Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to talk about some of the things that you can do if you’ve come to the realization that you are a bully. The first thing that I want to express in this conversation is that I was a bully and I know that it is possible to become something different. Change is possible. It takes time. Years, probably. It is a hard change to make because it requires changing habits of behaviors that are engrained in your life. But that time and effort is worth it.
The most important thing in changing any behavior is becoming more aware of your behavioral patterns. The more aware of yourself you become, the more choice you actually have. You cannot choose to make a change in behavior until you are aware of what behaviors you are doing and when you are doing them. Striving to understand your triggers for your behaviors is also helpful.
So, how do you become more aware? Believe it or not, just trying to pay attention to what you are doing can go a long way towards becoming more aware of your behaviors. However, this often isn’t enough because we are often blinded by our own misunderstandings and biases. Because of this I feel it is important to find a person that you can trust to act as an observer on your behalf. Have them watch your interactions with others and then report back to you their observations. However, this can put a pretty significant burden on a friendship so it might be better to choose a supervisor.
Another option is to try getting a social skills coach. A social skills coach is a professional who specializes in helping individuals improve their communication and interpersonal skills. They work with people to identify areas where they may be struggling or could use improvement and then provide guidance, feedback, and strategies to help them become more effective communicators. A social skills coach may focus on a wide range of skills, such as active listening, conflict resolution, public speaking, networking, and building relationships. Their ultimate goal is to help their clients build more positive and fulfilling social interactions in their personal and professional lives.
Getting into counselling can help you explore the why behind the behaviors that you are engaging in. Knowing what is causing a behavior can help you discover ways to prevent that behavior from being triggered in the first place. If these behaviors are part of a trauma response then it will be important to do the trauma work to heal those wounds.
Consider having some difficult conversations with the people around you. Making the choice to change is a big deal and will be difficult. You are more likely to succeed if you have social support. Additionally, making this change is one that is likely to be seen as a positive step and thus is likely to be received well and supported. But these are really difficult conversations to have. If you are going to have them they should be done with consideration and planning. Having the input of a social coach and/or a therapist can be very helpful.
I personally have approached it by stating “It has been brought to my attention that that I am often perceived as being rude. This is something that I would like to change, but cannot do so without specific input from those around me.” You can insert which ever trait you want to work on. I then tell them that I would appreciate them communicating specific instances of behavior to me that they feel serve as examples. I have set up an open ended survey online that is just a text box that people can put information into. This way I can give them the web site and they are more likely to give me feed back without feeling socially awkward. This worked for me.
What is key in this is realizing that it isn’t something that you can do alone. You will need the input of other people in order to figure out what behaviors are working and which ones are not. When you have been raised with the false beliefs that have led you to become a bully, it can be really difficult to know what is and isn’t actually socially appropriate. After all, it is likely that you weren’t trying to hurt people in the first place. Often times those people that are bullies are completely unaware that their behaviors are harmful to others.
Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!