Bullies Like Themselves!
Have you ever wondered if bullies actually like themselves? They are constantly yelling, tormenting or intimidating their employees. How can they feel good about themselves? I know I couldn’t treat people with disrespect and feel good about myself. Do we, as nice people, try to put a spin on it and attempt to convince ourselves that he can’t be all bad, that he’s just misunderstood, he’s had a lousy childhood, or some other excuse for the behavior?
Well, guess what. Bullies really do like themselves just the way they are.
The bully intentionally tries to humiliate and shame others. They do this by instinctively recognizing someone’s insecurities so he/she can attack. Research indicates that the bullying is a projection of their own shame and feelings of inadequacy. When a bully attacks, it stops any sort of inclination to look within themselves. They can also find bullying exciting because it actually stimulates their physical experience of power and authority. My own experience has been that the bully I’m trying to cope with thinks he is very powerful and only he has the ability to wield that authority. I have seen him react to his bullying with actual satisfaction showing on his face.
In actuality, research has shown that a bully does have feelings of shame but they have developed a mechanism for dealing with this shame. They utilize the most primitive and destructive shame response: they attack others.
Do bullies have low self-esteem?
If so, they don’t feel it as one normally would. Again, research has shown that in fact bullies don’t experience low self-esteem. Rather, they have a tendency to be egotistical and in some cases could be considered narcissistic.
A bully usually doesn’t attack a confident person, but prefers to attack someone who is vulnerable. In my opinion, this doesn’t mean that the person being attacked is weak, but more likely a very nice person who believes in respect and being treated fairly. To a bully, this means “fight on.”
My First-Hand Experience
My first-hand experience with a workplace bully has been an interesting one. I will admit that when I first encountered the bully-like behavior, I tried to convince myself that there was something in his past or in his life experience that had made him mean and bitter, but that deep down he was probably an okay guy. As time went by, however, I noticed how he seemed to take pleasure in treating others badly. It seemed he was “happy” with his behavior and thoroughly enjoying tormenting others.
After a while I stopped caring, honestly, about whether he’d had some sort of trauma in his past. The fact that he continued the harassment and abusive behavior to nice, caring people just enforced in me that he was bad and would always be bad.
I remember many times going home and calling my mother, or dropping by her house in tears. I would say to her that I could not understand how someone so horrible could be successful. Her response was always the same, “well, you know, the devil takes care of his own.” How right she was!
Don’t Give Up Hope
What I’m trying to get to in this article is that if you are trying to deal with a workplace bully, don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that deep down they must be okay. They aren’t. Now what you really need to do is protect yourself. I’ll be discussing some ways to do that in a future blog. For now, just don’t give in to the notion that he/she is suffering inside. Remember — they like themselves!
If you are being bullied at work, or you have seen it or have someone close to you that is experiencing it, please get in touch with me. I want to help, if I can. There are options out there and ways to get out of the awful situation you have found yourself in. Please don’t give up hope!
There are always options, even if we can’t see them at first. One of mine has been to start a new career in working from home and becoming an online entrepreneur. I’ll delve more into this in other blogs, but I just wanted you to start thinking about what you might be able to do to get out of your bully situation. More later!
— The Bully Basher