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What Everybody Ought to Know About Bullies

Hold your ground; this is crucial when confronting a bully. Imagine they are a professional fighter in a ring and you are in the audience with no protective gear on and they are desperately trying to hook you in the ring for a fight. DON'T get in the ring.

Many bullies are skilled at seduction and can dupe the smartest of us.

They often charm others to gain their trust by exuding wit, warmth and friendship. The biggest hook they use is flattery which often turns into emotional battery.

Bully's are masters at providing a charismatic way about them which is ALWAYS self serving. Bully's are skilled manipulators and in fact many achieve outstanding success and become public figures.

They often make unkind remarks, I call these;


If you do have the courage to pull them up on this they will either sulk and/or appear hurt or they will tell you to stop being so sensitive and/ or that they were only joking.

Many bully's are obsessed with their image, evasive, two faced, self righteous, defiant, passive aggressive and distort the truth. The emotional and psychological negative baggage they bring to any situation can create a devastating impact on others.

One of my client's Miss X loved her job and got on with all the team, yet one particular female colleague was making her life miserable. She was charming to begin with, and they often went out socially after work and then came the little digs undermining Miss X in front of colleagues. Gradually it got worse her colleague purposely tried to trip her up by sending memos to their boss with incorrect information on, excluding her from social situations, talking over her, interrupting her and after a few months Miss X plucked up courage to speak to her direct boss.

He suggested she may be imagining it. What made it more challenging was her colleague was so charming to all the male bosses, none of them would hear a bad word against her.

However Miss X became exasperated. Eventually she asked to speak to the HR Dept, who were really sympathetic, but did not offer any tools on how to deal with the situation and didn't want to pursue it due to legal implications. So where was she supposed to take this? She was not sleeping or eating and was irritable with her family. She says she was fuming, but stuffed all her anger down, which in turn caused her to feel mildly depressed and lethargic and dreading getting up each day.

This is not an uncommon situation; SO many other clients bring issues like this to me. Sadly many tell me they feel they are to blame. Many are high powered male and female professionals, highly bright talented males and females but the bullying has floored them be it personally or professionally.

All unaware that criticisms and allegations are a projection of the bully's own weaknesses and shortcomings as they are insecure, which is precisely why they pick on others, to make them feel more superior. Many back down when you face up to them.

Temper outbursts, mood swings, passive aggressive behaviour, along with an inability to maintain attention or accept instructions are all indicators of bullying behaviour.

They don't understand the difference between a request and a demand.

They like to control and dominate people, and they maintain their feelings and needs are far more important than anyone else's, and if getting their needs and wants met means treading

on other people, that's fine. They are so wrapped up in themselves that your opinions and views are of no importance.

They need to be heard and have an insatiable desire to be right at all costs. Their blind spots are such that they often don't have a clue how egotistical or selfish they are by being so focused

on pleasing themselves.


There are a lot of bully's in the workplace and many in the social arena. Many get away with unacceptable behaviour because often in the workplace no one reports it and often over a glass of wine those who are so used to being disrespected and used to others attacking their character disguised as a joke shrug it off with the old adage 'she/he didn't mean it'.

Bully's depend on us not saying anything.

You don't need to be right or prove anything to a bully but it's essential you don't play games with them. You do need to look them in the eye, be bold, courageous and call them up on their behaviour or chose to walk away.

If you do chose to stand up to them, remember you must state your point of view clearly and concisely with confidence, clarity and conviction. Never allow them to provoke you into loosing your temper and don't get defiant; or defend yourself by justifying anything.

Hold your ground; this is crucial when confronting a bully. Imagine they are a professional fighter in a ring and you are in the audience with no protective gear on and they are desperately trying to hook you in the ring for a fight. DON'T get in the ring.

You don't need to shrink around a bully, or dis -empower yourself by apologizing; neither must you throw away our integrity to please them.

Annie's Top Tips

• Avoid power plays, as they usually escalate conflict

• Don't waste time negotiating the nonnegotiable

• Take full responsibility for your own behaviour

• Don't take it personally, remember bully's project all their issues on others

• Combine detachment with appropriate action, separating facts from feelings

• Talk calmly, listen to learn and learn to listen

For further help, advice and support; .

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Annie Ashdown is Author of Doormat Nor Diva Be and The Confidence Factor - 7 Secrets of Successful People.