“Schadenfreude” – A Bully’s Satisfaction. By ABC.

Schadenfreude” – A Bully’s Satisfaction.


Have you ever noticed a little smile sweep across your bully’s face just at the moment when you couldn’t feel more infuriated?  Well if you have, you are right.  “Real” Bullies, and by that, I mean bullies with a level of psychopathy, also referred to as sociopathy…

“gain satisfaction through

antisocial behavior”, characterized by an abnormal lack of empathy combined with strongly amoral conduct but masked by an ability to appear outwardly normal” –
-quoted from Wikipedia at this link:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy#Perceptual.2Femotional_recognition_deficits

Although this resource uses the word “satisfaction” to describe

what  “a psychopath gains through their antisocial behavior”, it is an entirely different kind of  “satisfaction” than both defined and  experienced by most of us.  “A bully’s satisfaction” is a perverse form of satisfaction,  being malicious in nature, rather than joyful or positive, as defined in English dictionaries.

There is actually no English word which links personal “satisfaction” to another person’s misfortune or harm.  Such a word doesn’t exist, because most people, are incapable of thinking in those terms, while denying the existence of the  few, who do.  Some languages acknowledge those few, having words for them, like the German word;


satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2011.


— n
delight in another’s misfortune

[German: from Schaden  harm + Freude  joy]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009


“What a fearful thing is it that any language should have a word expressive of the pleasure which men feel at the calamities of others; for the existence of the word bears testimony to the existence of the thing. And yet in more than one such a word is found. … In the Greek epikhairekakia,  in the German, ‘Schadenfreude.’ ”

As quoted by Richard C. Trench, “On the Study of Words,” 1852

So there it is!  “Such a thing exists”, two languages having words, thereby “bearing testimony to the existence of the thing”, namely, “a bully’s satisfaction”, words of my own, for lack of a more fitting,

German policemen tormenting a Jew in Rzeszów, ...

Image via Wikipedia

existing, English word.

“Schadenfreude” – “A bully’s satisfaction” – Remember the meaning well, if not the word(s), because the meaning does exists, even where a word for it does not, in the memory of many who have witnessed it.  Only some cultures, witnessing it enough,  to name it.

I wonder if the Germans came up with this word, before or after the Holocaust?

Job Loss due to Workplace Bullying, Taken Down by a Bully Boss. By ABC

Job Loss Due to Bullying / ABC Finally Taken Down By Bully Boss.  Next Step Recovery.  By ABC

I finally lost my job at the hands of my workplace serial bully boss, leaving at the end of November, after being accused of incompetence, based on uncompleted data entry, while working alone on a holiday.  Everything possible that could go wrong, did go wrong on that day, probably the worst day of my entire career.  I worked 11 hours that day, without a break or a meal despite being physically ill with a raging sore throat.

I called the office early the next morning reaching a coworker, and described the problems of the previous day, including how long I had worked.  I told her I would be late, being both exhausted and ill.  As soon as I arrived, I was called to Human Resources, where my bully boss was waiting, with a Human Resource Rep., having been found guilty before I could speak.   Detailing everything that went wrong, made no difference at all, having no witness to attest to my efforts.   She then added to her complaint, my arrival being late, while knowing I worked late and was ill.  Her total lack of empathy,  and disregard for my health, suddenly filled me with a chill, which grew into a fear, by the hate in her voice, thinking her capable of ending my life.  Stating I no longer felt safe, being expected to work ill, I finally left, never returning to my desk.

I had a horrible time with my bully boss for months prior to leaving my job which took a toll on my emotional and physical health.  For the first time in my life, I began having panic attacks, making my mind go blank, leaving me unable to respond to questions.

Since leaving my job, I feel utterly lost and physically and emotionally ill.  I never fully researched recovery after losing a job to bullying, feeling confident that my knowledge of the subject would be enough to protect my emotional and physical health and  prevent losing my job. How wrong I was!

Being a nurse, I logically concluded that I needed psychiatric treatment to help with my recovery, but after being evaluated by 3 different psychiatrists, I feel totally betrayed by that profession. NONE of them ever heard of workplace bullying and none of them seemed willing to take a few moments to look at my website or any other source of information on the subject. All three concluded that I was mentally ill, not emotionally injured, each labeling me with a different diagnosis.

The lessons learned;

-No matter how much you know about the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing, it is almost impossible to make it stop and keep your job.

-Never seek  medical, psychiatric or legal help, for issues related to workplace bullying, from a professional who doesn’t already have an understanding of the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing.

