Bullies Who Don’t Know it and Other Bully Boss Fallacies. By, ABC

Bullies Who Don’t Know it and Other Bully Boss Fallacies.  By,  ABC

Times have changed since I first learned about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing about 5 years ago.  Back then, most of the anti-bullying literature was written in the United Kingdom and Canada.  Both countries are years (light years that is) ahead of us in the United States in regards to their general knowledge, understanding and attempts at remedies.  The Website that I have found to be the most accurate and up to date, is Bullyonline, created in the United Kingdom, by the late Tim Field, a literal pioneer and hero to targets everywhere.


As I continue my ongoing research on the subject of workplace bullying and mobbing, I have found that the number of articles and websites about the subject, originating in the United States, has increased tremendously.  I have found however, that many of these articles and sites originating in the United States, over simplify the subject, failing to dig deep enough into this complex subject, to give readers the insight and knowledge they need, to beat it.  I have found, that the advice given, is often logical, common sense tactics, that work in cases where the boss is simply arrogant and rude, but is not appropriate, and may even escalate hostilities, when used against REAL workplace bullies.  Authors of anti-bullying literature written in the United States seem to have the most trouble grasping that “workplace bullies” are different from a boss who is just rude.  They don’t understand that bullies have a level of psychopathy, making them think in ways that normal people don’t understand and that they need to be dealt with differently than the average rude boss.


One author wrote, and I quote:


“The ‘bully’ term implies they intend to do harm. In fact, this is not what I’ve found. Essentially, they are blind to the impact of their behavior on others. Generally, they don’t see it.”


This author doesn’t have an understanding of what a REAL bully boss is, made evident by making this statement which is not true of REAL bullies, but is typical of a boss who is simply arrogant, believing the importance of their position entitles them to treat subordinates as handmaidens. Their rudeness is not premeditated, and is often intensified by their stress level. They do not intend to hurt others, and often don’t realize that they are. When their bad behavior is pointed out to them, they are remorseful and apologize.


REAL bullies are so much more than simply arrogant and rude and are far from “blind to the impact of their behavior.” To the contrary, their intentions are, not only to hurt their target(s), but to destroy them! REAL bullies don’t apologize and are not remorseful, many having no capacity to feel empathy at all. These facts are hard for most of us to believe, because real bullies do not think in the same way as most of us.

Another example is the mistaken belief that you can resolve issues by meeting with the bully to identify problems, and ways to correct them.  It is true that this works and normal people resolve issues in this way.  But again, people need to understand that REAL bullies don’t think like the rest of us.  It must be remembered that, YOU CANNOT REASON WITH A BULLY!  First of all, bullies rarely have valid issues against their targets and they have no desire to resolve issues.  Their only desire is to create conflict for their targets as well as to socially isolate, control, subjugate and to eventually destroy and remove them from the workplace.


Make no mistake about it, REAL bully bosses are in a class all their own and worthy of entirely different approaches.  Make sure you know what you are dealing with and the difference, before confronting a potentially REAL bully boss.                                                  By ABC

9 Responses

  1. Excellent site! Thank you for all your articles on the subject>


  2. I’ve just left a job due to mobbing and bullying with all the characteristics described.It’s the second job where this has happened to me.I think it is also something which is in my family.; lots of passive-aggressive behavior.

    I need to change my behavior in such a way as to realize and stop any start of bullying in personal and professional field which I don’t know how to do. After having read the excellent comment post by Patrick M, I noticed that one of the signs is an sudden interest in personal information from a superior (check) and lack of normal empathy(check). Any help on where to go would be great.


  3. -ABC responds to Isabelle’s comments / question-

    Dear Isabelle,
    I am so sorry that “bullying and mobbing” has caused you so much trouble not only on the job, TWICE, but at home as well. That’s a tough burden to handle. You’re wise to inquire about the “signs” of “any start” of bullying because AFTER bullying starts, it’s usually to late for a target to save their career.

    The most common (and dangerous) type of workplace bully is the “closet, serial bully boss”. By the time a target of this type of bully realizes they are being bullied, it is already too late to save their careers. So your question about “signs” that a person is a bully is a good one and was also posed by another reader who asked in the “Dear ABC” section of this weblog; “Is there a way to sense a bully?” Parts of my response to this first reader is below as well as things that I have since learned.

