Tactics, The Bully Boss’s First Brutal Tactic by ABC

Tactics, The Bully Boss’s First Brutal Tactic

by ABC – AntiBullyingCrusador

Do you think you may be a “target” of a “workplace bully?”  If so, you probably are and I would like to offer my congratulations!  First I will explain how you can tell for sure, then I’ll explain why this can be thought of as a event to celebrate.

The most amazing thing about workplace bullies is the similarities of their tactics.  I was so perplexed  by this at first.  As I met one bully after another through my first decade of employment, I came to realize that although the bullies I encountered, didn’t know each other, or have any other shared history, it seemed as though they did.

That’s a hallmark of a workplace bully, the similarities of their tactics. It seems as though these people are some how related to each other or went to a class to learn the art of workplace bullying.  Once you know one bully and understand the “workplace bullying and mobbing phenomenon”, you’ll be prepared for the next one.

Targets usually come to the realization that they are being faced with a serious problem on their job, when the bully boss suddenly turns against them after an initial period of being very nice.  One author described this as the “honeymoon phase”.  Targets are often treated so nicely at first, that they feel favored.   This tactic gives targets a false sense of security and potential with increasingly high expectations for the future on their job and with this boss.  This first tactic or maybe I should say “attack”, is especially brutal for a number of reasons and intentionally made so by the bully.

The way serial bully bosses get to know their intended next targets are similar to how a serial killer stalks their intended next victim.  Both the killer and the bully need to know their intended target/victim’s weaknesses.  What are their vulnerabilities?  How will the predator snare the prey into their traps.   Bully bosses focus in on their intended target’s emotional vulnerabilities.  They are expert at feigning shared values and encourage emotional intimacy.  The unsuspecting target responds to this by sharing everything the bully needs to know to take them down.

This very first tactic is the most difficult for many.  It was for me.   Suddenly being turned against by someone you thought favored you is very confusing.  Why would someone do that?  It just doesn’t make sense.  The pure insanity of the usually ridiculous accusations that these bully bosses come up with, are yet another hallmark of what targets can expect.   Accusations are rarely related to the bottom line, which is productivity, or numbers of completed tasks and quality of those completed tasks.  Instead, accusations are related to a target’s appearance, mannerisms and vague references to interactions with others.  Examples or concrete evidence of real work deficiencies are rarely produced and when they are, are exaggerated, twisted and taken out of context.  A bully boss will never tell a target who made the accusations because the accusations were never made!

In fact, any talk about the  job performance of a target by others, is most likely very positive.  I know this about targets because of what motivates bullies in the first place. Bullies are compelled to behave this way because of physical or emotional mental disorders.  Some bullies have personality disorders, which are abnormal physical differences in their brains when compared to a normal brain. These physical abnormalities rob them of their empathy and their ability to think in ways that most of us do. Other bullies had harsh childhoods leaving them with feelings of inadequacy and shame.  A subordinate’s good work performance will gain the attention of a bully who has fears that their own inadequacies will become more evident to others by the bases of comparison.

It’s amazing how consistent bullies are in this respect as well.   They consistently choose the best people on their staff to target.   Through the past few years I have read hundreds of  emails, comments, and questions from targets of workplace bullies.  The targets that I have interacted with, consistently and just about always, seem solid and intelligent in the way they express themselves.   You would think that a web site about bully bosses would get all kinds of angry, disgruntled, stupid comments and  responses.  It has NEVER happened, can you believe it?

Bullies are also thought to feel satisfaction or some kind of pleasure when they elicit a troubled emotional response from their targets.  If you think you detected a little smile on your bully’s face during a confrontation, you are right.   The bully is literally happy that they were able to upset you.

It is not possible to reason with a bully about any of the issues or accusations that they make.  It is not their intention to resolve issues.  Their intention is to drag the target into battle with them in order to subjugate, control, then force them out of their jobs.  No amount of effort on the target’s part will change the bully’s behavior.

Trying to work around the bully by reporting bullying behaviors to superiors or to Human Resources are also usually a wasted effort as the bully’s ability to convincingly deceive the perception of others is expert.  The denial by their supporters is deep.

Workplace bullies are dangerous to the emotional and physical health of every target they choose.  Whenever faced with danger it is always logical to put distance between you and the source of the danger.  Whenever possible, the best advise is to  QUIT THAT JOB !!   But hold on just long enough to find yourself another job.

The best way to hang on to a job until better options are found is to NOT REACT to anything the bully says or does.  This takes the joy and fun out of bullying.  The second thing targets should be mindful of is being especially kind and helpful to coworkers.  Never badmouth your bully boss.   Instead, show concern and seem perplexed by bullying behaviors.  It’s really tough for a bully boss to take down a well liked employee.

Lucky for you if your bully writes down a lot of their insanity in emails they send to you.   Many bullies favor the use of email in which to harass their targets with.  This is referred to as “cyber-bullying”.   If your bully uses email, forward all of the emails to your home computer.  On your home PC add in a comment section at the bottom, then document details of the incident that the email refers to.  Doing this keeps things sane for me.  Every time I look over the emails and my added comments, I validate to myself how real and how crazy this stuff is.  Unfortunately, not many people have an understanding of how devastating workplace bullying can be but sharing some of these emails during an exit interview, may some how help someone.  It would be even better though, if workplace bullying and mobbing became illegal.  What could be better than the bully’s own written words to prove a case?

