What's it to you? After all Sheila has friends, you've seen them going for a walk, chatting over lunch and you know they sometimes go out for a drink after work some Fridays.
What comes as a surprise to many people is that whilst they know the target of a bully needs support it's rare for that person to be receiving the level of support they desperately need. I'm not referring to assistance from HR or legal options. I'm talking about the little everyday things that help make life bearable, so that the target doesn't feel so dreadfully, painfully alone.
Clearly, something is wrong with Sheila. Perhaps it's more than a temporarily grumpy boss, and she is being systematically hounded, harassed, mobbed or bullied.
a) you don't know what to do
b) you think someone else is helping/supporting - she's got lots of friends, right?
c) you think that what you have to offer is too minimal to make a difference
It's so easy to assume that someone else is helping. But there are all sorts of reasons this may not happen: One person may be struggling with their own issues and not notice, another may be concerned that if they're seen to support they will become the next target, and many others think "Surely her closer friends are helping. I'm not really that important to her." (More on this here)
Time and time again, I've had people say to me: "I felt so alone, it's like no-one noticed or cared."
My request to you is to show you care. Never assume the target has allies. The bully regularly has cronies, they can be powerful, nasty, vicious and unrelenting in their subtle and not so subtle undermining ways. The target rarely has the same level of support.
The simplest of things can make all the difference and let the target know they're not alone. In all sorts of unobtrusive ways you can show you care. A "thinking of you" text or email. A stick-it note with a smiley face or amateurish sketch of a bunch of flowers or clown. A kind word. An offer to have a coffee together. An email with a beautiful/inspiring/amusing photo attached. You don't really need to say much or commit to deep involvement. A variety of support is important, and your role may not need to be more than this.
Tactful support is mostly welcome; ask if you're unsure. Remember, you may be the only person to show you care.
Here's a link to a post describing a situation I've witnessed far too many times - the tell tale signs of abuse and the debilitating suffering and legacy of unrelenting bullying.
|Examples of artistic creativity might give the target hope|
and remind them there is beauty in the world.