How do people become bullies

Bullies live dangerously!

Copyright A. Dutschmann 2004. Download and copies only complete!

The subject of bullying has actually always been topical. However, it is only recently that it has gained publicity. Because of the great human and economic damage it causes, it is gratifying that more and more people are daring to talk about relevant problems.

The present document has two aimse:

1. Experience shows that some perpetrators are not aware of what they are doing with their behavior and the danger they are putting themselves. Often times, they would not even describe their behavior as bullying. The aim of writing would be achieved if one or the other could be given a pensive mood in this sense.

2. Victims are offered help to assess the situation and suggestions for strategic countermeasures are made

In English, "mob" means rioted mob, rabble, gang, clan.

Bullying has recently been used to describe all behaviors that are suitable for bullying other people, for marginalizing them, for scapegoating them, for chilling them, etc.

One can speak of bullying if the corresponding actions take place over a longer period of time and / or if they are used specifically to harm the victim and negative effects are accepted.

Basically everyone has the chance to become a victim.

That victims of bullying are "bad" and "inferior" is a myth that perpetrators like to spread. On the contrary, it is not uncommon for victims to be people who stand out for their special achievements, celebrities, creativity, etc. The perpetrators have a higher chance of becoming victims, and this cannot be stressed enough.

According to the available figures, it must be assumed that a not inconsiderable number of victims of bullying become seriously ill. Bullying has a negative impact on wellbeing, leads to lost work, disruptions to the peace and quiet and hinders production processes. The reputation of the company or authority is damaged. It does human and economic damage.

Bullies live dangerously!

There are three reasons for this:

1. Possible legal consequences
Basically, because of the damage caused, the perpetrator (s) run the risk of entering a legally problematic situation. It is of course not always possible to prove justifiable offenses in individual cases. In the past, bullying was also considered a minor offense. A legal appraisal rarely took place. In the meantime one has become more sensitive. The StGB records a number of actions that can occur in connection with bullying, e.g. insult (§185), defamation (§186) defamation (§187) etc.
Superiors who tolerate acts of bullying or even encourage them are complicit in principle.

2. Risk of being marginalized or victimized
At a certain point, bullies become a problem for colleagues, superiors or the company. The risk that they will then become victims themselves is great. Many bullies are abused themselves or are victims of group dynamics. As a result, they easily get entangled and may have to pay for what others have created through targeted intrigues.

3. Countermeasures by the victims
It must be expected that victims will take countermeasures. Strong and creative personalities usually emerge from the fight as winners. Retaliation is likely. There is of course the risk that the victim will become the perpetrator himself.

Don't be overly sensitive!

With increasing interest in the topic, as always in connection with current and much noticed topics, there is a risk of exaggeration. The feeling of being a victim of bullying can also lead to hypersensitivity. One then reacts exaggeratedly to criticisms or small inattentions, such as emotional slip-ups, and thus, under certain circumstances, sets a circular process in motion.

It must be possible to criticize objectively, fairly and constructively, without being overinterpreted as bullying. Some unpleasant decisions will be necessary for technical reasons. To make this plausible for the employees and to implement it in a fair way is the task of the responsible and managerial superior.

There are various reasons for bullying. This is important to know if you want to initiate countermeasures as a victim or if you as a manager or colleague want to prevent acts of bullying as early as possible. In this sense, perpetrators can be roughly divided into a typology:

1. Power bullies
They are often managers or people who want to gain power at the expense of the victim.

Booting out, assignment of under-demanding activities, constant irrelevant criticism, devaluing the victim's performance, not taking notice of the performance, etc.
Sometimes group dynamic processes are exploited: Victims are deliberately displaced, e.g. in the hope that they will be "finished off" by the new colleagues. They are assigned a scapegoat function. Tribunals are staged where the victim is picked (by the "mob").
Power bullies are often skillful and subtle. You have the appropriate background knowledge, connections and often a certain unscrupulousness.

2. Envy bullies
The victim is attacked because he or she has characteristics that one would like to have: titles, successes, celebrities, popularity, better specialist knowledge, etc.

Often there is also devaluation of the victim, character assassination.

3. Fear bullies
The victim reminds the perpetrators of their own inadequacies, threatens their self-esteem. You are afraid of change. Behavior that deviates from previous habits or from their expectations is devalued and criticized without questioning.
Fear bullies are often victims of power bullies who consciously stir up fear. They are mobilized against scapegoats through character assassination and targeted intrigues.