Once a target learns about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing and understands that they were chosen by a bully because of what’s good about them, they can move on realizing  how likely it is that they will find another job, with a boss who treats them with the respect that a person of their caliber deserves and should expect.

So to all new targets of workplace bullies, Congratulations in advance for your new positions and for being the very special people that you are.   Sincerely,   ABC

18 Responses

  1. Wow. This is so true.
    This part especially chilled me: “If you think you detected a little smile on your bully’s face during a confrontation, you are right.”
    I can see a particular face [or two] doing just that, and remember my confusion at the look of it. Such a “NICE” person, suddenly with the look of a grade school taunter–it didn’t make sense to me. At the time.
    Of course, because they don’t. Make sense.
    Interesting read.


  2. You are so right! I recently lost my job because of my bully boss . It took her almost nince months to get rid of me and she had to use lies and terrible manipulations in order to do so because I had a very good record. I made the mistake of reaching out to HR and to the institution’s VP and things only got worse. My bully boss hated the fact that I was more competent than her, that I had good relationships, etc. The emails were never ending. I was called to “emergency meetings” where my bully boss cried, etc. She was really disturbed!! The sad thing is that most institutions don’t have policies in place to protect good employeed from these type of individuals and their twisted behavior. Getting out is the best solution.


  3. My experiences were very similar to Caval’s. The bully boss was a psychopath with no conscience, no compassion and without any integrity. She decided I was to be her target so first she set out to defame my character. This is a woman who has a very lonely personal existence, basically she is miserable. Anyone who seems to be enjoying life could possible be her target. I finally decided to get my act together and leave, which is what I did and then I wrote a book describing how I survived and suggestions for others. The book can be found at Amazon.com. http://bit.ly/8RUTJ


  4. I read this article and wish I had have read it years ago.
    what I found chilling was a theory I had. The state manger of a fracnhise I was in came into my home and got me to tell him all about me and created an emotional trust thru shared similar experiences. He then sent many emails that were nasty and belittled me. It then came to light after I lost my franchise and my money that he had been saying the most horrendous things about me to other people and I always wondered if maybe he befreinded me to bully me out of my franchise, he had been instructing me to carry my business on in a particular manner which was later used to terminate me. it was because of information from him the franchisor got so angry he terminated incorrectly, this left me with no money to fight. If I had have read this I would have noticed what he was doing straight away. Unfortunatley the zor and the manager were best mates from childhood and the bullying and lies continues over 2 years later with online deafmation, lies and religous vilification. to say the least.


  5. I only wished I had understood this much earlier in my career. What I need to focus on is getting a new job and trying to figure out how to spot bully bosses. My last 5 jobs have had this element to them to varying degrees.
    I am embarrased to even say that. I feel that I have a lot to offer and I am well-liked…very much the way articles like this describe.
    I have to wonder if leadership/management positions attract people like this. How on earth could my luck be so bad that I keep finding myself in these situations?


  6. this is like, after after a long long thirst. thank you for writing this. i hope psychologists and sociologists can some day get to the bottom of this phenomenon.

    the thing that bugs me more than others is how blind supposedly rational people are to the bully. while bully sits around trashing everyone else behind their back, the ‘gossippee’ feels somehow they have to participate in these ‘gossip sessions’, and somehow get deluded into believing what the bully says.


  7. State Employment – 21 years
    My age – 61

    I was forced to retire after seventeen years at one agency, studied to be a engineer, and fought my plight at similar bullying treatments through union and my own documentation. There life was not pleasant but in the end neither was mine and they gave me the only physically strenous job in the book at mid fifties so that I was injured twice and forced out.

    I then dropped back to clerical in another agency whom one would think was safe. Employment Security. I had my usual excellent work and standards which is not something rewarded within state government. Rampant bullying by co-worker including chasing me down a hallway, riffed to another office followed by cussing screaming and yelling by my manager (no witness) brought back to original office pending investigation, fired months later. Arbitration followed a year later. Denied Unemployment, lived off retirement funds (now gone), death of boyfreind, no home.
    Gave my job back kind of but floated me around, refusing to rif less senior employees, union no good,
    now back at original offending office and have been written up 3 times and accusatory e mails by manager non-stop although evaluations all excellent.
    To old and to few jobs right now. I am sure they will find a way to fire me which may not stick but I am sure my unemployment wages will be denied again.
    I have been amazed at the comments by others and I cannot understand how these monsters can exist because we vote the people in who hire them in my case and many others whom have fell before me while the laziest, most imcompetent useless employees are promoted and live well. Is it because we honest hard working nice people are a threat and if so to what? Their job?


