Thursday, 20 October 2011

Playground Bullies in the adult world - Part 1

Yet another teenager has just committed suicide. My sincere condolences go out to his family, as one cannot even begin to imagine the grief they must be going through.

Surely, this has to stop. There have been quite a spate of teen suicide incidents, where the victims felt they simply could not cope with the taunts, the badgering, the snide comments, the teasing.

Why do people choose to ridicule and torture others to the extent that the victims feel the only solution is to take their own lives? What gives another person the right to feel so superior to you, superior enough to  make your life a misery? A lot of teenagers are getting bullied, but did you know that adults are also victims of bullying/abuse? In so many subtle ways - not just the obvious Cyber-Bullying.

In relationships (marriages/friendships etc)
  • the manipulative spouse who knows exactly what to say/do/withhold to kill your self-confidence
  • the spiteful 'friend' who gets ahead by making disparaging remarks about you - with a smile?
  • the family member who knows your weaknesses and chooses to wield that as a weapon when necessary
  • the one who professes to love you, yet constantly, consistently belittles you
In the workplace
  • colleagues who judge you - not based on your competence or performance but based on their perceived understanding of your origins/background/ethnicity/gender/style/demeanour/accent
  • peers who exclude you because you are not 'in-their-group'
  • bosses who badger you, to cover up their own inadequacies
  • co-workers who withhold work-beneficial information to make you perform poorly

In the playground/social groups
  • the queen bee who feels everyone must bow to her
  • the 'followers' who feel that in order to belong, they must be nasty to others not in their group

One of the funniest books I've ever read was titled Playground Mafia.

It is a funny (but startlingly true) depiction of a newly divorced single mother trying to fit into a posh London private school with her 4 year old son, and how the 'established' PTA parents made the transition not-so-easy.

As a Globetrotting Executive, I thoroughly identified with the plot, having been the 'new-person' quite a few times. You know, new family to an area, trying to fit  in without being too obvious, unsure what the acceptable 'local etiquette' is. One false step, and your reputation is ruined for life - in that location, at least!

Bullies will be bullies. Such behaviour possibly stems from their own life experiences.

How can we help to stamp this out for good? How can one avoid being a victim? How can we stop this rising trend? be continued


  1. Thoroughly identify with being the new parent at the school gate and looking at what appeared to be strong Cliques, who had no idea what impression they exuded - rightly or wrongly...determined not to be the odd one out, I've signed upto to the PTA as the new secretary who is of Black origin in a very affluent area where the local community primary school could be mistaken for a school in this space...

  2. Well done! Impressive! I've also had to get involved (totally out of character for me, as I would rather hide behind my computer screen!) but I find sometimes that getting involved demystifies the villain/clique, who rightly or wrongly may not even be aware of the aura they exude. Thanks for stopping by!


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