Does bullying stop in childhood?

Adult bullying – are you getting bullied or are you a bully?

When we think about bullying we often think about children. In schools and social settings children are suffering at the hands of bullies and we work hard to put an end to it, but what about adults?

Do we think that bullying stops when you become an adult? Think about the people you know, in work or personal life, how many of them are honest to goodness nice people all the time? Of course we all can be judgemental or critical of others but when does this become bullying?

I was shocked to discover how many adults suffer bullying. Some suffer at home at the hands of their partners or family, others in work at the hands of their boss or co-workers and some at the hands of people who they thought of as friends. 

It has to be accepted that we are never going to be able to get on with everyone. We are all individual, with individual thoughts and ideas and not everyone is going to agree and that is perfectly fine. So when does not particularly liking someone become bullying?

I tell clients that what others say about them is none of their business and if it is not affecting them then they should ignore it. However, the sad reality is that it may very well be having a impact. It could be affecting self-esteem and self-worth. It could be affecting how others view and interact with them. It could be affecting their career and yet as adults we are supposed to ignore it, say nothing, move on.

How do adults bully each other? Like with children, there is of course verbal and physical bullying, as an adult we are not immune to cyber bullying. However, more common with adults are material bullying and passive-aggressive/covert bullying.

Material bullying is when someone uses their title or professional power to intimidate, threat or harass another person. This can be seen in workplaces when the boss threatens to fire an employee for no tangible reason or in social settings when someone threatens another with legal action to exert power over them.

Passive-aggressive/covert bullying is perhaps the most deceitful. The bully will act in a certain way, portray themselves to be nice, kind and caring but subtly destroys another person personally or professionally. This type of bullying takes the form of negative gossip, joking at someone’s expense, sarcasm, condescending facial expressions or hand gestures, deliberately causing embarrassment and/or insecurity, social exclusion, professional isolation or deliberately sabotaging someone’s well-being, happiness or success.

So think, are you a bully? Are you being bullied? Is someone you know being bullied? Speak up, bullying is wrong at any age!

References

Psychology Today. (2018). 5 Ways That Adults Bully Each Other. [online] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/communication-success/201701/5-ways-adults-bully-each-other

YourTango. (2018). 6 Signs You’re An Adult Bully And Why You Seriously Need To STOP. [online] Available at: https://www.yourtango.com/experts/marcy-goss-garcea/are-you-bully

Anger

Anger brings many people to counselling. It was the emotion that started my journey many, many years ago.

I attended counselling because I was angry all the time and I was angry at everyone and everything thing. I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me, why was I feeling like this?

I understand now that anger is rarely a primary emotion. By that I mean what presents as anger is often a completely different emotion. Counselling is a journey of self discovery. It helps you uncover the emotions underneath, to understand what you are feeling and to help you explore why. This enables you to move on and find better ways of coping so that your life is happier and your relationships stronger.

So what’s under you anger umbrella?

Reduced rate counselling

Why do some Counsellors offer reduced rates?

A recent internet search had my blood boiling. Article after article warned people to say away from Counsellors who offer reduced rates, stating the reasons –

  • The counsellor won’t be qualified.
  • The counsellor won’t be regulated by a counselling body.
  • The counsellor won’t value themselves.
  • The counsellor will have poor success rates.
  • The counsellor won’t have proper insurance.
  • and the list goes on and on……

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I am a counsellor. I have undertaken years of training and I continue this with professional development courses. I don’t think I will ever be finished learning!

I am a registered member of one counselling body and an accredited member of another. I follow their ethical framework to ensure I give my best to both clients and myself. I also have public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

The fee I charge does not reflect how I feel about myself. I fully accept myself and my worth and have received great feedback from clients.

So why do I offer concession rates?

Before I trained to be a counsellor, I went through a period of poor mental health. I really struggled to understand what was going on and it wasn’t until I was at my very worst that I visited my doctor. Sitting in her office I couldn’t speak, I just cried. She was very understanding and gave me a prescription for some medication to help me feel better but she also told me she would refer me to their counselling services.

I had no idea what Counselling was, so I went home, got on goggle and checked it out. I knew I would have to wait to see a counsellor through the doctors service because there was no way I would be able to afford a minimum of £35 per session, (some of these private Counsellors where charging £50 -£90 a session!).

Waiting lists can be very long on the NHS, so I waited, and then I waited some more. During this time the medication kicked in, I felt numb but this was good because I wasn’t in pain. It would have been very easy to decide at this point that I didn’t need to speak to a counsellor, the medication was doing the trick.

