Tackling An Adult Bully


Welcome to episode 16 of the Light Her

Project podcast, Real Women.

With real talk.

I'm Rachel Strella.

and I'm Vixen Divine.

Thank you so much for tuning in today.

Today's topic is tackling an adult bully.

They're out there.

We usually start by talking about our

personal experiences.

So let's discuss our history with adult


For me, I've experienced several instances

of bullying from other adults.

One that sticks out in my mind is


So my company, we serve a lot of different


We have one with several different

contacts at their organization.

I'm not sure if this gal just didn't like

me or she felt threatened by me.

but she would undermine me a lot.

She would go to other folks in the company

and tell them things that she disagreed

with as it relates to our work.

Instead of just talking to me directly, I

would hear from a third party that she was upset.

And when I tried to talk to her about it

directly, she would just ignore me or

brush me off.

Whenever we have our monthly meetings with

our customers, we ask for feedback, how are things going?

You know?

She never said anything.

So it was disheartening to find out that

she would talk about us, you're behind our back.

And she would politic with other people

over there too.

And some of them would be reluctant to

work with us.

I find that a lot of women are passive

aggressive when it comes to bullying like that.

And in my scenario where I'm a remote

contractor, it makes it so much harder

because I can’t just walk

right up to that

person and confront them, they can easily

hide and keep me at bay.

That’s what she’s

counting on.


That is exactly what she's counting on.

Yes, my experience is actually not work

related, but, oh, well, you know, I do

have one that's work related.

So I'll just go with what you're saying.

I've had, and it's coincidental, could

have been a woman, I guess, in the same

scenario, but it was a man who tried to

bully me with their positions.

As I'm relating in this instance, I'm a

massage therapist that day.

I'm doing massage therapy in that


And because even though massage therapists

take certain education to do that, I think

a lot of jobs take certain education.

And I will get particularly doctors who

will try to...

try to bully me, like tell me basically, I

don't know what I'm talking about and you

know that sort of thing.

So I really have to stay on my ground and

let them know that I am, I am in this

room, I am the one that you listen to.

So I have to stand up to that and I've

learned to do that quite well actually.

But yeah, I get that where and I still get

that where and I don't know if it is

because it's men but it generally...

is men when I'm in a environment, because

in my practice I serve only women, but I

have been in practices where we serve, you

know, everybody doesn't matter, but it's

only been men that have been trying to

bully me like, you don't know what you're

talking about, like, shut up.

And I'm like, oh no no, not here, not now,

not ever.


I've read a lot of cases where superiors,

you know, can easily bully their

subordinates, you know, and that makes


But why would somebody feel threatened by


Like, that's what I don't understand.

You're just there to do a job.

Why would a doctor feel the need to bully


It doesn't make any sense to me.

Well, they feel, I don't know if you

remember, remember I talked about that middle money?


Okay, so for those who are listening, who

have not listened to previous podcasts, go

listen to previous podcasts.

But middle money, I think that's what

that's about.

They try to make other people feel small.

We're all in the medical field, these,

we're all in the medical field, but I am at a lower position

than they are, so they're trying to make

me feel smaller.

I know what I'm doing.

It's really hard to do that for me because

I know what I'm doing.

I can toe to toe with you.

And so in that case, because I'm that way,

I think I'm better at defending myself in

that respect, but they think that they

can, and in their office, they're used to

pushing people around because they're the

boss in their office.

They've got these nurses, they've got the

front desk staff, they got, not here.

No, that makes sense.

I mean, you're right.

You're right.

I mean, I'm sorry that happened to you


So let's go to some questions here.

So one question that we have is, what is

the best way to handle an adult bully,

especially in a scenario that's a little

more difficult, such as a family member or coworker?

So I actually handle these two things


And both are super challenging because of

their complexity.

So I have a friend who has a sister-in-law

who's a real troublemaker.

She likes to stir up drama, cause problems

for people, especially if she doesn't get

everything that she wants.

And it blows my mind why her family just

doesn't stand up to her.

Well, I realized after a while that

they're all just terrified of her.

They don't want the

tables turned on them,

if they go against her.

So that's why they don't stand up.

