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What to Do When You are the Bully

I know – you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “There is no way I would ever act like a bully.”

Sometimes you do act like a bully – and everyone around you knows you are acting like one – except you.  How does this happen?

Here’s how it has happened to me in the past – tell me if it sounds familiar…

A couple of weeks ago – starting on Sunday, I think – I started going downhill energetically.  I just didn’t feel right.  I was very tired, my head hurt, my body didn’t feel quite right and everything started to annoy me.

On top of that, things were in an upheaval energetically.  I had heard that there had been a full eclipse, which if you follow the people who study that sort of thing, they will tell you that this is a sign of change and re-ordering in the universe and based on what was happening, there may be some truth to it.

Many friends and co-workers who had been with me in attendance at a groundbreaking business event went down hard with the flu or some other sickness.  A large compensation package I had negotiated – that I thought was finalized – I discover has some people who object and now the entire package is in limbo.

My wife gets into a minor car accident (no injuries on either party thankfully); friends who are normally happily married are fighting like cats and dogs, business deals that were looking good fall through for no reason, people who never miss a scheduled appointment with me start no-showing  and my Miami Dolphins, in desperate need of an upgrade at the offensive coordinator position go out and hire a guy who’s offense was even worse than Miami’s this year.

In short, it seemed like everything was in chaos; nothing felt like it was going right and to top it all off, I got sick for the first time since 2007.  You can guess that I was NOT a  Happy Camper.

I know that there have been times in your life where things were going exactly as I have described for you.  Maybe the details are different, but the overall energy is the same – nothing is going right and you are very upset about it.

This is where you can act like a bully and not even know it.  When your life feels as if it is going this way, how do you respond?  How do you treat your spouse or significant other?  Your kids?

Because I am the Bully Proof Sensei (and I have trained myself to be aware of these sort of energy situations) I know that if I do not watch it, I can turn into a Grade A, Ruby-Red, #1 A-hole when I am in situations like the one described above.  Part of it is my Marine Corps background, part of it is my absolute intolerance for B.S. or stupidity and part of it is when I get into a situation where I am not happy, my #1 priority is focusing on what I can control and steer that towards the outcome that I want.

In instances where I see that none of my options are on the table, I get v-e-r-y cranky.  To prevent myself from acting like a bully,  I employ a very useful technique that I want to share with you for NOT turning into a bully…

I shut up.

I get very quiet.  I say nothing.  I breathe.  If I catch myself getting snippy or irritable, I put myself in time-out.

I will go read a book.  I will go wash the car.  I’ll go walk on the beach.  I’ll go surfing.  I’ll go play guitar.  I’ll start cleaning my house or start some other project.  If I am working with people, I will tell them point-blank, “I am getting frustrated and/or upset right now for this reason and rather than say something I will regret, I am taking a walk.”

More than once I have said to my wife, “Honey, I am in a crappy mood right now; it has nothing to do with you but I am a grumpasaurus right now and don’t want to be a jerk to you, so I am just going to be quiet; could you please give me space until I feel better?”

In every single instance that I have ever used any of those techniques, they have always worked.  The other parties always understand.  If it is just me putting myself into time out, I always feel better at the end.  It never fails to at least get rid of the tension and allow me to deal with what is going on with a level head and not to act like a bully.

I don’t know about you, but I hate apologizing for screwing up and acting like an idiot.  Prevent yourself from ever being the bully.  Know when the times may be that you feel like acting out and know the warning signs of when those feelings are coming on.  Once you have them identified and you know how to handle yourself, you will never have to be in the situation where you are apologizing for acting like a bully.

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