A few months after I first attended the doctor I got an appointment to speak to a counsellor and it was life changing for me. I started to understand myself, why I was feeling how I was, where all the pain and anxiety was coming from. I was also given tools to help me cope, to help me challenge the thoughts in my head that were controlling my life. Counselling gave me my life back and had a positive effect in my family and friends.

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I offer reduced rates, not because I am unqualified or because I don’t think I’m worth more money but simply because not everyone can live as long as I did on an NHS waiting list. I think that counselling should be accessible to everyone and that you shouldn’t add the stress of struggling to pay for help. So when I meet a new client I explain my maximum fee and ask if this is affordable for them, if it is that’s great, if not I will work with them to agree a fee that is manageable.

I didn’t become a counsellor to get rich. I became a counsellor to help those in need, to provide a service that literally saved my life.

Why do we judge others?

I think we can all be guilty of judging people around us, me included! It could be something really simple like saying “What is wrong with that woman? She’s wearing a big heavy coat in this the middle of summer, there must be something wrong with her.”

Why do we do this?

I believe we tend to rush to judgement because of a lack of knowledge and understanding. We can’t begin to understand others choices without first knowing why. Perhaps the woman I thought was crazy needs extra layers because of a medical condition and whether we can see a physical disability or it’s a hidden disability such as fibromyalgia or depression if we understood perhaps we wouldn’t judge.

When we find ourselves judging others choices perhaps we should take five minutes and consider the reasons why, if we arm ourselves with knowledge (google has a wealth of it) perhaps we will be more empathetic, we will be kinder to our fellow human beings and perhaps passing someone a smile or a nod could have a huge impact on their day.

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Something to think about

Recently I have seen posts on Facebook and Instagram like this one –

F0A81633-D3BD-4C8B-8E2D-70A420C75FF3This has made me think about how much help such a sentiment would have. To help explain my thinking I am going to share my own story.

“When my 30th birthday approached I started to feel really down, actually I didn’t really know how I felt although I did act angry towards everyone. Over a few months things just seemed to get worse. I could see I was adversely effecting my husband and children and I started to feel like a burden. I got so bad I made a plan to end my life, said goodbye to my kids and went to sleep with a sense of peace.

I was lucky, something inside me sensed the urgency to fight for my life and I sought help from an amazing Counsellor who helped me gain deep personal insight and make changes to my life. However, had someone told me I would pass my pain to someone else I know it wouldn’t have stopped my plans, I felt my pain was already causing pain to those I loved.”

So what should we say to those we love and suspect may be having suicidal thoughts?

I needed someone to hear me, someone to tell me it would get better, someone to tell me to fight. What do you think?

What is mental health?

So often I hear people say, ‘just lock me away, I’m crazy’, and I wonder is this how people see mental health? Is it a diagnosable condition like schizophrenia or psychosis, with obvious outwardly symptoms? Or perhaps it’s depression and anxiety, struggles many can conceal? Maybe it’s more simple than that and it’s all to do with how we feel, happy, sad, confused?

Mental health to me is so much more than that. It can be seen as physical symptoms, for instance a headache that won’t go away or loss of appetite without any physical cause. It is how we talk to ourselves, I’m guilty of this one, calling myself stupid every time I put my coffee in the fridge and carry the milk into the office!

Looking after our mental health should be something we all do, whether we have a diagnosis or we feel perfectly fine and healthy, as they say prevention is better than cure.

If we fall and cut our knees we bandage them up, so how do we look after something we can’t see?

Simple tips to help look after your mental health

  • Talk about your feelings – getting things off your chest can be a real relief. If you feel unable to talk to friends or family, you could contact a counsellor in your area. Alternatively, write everything down, maybe seeing it in black and white will help put things in perspective.
  • Keep active – regular exercise can help boost self-esteem, concentration, sleep and help you look and feel better. It helps keep your brain and other vital organs healthy. Even going for a light walk could help.
  • Eat well – your brain and body need a mix of nutrients to stay healthy. Everyone loves a treat but throw in some fruit and vegetables to help boost the vital vitamins and minerals you need.
  • Keep in touch – we are social beings and although the urge may be to lock yourself away, interacting and socialising will benefit your mental health.
  • Ask for help – don’t be afraid to ask for help, visit your GP, a counsellor or one of many organisations out there such as the samaratins, action mental health and mind.
  • Take a break – looking after yourself isn’t selfish it’s necessary. So if you can get a few days away, if not what about carving out some time in the day to do something you love, paint, read, drive, swim. (Personally, I love filling the bathtub with warm water and bubbles and soaking away my worries.)

Look after your mental health as you would your physical health because you are worth it.