Bullying: The Ultimate Power Trip
Most of the following info was taken from a UK website in 2000.
People can be bullied in any relationship. By parents, children, siblings, husbands or wives. By neighbors, coworkers, bosses or landlords. Even strangers can bully you by snatching control of a situation and putting you on the spot.
How do you know if you're being targeted for bullying?
Bullying differs from harassment and assault in that the latter can result from a single incident or small number of incidents - which everybody recognizes as harassment or assault - whereas bullying tends to be an accumulation of many small incidents over a long period of time. Each incident tends to be trivial, and on its own and out of context does not constitute an offense or grounds for disciplinary action. So...
What is bullying?
- constant nit-picking, fault-finding and criticism of a trivial nature. The triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying; often there is a grain of truth (but only a grain) in the criticism to fool you into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism is based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication.
- combined with the criticism is a constant refusal to acknowledge you and your contributions and achievements or to recognize your existence and value.
- constant attempts to undermine you and your position, status, worth, value and potential.
- where you are in a group (e.g. at work), being singled out and treated differently; for instance,everyone else can get away with murder but the moment you put a foot wrong - however trivial - action is taken against you.
- being isolated or separated from colleagues, excluded from what's going on, marginalized, overruled, ignored, sidelined, frozen out.
- being belittled, demeaned and patronized, especially in front of others.
- being humiliated, shouted at and threatened, often in front of others
- being overloaded with work, or having all your work taken away and replaced with either menial tasks or with no work at all.
- finding that your work - and the credit for it - is stolen and plagiarized.
- having your responsibility increased but your authority taken away.
- having vacation leave, sick leave and - especially - compassion leave refused.
- being denied training necessary for you to fulfill your duties.
- having unrealistic goals set, which change as you approach them.
- finding that everything you say and do is twisted, distorted and misrepresented.
- being subjected to disciplinary procedures with verbal or written warnings imposed for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation.
- being coerced into leaving through no fault of your own.
How do I recognize a bully?
Most bullying is traceable to one person, male or female - bullying is not a gender issue. Bullies are often clever people but you can be clever too.
Who do these describe in your life?
- Jekyll & Hyde nature - vicious and vindictive in private but innocent and charming in front of witnesses; no-one can (or wants to) believe this individual has a vindictive nature - only the current target sees both sides.
- is a convincing, compulsive liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment.
- uses lots of charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present; the motive of the charm is deception and its purpose is to compensate for lack of empathy.
- relies on mimicry to convince others that they are a "normal" human being but their words, writing and deeds are hollow, superficial and glib.
- displays a great deal of certitude and self-assuredness to mask their insecurity.
- excels at deception.
- exhibits unusual inappropriate attitudes to sexual matters or sexual behavior; underneath the charming exterior there are often suspicions or intimations of sexual harassment, sex discrimination or sexual abuse (sometimes racial prejudice as well).
- exhibits much controlling behavior and is a control freak.- displays a compulsive need to criticize while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge, value and praise others.
- when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression.
- often has an overwhelming, unhealthy and narcissistic need to portray themselves as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate person, in contrast to their behavior and treatment of others; the bully is oblivious to the discrepancy between how they like to be seen (and believe they are seen), and how they are actually seen.
- has an overbearing belief in their qualities of leadership but cannot distinguish between leadership (maturity, decisiveness, assertiveness, trust and integrity) and bullying (immaturity, impulsiveness, aggression, distrust and deceitfulness).
- when called to account, immediately and aggressively denies everything, then counter-attacks with distorted or fabricated criticisms and allegations; if this is insufficient, quickly feigns victimhood, often by bursting into tears (the purpose is to avoid answering the question and thus evade accountability by manipulating others through the use of guilt).
- is also aggressive, devious, manipulative, spiteful, vengeful, doesn't listen, can't sustain mature adult conversation, lacks a conscience, shows no remorse, is drawn to power, emotionally cold and flat, humorless, joyless, ungrateful, dysfunctional, disruptive, divisive, rigid and inflexible, selfish, insincere, insecure, immature.
What can bullying do to my health?
- constant high levels of stress and anxiety.
