|ADULT BULLIES AND BULLYING - By IRA B.
If you think bullies only terrorize the school yard,
think again. When they are through intimidating their
classmates, they grow up to become menacing co-workers,
spouses, friends and parents, managers, politicians,
pastors and clergymen. The manager, who is consistently
condescending to new employees; often insulting them,
or unnecessarily critical about their work, is a bully.
The politician, who victimizes simply to assert power,
is a bully. The minister/pastor, who terrorizes his/her
flock in the name of keeping them gentle, meek,
mild and obedient, is a bully.
When we think of bullies, we normally think in terms
of the Village Bruggoo. She asserts herself
at the water dam during dry weather when water is
scare. She never waits her turn and normally fills
every container she can find.
Every village on the island had one bully; and she/he
is well known. The water dam skirmishes were not very
serious, and normally become a source of amusement
for the youngsters in the village perhaps the
only entertainment for the dry season.
But bullies in the work place and in institutions
are not to be taken lightly. A certain amount of narcissism
is normally involved in this type of bullying. People
diagnosed with Narcissism are in love with the SELF
that they (and other people) see. Because they are
unable to experience love and most emotions firsthand,
narcissists are preoccupied with the need to project
what they think is a lovable image.
Unfortunately, they almost always screw it up because
they do not truly understand what is lovable and what
is not. They tend to confuse the love of others with
such things as awe, respect, fear, admiration and
adulation. This type of bully must have the centre
of attention; always right; and considers others as
existing only to serve him/her.
They tend to attack when their ego is threatened.
Everyone is narcissistic to a point, and some narcissism
is all right and perfectly natural. However, study
after study has linked narcissism with bullying. The
fact is that most adult bullies are quite narcissistic,
especially those whose preferred method of operation,
is verbal or relationship bullying.
Verbal bullies use words to hurt and humiliate their
victims. It is common for these bullies to make disparaging
remarks under the guise of the persons welfare,
and social and spiritual well being. They make comments
and pretend it is for the welfare of the individual,
but make no mistake, these people are vicious! Individually,
their comments may be meaningless, but when their
insults are looked at collectively, it becomes clear
that they are really nasty people.
Bullies not only display this type of sociopathic
behaviour, but they normally demonstrate severe cognitive
deficits basically in the area logical reasoning.
This kind of learning disability is referred to as
Dyslogic Syndrome or Dysrationalia. This is a dysfunction
of the frontal lobe of the brain that processes logical
Some of the characteristics of persons with this
kind of disability are as follows:
1. Pays no attention to consequences. Never stops
to consider cause and effect, what might happen if
a certain action is taken.
2. Displays no commonsense reasoning in making decisions.
No logical thinking is involved in lifestyle and in
3. Lives by impulse. Lifestyle is ruled by this theme:
I want what I want when I want it.
4. Makes aggressive, insatiable demands for instant
wish fulfillment. Places enormous pressure on others
to satisfy whims and impulsive desires.
5. Makes irrational spur-of-the-moment decisions
without regard to costly consequences. Charges ahead
regardless of who might be hurt, or how much actions
may hurt others.
6. Does not learn from mistakes. No matter how costly
mistakes are, this person does not change behaviour
The above characteristics are normally present in
the behaviour patterns of a bully with these dyslexic
tendencies. Interestingly enough some of these characteristics
overlap with the characteristics of a narcissistic
bully. Dysrationalia normally reveals itself in the
screening process and remediation can be put in place.
It normally reveals itself in the high primary grades
and early high school. Children can be taught to stimulate
the synapses that control logical reasoning.
It is easy to see how this type of learning can develop
into, or combine with the sociopathic behaviour associated
with narcissism. Many adults who display this form
of dyslexic pattern of learning disability are bright
in terms of cognitive abilities, but lack the ability
to reason logically.
This causes them to struggle in aspects of the curriculum
that demand logical reasoning. They have never realized
their full potential because of the constant striving
to overcome. Many go on to higher education. I once
worked with person with dysrationalia. This person
saw things in black and white, and it made no sense
trying to explain that there is a shade in between.
She just could not see another persons point
of view. She had an absolute belief in her leadership
abilities but could not tell the difference between
real leadership and bullying. Needless to say, the
staff avoids her as much as possible. When she left,
the schools rating was at its lowest.
Such persons as described above normally combine
a certain amount of narcissism with their learning
dysfunction. Can you imagine such a person in charge
of the armed forces; a body of young recruits in training
of any sort, or in charge of a religious institution
where the followers are judged by their level of compliance?
History is replete with such leaders as Hitler, Mussolini
and Stalin. And of course, the Church can boast of
its own narcissist, Jim Jones. This type of adult
bully, apart from having an over- inflated sense of
self-importance, often has a great need and desire
to be seen as a wonderful, kind, caring and compassionate
person in direct contrast to their behaviour and treatment
They can be totally oblivious to the discrepancy
between how they want to be seen (and believe they
are seen) and what other people actually think of
their power. They seldom recognize the individuality
or rights of others, which makes all self-serving
behaviours, lies and manipulations, acceptable.
Narcissistic bullies lack mature conscience, and
seem only to be restrained by fear of being exposed
or of damage to their projected reputation. Narcissist
bullies like to have followers, so they deliberately
cultivate people in the community who will be manipulated
to admire them, adore them, and inflate their already
monumental egos; and overlook their pretence, half-truths
While such persons may have outbursts of emotion,
it is often a performance in front of an audience
to obtain a certain result. What they display is superficial
at best; pretended at worst. Positive feelings of
warmth, joy, love, and compassion are usually more
feigned than experienced.
Many narcissist bullies talk and act as if they are
a special favourite of God. God love them and
want them to be the way they already are. And so they
do whatever they like; but others have to follow the
guidelines. Although they do not think they have to
follow the standards that everyone else live by, they
are the first to complain if they see someone else
stepping outside of socially acceptable behaviour.
When trapped, a narcissist will try to twist the conversation
to absolve him from the responsibility. If this doesnt
work either; they display anger in an attempt to frighten
off their accusers.
Because narcissists see everything in black and white,
people who are friends with them are not allowed to
be friends with someone that the narcissistic bully
doesnt like. You will probably not be able to
maintain a relationship with both parties, because
the narcissist will make you choose between him/her
and the person they are targeting; and if you choose
the target, the narcissist becomes your enemy too.
The above is a broad profile of an adult bully, who
invariably is a narcissist. The characteristics revealed
are to be taken seriously because these types of bullies
show up in every walk of life. But they mostly reveal
their true self when placed in a position of power
over people who are helpless, or who are constrained
by ideologies; religious or otherwise. These bullies
are no better than the Village Bruggoo.
Make no mistake about it! And it does not matter how
much they clothe themselves in positions of respectability!
A narcissistic bully will never see himself/herself
in this profile because it is impossible for him to
take a rationalistic view of his behaviour. A narcissist
can look you straight in the eye and lie to you easily,
even when it is obvious they are being untruthful.