Don’t Play with the Bully. Put the Racquet Down and Walk Off the Court.



Not everybody gets humiliated, hounded, or is the object of someone’s open disdain, but it happens. When it does, the loud and clear communication is about the childishness of the bully.

If the bully had any integrity they would go speak directly to the person about their problem and some sort of connection, and possible resolution, could be made.


However, the bully usually doesn’t want a resolution. They want a punching bag. They aren’t going to be fair.


Getting upset with a bully for being mean is like getting mad at a puppy for barking. The difference is that the puppy isn’t trying to get you mad, the bully is doing exactly that.

The bully is not as mature as a puppy.


So, when someone is being cruel intentionally, you will probably get hurt and mad. Don’t lie to yourself and say it doesn’t hurt if it does. You’ve been targeted to be hurt. Witness what that feels like. Pay attention to how that gets under your skin. Soothe yourself, even as you are watching it happen. Just naming it isn’t enough. Naming it doesn’t “tame it”. Witness and feel it, but then always soothe. Then get help if you need it.


How to soothe a hurt? There are many ways, but here are some steps you can take immediately.


  • Focus in the present. Feel the chair or earth under you. Feel your legs, your arms, pay attention to the in-breath and the out-breath. Be here, now. Don’t let the childish people live in your brain rent-free. Not here. Not now

  • Turn your focus away from the person/people who are acting like the mean girls in middle school. Turn your attention to the people in your life who see who you really are. One by one, imagine their faces smiling at you, their words uplifting you, their hugs comforting you. Take 4 deep breaths as you call up these images and memories.

  • Find 5 things right in front of you that are good. Are you inside a house? Then you are sheltered. Are you reading this? Then you can see AND you can read. Are you at a computer? Then you are able to be online. Were you able to take the breaths I asked you to take? Then you can breathe. Not everyone has these gifts. You have gifts all around you. Look around, there are other things for which you can feel gratitude.

  • Remember, someone can only “get us” when we are in the exchange. As soon as possible, turn and walk away. You may need help to do this, but focus on not participating in the meanness. Imagine you are playing tennis with a vicious cheat. Just put the racquet down and walk off the court.


I’m not suggesting it is simple to either ignore a bully, or to recover from well placed barbs slung by them. However, the above means of focusing your awareness will interrupt your painful responses. Doing these over and over will lessen the hold of that negativity.


Or, you might easily dislodge your reaction to the bullying, which would serve you very well.


Most likely you will need help and support. Bullies do real damage to real people. Get away, get safe, get help, soothe your wounds.


Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Bullies wear us down, like water on a rock. If you feel like you want to hurt yourself, call for help. Either call 911, or call: 800-273-8255.