She uses fear to get away with despicable

things and none of them are beneficial to

anybody except her for the record.

So I know it's hard, you know, in this

case, you know, but I don't know that I

would, I would not just remain silent

because one person is a bully.

That only feeds their fear.

That is a great trait to have.

When you see something, it's true.

When you see something, say something.


Because bullies, they tend to thrive on

the fact that people are scared of them

and no one's going to challenge them.

Right, right.

Well, and in this case, you know, anytime

we did challenge, it would like be, she'd

come down double time.

Like it would just be, it's so crazy, but

it happens.

As far as a coworker, so there's often

office politics at play, you know,

especially with women, because there can

be a high level of cattiness.

I find that most workplace bullies are

insecure in their job, so they tear others

down to make themselves feel superior, you

know, or justify their shortcomings.

It's all about control.

But my advice here would probably be a

little bit different.

Like, unless this person is causing

serious damage, and that can be the case.

But I found it's easier just to play nice,

meaning keep your friends close and your

enemies closer in a situation like this.

Humor them.

Be their friend.

You know, confrontation can be really

tricky in a workplace, and it could

trigger more issues.

Again, politics, you know?

But every workplace is different.

I find another tactic is always helpful to

strengthen your network of people at work,

whoever can be your allies.

You have to be careful and I call them

frenemies at work.

You can have, you have to understand and

know who your frenemies are and who your

friends are if you even have any, you


Some people just are nice to you to find

things out so they can spread things

around about you or just enough to add

their own little spin and spread that around.

So you have to actually know who's in your

best interest as opposed to who is

actually, you know, talking to you because

sometimes talking to you doesn't really matter.


It’s really what their intentions are,

100% what their intentions are.

So I find at work though, if you know

that, if you know the differences between

those two, I think you're pretty much in

the clear because you're going to limit

what you say around the


Right, right.

You’re gonna limit even your time

around them when youhave that frenemy.

So as opposed to someone who actually

genuinely is in your best interest.

Whereas, so that's, that can easily, if

you know that information, I think you can

easily navigate that in your workplace.

Now, in that family situation, I find

avoidance to be the best tactic.



I'm not quiet where I will really,

I can, I can start a fight.

You know, it's, it's just best if I just

don't say anything, just maybe a hi.

Maybe that's it.

I can go all day and look right past you

and not say a word.

That I can do that.

No problem.

I am petty that way.

Okay, so what if they're bullying another

family member, or something like that?

Okay, so if they're bullying another

family member, I'm gonna step in.


Yeah, I'm not, no, no.

Then I'm gonna step in.

But I mean, if they were bullying me, like

if they were trying to bully me, like you

don't exist, like you don't need to exist.

There is nothing that I need from you.

That makes sense.

That's good.

Not everybody can do that.

But if I'm gonna defend you, if I see

someone getting picked on like bullying,

like I see this and I let it go once to

see if it like a one-time thing.

But if I see that this is going, you know,

you keep picking on that cousin, no, we

gonna have to have to talk.

We gonna have to, no, that's it.

That's not happening.


And that's something we're gonna cover in

our next question in a little bit here.

So question is it's a combo question.

You know, what do you think is the

distinction between someone just trying to be funny?

And then they're taking it too far and

becomes bullying and what about the

distinction between bullying and people

who are just being rude?

Well, that's the thing.

It's a one, if someone's just trying to be

funny, if they're playing a joke, you

know, then they're not gonna continuously

do it.

It's a joke that they try to do that

obviously wasn't good, but they try to do

it one time, you know, that's it.

They attempted, it didn't work out, you

know, and it's over.

It becomes bullying when it's intentional

multiple occasions.

because then they know what the outcome,

see the first time when they did it, they

weren't sure what the outcome was gonna


They're trying to be funny and so-and-so

didn't think so.

But when now they know what the outcome

is, so if they're continuing to do it, so

they know what the outcome is gonna be,

and now it's intentional to get that

outcome, that's when it becomes a bully.

That make sense.

What about being rude?

Would you say it's the same thing?

No, I don't think bullying and being rude.

Being rude to me is just someone with

disregard for your feelings for something.

