Thursday, October 9, 2014

Handling The Workplace Bully

There has been a great deal of discussion about bullies on the playground and I
applaud the efforts being made to curb bullies in the classroom and at play.
Unfortunately however, bullying does not end when one becomes an adult.  
Bullies are in the adult workplace too, and they can make your life and the
lives of your family members miserable.  

So how do you cope?


Very often the bully in the workplace is a man.

But …


Don't assume that they are always men.  Women can be bullies too,
and as a woman I am ashamed to admit that our sex can be brutally cruel.

So what is the profile of a bully?


I am no expert, but from my own personal experience all the
bullies I have known have shared one characteristic ~


We have all met them.  The person who only cares about
him or herself.  The person who has no or very little interest in
the needs or concerns of others.  So don't expect the bully to
back down because they have gone too far.  They don't care
how you feel.  To them, you are on the edge of nowhere.

This knowledge may make you feel that you don't stand a
chance.  Obviously there will be times when the bullying is
so intense that you are better off cutting your losses and leave.
But that is not always the case and I'll help you understand why.


It's also been my experience that narcissists have self doubt that is
masked by their bravado.  Despite the fact that their lives are so filled
with "me~ism"  unless they are a full fledged sociopath, the bully will
have an insecurity.  My advice ~ find it.  Observe this person closely
learn what pushes their buttons and you will have found the flaw that
they are so anxious to hide with their bravado.

So if you want to hold your own in a bullying environment you
can sit back and let it happen or you can gather every bit of courage
you have and stand up to it.


Okay ~ I don't want you to do anything stupid so I am exaggerating a bit
here.  While this is a serious topic, I don't want a bullying situation to
become so intense that you feel helpless to overcome.  A bit of humor
can help to overcome all negativity.

What I don't want you to do is cower.  Stand up for yourself.  Don't
let yourself be abused by a narcissistic insecure co-worker or boss.
You have every right to shine too, and here is the rub.


Very often you are not the only one being bullied.  The bully will target for
different reasons.  The bully will go after the weak, the desperate and the
bully will especially target the one who is smarter, more creative and more
productive than himself.

The weak and desperate are easy targets and it bolster's the ego of the
bully.  You can just see the bully puff up when he goes after someone
like this.  This gives the bully the strength to go after the main
target ~ the one who threatens his or her position.  This might be you!


Suppose you are smarter and more creative and ultimately a bigger
asset to your organization than the bully.  The bully will have to come
after you because in his or her mind no one is allowed to be better.
The bully is threatened.  That's a problem for you and you best be
prepared to take it head on, or run for the hills.

Why do you want to stay?  Perhaps it's because you love your
job and despite the bully, you are happy.  Or perhaps the potential for
advancement in your career requires you to be in this position for a
while.  Whatever the reason, if you want to keep your job, don't let
the bully scare you off.  You know he or she will so be prepared.


So you are in the battle.  Now what?

Maintain a positive attitude
Don't expect your co~workers to defend you
Control your emotions
Document everything!
You are not in a fist fight ~ it's a battle of the mind and the will
and remember two things my Mom taught me:


My Mom was smart ~ but she didn't make this one up, Charlotte did.
Let the bully make a fool of him or herself.  They will eventually
you know.


Kill them with kindness.
Yes ~ Mom said this too.  Stroke their ego big time!  They can't refuse a
compliment.  And remember after you do, it's okay to fart as you walk
away.  Make sure it's a real stinky one too.  Have some cheese and beans
first ;-)

Remember, I told you that I am no expert.  My Daddy taught me to
stand up to bullies when I was a little girl.  I have been through the school
of hard knocks and can hold my own.  But if it appears that I am no
match for the bully or if it's not worth the energy ~ I think it's okay
to run for the hills!

Right Bentley?  Bentley says no.  He has first class bravery.
He never backs down.  He's a terrier after all.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. This is a great post, Susan, and so true. I never would have believed that adults could act that way, but they sure do. I have even encountered bullying outside of the workplace, usually it's more subtle like being excluded or things like that. Thank you for writing about this.

    1. Sadly, it seems that bullies exist everywhere. I don't understand why. Life is so short. Why do we have to fight?

  2. Great post Susan. I have even seen bullies in the nursing home. They are always a bully.

  3. I had a female coworker whose bullying took the form of ignoring me. She would act as though I didn't exist. This lasted until she moved on. I spoke to my manager about it but there wasn't much she could do. All because I called her over when a customer had a problem with a transaction she had handled. Immaturity at it's finest! Made for a pretty uncomfortable environment for me though when we had to work at the same time.

  4. Susan . . . This is profound, especially your "profile of a bully". It is also profoundly helpful. Thank you.

  5. The worst bullies I have encountered were women. From my experience the few men bullies were easy to avoid but women seem to turn it into a vendetta.

    My husband is the peace-at-any-price person & will endure a lot before standing up to someone. He hates confrontation. But I've seen his endurance lead to an amazing promotion. I didn't know about it until at least a decade after, when I asked friends, family & co-workers to write him a letter for his 50th birthday. The best one was from a coworker who shared the story of being the bully when my husband was in his 30's - at the same time he was watching my husband's character, watching his work ethic & overwhelmed at one point when my husband actually apologized to HIM for something in spite of being so mistreated. (& he did have reason to apologize for one infraction against this young man) Eventually they became the best of friends & he was a big influence in helping him get his current position.

    Now that he has authority he still uses the same method for dealing with bullies. He recently befriended a bully, learned about his likes, dislikes, went out of his way to include him, ect. when he could have really made the man's life miserable. Because of my husband's friendship, he has changed his ways & become a very good employee.

    At first glance, my husband looks like pushover but I've learned that he is looking past the obvious. He's looking to the future & at the bully's heart. He endures some bullying to reach the bully in the end. The person is much more important to him than the circumstances he's going through.

    Only once in all these years has he ever given up on a bully. It was after almost 40 yrs of trying to get along with him when he finally put his foot down & said no more. We both think he should have stood up to him sooner but hind sight is always clearer. Some people are so narcissistic they will never change.

  6. My 21 yr old daughter was bullied by her female (40 something) boss for 2.5 yrs she was being ignored or yelled at or have papers thrown at her etc. . she would come home crying. She worked in a daycare centre for young children and they adored her (which is why I think the boss picked on her). In the end she had to leave. I prayed that something good would come of it and it did. She found a much better job, same profession but much closer to home, more hours, less stressful and much nicer people to work with. Thank God it all worked out in the end.

  7. I love these clips - humor is good !! Bullies are disgusting! I stopped on a round about yesterday (where you are supposed to be going slow) to avoid hitting a dog. The car behind me went in to full road rage......... I pulled up and off the street and the moron still was freaking out ! You are so right.... bullies are of all ages. I wish these wack-a-doodles would stay home and keep their insecurities and "bravado" in their own miserable houses!

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