Bullies are bad for you. This is why, from time to time, I cover this topic on a natural health site. A huge number of people encounter bullies at work. These toxic people cause immense personal and professional destruction.
Adults who bully others like to do so amidst a great deal of chaos and confusion, which they create. So their target is caught off guard.
Someone may not even realize they’re being bullied That’s because it’s not always easy to discern.
Adult abusers often operate on the sly.
They’ve spent decades learning how to claw their way to the top of the heap. This skill set was most likely first learned on the playground. Researchers now know that childhood bullies often grow into mean adults.
Through the years, these “adults” have developed ingenious ways to cover their tracks. They’ve also discovered novel and more sophisticated ways to torment others. The fist-in-your-face approach won’t work in a professional setting, so what you get are sneak attacks from the rear.
Workplace Bullying Behaviors
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This type of abuse is particularly insidious because often the only one who sees it is the victim. If they tell someone else about it, they’re apt to be met with disbelief. And the innocent target could easily be labeled as the troublemaker.
Bullies typically come across as charming and likable. He or she is the last person anybody would suspect of behaving so horribly.
So What is Adult Bullying?
Bullying is any type of intimidating behavior that leaves another person fearful, such as the threat of physical violence. It can also be a veiled threat of job loss or another negative consequence. Blocking someone from obtaining something important to them, or making them believe they’ll lose something that means a lot to them, is also considered bullying.
Verbal insults that demean or humiliate someone are other forms of abuse.
Female bullies try to ostracize a target. This is achieved through what’s known as relational aggression, in which social situations are manipulated to isolate and exclude someone. Here’s a book that explains how adult female bullies operate.
Workplace Bullying Advice
For instance, in a corporate setting, the targeted individual may not be made aware of an important meeting. An office bully may also invite everyone else out to lunch, except her victim. She’ll usually make sure the person left out hears about the luncheon, usually after the fact.
A bully may also spread rumors that portray the target in a bad light. To make it more believable, the lies are often mixed in with some truths.
How To Know if You’re Being Bullied
One of the first clues is that people start treating you differently. Normally friendly people may abruptly walk away from you. Or, they may fail to return your smile.
Workplace Bullying and Gossip
Unfortunately, they may have heard unsavory gossip, which they believe. Or they may desperately want to be part of the inner circle. Fraternizing with an outcast will hurt their social standing.
Other people may want to come to your aid, but don’t, because they’re concerned about their jobs. Above all, they’re terrified of becoming the next victim.
Workplace Bullying by Co-Workers
Bullies are good at recruiting others to dole out punishment. This creates a lot of confusion, making it especially difficult to get a handle on the issue.
The target may realize the workplace has become hostile. She may dread coming to work. What she doesn’t know is that there’s a single bully behind the scenes pulling the strings.
Co-workers will be clueless as to what’s taking place. The aggressor is very careful to present a charming face to the rest of the world.
Difficulty Pinpointing the Bully
The main bully may make himself known to you. But not to others. Oftentimes, though, group setting, there is the big bully as well as a couple of foot soldiers. The people who seem overtly aggressive may be answering to a smiling face you’d never imagine was causing all the trouble.
Workplace Bullying and Escalated Incivility
In a particularly sinister twist, the main bully may even befriend you. He or she gives you a shoulder to lean on as you describe the details of your psychological assaults. Proceed very carefully if someone suddenly warms up you in the midst of such a struggle, and she seems very eager for you to share the details of your ordeal. Or if she somehow has a special insight into the details of what’s happening.
Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to recognize adult bullying until a lot of time has passed, and you can now look back on that trauma from the perspective of a survivor.
Workplace Bullying and Gaslighting
Forgiving the bully is essential, in order to move on with the life. Yes, this person has made life messy. He or she may even have engaged in gaslighting. This is very sinister, because it’s a calculated attempt to make you doubt yourself.
Gaslighting typically involves a series of lies. The aim is to convince the target of something that isn’t true. The term comes from a vintage movie. The villain was a deranged husband who tried to drive his wife crazy by shifting things in their home, and then denying he did this.
How Do You Pardon a Bully?
But, once you pardon a bully, he or she loses control over you. I always urge readers to forgive the bully (or bullies) in their lives. This is the only way to reclaim your peace. Plus, staying angry at someone is really bad for your health.
Please understand that I’m not a mental health professional. So this article is not intended as advice of any sort. I write from the standpoint of personal experience only, after encountering an adult female bully. She caused immense destruction, while presenting a saintly face to the rest of the world. I did forgive her. You can read more about my personal experience in the book below.