To think the word ''bullying'' is bandied about far to often nowadays?

(24 Posts)
fanjofarrow Sun 03-Nov-13 15:30:53

Don't get me wrong - I'm not talking about kids; I'm on about grown adults.

I know bullying does go on a lot in schools, workplaces, online, etc, and that it comes in many forms. It seems to me, though, that when referring to adults, the term 'bullying' is now overused.

I've seen people being accused of bullying (by others) while having perfectly civilised disagreements - purely because they disagree with a certain opinion. At work, one person is constantly late. When the manager had a quiet word with her about it she accused him of bullying her. The media constantly bangs on about how some poor creature in a band is being ''bullied'' by his/her bandmates, when it's usually nothing more than a simple disagreement.

It winds me right up. Bullying is horrible and needs to be stamped out... but how is it helpful to class minor arguments or exchanges of opinion as bullying? I think that sort of nonsense trivialises a very important issue.

Anyone else?

falls off soapbox, lands on arse

RedToothBrush Sun 03-Nov-13 15:42:18

Just a thought, but maybe bullying is that widespread and we are only just beginning to acknowledge the extent and implications of the problem.

Maybe you don't know the full picture and actually there is a back history to the story...

uptheanty Sun 03-Nov-13 15:46:53

YANBU

I agree op

I see people throw out accusations of bullying whenever they are challenged in anyway.
It gives manipulaters the moral high ground, and invalidates any point the accused may have.

fanjofarrow Sun 03-Nov-13 15:47:55

I see what you mean and in some cases you're probably spot on. I know for a fact that the person I was on about at work isn't one of those cases though. She's a spoiled little madam who thinks she can roll in whenever she likes, then accuse someone of bullying when all they did is to ask her to turn up on time.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 15:49:18

YANBU.

In school we are very careful to talk to children about 'bullying behaviour' and 'behaving like a bully would behave' rather than label a child who is being unkind to or hurting another as 'a bully'. Bullying has to be consistent and targetted, it is not just one incident of unkindness - that's just being a horrible person!

trinity0097 Sun 03-Nov-13 15:49:24

I think the term is bandied about far too much by children too. I am a teacher and often hear nearly teens complaining that they are being bullied as someone has disagreed with them/slighted them over something trivial, e.g. Their best mate didn't return their highlighter within nanoseconds of being asked for it back! The other overused one by kids is sexist, e.g. If I let the back row of the class leave first (nearest the door) then I'm sexist! I've been accused of bring racist in a class full of white 12 year olds by the one child I gave a negative behaviour point to.

I not saying that kids aren't bullied and that we shouldn't believe them, but the 'youth' lingo of using terms like bullied and sexist/racist incorrectly doesn't help those that are actually being bullied etc..

fanjofarrow Sun 03-Nov-13 15:49:28

that last post was @redtoothbrush - sorry, forgot to specify.

harticus Sun 03-Nov-13 15:53:28

Totally agree OP.

Had a very mild disagreement with a colleague - nothing heated, very professional but I was accused of being a bully.
I couldn't believe my ears. Because I didn't agree with her POV that was "bullying"?!

Too many people crying wolf nowadays which diminishes the importance of genuine bullying.

Mia4 Sun 03-Nov-13 15:58:09

I think it can be overused and underused. My friends harrasive next door neighbout-aka neighbour from hell- accused them of bullying in court in order to get himself let off the charges. It didn't work but it didn't stop ex-neighbour convincing half their neighbours that they were nasty bullies picking on a frail old men, until the truth came out. He did it just to make himself look better and like the victim.

OTOH, we had a girl at work who was away accusing the top people of bullying. It was only when she left and someone else was brought in who then companied about the same thing, that we realised she'd had a point. She just cried wolf so much that we automatically thought she was doing it again.

Every situation is different and just like bullying behaviour should be challenged so should special snowflake syndrome whereby the person plays the victim and pities themselves in order to hide from the truth or in order to deflect the truth. But then, you have to know the truth to recognise the lie or exaggeration, don't you?

fanjofarrow Sun 03-Nov-13 19:44:34

I'm relieved that it's not just me!

