It's a hard thing to assert boundaries. I'm learning that it is true, that no one will respect you if you don't respect yourself. Bullies don't exist only at schoolyards. Take a second and Google "workplace bullying." It's amazing.
I have a co-worker who routinely lambasts and demeans people. She brings her personal control issues to work and demeans everyone in the workplace, making it perfectly clear that she respects no one and has little regard for anyone.
I have spoken with her about this in the past, and she continues to do it, being ruder with each occurrence. Each time I am firmer about my boundaries. I've always been really good at controlling my temper, and it is very very rare for me to reach the end of my patience. But when I'm done, I'm done.
She decided to corner me and dress me down yesterday at work because she didn't like a decision I'd made. I was firm with her regarding her behavior and I restated my boundaries. After the confrontation I don't know why I was embarrassed that I had let someone know exactly what I was thinking and that I stood up for myself, especially since it was a woman who, I am quite certain, is already planning to retaliate and challenge my boundaries again.
This morning I reflected on the conversation and realized that, because I did nothing more than point out that her behavior was unacceptable and I set boundaries, I had no reason to be embarrassed. Maybe I'm learning something.....finally.
Maybe there's something here that may be of help or encouragement.