- frequent illness such as viral infections (esp. flu and glandular fever, colds, coughs, chest, ear, nose and throat infections). Stress plays havoc with your immune system.
- aches and pains in the joints and muscles with no obvious cause; also back pain with no obvious cause and which won't go away or respond to treatment.
- headaches and migraines.
- tiredness, exhaustion, constant fatigue.
- sleeplessness, nightmares, waking early, waking up more tired than when you went to bed.
- flashbacks and replays, obsessiveness, can't get the bullying out of your mind
- irritable bowel syndrome.
- skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, athlete's foot, ulcers, shingles, urticaria.
- poor concentration.
- bad or intermittently-functioning memory, forgetfulness, especially with trivial day-to-day things
- sweating, trembling, shaking, palpitations, panic attacks.
- tearfulness, bursting into tears regularly and over trivial things
- uncharacteristic irritability and angry outbursts
- hyper vigilance (feels like but is not paranoia), being constantly on edge.
- hypersensitivity, fragility, isolation, withdrawal
- reactive depression, a feeling of hopelessness, futility, lethargy, anger.
- shattered self-confidence
Addendum: Bullying in Religious Environments = Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
|Bullies at church may be classified as wolves in sheep's clothing. They want to eat you up, in a spiritual sense. Specifically, they want to steal your power as though all of life was one big video game. Because all religions tap into the unseen spiritual forces of good & evil, no religion is safe from the constant encroachment of wolves. The more influential the church is, the more it will be targeted by clever wolves of all kinds. Additionally, many people who didn't start out as bullies sometimes become them when they are suddenly given position and authority beyond their skill or maturity level. Conservative religious groups usually prefer to hire from within their own ranks and thus, the pool of candidates may be ill-qualified for leadership. When that happens - as Saint Paul warned in in 2 Timothy 3:5-7 - such a man could easily become conceited as he lords his power over those for whom he is responsible.
Everyone is born with power. Here is a list of some of the powers every man, woman and child may possess on any given day.
- Social connections
- Good Reputation/Integrity
Wolves have certain tastes and they only bully people whose power they feel they lack. I have seen small children bullied by their teachers or parents. (Because children are pure.) Some people ARE just plain cruel; but wolves are a unique breed because they are highly motivated to act the part of the sincere religious disciple by following the letter (but not the spirit) of the law. I myself have been bullied in churches by men who, I suppose, were jealous of my competence as a filmmaker and they used their position in the church to marginalize me and give me meanial tasks. I have been targeted by women in singles groups who were jealous in some other way. Depending on the scope of the bullying, self-doubt, thoughts of escape-by-any-means (including suicide) will naturally enter a target's mind. You will usually find that religious men who bully women are secretly addicted to pornography.
A Counter-Attack Plan: Things You Can Do
- Build a "Glory Days" display at home. Display your diplomas, trophies, kid's drawings, birthday cards & happy memories. Remember who you are and whose you are and that your value as a person is Incredible. This knowledge is your secret weapon!
- Require the bully to communicate with you in writing as much as possible. It hates a paper trail and is generally paranoid about how written comments could be used against it.
- Keep your nose clean. Don't give it an opportunity to accuse you with anything truly unethical.
- Don't get angry at it and yet, don't pity it either. Showing pity for it may feel like you're taking the moral high ground but you are actually enabling it to escape responsibility for its actions if you treat it as a victim. Everyone who aspires to leadership has to be able to take the heat and manage resources. If you can see the writing on the wall then take responsibility for yourself, drop everything and get out.
- Be mindful of your health! Wash your hands, get extra sleep, use sunblock, take vitamins & disinfect your keyboard regularly.
- Watch for your opportunity to escape. If you are a Christian, rely on God alone to provide your escape and your support when you choose to move on. Churches become cultish when bullies gain the pulpit and presume authority over your very soul. The Holy Spirit of God indwells every believer so there's no question of who has direct authority over your soul - and it's not a man. It doesn't matter if he "means well" and that other people appear unaffected; if his/her behavior is making you sick then you're better off in different company.
- Don't try to defend yourself to others as this will only draw fire. You may find like-minded fellow travelers and you might not. Just be careful who you confide in because everyone is a potential "agent" (if I may borrow a symbol from the Matrix movie).
Write to me.