Being “emotionally stuck”, as one reader described it, I have been at a loss for words, leaving me unable to add new content to this website for several months.  But the passage of time in it’s self, is slowly improving my outlook, so keep coming back,  new content will follow soon, most likely about the subject of recovery after job loss due to bullying.


Reader Stops Bullying, Uses ABC’s Advice.

Dear Readers,

Below is an edited comment written by an anonymous  reader of this website..  Read this very positive comment in black type, then my response below in red type. Thank you “anonymous” for the compliments, but there is a bit more you need to understand. ABC

I was accused several times a day of wasting his money and being unproductive after months of this the attacks escalated to insults, mocking, his favorite insult was the slang word for the female reproductive organ ( the P word)!!!! . after almost a year of this, I was losing weight, losing sleep and losing my mind!!!.
I may have unknowingly called him to task ( this is before I found your site and realized exactly what was happening) I went in and said to him ” if I’m not making you any money why do you keep me here???” and guess what, he had no answer!!!! now the attacks have stopped since he gets NO reaction from me(something I learned thanks to ABC’s website!!) I now realize that I am good at what I do, if I were not he would fire me. so anyone who is being bullied at work keep your head up and press on, there is hope!! my boss is the owner of the company, there is nobody above him but by following what I learned on this site I was able to stop the bullying!!! thank you for enlightening me ABC, you truly are a an answered prayer.

-ABC’s reply to Anonymous-

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for the compliments.  Knowledge is power as they say and many targets see improvements in their situations once they gain an understanding of the workplace bullying and mobbing phenomenon.

Understanding that targets are chosen by bullies because of their positive attributes which bullies perceive as threatening, is a relief to know alone.  Then, experiencing results by “not reacting” to bullying behavior, gives a target the false impression that they have this problem licked.  But not so fast, it’s time to take pause, and learn a bit more.

Once a bully, always a bully.  Although bullies may have periods in which they take extra care to suppress their bullying behavior, they are still bullies and will always feel compelled to behave like bullies.

Once a target always a target.  Although the bully may back off and choose another target, your positive attributes are something that will continue to be very irritating to the bully.  It is important to know that even if your bully stops bullying you, you will always be vulnerable for a second strike by this same bully sometime in the future.

Always watch your back, and never trust this bully again.  It is hard for some targets to truly understand how likely it is that their bully may strike again.  Being back in the fold of their bully’s good graces, and again being included and spoken to by coworkers, feels so good.  The longer the bully backs off, the more confident the target feels, that all is well.  Their perception of the now past bullying and mobbing campaign, seems almost unreal.  The target  may think that this past episode was just a phase, or something they exaggerated in their mind.

Think again!  I am experiencing a second strike myself right now, after being essentially bully free for several months.   This is something I knew would happen, although the longer I was bully free, the easier it was for me to begin to doubt my perceptions.

Simply trying to correct my bully boss’s incorrect understanding about a detail of the process and flow of our work, was enough to put me back into primary target mode.

Once again, my bully boss and her little mob resumed all of their bullying and mobbing tactics leaving me singled out, isolated and emotionally and physically devastated.

Don’t kid yourself!  If your bully boss should back off, chances are it will not last.   Take this time to make as much money as you can while you find another job with a boss who will treat you with the respect that you deserve.


STOP WORKPLACE BULLYING!, Testimony Provided at CT State Senate Hearing, 2/26/08

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ABC – AntiBullyingCrusador, Why The Alias?

ABC-AntiBullyingCrusador, Why the Alias?

I consider myself to be an Internet Anti-bullying activist. I go by the alias “ABC” for short, or “AntiBullyingCrusador”. I know the correct spelling is “crusader” but I spell it “crusador” to indicate that it’s a name, as opposed to a thing. I use this alias whenever I write about “work place bullying and mobbing”. I live in the United States where the phenomena of “work place bullying” is little known, although many of our work places are fully entrenched in a bullying culture.

I didn’t choose this mission of fighting workplace bullying and mobbing. I would have been perfectly happy if I had gone through my career never having experienced or observed the behaviors of those we refer to as “work place bullies” and those who support them, their behaviors referred to as “mobbing”. But, since I was chosen as a workplace target more than once, and observed the devastating effects on others that were also chosen as targets, it has become a moral obligation to do all that I can do to stop this terrible evil in our work places. I have always agreed with the statement that if you don’t try to stop something that is wrong, than you are a part of it. It’s not as simple as just walking away, at least not for me. Walking away may end workplace bullying and mobbing for me, but I worry about the unknown numbers of targets on the brink of suicide or “going postal”, only because of their lack of understanding, of the phenomenon referred to as “workplace bullying and mobbing.”

