I’m sure no one has thought of this, but I’ve lived long enough to notice that bullying seems to reach a peak during certain stages in people’s lives.
Looking back, I remember that the bullying I suffered at school peaked from grade six to grade nine, then dropped somewhat after my freshman year. I’ve since read books, articles, and posts that supported what I experienced. I’ve even read and heard personal stories of other targets who suffered the worst and most frequent bullying during those years as well.
The twenties and Thirties
From my twenties until my late thirties, I got along rather well with people. Sure, I ran into a few jerks and even had a few enemies, but I can’t say that I experienced any bullying during those years. For the most part, I was well-received by people, especially people my age, during this period of my life. I loved going to work and felt equal and accepted by most.
What bullies I did know in the workplace during these years never targeted me. I do remember seeing them bully a few others. However, my reading and research into school bullying were in their infancy, and I hadn’t yet heard of bullying in the workplace. I was still under the impression that bullying only happened in school.
Therefore, back then, I didn’t realize what I was seeing and didn’t speak up but preferred to mind my own business. Also, I only saw a targeted coworker’s bullying in passing and assumed that the coworker wasn’t pulling their weight.
Although I hated seeing those targets suffer and always made a point to be polite and friendly toward them, that was as far as I went. I felt that there was nothing more I could do for them. Sadly, I share some of the blame for what those targets must have endured.
Eventually, I left that workplace and soon discovered the term “workplace bullying” when I was thirty-six years old after stumbling upon Tim Field’s website, BullyOnline.org. I found that this website was chock full of information about school bullying and workplace, family, and community bullying. Because of my horrible experience in school, I wanted to know about the other types of bullying and wanted to see if there were any similarities.
I hungrily read everything, and, to my surprise, there were! Child, teen, and adult bullying weren’t much different. I found that bullies of all ages and in all environments used the same tactics, and the only difference was that adult bullies were more stealthy in their attacks.
Change of Life
I didn’t experience bullying a second time until around my early forties. At the time, I was working at a nursing home, and many of the bullies were old classmates and others who were in their late thirties to mid-fifties- the exact age-range when people began perimenopause, mid-life crises and menopause.
During this time, I noticed a drastic uptick in bullying behavior and immature attitudes among people in this age group. The bullies were mostly women, but there were a few male bullies as well.
Because I’d already experienced bullying in school and had been doing about 15 years of reading and research on school bullying and nearly five years of research on bullying in the workplace, I was able to cover my behind and finally walk away from the job after working there almost three years. Luckily for me, I was able to leave confidently, when I was ready, and on my terms. However, I wasn’t the only one targeted.
I also witnessed the bullying of other targets as well. I saw people forced out of their jobs. Most of them were fired, a few were given the ultimatum to either resign or be terminated. One got angry and quit on the spot. Sadly, they weren’t as fortunate as I was, and my heart hurt for them.
During the time I worked in this nursing facility, I witnessed a lot of corruption and illegal activities. But I’ll elaborate on this in a future post.
In noticing the life stages of most of the bullies at work and remembering the peaks of bullying in middle school and middle age, I can’t help but wonder if, perhaps, a surge or drop in hormone levels could contribute to these spikes in bullying behaviors.
It’s definitely something for me to do more study and research on, and I’ll be sure to give updates on what I find, complete with links and sources.