Passive-aggressive and vocational bullies can do just as much or more damage than the playground punks. This is a follow-up on yesterday’s post on being prepared for bullies. At the end of this post, there will be a special announcement made that I hope you will find exciting. For now, let’s get into an awareness of a problem that affects people from any background, and any age. This problem is the passive-aggressive bully.
Much of your child’s first exposure to this will come from political aspects of competition. Although it can be present in the home in the form of mental abusive, most likely it will start in the school or club sport settings. There are two different aspects to these bullies. First of all, these attacks can involve the child’s family as well as the child himself/herself. Secondly, these bullies are usually smiling at you…or at least to your face. It is what they do behind your back that you must concern yourself with.
With the very nature of competition, and child and his/her family are sending a message as to their beliefs in the child’s abilities. The claim is that they are worthy of the position or to make the team. Just with that implication alone, there are those that will oppose you, laugh, roll their eyes, or have the soccer mom talk off to the side of the field. The opposition becomes greater when your child makes the team or is chosen for a particular position. “Are you kidding me?” “My kid is twice as good as him/her.” The point of that makes this especially damaging is that the responses, comments, and protests of the parents are picked up on by the kids. That is right. We are teaching them how to be hurtful.
Truth be known, most parents take the performance of their child or lack thereof as a reflection on them. Telling Susie Fusspants that junior didn’t make the team is translated as “you” didn’t make the team. Feelings are all over the place when it comes to “being chosen”. I remember when my daughter didn’t make the top soccer team. I was pissed off like it was an attack on me. The following year when she made the team, I felt the honor as much as she did.
This kind of attitude plants a seed that many young people will carry with them into their adult life. Have you ever seen drama unfold at work? People get hired, promoted, or fired regardless of your thoughts on the matter. Certain people always get listened to and you may think they are a moron. The boss implements a change that you believe borders on insane. What happens to your strong beliefs and convictions? Very few people will keep their thoughts to themselves. We have a deep desire to be acknowledged or heard. We usually voice that opinion. The problem is that your opinion does not always stay with those whom you share it with.
Whether inadvertently or consciously, people can become passive-aggressive bullies. Therefore, the lesson for our kids is not only how to deal with being the recipient of such bullying, but to be aware of how our words and actions affect others. Most passive-aggressive bullies do not view themselves as a bully. They believe they are speaking the truth and therefore justify their words and actions. Then there are those with a destructive agenda. These individuals scheme against you while appearing to be of noble intentions. These are dangerous individuals. They are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. At least your outspoken adversaries are forthcoming about their feelings and agendas. The smiling bully is the one you must be aware of because they are more difficult to detect. So how do we teach our kids to deal with them? Here are a few points that I gave to my kids on the subject.
- Raise your level of hard work and outward expressions of respect for those you compete with and against.
- Don’t react to comments
- Don’t say, write, or post anything that could be used against you.
- Defuse your bullies with kindness and a demonstration of your ethics.
- If things become too uncomfortable, have the courage to approach the individual yourself to see if there is a way to resolve bad vibes. If you can speak to them privately, you may be amazed as to the progress you can make. If matters are not settled, at least you heard from their mouth and not from those that may inflate the issue.
On the subject of passive-aggressive bullies, I am pleased to announce that I have a book coming out on September 30th of this year entitled Surviving the Smiles. I will be releasing the introduction as a free download. Stay tuned for more information on this book release. Thank you for following, reading, and commenting on this blog. I hope it goes a long way to make you the best dad possible.