See under 1 and 2. Since fear bullies are often severely affected emotionally, they see the connections very one-sided. Regardless of how they behave, the victim is viewed negatively. Often he is assumed to have inferior personality traits. For fear of losing out in a factual discussion, which in turn could damage self-esteem, clarifying discussions are avoided. ("I don't want to talk to you about that now!", "There's no point in arguing with you!".)
Fear bullies often feel like victims, misunderstood, left alone. It is not uncommon for them to experience their behavior as a reaction to alleged wrongdoing by the victim.

4. Lust bullies
They just enjoy bullying, intriguing and causing a stir. Often they are also power bullies. From a psychiatric point of view, they often show an affinity for cold-feeling psychopaths.

The motives of other types of bullies, especially fear bullies, are skillfully exploited. The spreading of vague rumors and allegations is typical. They too tend to stage tribunals at which the victim is supposed to be finished off by their colleagues.

5. Chicken yard bullies
Groups tend to set up pecking orders. This is no different with chickens than with humans.

Direct attack, abuse, humiliation. No secret is made of the fact that you are harassing others.

6. Herd bullyingr
As a social being, people want to belong to a group, be recognized and loved there. In the group you feel secure and strong. Herd bullies are often very insecure and anxious on their own, and for this reason avoid discussing them with the victim.
In order to belong, one joins a group norm more or less unconsciously. This also applies to the selection of victims of bullying. Peer pressure can lead to astonishing distortions of perception for outsiders, as a result of which the victim is seen in a bad light.
Herd bullies tend to be less independent and self-critical. They are predominantly victims of group dynamics, of leaders and seducers. Through transfers and changes in the group system, they can become peaceful and cooperative.

7. The "noble" bully
This feels "noble", "helpful" and "good". HE or SHE stands up for the good side, while others - according to his view - offend against the good. Often these are helpers who try to compensate for a lack of expertise with increased commitment. By dividing into good and bad, one can subjectively increase one's own worth.

The own person or group is valued, the apparent or actual achievements are emphasized. At the same time, the alleged inadequacies of the "bad guys" are pointed out. There is a tendency to complain about these to superiors. Since they are "good", they take the right, if necessary, to devalue and attack all others who violate their convictions, have different views or approaches. The victim's behavior is not questioned, but criticized negatively. Other opinions will be viewed as hostility and will be punished accordingly

("I'm a pacifist - I'll kill everyone who's not!").

This typology is not complete. You may also find other shapes in your work area.
Often you can assign a perpetrator to different types at the same time. In this case, it is advisable to make assumptions about the extent of different proportions.

To a large extent, this is already evident from the typology.

Regarding external behavior, regardless of the type, the following behaviors can be determined in many cases:

1. The "friendly" bully
Chronic bullies are often charming and friendly. You don't trust them to be mean.

2. The "correct" bully
The behavior seems formal, quite polite.

3. The emotion technician
Many bullies play skillfully on the keyboard of emotions. For example, the impression is created that the victim is bad, the perpetrator and others are good (division). In many cases the suspicion that those who increasingly and repeatedly tend to use such techniques may have a personality disorder (Boredline syndrome) cannot be dismissed out of hand

  • Signaling antipathy
  • Make the victim believe that it is unpopular everywhere.
  • Signaling deep trust in a third party and at the same time emphasizing distrust of the victim.
  • Well-staged outbursts of emotions - crying, screaming, running out, etc.
  • Theatrical, emotional reviews, e.g. in the case of small actual or supposed errors. Conversely, with the intention of hitting the victim, even mediocre achievements of others are profusely praised.

4. The maddener
There are two approaches here:
a) You can do what you want, it is definitely wrong. Since the perpetrator wants to bully the victim, he is not interested in the victim's objectively good performance - on the contrary.
b) The perpetrator is unpredictable. Today he harasses the victim and stages dramatic outbursts of emotions. The victim is bent. The next day he is friendly, apparently understanding. The victim breathes a sigh of relief and may ascribe his or her problems with the perpetrator to his or her own sensitivity.