    Being a “phenomenon”, individual cases of workplace bullying and mobbing share striking similarities by comparison, case to case, and a predictable pattern of timing and sequence of events. Learning all you can, especially how to recognize the start of bullying, or the warning signs that a person may be planning a bullying campaign, may be the best of the few advantages that you have. The earlier the recognition, the better the chances are that you’ll avoid a full blown bullying and mobbing campaign. Once the bullying has started, 70% – 80% of targets will loss their job within two years. After the target is eliminated from the workplace, the serial bully boss is then compelled to chose a new target within two weeks.

    The most important thing that targets need to understand and fully grasp is the fact that REAL bullies have a level of psychopathy (also referred to as sociopathy) which compels them to think and behave in ways that normal people can’t understand. Bullies do not have the capacity to feel empathy. Their emotional abuse is not only intentional but carefully planned to cause the target the most harm. They are not remorseful and will not apologize.

    When trying to identify bullies in your workplace it is important to know that although bullies do not think in the same way that normal people do, they are very good at mimicking normal emotion (when they remember to) which makes it hard for others to believe the target and makes it easy for everyone to deny that the bullying is real. Observing the many bullies I’ve come across in my life, I have found out that if you watch carefully, they do not always give an appropriate emotional response. I recently read an article that stated that when the bully does this, that is, fails to display normal emotional responses, normal people have a tendency to overlook it. Normal people assuming the bully thinks like they do, actually fill-in memories of the bully’s response as the way they assumed it was, normal, when in fact it wasn’t. So watch for two things; Lack of emotional response when you would normally expect it. An example being bad news about a coworkers health. The second thing to watch for is the “honeymoon phase” . At first, bullies sometimes seem to favor a person they later target. Watch for anyone in a higher position than yours, who takes a special interest in you. Do not share personal problems or talk about your passions to anyone who takes a seemingly over interest in you. It is a common bullying tactic to use personal information the target shared in confidence, against the target later on.

    After the honeymoon phase, watch for the “bullying pass-by nibble”. Read the article on this weblog titled; “What Is a Bullying Pass-by Nibble? Bullyblaster.com by Abbey Whitehall” to learn all about this tactic. Briefly stated and quoted from the original article; A pass-by nibble is when a bully does things to make the target react, such as;

    – They move your stuff, or put their stuff where yours once was.
    – They physically move too close to you-even slightly bumping you.
    – They retell a story about you in the 3rd person while you stand there.
    – They take issue with many things you say.

    Then they see how the target reacts and if the target stands up for themselves. It is often the reaction of the target which will determine the final outcome in regards to if the bully will choose to move forward with a full blown bullying and mobbing campaign or not.

    For more information about how to recognize a workplace serial bully boss, click on the link below for a detailed description of a serial bully’s characteristics, published by bullyonline.


    Bullyonline located in the United Kingdom and founded by the late Tim Field, is likely the best source of bullying and mobbing information in the world.

    Click on the link to their home page below, where you will find links about bullying within families.


    I hope this information is a help.

    Best of luck, ABC


  4. Thanks ABC for your reply and the websites.

    As a target, these were the signs I ignored:

    -lack of information of my work responsibilities( I had just been employed and he left shortly for vacation giving highly complex tasks to do without information or training or no one to ask.)
    -changing and conflicting information
    -“forgetting” my name or calling me another name (this went on for a year).
    -shouting and them blaming me as the cause.
    And some other things which I won’t go into here at this time.
    I should have left earlier.

    Thank you again and best wishes.


  5. I am glad I found this site. I have been looking for info about workplace bullying. I found a petition to sign for legislation in Connecticut http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-a-healthy-workplace-bill-in-connecticut Do you know if there are other petitions for other states?


  6. I really need some advice, your website has helped me realize that I am a target at work, and that I may have been a target before. Right now I’m in the middle of a bullying and mobbing campaign, I have taken the person to upper management, and my boss seems scared of them but, they try to protect her, even if they know I’m right, or have a point. My bully boss is the kind that is rude to everyone, but she picks particular people to be more abusive to. At this point I have taken my boss to hr and to upper management, one of the members of upper management seems like he’s avoiding me. HR seems to know that my boss has a temper, but I dont think HR understands the full extent of it. Right now my boss is watching me even more closely than ever, she makes the schedule so that I have a hard time getting more income, and she schedules so that I can’t work with the people I like. My boss is also copying me, its like my boss thinks she is in competition with me even though I dont compete with her. She tries to steal my working style and watches who I hang out with. At this point I am going to hide who I really like and stay silent around her at work, I want to confuse my boss so that my boss wont know who i like to work with and I want to change up my working style so she cant study how i work. Please give me some good ways to beat a bully and eliminate myself from being a target. I could really use advice on how to deal with bullying tactics, and whether I should stand up for myself and go to uppermanagement or if I should just stay calm, or ignore the person.


