bul·ly [bool-ee] noun, plural bul·lies, verb, bul·lied, bul·ly·ing
1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people
2. to discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate
Most of us have had a personal experience with bullying in one form or another at some point in our lives. These experiences are often chalked up to simply being a part of growing up. The good news is, most bullies forego the behaviors of their youth and also grow up. Unfortunately though, others fail to ever move beyond a stalemate of immaturity. Enter the adult bully.
Bullyingstatistics.org suggests the “goal” of the adult bully is “to gain power over another person.” They continue:
“There is little you can do about an adult bully…This is because adult bullies are often in a set pattern. They are not interested in working things out and they are not interested in compromise. Rather, adult bullies are more interested in power and domination. They want to feel as though they are important and preferred, and they accomplish this by bringing others down…”
There are several different types of adult bullies:
- The Narcissistic Adult Bully – This type of adult bully is self-centered and does not share empathy with others. Additionally, there is little anxiety about consequences. He or she seems to feel good about him or herself, but in reality has a brittle narcissism that requires putting others down.
- The Impulsive Adult Bully – Adult bullies in this category are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.
- The Verbal Adult Bully – Words can be quite damaging. Adult bullies who use this type of tactic may start rumors about the victim, or use sarcastic or demeaning language to dominate or humiliate them. This subtle type of bullying also has the advantage – to the bully – of being difficult to document.
- The Secondary Adult Bully – This is someone who does not initiate the bullying, but joins in so that he or she does not actually become a victim down the road. Secondary bullies may feel bad about what they are doing, but are more concerned about protecting themselves.
Bullying takes many forms, but is nearly always characterized by subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) methods of coercion such as intimidation. If given the opportunity to do so, the veteran bully will often perfect his or her tactics over time.
“Often bullying takes place in the presence of a large group of relatively uninvolved bystanders. In many cases it is the bully’s ability to create the illusion that he or she has the support of the majority present that instills the fear of ‘speaking out’ in protest of the bullying activities being observed by the group. Unless the ‘bully mentality’ is effectively challenged in any given group in its earlier stages, it often becomes an accepted norm within the group.
In such groups where the ‘bully mentality’ has been allowed to become a dominant factor in the group environment, a steady stream of injustices and abuses often becomes a regular and predictable group experience. Such a toxic environment often remains as the status quo of the group for an extended period of time, until somehow the bullying-cycle should eventually come to an end. Bystanders to bullying activities are often unable to recognize the true cost that silence regarding the bullying activities has to both the individual and to the group…The reversal of a ‘bully mentality’ within a group is usually an effort which requires much time, energy, careful planning, coordination with others, and usually the undertaking of a certain ‘risk.’ It is the general unwillingness of bystanders to expend these types of energies and to undertake these types of risks that bullies often rely upon in order to maintain their monopolies of power.”
It is no surprise that several individuals with these attributes have firmly taken root in the circles of power and positions of influence in our town. They have unapologetically stood in the way of countless efforts towards positive progress and have unashamedly presided over (and in some cases, have even contributed to) Bellevue’s continuing decline from prince to pauper. Fueled by an unquenchable addiction to power and a healthy dose of ignorance, their egos and personal agendas have taken precedence over prosperity for far too long. (Deep down, I can’t help but think that even they know their behavior wouldn’t be tolerated beyond the sanctuary of the Borough limits. And for that reason, it’s highly unlikely that the majority of them will ever venture too far beyond those limits.)
Check out our archives [blog and facebook] for some of the more amateur detractors’ handiwork, while others are far more clandestine and take great care to ensure their dealings never make it “on the record.” We aren’t seeking sympathy with this post, nor are we attempting to make ourselves out to be victims; instead, we leave you with the following quote: “First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they fight you, then you win.” – M. Gandhi
[Editor’s note: 204 Pa. Code § 81.1 (5)]