Is passive aggression a form of bullying?
Ask a room full of people to put up their hands if they’ve been bullied and you’re sure of a positive reaction. Ask if they’ve bullied anyone themselves, you’ll get the opposite reaction. No one wants the B label. But this behaviour has to start somewhere.

Recent anti-bullying legislation has sought to criminalise offense.For example, the school developing a hate speech policy which covers five words specifically. With more no-nos about what you can or cannot say (in the office or at school) are we now encouraging a rise in passive aggression? And if so, is it bullying?
Recognise any of these?

The silent treatment
Refusing to help when asked
Cutting you off when you’re in mid flow
Not returning calls and emails
Excluding you from parties
Show up late for meetings
Failing to get projects done on time
Putting other requests ahead of your own
Sabotaging ideas
Stealing credit for your work
Denying praise.
Scapegoating problems on to you

Running an anti-bullying charity which advises parents and young people, it’s necessary to remain up to date with changes in approach but also to keep things in balance. The organisation I founded eighteen years ago has seen the definition of bullying expand to cover all the above and more. So much of it is subjective. That aside, cyberbullying and other forms of abuse do exist and we continue our fight to help victims. While we can’t promise to eradicate bullying altogether we can certainly campaign to curb the excesses.


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