NotYoMomma Sun 03-Nov-13 19:57:25

having been bullied at work and my complaint upheld I think it should be dealt with on a case by case and ott cries of 'bully!' dont help real victims

but equally neither does this thread iyswim, people will be more inclined to be suspicious if they were 'really' bullied or if they were blowing a disagreement out of proportion.

PaperSeagull Sun 03-Nov-13 20:03:00

YANBU. It is one of those trendy words that people toss about indiscriminately. It makes me crazy. Bullying is a very serious issue that is rightly being addressed in the public sphere. But applying the word to a minor disagreement or uncomfortable interaction can be a dishonest and manipulative attempt to garner sympathy. And it certainly doesn't do anything to highlight the real concerns of bullying. It only serves to trivialize a genuinely serious issue.

BurlyShassey Sun 03-Nov-13 20:05:24

So are the words 'depression' , and 'stress', .agree with OP .

bruffin Sun 03-Nov-13 20:15:14

Dh suffers from depression it is very real and he was bullied badly at school which causes the depression now.
I do know kids who have shouted bully and it is actuallly them who are the bullies, who cant take any retaliation.

JohnSnowsTie Sun 03-Nov-13 20:25:44

Yes, I used to work with a woman who'd been "bullied" by every employer she ever mentioned.

She was my superior and a complete shirker. She used to make near-catastrophic mistakes, and was "bullied" when her bosses asked her to rectify them.

BackforGood Sun 03-Nov-13 20:57:38

YANBU, OP. There are a considerable number of people who completely over use the word, any time they feel slightly aggrieved.

WorraLiberty Sun 03-Nov-13 21:00:33

Bullying

Racism

Depression

Phobia

OCD

These are all words that are often extremely over used, and don't do real sufferers any favours.

WorraLiberty Sun 03-Nov-13 21:01:25

When I say over used, I mean used wrongly.

NotYoMomma Sun 03-Nov-13 21:03:54

I have a phobia worra and I totally agree.

also when people suffer with anxiety... having an anxiety disorder is not the same as 'feeling anxious on occasion'

FadBook Sun 03-Nov-13 21:16:47

I work in HR and definitely agree with you OP. Talking to an about their performance, conduct or capability occasionally throws up the term 'bullying' or 'victimisation' and 9/10 times it isn't the employee just can't do their job or attend work on fucking time

I've dealt with many grievances over the last 10 years and have only come across 1 serious bullying case at work (employee was dismissed) Perhaps I've worked in good places but I personally don't see bullying in the work place as a severe work place issue - managers know how to manage, boost morale etc without being autocratic.

IDONTGIVVA Sun 03-Nov-13 23:07:31

"I work in HR and definitely agree with you OP. Talking to an about their performance, conduct or capability occasionally throws up the term 'bullying' or 'victimisation' and 9/10 times it isn't --the employee just can't do their job or attend work on fucking time--"
THIS
"Bullying has to be consistent and targetted, it is not just one incident of unkindness - that's just being a horrible person!"
THIS
there are too many people who like to be the victim as they think it absolves "their" actions

Describing something as "bullying" is to make a value judgment. My answer is - fine - tell me what's happened, and let me decide. Don't beg the question.

MrsMook Mon 04-Nov-13 05:32:59

YANBU. I've got more experience of teenagers than adults, but I hear too many random cries about bullying that were simply one-off fall outs, and not on-going systematic behaviour to grind someone down.

It is good that schools are getting more effective at an anti-bullying agenda, but thinking any negative interractions are bullying isn't helpful to those who are seriously being bullied which is complex to resolve. Many of the teenagers what whinge about bullying unnnecessarily will still do so as adults.

williaminajetfighter Mon 04-Nov-13 05:49:01

Totally agree OP. we need a better agreed definition of bullying - it is the protracted harassment which really defines bullying and sets it apart from general disagreement or argument.

I see this in the public sector all the time - when said 'bullying' mostly unfounded then leads to stress and six months depression...

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