They're just probably more about

themselves, that kind of thing.

So I wouldn't say that was bullying.

Bullying to me is an intent to have a

certain outcome that's a negative,

seriously negative for the other person.

I totally agree with you.

The funny thing, it's passive aggressive.

Like it's not funny, it's hurtful.

There's a scene in show that I'm watching

and the mother constantly picks on her adult daughter.

She calls her Dumbo, fatass.

And when the daughter gets upset, she's

like, don't be so sensitive.

I'm just kidding with you.

No, she's not.

She knows it upsets her and she's

inflicting pain, which is classic bully

behavior right there.

The people thing I agree with you, like

some people just don't even realize

they're being rude or like maybe they're

having a bad day.

You know, there's nothing about you.

But like you said, if they're intentional,

you know, repeated, that's when it becomes bullying.

Right, if we had called her, you know, a

dumbo, and then like for the first time,

and then the daughter didn't like it, and

she's like, oh, you know, and she doesn't

do that again, because now she knows that

the daughter doesn't like it.

But she does it anyway, knowing that her

daughter doesn't like it.

That's the difference.


She's gonna get a reaction out of her.


All right.

So number three, what safeguards or

boundaries should exist to prevent cancel

culture from turning into a vehicle for



For those of you who aren't aware of what

this means, I thought we should define that.

It's basically a call out culture.

So what they're trying to do is remove or

cancel people, whether they be a group, an

individual, an organization, due to an

action that they find objectable.

So they're calling them out.

And those that are being canceled are

typically, it's done usually on social

media because they can magnify that public

knowledge, you know.

Celebrities, political leaders, they're

usually targets of this.

So, huh, you know, while it allows for

some sense of accountability, it's also

just online bullying, you know, when you

think about it.

And the irony to me is that I think it

actually caused more damage than the

offense being called out.

So I don't know that this tactic would

bring any real like social change.

It's just leveraging social media to cause


So, you know, how

do you prevent that?

Like for thing that I would say is, um,

don't believe everything that you see.

You know, it's so easy for something to go

viral and then you take it.

You know, for what it is and don't jump on

the bandwagon too.

Like that's the other thing.

Like I see that all the time.

Just because everybody else is doing it.

Well, they haven't looked up the facts.

Like jumping on the bandwagon, they're

assuming that what Sally Sue said is correct.


You know,

so we're in a culture now where a lot of

it is you're guilty before you actually

have the facts.

You have that snippet of things that have


Now, there are things that are absolutely


You know, that people have done that, okay, like

something terrible to a child, yet, you

know, they're a choir director.

Get them from around people, you know.

That's something like, you know, that's

something that takes immediate action that

needs to be done right now.

But most of the things are not, you know,

not something that needs to be taken care of right now.

It really could take time.

And there are two sides to every story.

That's the other thing.

you're seeing this video or hearing this

person talk, and it's usually, unless you

see, unless this video is showing me

specifically writing this hate, whatever

thing, like I am doing it, and you can see

me doing it, like there's two sides, like

that is a definite thing, what you just

saw just there, but most of the time it's

something I said, well, why did I say it?

What did so-and-so say?

You know that.

Was it a reaction, or was it really a

hateful thing that I said?


You know?

So there are two sides to every story.

So I agree with you as far as stop jumping

on the bandwagon because maybe what Sally

said wasn't true.

Maybe Sally didn't know what she was

saying wasn't true because she heard it from Jill.

That I think the problem is people don't

rationally think, you know, because

sometimes it's just about what they feel

is true to them.

Like, whatever fits their


You know, and people can go on social

media and tell a one-sided story.

And it puts power in the hands of the

wrong people.

I know somebody who came to me, she was

referred to me from a client because, um,

her employer fired her saying she made a

racist comment and not only did he fire

her, he sent out a letter to all of the,

um, the people at that agency.

He posted on social media about it.

Um, and she was just

beside herself because the context when

she explained it to me was completely

different than how he was framing it, you

know, and the fact that he went on social,

she had so much trouble trying to find

another job because of this.

Like it's just awful what people can do.

It is, and that's what I was talking


Was it a true thing or was it a reaction?

