This is a question I got that gives me more thoughts than answers.
So the quick answer is that – to prove bullying – you have to prove that this is a pattern of behavior that serves no legitimate purpose except to upset or harass you. To do that – you need to keep a log and document what is happening. You do not need to respond. In fact – it’s better if you don’t.
What you want your documentation to show is that – this happened more than once and that it served no legitimate purpose. That means – if you fight or argue with them – they can argue that they were fighting back – and that would be viewed as a legitimate purpose.
So – start by downloading my documentation log – http://thebullyvaccine.com/downloads/documentationlog.pdf and document – everything. And I mean everything. An incident may seem insignificant in isolation – but to prove bullying, you don’t look at an isolated incident – you prove a pattern of behavior – so – document everything.
The next question is how to prove – slander. Slander is making a false statement to harm a person’s reputation. This is often a part of bullying. In fact – it’s a big part of bullying. Slander is a common bullying tactic.
My honest advice? Don’t worry about proving that a bully is slandering you. Just prove that they are bullying you. If you get into an argument about how what they are saying isn’t true – – they will win that as that will act as a legitimate reason for their behavior.
I know it’s hard to believe – but you want to keep the focus on the bully and their behavior. Don’t allow them to switch the topic to you or your behavior.
I realize it is really hard to do nothing while people lie about you. But I’ve been through this personally on multiple occasions. I assure you – my reputation is just fine. Most people understood that the bully was lying – once it became clear – the person was a bully.
Also – don’t assume that people who aren’t speaking up to defend you – believe the bully. The probably don’t believe the bully. They may be victims themselves. Most people respond to lies – by ignoring them. So – don’t assume silence is belief of the lie. It probably isn’t.
The good news is that bullies aren’t very creative. I have a post on this: https://bullyvaccineproject.com/bullies-arent-very-creative/
I have not once responded to slander. It’s not true and I don’t need to defend myself from lies. What matters – is not me – it’s the liar. So – focus on that.
If someone asks me whether I heard what someone else said about me I say – no – I don’t pay attention to what bullies have to say. And I leave it at that. And then I watch the person’s jaw drop in awe of my courage.
I a bully confronts me directly, I don’t defend myself – I smile – look directly at them and ask them why they feel so compelled to spread rumors about other people. And then wait for their response. If they don’t back off – I repeat my question. The problem isn’t me- it’s them.
This really does work.
All the materials on this website are free. If you can afford a donation – great – if not – access whatever you need. There are training videos and coaching videos to help you learn the behavioral science of how to get unwanted behaviors to stop and how to apply that science to the problem of bullying.
Also – please share with anyone you know who is struggling.