There are many reasons how and why bullies target others, and the reasons are consistent between different cases. There are many euphemisms used to describe bullying (e.g. firm management”) and myths used to justify it (e.g. “victims are weak”). None of these are true. Bullying often repeats because bullies target their victims for the same reasons each time. This page may answer the question, “Why do I keep getting bullied?”.
Why do people get bullied?
Bullies can act because they are jealous of their target’s status, talents, abilities, circumstances or possessions. Bullies act without integrity, and despise people who display it. Sometimes they act with no reason other than for the kick they get from realising that something they have done has provoked a reaction in their target. Making people annoyed can be a cheap source of gratification and amusement. But bullies with jobs fear exposure of their perceived shortcomings, such as inadequacy and incompetence, and these people bully not for fun but in order – they think – to survive. Competent colleagues fuel the bully’s fear that shortcomings in their capabilities will surface, so they tend to select targets who fulfil some of the criteria below.
- Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
- Bullies are predatory and opportunistic. Irrespective of any other explanation, being in the wrong place at the wrong moment is the main reason.
- Being competent:-
- being good at their job, often excelling;
- being willing to go that extra mile and expect others to do the same;
- being successful, tenacious, determined, courageous, having fortitude;
- being imaginative, creative, innovative;
- being able to master new skills;
- thinking long term and seeing the bigger picture;
- being helpful, always willing to share knowledge and experience;
- being diligent and industrious
- Being Popular:-
- with colleagues, customers, clients, pupils, parents, patients, etc;
- Being regarded as an expert and the person to whom others come for advice, either personal or professional
- having a sense of humour, including displays of quick-wittedness
- Having strength of character:-
- displaying integrity, honesty, intelligence and intellect;
- having a well-defined set of values that they are unwilling to compromise;
- being trustworthy, trusting, conscientious, loyal and dependable;
- a sense of fairness:
- willingness to tackle injustice;
- low propensity to violence and strong forgiving streak
- refusing to join an established clique
- being sensitive (having empathy, concern for others, respect, tolerance etc)
- being slow to anger
- showing independence of thought or deed
- refusing to become a corporate clone and drone
- having high coping skills under stress, especially when the injury to health becomes apparent
- Having a vulnerability:-
- The need to earn a living from work;
- being proud of one’s reputation and record;
- being too old or too expensive
- finding it difficult to say no
- low assertiveness and a need to feel valued
- believing everyone is on the same team and working toward the same goals;
- being too tolerant;
- being a perfectionist;
- low propensity to violence and strong forgiving streak;
- a tendency to self-deprecation, indecisiveness, deference and approval seeking;
- high expectations of those in authority and a distaste for those who abuse their power;
- quick to apologise when accused, even if not guilty.
- Having raised concerns
- .. about bullying, fraud, safety or any matter where the bully feels implicated or at risk as a result.
The characteristics above typically apply to targets who have done nothing wrong to provoke the treatment to which they are subjected. However, some people respond to bullying with bullying. Sometimes they target their bully, effectively engaging in a fight. Revenge bullying does not require the subject of the revenge to have the sort of characteristics listed above. Some would argue that bullying in revenge is justifiable, but in absolute terms it is no less unreasonable than the behaviour that provoked it.
It is common too for a person be reasonably reprimanded for something they have done wrong, to feel the reprimand is unjustified, and to take action against the person who reprimanded them. This is a common response to whistle-blowing, but it can also happen to a manager who takes reasonable steps to address a shortcoming in a subordinate’s work or conduct, and it can happen when someone snaps in response to a bully’s efforts to provoke anger. The perpetrator of revenge bullying can lose any moral high ground they might have had at the outset, and if they persist or their response is particularly mean or damaging, they can ultimately lose their right to criticise the conduct to which they were originally subjected.
Taken from Bully On Line
I’m Gill Grantham and I am a volunteer with Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau working in the social policy unit.
I took early retirement last year because of severe bullying within a public sector workplace. I now want to try to improve workplace practices and change legislation in order to protect the dignity of people at work.
I also want to make it easier for people to take employers to court if employees have been defamed. Employers may do this for various reasons but one reason is to prevent career progression.
Because of my work for CAB, I have come to understand the unfairness and abuse that has been made of zero hour contracts by employers. Although there has been a lot of interest in the media recently regarding zero hour contracts, I believe that protection for employees need to be built into these contracts in order to prevent employers abusing the flexibility that these contracts offer.
Support the campaign to introduce legislation to protect workers against workplace bullying in the UK