5. The open bully
He makes no secret of his intentions. Sometimes they even announce themselves as the perpetrator: "I'm here to shoot the K. down!".
They often feel safe because they feel supported and right. Often they are chicken yard and herd bullies. But they are also often pushed forward by more intelligent or skilful bullies (power bullies, lust bullies). Since open aggressors are most likely to get into the line of fire, the masterminds can withdraw in good time in an emergency.

6. The "affected" bully
He really believes that the victim is evil. They can be recognized by the fact that they already show fears and prejudices towards the victim at the first encounter. They are informed in advance about the allegedly bad characteristics of the victim ("Take care ...," You will see ...! "). Even if you have a good will to behave objectively and fairly, they will soon adapt to the group norm through peer pressure and selective perceptions. This process in turn is used as "evidence" of the victim's malignancy.

Corporate philosophy

As a matter of principle, superiors are obliged to ensure compliance with the operational peace. This must be done in such a way that the rules of fairness and respect for the individual are upheld.
However, this can only be sufficiently enforced in companies with a corresponding corporate philosophy and morality. If the rule "This is where the boss is bullying" applies, there will be problems - in the long term, for the boss and for the well-being of the company. It is in the interests of effectiveness and productivity when bullying is expressly banned and corresponding activities are carefully monitored and, if necessary, punished. Bullies need to know that they can no longer continue doing what they do without putting themselves at risk.
Directorates, operations management, superior authorities and institutions, employee representatives and, last but not least, every single employee are held responsible here.

Basic rules for victims

1. Critical self-assessment but no self-doubt
Anyone can become a victim of bullying, depending on the structural and socio-psychological conditions of a company. That in itself is no reason to doubt itself. That shouldn't prevent you from questioning yourself critically. Constructive and factual criticism should be taken seriously.
Bullying usually avoid this: They tend to make vague, undifferentiated accusations, blanket attacks against the personality and unreflective criticisms, often emotional, insulting or whispered behind their backs.
Such attacks are irrelevant and say more about the perpetrator than about the victim.

2. Stay cool, keep calm
As a rule, it is not advisable to take countermeasures when you are excited. Then you behave as the perpetrators expect, you can be manipulated and lose track of things. If necessary, a longer pause for thought, definitely for months, is indicated if you notice that emotions impair the ability to think.
Our training program is recommended In peace and serenity.

In peace and serenity
An exercise program

Excitement and unpleasant feelings can reduce our performance and quality of life.
The program offers many tips and techniques for effective emotion management in a confined space.

3. No envelopes
If you do not have a pronounced self-confidence, you are often affected when you see yourself as a victim of bullying attacks. In your frustration you tend to lump all your colleagues, all your superiors and the whole company together.
But that is usually a wrong assessment. All-round envelopes hit a lot of innocent people and maybe even friends. You already have a number of new opponents. The bullies' goal has been achieved.
Also for this reason: Take pauses for thought, observe closely, perceive differently.

4. Analyze the situation
In larger farms, this differentiated observation will quickly reveal interesting results. The bullies, for example, have enemies themselves, perhaps because they have already bullied others. Bullies often feel very safe with their fellow bullies. They therefore often assess the situation uncritically, do not think about it, while the victim can develop further and calmly plan countermeasures.

5. Expect your own misjudgments
Own misjudgments of the connections can result acutely from emotional impairment.
But otherwise one can be mistaken. Not everyone is immediately recognized as an enemy or friend. You may not know who has relationships with whom. Much background information is also not known.
Attitudes, relationships and behavioral patterns can also change. A former ally may turn away under the influence of peer pressure ("The enemy is not sleeping"). Conversely, someone may become aware of the victim's activities and offer himself up as an ally, possibly because he is himself a victim. Some perpetrators (e.g. "flock perpetrators") notice how they let themselves be carried away and find the strength to separate themselves from the crowd.

6. Seek help and allies
The increased public awareness of the problem increases the chances of finding understanding listeners and helpers. Friends, colleagues, other victims, superiors and staff representatives can be helpful in the context of the company. As a rule, you will quickly notice that the bullies themselves have enemies (they often do not notice this in their delusion) with whom one can ally.
Outside the company, professional helpers are available: supervisors, coaches, therapists, lawyers.

7. Acquire competence, proceed strategically
Crises are good motives to develop further. That is the victim's chance and the disadvantage of the perpetrator, who as a rule sees no reason to do so.
The Strategic conflict managementhelps to master the problems purposefully and confidently.

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