There is No Savior: How to be Assertive and Deal with Bullying On Your Own

There is No Savior: How to be Assertive and Deal with Bullying On Your Own

Bullied students and volunteers often ask me, “Why doesn’t Shaykh so-and-so do anything about it?” It is natural to expect a leader to solve these issues, especially an assumed moral leader dealing with moral issues perpetuated by his own colleagues. These shayukh are in position to at least address the misdealing of their own disciples. Unfortunately, many times they just don’t care, or don’t know, as difficult as it is to believe. Where should the victim turn to next? In the end, it’s best to rely on yourself.

Students are shocked when they pour out their hearts about mistreatment, and are met with empty sympathy, disinterest, or disrespect. If you go to an imam, community leader, or teacher looking like you need validation for your pain, or affirmation that you were mistreated, you will be met with weak consolation, or maybe a hug. Frankly, that is a weak position. People will feel bad for you, but they won’t respect you or help you much, until you communicate that you can help yourself. The level of support you receive will improve when your level of communication strengthens: speak with certainty that you are aware you were bullied and that bullying is wrong, and that you will personally take action to rectify the situation.

We go on to our 30s and 40s without knowing how to be assertive and deal with bullying. It is an epidemic in the workplace, and Muslim organizations are no exception. Learning to stand up for yourself and to have your own boundaries are the two most important skills to have when dealing with bullies. A rare insult or put down is better to ignore, but when you are the target of bullying, you must learn to be assertive.

Don’t keep appealing to the same people who have let you down. Learn more about bullying and seek help from professionals in that field.

For more on dealing with bullying, please visit http://www.workplacebullying.org.