4 Non-Verbal Bullying Tactics Targets Must Be Aware of

Most seasoned bullies seek to intimidate others by nonverbal means. Why? Because nonverbal bullying is subtle and least likely to be detected.

This type of bullying can occur either at school or in the workplace. Here are a few such subtleties.

1. They lean against the victim’s desk, office doorway, car, etc. Anytime we lean against something, we stake a claim to or show ownership of that object.

How you handle it is to tell the bully point blank and in a stern voice,
“Get off my desk (car, etc.)”

Macho man standing crossed arms near luxury open top car in tropical resort isometric image vector illustration

2. The bully will sit in the other person’s chair. Again, any chair you sit in, you non-verbally lay claim to.

Address it by telling the person in no uncertain terms to unseat your chair.

3. The bully may also pick the victim’s notebook, purse off the victim’s desk, touch their property, etc. Understand that anything of yours the bully touches, he is laying claim to.

The unspoken message that the bully is sending is, “I own your desk, car, notebook, and anything that’s yours.”

Don’t ignore it, and don’t be quiet about it. Open your mouth and tell the creep to keep his hands off your stuff.

When I was in school, I saw a bully walk up to a table of freshman boys during lunch and pluck a French fry from one of the ninth grade boy’s plates before popping it into his mouth without even asking.

It was clear that the bully was challenging the boy. The message was,

“I just took a piece of your lunch. Now, what are you going to do about it?”

Female bullies will often go through their target’s purses or jacket pockets or flip through their notebooks, yearbooks, or diaries. I’ve also heard of bullies walking into their victim’s homes without knocking.

I remember going on a school trip and finding out that my bullies had gone through my luggage and stolen fifty dollars, a dress, and jewelry from me while I was out of the room. Because there were so many bullies, it was difficult for me to confront the thief. Though I had a pretty good idea who stole my belongings, I couldn’t prove she took them!

Understand that bullies will claim ownership of your space and your property, which only means that they believe they own YOU!

4. Bullies will violate your personal space. Bullies are notorious for getting too close.

Understand that when the bully gets in your face or looms you from behind, he is either trying to intimidate you, dominate you, challenging you, or attempting to provoke a fight. Do what you have to do. Tell this idiot to back the hell up!

Understand that these types of bullies have unlimited audacity, and they do not respect boundaries! With people who are bold and audacious, you must take a stand!

Never ignore them or allow yourself to be intimidated because these kinds of folks will only increase the behavior if you do.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

70 thoughts on “4 Non-Verbal Bullying Tactics Targets Must Be Aware of

  1. Oh my goodness! It’s scary but I am also furious about the audacity of the bullies. I am really shocked to know about your experience. Thank you so much for coming up with such an important topic on the bullies and tackling them.

  2. Pingback: 4 Non-Verbal Bullying Tactics Targets Must Be Aware of – Tonya LaLonde

  3. Too bad I wasn’t the teacher on your school trip. I would have called some other teachers over and searched all of the other’s bags until I found your missing property.

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  5. I was bullied at school for 12 years and then abused and neglected at home. It completely destroyed me. In spite of therapy, I’ve never been able to have a normal life (I abused myself for 40 years)

    When you make another person suffer, especially a child, the pain can last forever

    Thanks for your blog

    • Words cannot express how my heart hurts for you, Jim. Know that you have a friend and there are people out there who do care. I’m one of them. Know that you did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment. Know that none of it was your fault and you’re not responsible for the horrible behavior of your abusers. They are the ones responsible and they will have to answer for it one day. Keep your head up and know that you’re awesome no matter what they may have told you. Blessings to you always.

    • Jim this goes right to my heart.. Sensitive boys suffer so much and I know how deep that damage can go.. to have no one there to protect or affirm you.. I hope you do not mind me commenting but its important you share about this to educate others because so often the sensitive who are so cruelly over ridden lose a voice and that is horrendous…

  6. TL;DR bus driver bullied disabled adult. Last night, of all things, the city bus driver bullied me, methinks because I am disabled and he was the only person on the bus when he came to my stop. As I waved to flag him down, he mocked me by waving both arms up in the air, hands off the wheel. As I was getting ready to pay, I asked him what his arm-waving was all about. After three times asking, he said “I don’t know.” Yeah…no. After that he continued to harass me the whole way home, rushing me repeatedly to get to my seat, and refusing to help me get the dollar into the reader to pay my fare. Those are ADA violations, and to me a clear-cut case of discrimination. I reported him to the bus company today.

  7. Let me ask you something on this. On the non-verbal and this technically isn’t necessarily bullying but with the nonverbal I notice with siblings where one will kind of seem to huff up or some kind of non-verbal gesture or action where the dominant sibling or friend without saying a word will make the others fall in line or back down. I have seen that with siblings including my own or friendships even and certainly that happens in bullying situations too. Have you ever seen nonverbal imitidation maybe with your own kids, friends, siblings growing up etc? And if you would would you ask one or two of your friends if they have siblings or kids especially if they were the one to back down or lose some kind of way what was it about a non verbal gesture that made them back down? I really think the nonverbal stuff and I hadn’t thought much about it until now is huge because sometimes people are good at getting away with stuff without really “saying” much of anything.

  8. Oh, so they want to try to intimidate you with their little nonverbal antics? Obviously, this only shows how inconsequential they are, and obviously they don’t have anything else important to do with their life! SMH! 😡

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