Lies and Shame, more about bullying tactics.

LIES AND SHAME, More About Bullying Tactics


Some bullies become bullies because of childhood issues of inadequacy and shame. With this type of bully, allegations about poor work performance are rarely the primary tactic used against their target, because it is precisely the typical target’s GOOD performance that draws a bully’s attention in the first place. Bullies often feel threatened by the good performance of their targets. Their feelings of inadequacy intensify when they compare their own performance with that of a good performer and they are also fearful that others will be more likely to see their inadequacies as well.

Bullies deal with this fear of being exposed as inadequate in a number of ways. If they are the target’s immediate supervisor, they may deny their target opportunities in which others will see first hand, their positive attributes. For example, targets will not be chosen to participate in special assignments or committees in which others will see their better than average abilities. They will isolate their targets in any way they can. My bully boss once told me to never initiate conversation with upper managers, naming one upper manager specifically, because as she explained, “they are old fashioned” and prefer “the chain of command” style of corporate communication. Since the centralization of my department to the branch where this specific manager works, I found quite the opposite to be true. This manager has approached my coworkers and I, a number of times, always very friendly and engaging.

Instead of alleging false work performance issues, these bullies make false allegations about the target’s character and ability to get along with others. They will tell a target that no one likes them for example. In my case, my bully boss said that I “intimidate subordinates”. They actually lie about what coworkers say about them, relying on the target’s shame, not to check the validity of the allegations made. Targets who have no understanding of the “bullying and mobbing phenomenon” may actually believe the lies of the bully, not understanding that their manager, or anyone for that matter, is capable of intentionally lying in this way.

Against the common sense of all emotionally healthy people, bullies often instigate interpersonal problems between their subordinates. This serves the bully well by taking the attention away from the bully’s dysfunction onto the dysfunction of their subordinates. An example in my own case was when my bully boss accused me of flowing out work that was incomplete, then told me to ask the coworker who was really at fault, for the details. You can imagine the fireworks that caused!

Just as targets don’t understand the way bullies think, bullies don’t always understand how emotionally healthy people think. That’s what my bully boss didn’t count on. A coworker, having emotionally healthy self esteem, didn’t believe the lies of our bully boss. She had no shame as our bully assumed that she would. She therefore didn’t hesitate to repeat what our bully boss said, thereby validating that what the bully said, were all lies.

It is important for Human Resource professionals to know that when a manager makes allegations about a subordinate’s character, or ability to get along with others, devoid of work performance issues, workplace bullying should be suspected.

Sometimes it’s important to notice what isn’t said. Let’s all learn more about work place bullying and mobbing and be alert and able to Recognize it, Name it and End workplace bullying and mobbing together! ABC

7 Responses

  1. g.olson

    I’ve had the same problems!


  2. Hi, I like this post, and also other items on your blog.
    I want to make a link so my readers can access your thinking too, if that is ok? My own blog is
    SpeakEasy in Mons (WordPress) and is to support people in Monmouthshire, South Wales, UK, with mental health issues. Bullying is often an issue in their life experiences/trauma.


  3. Dear Oberon,
    Thank you for your comments. I looked at your site and read several of the articles. I too like your site and I am flattered by your invitation to link to it. I would like my readers to have access to your site as well. I think that linking will add to the diversity of both our sites enriching any topic of discussion. So, to all my readers, just click on the following link to see Oberon’s web site, “SpeakEasy in Mons”

    I will also add your site to my blog role. To add a link on your web site, to my web site, I will write a short article with a link, in the comments section below one of your anti-bullying articles. If any of this is not okay with you, just let me know. Sincerely, ABC


  4. Thanks ABC, that’s all fine with me, and let’s hope our readers benefit from the links.


  5. This is so true but what is even worse is that once you are terminated the human resource department and the executives join forces against you. Lucky, in a way, for me I had documented other harassment and discrimination issues so the EEOC is involved. So far, I know of 2 people who were bullied out of the company by my manager before me and one afterwards. You would think that someone in management would finally catch a clue but may now with my lawsuit and I have heard there may be another they will at least get rid of this bully or pay heavily for having him remain.


  6. I think many of these bully bosses suffer from emotional problems. They can’t empathize because, they have no sense of trusting others. They often are highly intelligent people with stunted emotional sides. When you combine the manager power role with an unstable personality, you get a control freak situation. Emotionally stable people are genuinely happy and not, intimidated when others get ahead. They feel they can share success with others. Bullies feel paranoid about the possibility of others getting ahead than them. A good question is, why do companies let a bully stay in a position of power. All too often, other bully bosses are in line further up the food chain. Some companies breed bully organizations. Bullies have the capacity to do tremendous damage to individuals and morale. Companies heavy with bully management are ill-suited for longevity in our ever growing global work world.
    Most intelligent, highly professional people will not tolerate fear tactics and, certainly won’t give 100% performance to a company who backs this management type. Traits for companies who breed bully types, are shrinking market share, high turnover, frequent change in corporate direction and low employee morale. I’m looking for a job currently. One of the questions during interviews is “Give me an example of a company program or event that encourages teaming”. If the answer is not original nor creative, it’s a clear indicator that employees are not that important, possibly even expendable to management.


  7. I worked with a sales person called Israel Attar many years ago, he not only was a poor performer, he bullied staff and was full of Bull S**t too.

    Lying came second nature to him. Soooooo glad we got rid of him.

    Did I forget he took all the credit for everyone elses work, snooped through peoples drawers and emails and had no management skills at all?

    He would call the boss behind people’s backs, not be in the office for days on end, would leave early and not tell anyone.

    It took a while for the department to see through him but he was so dis-honest, he tripped himself up.


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