  7. Hi Sarah,

    I feel for your plight as I went through the same thing. It sounds like she is in competition with you and maybe be thinking you are after her job( in her mind that is) or you work is just very good.I know it should be a good thing for the company. It could be many things:your personal circumstances,(you’re in a relationship,she isn’t) or the complimentary comments she hears about you;it could be anything. it sounds like you have to either first speak to her and if it doesn’t get any better go to upper management but remember, they are part of the company too and may want to avoid such involvement and you could be seen as a “troublemaker”( I know it’s a topsy-turvey world).There shouldn’t be a need to hide your light underneath a bushel.How is the general atmosphere in the company? please realize that when people smell trouble, they watch out for their own jobs. You could find an ombudsman.Take notes of every incident;time,place,what was said, people present and most of all,how it made you feel. Good luck, I know this is difficult.


  8. –ABC replies to Sarah and Isabelle–

    Dear Sarah and Isabelle,
    You both seem like you have good heads on your shoulders and I think you are right about the conclusions that you have come to. It is hard for most people to understand the behavior of bullies because they react in ways that most people cannot even imagine.

    The biggest example that you identified is the fact that your bully actually admires you to the extent that she copies you in a number of different ways. Most people would say “No way!” How could someone who admires you treat you so badly?” It just does not make sense to most people’s minds.

    Healthy people put their full effort into to their jobs, being motivated by their own self-expectations. They take pride in the quality of their work while living up to what they expect of themselves. Healthy people rarely give much thought to how their work compares to some one else’s work as long as they live up to what they expect of themselves. When healthy people meet someone who has attributes that they admire, such as being better at a job, or being more talented or more intelligent or any number of things, they applaud that person’s successes and compliment them. Healthy people enjoy working with those who excel, and whom they can learn from.

    When a bully meets someone with attributes that they admire, they think in ways that most of us cannot even understand. Bullies compare themselves to others especially to those who they think are admired by others on the job. This is threatening to a bully who may have increased feelings of inadequacy and shame by the basis of comparison.

    This is one of the Hallmarks of a classic workplace bully. Anyone who is treated badly on the job, by someone, especially by a boss, who also seems to admire them, should recognize this as the likely beginnings of a workplace bullying campaign. I emphasized this point about bullying tactics in my newest article where I comment on an article titled “The Penalty of Leadership”.

    Isabelle is right about her comments that going to management often makes things worse. In fact, once a target comes to the realization that she/he is being bullied, it is usually too late to turn things around. The best option, once targeted by a bully, is to find another job.

    You should start your search for another job immediately after coming to the conclusion that you are being bullied. Things may escalate quickly, so you do not have much time. Studies show there is a 70 – 80% chance that you will be eliminated from your current job within two years after the start of a bullying campaign. When job searching, you are perceived as a better candidate to a potential new employer if you are currently employed.

    You can minimize the bullying and lengthen your time with your current employer by not reacting to anything your bully says or does to try to provoke you. It is likely that your bully is starting a mobbing campaign as well, so be emotionally prepared if coworkers turn against you.

    It is best to maintain good relationships with coworkers making it harder for the bully to turn others against you. Do not say anything negative against your bully boss or tell coworkers about your bully’s tactics. If others bring up the subject of your bully’s bullying behavior, always act perplexed and concerned for your bully’s mental health!

    Read all that you can about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing. Knowledge is power as they say and I found it much easier to cope with bullying and mobbing behaviors once gaining a better understanding of the problem.

    I wish you both success in your future employment experiences and remember, Don’t let the bullies get you down! ABC


  9. Two years ago I quit my job because, I too, was a target. I worked for a very small company and the bully was also the owner of the company. I was my boss’ “Golden Child” for the first year and a half, then the last year I was there was emotionally devastating to me. I was so distraught because I wanted to be back in his good grace by proving myself; of course I could not have done anything to do so although I didn’t understand that at the time. It was so heartbreaking for me at first, then I became so obsessed with revenge I expected to lose it one day and kill him, then myself. When I found your website, I could not believe it! It was like the articles were written by me. Two years later and I still cry when I think about how much I loved my job. I truly feel damaged. My sister hired me parttime to work in her restaurant after it happened until I found another full-time position, but I can’t bring myself to apply for any jobs. My confidence is so low, I just have no desire to try when I know I am hurting myself by not being able to support myself on what I make now. I have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer, 8 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments and breezed through it all only to have an asshole bully beat me down. Of course I am happy to find out I am not as lame as I felt for letting myself be done like that, but am so sad that anyone else had to go through it.


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