  8. Do I have a sign on my forehead “BULLIES WELCOME”

    I have been bulled by bosses- some really mean ones. Anacondas.
    Have a new one rightnow- the honeymoon recently stopped and I’ve been blindsided by her pesonality change to viper. I can do 200 good correct things- she will hammer me about some nonexistent error that is ridiculous. I am rotten at coping with bullies. I fold. Is this why it keeps happening to me? I feel very vulnerable to them and they seem to really know…


  9. If you have repelled damage day to day by a bully boss, I would appreciate hearing any ideas. I cannot quit w/o a job- and at 57 it could take a while…
    in this economy esp


    • Please – you have a job – try and keep beneath the radar. it’s them not you. They probaby feel insecure. I am also 57 and a middle manager but after 6 years in this job It looks like I might face competency proceedings after I dared to say I felt stressed by the behaviour of my colleagues (who are ostracising me and making my life as difficult as possible). My union thinks the company are trying to get me out by Christmas.


    • To DD. The only hope I have found in surviving in the workplace is in empowering yourself through education from others. See the book on Amazon: How organizations empower bully bosses:a criminal in the workplace. It gives strategies and resources.


  10. This article blew me away. I felt as though I just read about my own experience with a bully. I was so taken by surprise when it happened to me because I had been working for her for 3 years before she targeted me. For quite some time I kept trying to “fix” the situation because I didn’t recognize what was actually taking place. I had an excellent reputation where I was with co-workers and those I served in an academic environment. She was my fourth boss in that position.

    She used to pull me aside to “talk” with me when there would be no witnesses. The things she said to me were so humiliating and abusive. But there were never any witnesses. The situation began to impact me mentally, emotionally, and even physically, as it continued for about a year.

    I weighed my options. I could go to her boss, but he always told staff to “work it out” when they had problems. And, my bully boss would be furious if I took that step and things would be worse. I could go to my union, but I was convinced that getting them involved would worsen the situation. I spoke with my office mate who knew some of the problems and asked if she would back me up and she said no, that she knew our boss would then turn on her and that she desperately needed the job (she was only 30 years old). I came to learn that there was absolutely no reasoning with this bully. I was trapped.

    So…at the age of 59 I retired, with a nice monthly pension and free health care for my husband and I for life. For me, it was the right decision to just leave.


    By the way, when I told her I was retiring, she was furious! She knew she was losing a very hard-working, dedicated employee and she was going to have to do not only her work, but mine as well.

    She was one sick puppy.


    • Here’s a little P.S. on my story. It has been 9 months since I left that job. I have learned from my former co-workers that this bully has now targeted another person and is doing the same things to her.


  11. The one part of this article gave me goosebumps- “I detected a smile on the bully’s face”. When my ex boss and ex friend would be abusive or just a miserable b*** I could see at times there was a part of her that seemed happy. That is truly sick and a hallmark of a miserable person.


  12. Wow. This is exactly what happened to me. By the time, I realized what was going on, it was too late.
    I was out the door and she told HR that yes she was top performer, trained my other employees, hit all goals, got 100% on all observation scores, but there is more to the job is than that and she is just not getting it. And because she had been with the company longer, their exact words were “we are going to take her word for it” Within 45 days, 3 other people quit and found other jobs…lol.


  13. Unfortunately I read all this after it was too late. My boss has made my life miserable for the last two years. I am very good at my job – which I guess is the problem. When my blood pressure hit 182/102 I took a leave – which I am still on. I have a union, who is trying to work something out, but it seems that although I could go after constructive dismissal if I didn’t have a union – I can’t when I do.
    I echo the person above who said that your health is more important. But I get that it’s hard to have someone force you from a job you love.


  14. I ran across this website while searching for some way to deal with my boss. I work for a solo practitioner attorney so unfortunately there is nowhere else to turn within the company and after almost 3 years of trying to deal w/his bullying personality I have had enough. Problem is I live practically paycheck to paycheck so have to stay w/this job a while longer until I can get some reserves. I have witnessed my boss get mad at a telephone and throw it across the room, he encourages me to ask questions and when I do he rolls his eyes and lets out a big sigh. He will ask me a question or to find an answer to something, and when I get the answer he questions the truth of it. He expects perfection on drafts, and if a mistake made is his or a file is lost, he blames me for it. I am not allowed to leave the office during lunch (“it’s not convenient”) and have to eat at my desk where he brings work to me mid-bite that needs to be done right then. Forget being able to take a break and go for a walk! The most recent incident was when he couldn’t find a file which he had lost, threw his briefcase across the room and missed hitting me by two steps. I am so stressed both mentally and physically, can’t sleep, and don’t enjoy my weekends off because I know Monday is just around the corner. I find myself now making stupid mistakes because I am striving to be what he wants which is a perfectionist.

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to cope for the next couple of months I need to stay there, and am trying to figure out how to handle this worsening situation. I’m a single mom and cannot walk out, nor do I believe in burning my bridges even though there is the possibility he would not give me a good reference no matter what. Suggestions are welcome on how to deal with this.


    • I wish I had some good suggestions — but you know that you absolutely need to leave there ASAP. Your boss has problems you can’t fix. You can’t make this better — even if you were perfect.

      Are there any other sources of financial help for you? Family?

      I just really, really feel for you. {{{HUGS}}}}


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