We have all encountered the bully at some point in our lives. In fact most will have met the bully on many occasions. They are, sadly, everywhere. These are unevolved, unsatisfied and insecure beings, who raise their own status by lowering that of others. They intimidate, manipulate, coerce and use whatever means they have to get their way. There are many different kinds of bullies in life and it’s interesting to note why they are bullies in the first place and how they leverage their muscle.
The schoolyard bully is a 13 year old girl with a feisty temperament and she spends much of her time trying to be noticed. She wants to impress her following. She sports odd attire; vintage clothing, her mothers’ costume jewelry, and is always carrying an old clutch handbag that had to belong to someone’s grandmother. She spends most of her days threatening to “beat you up after school” and if you manage to dodge that encounter she’ll find someone else to nail, because they always find another victim. Bullying is innate to her childish character. It’s the coping mechanism of a young immature mind, and it is hoped they would outgrow these tendencies as they mature. (Ideally they should learn how to treat people with respect at home, but too often, that’s where they acquire their bully techniques – you live what you learn).
The workplace bully is the boss or co-worker who uses intimidation and threatening behavior to bend the will of their employees and/or colleagues in their favour. It all comes down to control,,,, and they have to have it. The boss who bullies is subtle and masquerades their ‘manipulation’ of people as ‘management’ of them. They are careful to ensure no witnesses to their behaviours, and align themselves with people they can control and manipulate; their henchmen. This ensures they have a fan club should they be called upon to ‘explain’ themselves. The downside to being a member of the fan club is that you are completely at the mercy of the bully now. How unfortunate if you succumbed to that, because you are now his puppet and he has you by the &%^#! The workplace bully is the hardest to deal with because they are elusive, and the most protected. Organizations usually only find out about bullies when it’s too late, ie, a complaint is filed (someone stood up and pushed back). Their supervisory responsibility, or lack thereof, has been discovered, and they now have to back-paddle to cover up their own shortcomings.
The co-worker who bullies isn’t strong enough to bully anyone alone so he uses mind games to manipulate your state of mind, usually by means of persuasion or even coercion; they’ll put all their energy into swaying your opinion of people and/or situations to rally support for their cause – often the cause is not worthy of mention let alone an argument, but they are resistant to a procedure, policy, or a person, and they’re looking to build an army. These are generally spineless individuals lacking self esteem and it’s hard not to feel sorry for them – they are destined to spin their wheels but never get ahead, and they’ll never understand why.
The family bully is the elder relative or close family connection that needs to involve themselves in all aspects of your life. (matriarch, patriarch, older sibling, or that crotchety old aunt) They will give you their opinion on everything you do, whether you want it or not. They perceive themselves as senior to you in experience, maturity, and life knowledge, and this gives them license to tell you how to live your life. If they could wedge themselves between you and your partner in bed, they would. This bully is not as threatening as the schoolyard bully or the workplace bully because at the end of the day they do care about your well being and they see themselves as your savior…..thank God they were here to give you direction, otherwise, blithering idiot that you are, you’d surely screw up (God forbid should we learn by our mistakes) Out of respect for the family connection you tolerate this bully to a point, but carefully limit your time together. If they don’t see the avoidance for what it is they will eventually end up alone, the relative no one wants to visit.
Bullying takes many forms. It can be subtle; mental abuse, non physical, and even unconscious. Believe it or not there are bullies out there who don’t realize they employ threatening tactics and that’s largely because those being bullied don’t take them to task, ie, they just take it. If no one challenges them, and as long as the bully gets what they want in the end, they will continue to employ their strong-arm tactics, because they’re successful. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? And it’s easier to walk away then it is to take a bully to task. The interesting thing about bullies is that they are by nature, cowards. It’s their own lack of confidence and poor self-image that drives them to browbeat those they perceive as confident and successful, and their ultimate quest is domination of these people.
If you manage to survive the bully’s mutiny you are either very courageous or totally oblivious, and I’m not sure which is better. Either way, I think as a mature, responsible member of society we need to be open to forgiving, if only for our own sanity. The bully can’t be very happy in life and I think it’s safe to say they have bigger issues to deal with than the rest of us. If they didn’t they wouldn’t behave this way. A truly mature, confident and spiritually evolved adult would look to help the bully understand their behavior, and eventually, forgive them. A light heart will move you forward. Resentment and grudges can only weigh you down, and life is too short to be weighed down by bitter resentment, so, be open to forgiving.
I’m also open to lacing the schoolyard bullys’ chocolate milk with a healthy shot of milk of magnesia – that’d be a pounding worth witnessing. Lifting a leg to kick you would be accompanied by a symphony of sounds guaranteed to bring her down a notch or two!
Or maybe sticking your foot out in front of the workplace bully when you pass them in the hall… gosh they’d fall on that hard floor, face first…….all those nice teeth gone……….what a shame……mmmmm
Maybe seat the family bully at the children’s table on the holidays, or better yet, invite them the day after and let them think they’re losing it.
How about we just put all 3 in 1 room and see who survives?
Guess I’m not one of those truly mature, confident and spiritually evolved adults.
3 thoughts on “The 3 Bullies”
Wow, Em, the first 3/4 of your article is very analytical and dispassionate and then, just when I’m wondering where all of this is going … wham! Out come some feelings, just like you! Interesting solutions presented at the end … Thanks for this Sunday morning read. Good stuff.
It is very interesting and insightful how you organized the type of bullies. We have all encountered these people in our lives.
Oh yes, the bullies of the world. I certainly have been a victim in the past, with my earliest experience when I was around 9 years old. I can still see her to this day and remember her tactics and cruel actions. If I recall she did not have any/many friends, which means she may never have known the joy of learning about selflessness and compassion. For all the bullies in the world, may you recognize your wicked ways sooner than later, because only then will you come close to fully developing as a human being.