What did the other person say?

Like that kind of thing.

And the racist, you know, and antisemitic

things that are happening right now, you

really need to hear the whole story.

Sometimes, or sometimes a person just

needs to be educated, especially the older people.

Sometimes they really don't know.

Like they don't, they're not trying to be


Like this is just how they were brought



This is the terms that they think that

they should be using.

Whereas now, if someone tells them

differently, they would, you know, adapt

to such things.

But so, remember to talk about intention.

It is about intention because that is


That is, that is everything.

Intention, intention, intention.

Totally, totally agree with you.


All right, so how can you confront someone

who is displaying bullying behavior?

Well, okay, I know it depends on where

they are.

If they are displaying bullying behavior

as an adult, and this is somewhere

locally, I prefer to confront them face to


Because back in the day, we didn't have

all the, this is what you did.

We didn't have social media that I hide


You gave them a call, you went to their

house, you went to wherever they hung out.

You know, I know Jill's gonna be at such and

such tonight.

Okay, I'm gonna go there because we need

to talk about this.

I'm gonna confront her.

But in this day of social media, if

someone's bullying you online, that's

where you just have to leave it because...

You're not going to Indiana if you live in


Just to talk, that's not worth it.

That's weird.

So in that case, I would just have a

dialogue back and forth.

If they're not reasonable, usually within,

I can figure it out within the first few

back and forth if they're going to be

reasonable or not.

See, there's a point when you have to know

that you're just wasting your time.

No matter what you say.

And to that point, to that point, if that

kind of person is the person you're

talking to, you have to understand that

they don't matter.

Their value goes way down.

Because if they're gonna act like that,

they don't have the sense God gave them.

And so you need to devalue, if you had

value to that person, their value just went way down.

So it doesn't really matter at this point.

So now they block them.

Whatever you need to do to get them out of

your life, because nope, you don't need that.

You do not need that.

You have to understand that is not part of

your narrative.


I wonder how many bullies are reasonable.

Have you been in a situation where you

confronted a bully and they were

reasonable and it resolved the issue?

Actually, yes.


I had a bully who I confronted her, and

her issue with me wasn't valid.

She just didn't know it wasn't valid.

If she would have just, we would have just

talked it out in the first place, like

none of it would have happened.

So that was the thing.


You can tell when someone can process


Some people are just stuck on it.

They've got this thing in their mind.

They're just going to be stuck on it.

And if they're going to be stuck on it,

then there's no talking to them.

There's no reason for them.

Just bye, that kind of thing.

But sometimes, like in this situation, it

was actually a misconception.

It was just, she thought one thing was

happening when it really wasn't.


Okay, well it's good that she stood

corrected then.

Yeah, so it was fine.

And after that, you know, I mean, we

weren't friends, but we just didn't bother

with one another.

It was fine.

So I'm going to go a little bit more

granular in what you just said.

As far as confronting a bully, my husband

and I, we've been going therapy together,

basically our whole marriage.

We think it's just a positive thing to do,

more dealing with like aging parents and

whatever's going on in our personal lives.

And my therapist had us read a book about

narcissism and dealing with different personalities.

And she gave us advice, and it's kind of

like three tiers of what you do.

So when you're confronting someone like

this, it's a I statement.

And it’s three points.

So first you express your feeling in that

I see I am feeling whatever that is.

And then you express what you want with

whatever that outcome or action is,

another I statement, then you actually

lead them to the next step or timeframe.

So this I statement thing, it actually

eliminates pointing the finger, like

putting that person in a position where

they're feeling like you're accusing them.

And that's going to have them fly off

right away, they're going to poke the bear.

So it’s better to talk in first person

and be clear about what you want.

So I feel uncomfortable when and I would

like XYZ to occur and I will whatever that outcome is.

And I think that's a great way to handle

things because it puts the burden on you

not back on them where it's more likely to

be inflammatory.

That makes sense.

Yeah, that does make sense.

Because when you approach them, actually,

they're already defensive.

You don't have to say a word.

As soon as you approach them, they are

defensive because they don't know what

you're going to say and they assume it's

going to be bad, which is probably true.

