Friday, September 21, 2012

Recognizing a bully in the workplace.

How do I recognise a bully in the workplace?

Most bullying is traceable to one person, male or female - bullying is not a gender issue. Bullies are often clever people (especially female bullies) but you can be clever too.

Who does this 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 behaviour; 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 behaviour and is a control freak.

displays a compulsive need to criticise whilst 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 behaviour 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, humourless, joyless, ungrateful, dysfunctional, disruptive, divisive, rigid and inflexible, selfish, insincere, insecure, immature and deeply inadequate, especially in interpersonal skills.


  1. Most people are not aware of, or choose not to believe, the harm that workplace bullies can cause. I am currently suffering from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) as a result of the abuses endured at my former place of employment by narcissistic bullies. I was not alone as a victim, but other victims, still employed there, are afraid of losing their jobs and will not come forward. I went to higher authorities to report, not only my story, but also the stories of those afraid to do so. I could speak openly, at this point, as I had nothing left to lose. I was stunned to discover nothing was to be done about these cases. Because there are not specific anti-bullying legislations in any of our 50 states, the director of human resources stated that nothing had to be done about verbal or emotional abuse. If an abuse cannot be labeled under sexual harassment or racism, for example, it just does not “exist.” The bullying, which took place at the educational institution for which I worked, did not fall under abuses covered by state law so I was, basically, dismissed. If the severe injustice of the bullying has not been enough to deal with emotionally, I also have to cope with the fact that my place of employment was a Roman Catholic seminary and I am a faithful Roman Catholic who felt blessed to be employed there. As I sought assistance up the line of authority, right up to the Archbishop, I was written off as a “troublemaker” – something I had never been thought of prior to the arrival of a new president at this institution. I always gave above and beyond in my mission at the seminary.

    Other countries have anti-bullying in their workplace legislation and their Catholic dioceses usually have something similar in their employee handbooks. I have discovered, however, that there are dioceses within the U.S. that have rules against workplace bullying within their handbooks, despite the absence of state law. This only makes sense, not only for religious institutions, but for all places of employment.

    This archdiocese appears to stand by state law only when it is convenient for them. The Catholic Church is pro-life and, although state law says abortion is legal, the church fully believes abortion is murder and should be illegal. I completely agree with the church’s pro-life position, however, why does this archdiocese choose to stand with state law, or absence thereof, when it comes to the degradation of human beings through emotional abuse?

    Thank you for this blog post. This is a very important, rarely discussed, issue in our society.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it wasn't an easy thing to do, but I hope it will be of assistance to others. God Bless.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it wasn't an easy thing to do, but I hope it will be of assistance to others. God Bless.