while doing research to write this is that some bullies don’t know that what they are doing qualifies as bullying. That really opened up my eyes & has made me more aware of how I treat others. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone that way. Thank you for your input, I appreciate it more than you know!

  4. Kari Leslie says:

    What a great topic! Though I won’t go into details about my experiences, they definitely left a lasting impression on me. The two that stand out the most were in 7th grade, and 10th grade. Being the “new” person often times makes us the easy target. I think we can all relate to that. It’s hard to find your place and “fit in” when you begin anything new. As children we don’t understand all the implications. “Why are these people being “mean” to me? They don’t even know me.” When we are older, and we are bullied we may wish harm or “karma” on the person, yet that small child till surfaces and the same words run through our minds. Seeking the help of an outsider is often times the only answer, and you have given some really great resources here.
    Well done Carrie.

    • Lori Bristol says:

      Well said Kari!

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      It’s true, Kari- many times it’s the new kid who gets bullied the most, even if that “kid” is an adult in a new situation. On the flip side, there have been a few times where I’ve seen the new kid (both youngster & adult) who is the bully. I have a feeling they do this to avoid being bullied by their new peers in a “strike them before they can strike me” kind of approach. That leads me to believe they have had some serious issues being bullied in their past & it makes me sad for them. They are pushing away people who could potentially be amazing friends. We should all embrace the new kids, no matter their age! Thank you Kari, your comments ring true.

  5. Carrie – Great post! It is sad to think in today’s time & age we are having this issue still in school, the work place, at home or even at the store. I have been on both sides of bullying, when I was younger I was not so nice all the time and I have regrets of my youth. As an adult I have tried to make up for my past, I have stepped into some fights/bullying that I felt was not fair. I took a couple of good licks trying to do the right thing, it maybe Karma that came back to me? I will still stay the course and help out a stranger if they are getting bullied or picked on, even if I have to get my butt kicked.
    I am glad you are willing to share your insight & wisdom, thank you for being so open.

    BRAVO Carrie!

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Thank you for your candid comments, Neil! It takes guts to admit you have been the bully. It takes great character to reverse that behavior into a positive act by taking a stand against bullying. I commend you for having the spirit to right your wrongs & stand by your fellow beings in these situations. I read a news story on one of the forgotten victims of the LA riots 20 years ago. His life was spared because of a brave pastor who stopped a group of rioters from lighting him on fire. The pastor stood over his beaten & bloodied body, held up his bible & said to the gang “If you kill him, you will have to kill me, too.” What courage that took!

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