But so they're already on the defensive.

So that would help to defuse the situation

prior to, you know, it's like, oh,

Okay, she's nicer than I thought she was

gonna be.

You know, that kind of takes them back a

little bit.

Yes, it keeps it from escalating


It really does.

And sometimes that still doesn't work, but

it works a lot better than the

alternative, you know.

Well, if it doesn't work, I will say this,

if it doesn't work, just walk away.

Just walk, if you're in the in-person

situation, if you're talking with them,

like things don't go well, just walk away.

Over, done with, remember now, you've

tried to be reasonable.

That didn't work out apparently.


Yeah, yeah.

I think some bullies can be a little

psychotic, you know, like they don't

tolerate, they don't like the fact that

you ignored them now.

Oh yeah I can

ignore you really well.

And that's more difficult, you know,

because then they retaliate even worse.

They don't like it.

They let they respond to the fear that

you're giving them.

And if you don't give that to us,

sometimes that bothers them too.


Yeah, I've heard the phrase, you are dead

to me.

Have you ever heard that phrase?

Yeah, okay.

So yeah, that is the phrase that you can


Now, I want people to know that if any of

this ever gets physical, that is a whole different podcast.

Like that is not what we are talking


We're talking about over the internet,

things that you're not touching anyone,

people are not touching you.

Okay, so that's what we're talking about.

I just want to clarify.

I’m glad you made

that distinction.

So we have time for maybe one thing that

we're seeing.

There is a girl that's on TikTok and she

talks about her experience with hate comments.

And as we just talked about bullying is

like so popular online because people can

hide behind that screen, you know, and

they don't think their actions have any consequences.

You know, influencers, content creators,

celebrities, you know, they face it a lot.

And it's, you know, I've had videos

that went viral, and it’s rare

that one viral video would not have at

least one hate comment.

And I know from my video, it had almost a

million views, and I probably had

30% of the comments really negative, but I

expected that was gonna happen.

What I like about what she says is, when

people go online and they bully like that,

it shows more about them than it does

about you.

You know, the person that they're


So bullying, it's not a bragging right.

Like, I don't know why people would, she

called it a flex.

I've never heard that before, but it makes


It's not a flex, it's not a bragging right.

It's nothing to be proud of.

It's a weakness.

I'll go with you on that.

A weakness in the respect where, first of

all, why do you have that much time?

You know?

Why do you have that much time?

Why are you that interested in doing that?

What kind of life do you have?

What does that say about you?

Would you not rather be snuggling with

your loved one or even with your cat for heaven's sakes?

You know, would you rather be, don't you

have to go to the grocery store?

Don't you have to go to work or some kind

of income, something like don't.

How do you have time for all of this?

So that probably says if you have that

much time for you, someone else to be in

your life, take up that much space in your


First of all, that makes me feel very


Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.

But I can do that to you with no effort at


With no effort at all.

Second of all.

You live a really sad life that you have

that much time to be able to, you need a hobby.


No, it's very true.

I think these people don't have a life.

They just get online troll all day and

that gives them some sort of sick power.

Yeah, get a job or do something



Well, we're coming to the end of this

podcast, Vixen.

Is there anything else you'd like to add

about this topic?

No, I think we pretty much covered it.

I will say though, if someone does

physically start to hurt you or your

family, don't try to take that on.

Go ahead, I mean, don't get me wrong,

defend yourself.

If it's to that point, like, oh, you don't

start it, but you finish it, okay, in that respect.

But go to the police, go to the authority,

go to your teacher, like make sure someone knows because,

that's a whole different level that you

don't want to be in.

Right, absolutely.

And once you go down that road, it's

really hard to go back.

Like if you allow that kind of behavior,

it's gonna continue.

Yeah, there's never in that case, there's

never a oh, he was having a bad day or she

was having a bad-- No, because what if they

have another bad day?

You know, it's not like I said physical

that's something else because that can

really get you hurt or killed. So you

really need to take care of that immediately.

No forgiveness in that you let somebody

know take care of that

Well, this was a great topic.

I want to thank everyone for tuning in to

the Light Her Project podcast.

You can follow the conversation online

with our hashtag.

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