Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Bullying and bullies are widespread. At all levels, in homes and schools, workplaces and at your local golf club, they create a vast amount of human suffering. What can we do?
See It If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck . . . it probably is a duck. Bullies have most, if not all of these identifying characteristics:
Dominating – Have to be the “alpha”; fear of looking “one-down” thus must find targets who seem weaker; no compassion.
Defensive – Never wrong; fault and scorn others; avoid personal responsibility.
Deceptive – Manipulate grievances to gain support; blames/ scapegoats; cheat; hide truth; seized power is based on lies.
Recognise Enablers Some people and organisations make use of bullies. It's like profiting from a crime someone else commits or they put on the pretense that is an effective and productive skill, or that other issues to the side are a more important focus than what the bully is doing. Or they try to justify bullying such as, “both sides do it”, “but she’s your mother”, “kids are like that” or “they need a tough CEO”. People with an authoritarian personality often have an affinity for bullying leaders, and commonly form the core of their supporters.
Protect Yourself Weigh your options and find an exit strategy as best you can. First of all, do no harm – to yourself. Accumulate as much evidence as you can, even if you think its irrelevant it ma not be. Write everything down.
Have Compassion The bully is a pathetic wretch who has low self esteem and needs to make others feel bad so that they feel good. Lots of suffering in those heads. Compassion for a bully is not approval of their behavior. What is calming and strengthening about this attitude is that it establishes an inner freedom, “you will never control my mind”.
The truth hurts You know what is true and tell it to others. And if appropriate, tell the truth to bullies and their enablers. It shows you are not afraid. Bullies rely on people shutting up. Show them up for what they are. Bullies may acquire institutional authority but never the moral high ground.