Thursday, October 24, 2013
Knowledge Will Free You From the Bully's Grip
Female bullies operate through relational aggression. They create havoc for their target in her social and professional settings. This is the chief means by which they inflict punishment. Although, growing up, we're told that "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you," that's not entirely true.
The psychological wounds cut deep. In a social group, this may mean someone is marginalized. It's particularly painful if she has children, since they may no longer receive invitations to play dates or to birthday parties.
With church bullies, it may mean her entire family must pull up roots and replant themselves elsewhere. The pastor might not be aware of what is happening or he might assume the bully is not capable of such sinister behavior. Bullies are charmingly deceptive.
In the case of workplace bullying, the usual outcome is job loss, either forced or voluntary. Most people, out of self interest, will side with the bully.
Observers may believe this is just "a personality clash." If the target is emotional, she'll be blamed for "causing trouble." Disordered personalities are clever. They know what buttons to push to make you react.
Learning all you can about narcissistic personality disorder helps take much of the sting away. You'll see that your aggressor, most likely, suffers from a serious character flaw. It's her shortcoming, not yours.
Bullies often aim their arrows at people they envy. They see some quality they want, and, because of their disorder, believe they're entitled to get it. Their concept of self is weak. That's why they constantly seek praise and admiration, at the expense of someone else. In their minds, pulling you down elevates their own standing.
Learning about these dynamics gives you the tools to act. Most of the time, walking away is the best solution. It's not defeat. It's choosing a better work or worship environment, or a nicer group of friends.
Flickr photo by tellatic