Bullies are a special type of control freak. At first glance it might appear like they are the meaner and more forceful type but when you analyse their behaviour the truth is quite different.
Adults often tell kids who are being bullied that the bullies are actually weak at heart and you can stand up to them, something that kids being bullied find it hard to believe. ‘Weak’ is half right but it’s not just about their strength of personality, it’s about them being incompetent control freaks. Yes that’s right, bullies are the special class of control freaks who for one reason or another are so useless at all the other techniques that control freaks utilise that they become bullies out of sheer desperation. They’ve tried everything else and it didn’t work so this is all they have left.
The particular behaviours that mark out bullies are reasonably easy to spot:
– They take offense, but not like an ordinary person. No these apparently are the most sensitive individuals in the world because they find almost anything you do or say offensive, even the tiniest little nuance. Their offense is like a raging torrent in that it rushes upon them so quickly you can barely finish the sentence and it comes with such deep anger that you can see it clearly in their countenance.
Of course this is all deliberate and not the deep emotional response they want you to believe. They want you to think that you’ve broken some fundamental rule and every human would have the same visceral response to that. It’s your fault not theirs, you completely overstepped the mark and their emotions prove it beyond doubt because only something really bad could trigger a response like this.
From that response they now have the perfect excuse for what they are going to do next. That’s the weak part of their personality because they only way they can get the strength to do what they are going to do is by creating an overwhelming justification, which you or those around buy into. A strong person would do what they are going to do without having to create such a weight of justification.
One of the first steps in preventing bullying is not to buy into them taking offense and let them and others know that. You can ignore it, reject it or even tell them to stop being so sensitive. I can’t guarantee it will work but I’ve seen many bullies when faced with this barrier, scrabble round desperately to try to persuade people that their emotional response was real and justified.
– They’re nasty. With a bully there are no areas off limits, no rules of engagement, no code of conduct. They can and will go anywhere, say anything, do anything to hurt. As far as they are concerned this is all justified because you were the one who took the gloves off by overstepping the mark and so all they’re doing is following suit.
There’s no point trying to appeal to their higher nature, or calm them down, which normally only makes things worse. That’s because they think you are trying to change the rules now that someone is giving you a dose of your own medicine. You showed no mercy in overstepping the mark so how dare you now expect it of others. You deserve what you’re going to get.
– They like to do things in private. In particular it is important for them to take offense in private if they intend to display the emotions in public. They want the onlookers to see them upset without judging for themselves what got them so upset. It also means that they can lie to anyone who asks what got them so upset.
While some bullies are so weak they have to display the emotions in public to build a case for their later actions, some don’t want people to think of them as emotional and so hide that too, in which case they’ll be nasty in private too. Whenever someone has done that to me I’ve had to remind myself that just because they kept it private, doesn’t mean I should keep it private too and so I tell all sorts of people just to break the spell.
So there we have it – bullies are often bullies because they are incompetent control freaks. Truly pathetic.
8 thoughts on “Dissecting bullies”
Jay, thanks for posting this very important information. Every day I and a group of my friends are confronted by control bullies on twitter. They practice all the methods you outline in your article. Unfortunately the leader of that gang has attracted several followers who spread out committing the same acts over a large area of the online network of twitter. They stir up trouble everywhere they go.
Again, thanks for the very insightful information.
Thank you, very very insightful.
I’ve read so much online about control freaks and bullies, but yours is the first site that pulls things together with such clarity. These are great articles and you should write more. I believe that people of the controlling / bullying mindset are selfishly dragging down the quality of everyday life for so many people. Any more techniques on how to disarm these people would be invaluable.
Great site. Thankyou Jay
Thanks Jay, this is exactly what and how happened with the control freak in my work area. very enlightening and amazing as if you can read her mind.
Thanks and please write more, and how to fight back.
great site, I’ll expllore more on this site.
I am very much a victim of a control freak bully. Perhaps you can explain the parallel with Narsassistic personality disorder?
Jay, you are so on point with this. I dealt with bullies all through high school and you pinpointed all of their games perfectly! Thank you. We know that it’s not only in our imagination.
I have written a book entitled “From Victim to Victor: A Survivor’s True Story of Her Experiences with School Bullying. How She Overcame, Won Back Her Confidence and Found Peace and Happiness”. It is available on either Amazon.com or http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Cherie72
I’ve experienced this over and over again at work. I’m competent and good at my job and others who have been incompetent have targeted me. The only solace I have is the self-knowledge that I’m capable and good at my job. Some days though I do take it all personally and feel depressed.
I’m so sorry you are being targeted at work. The reason you are targeted is because you do so an awesome job that you’re making the incompetent bullies look bad. You’re exposing their laziness or stupidity and that’s great. The best way to get to them is to keep doing a great job at work and be the best and happiest you that you can be. Bullies are the most miserable human beings in earth.