My first and primary mission is home care nursing. I am a nurse who loves her job and believes in the mission of the home care agency that I have worked for, for almost 30 years. I resent the fact that bullying and mobbing wastes valuable time that would be better served on our shared mission of providing quality home care services.

I have known my bully boss for over 20 years and have worked with the coworkers who support her for several years. I have developed a fondness for my bully boss and her supporters based on the length of our relationships alone, as well as for their many positive attributes. My bully boss is 62 years old and can retire at anytime. She has stopped bullying me and a coworker in recent months. Although I don’t doubt that she is capable of crushing me like a bug, at any time, if she could, I, being of a different nature, would never do anything to destroy her career this late in her game, unless I absolutely had no other moral choice, that being reason to believe, that she again resumed bullying behaviors.

My real name, My bully’s name and my employer’s, and where we reside, can be Any Name, Any City, USA…it could be yours. It is not my intention to expose my bully boss, her supporters whom I refer to as “little mobsters” in my blogs, nor my employer, and the Human Resource Department that represents my employer. They are all unwittingly entangled in the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing. Whether it be a coworker who turned into one of my bully’s “little mobsters” or a Human Resource Rep. who fails to acknowledge the existence of classic bullying and mobbing, they are all playing their roles, almost exactly as predicted on bullying and mobbing articles on the Internet. It’s all very predictable. My “true stories” are true from my perspective, a target of workplace bullying and mobbing. It all sounds unbelievable I’m sure, but that’s what workplace bullying and mobbing is, Unbelievable! There are millions of people just like me, with incredibly similar stories.

Getting the word out about workplace bullying and mobbing is an important public health message, literally saving the lives and emotional and physical health of unknown numbers of targets. This is my only motive, reaching out to those targets whose health and lives are threatened by their lack of understanding of this little understood phenomenon.

It’s my hope that someday, all working Americans will have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the phenomenon of workplace bullying and mobbing. Let’s recognize it, name it and end workplace bullying and mobbing together! ABC

What Is a Bullying Pass-by Nibble? Bullyblaster.com by Abbey Whitehall


Comment by ABC

“Bullying Pass-by nibbles” are referred to several times in this weblog, especially in  “Chapter 5. Two Pass-by Nibbles, Then The Bullying Stopped!” See the article below to learn the origins and background of this phrase and the website associated with it. Visit the link to learn more about workplace bullying and mobbing.  Lets all learn to Recognize it, Name it, and End Workplace bullying and mobbing together! ABC

Click on image to go to The Bullyblaster site

What Is a Bullying Pass-by Nibble?

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What the heck is a “Pass-By Nibble?”, you’re wondering. It’s something that both sharks and bullies do before they go in for the kill. Both test their potential victims out first by gently taking a nibble. Sharks do it with their teeth. Bullies do it with off color remarks and other, very harmless sounding comments. Comments meant to see how far you’ll let them go before you’ll stop them. The tools are different, but the outcome, your demise, is the same.
Most survivors of gruesome shark attacks report that the animal took a gentle, “Pass by Nibble” to check them out before he returned the second time, barreling in for the kill. It’s almost like the shark evaluates what the potential victim will do, how much force to use, and if the victim-to-be is worth attacking. Who really knows what a shark thinks, but he is doing some form of information gathering. It’s exactly what the bully does.
Have you noticed this? Bullies start with not-so-mean comments and as time passes, they just get more cruel? Why does this always happen? It’s because you don’t stop them in the “Pass by Nibble” stage. It’s in this beginning stage of bullying, when the bully evaluates how easy a target you are, that it’s best to stop her too. Just like stopping a shark in his “Pass by Nibble” stage, stopping a bully could prevent you from further putdowns or slurs.
What does the bully do during a “Pass by Nibble”? She makes quick, ambiguous, possibly offensive remarks to you. But, also, she often uses subtle body language that crosses very subtle personal boundaries. Like standing too close to you. If you catch it and stop her early on, you have a great chance to set some ground rules for your future interactions, so you won’t have to endure more potent putdowns in the future.
Madeline showed off her beautiful new Gucci purse to Pat, a bully. That’s when Pat took her “Pass by Nibble.” As Madeline opened her purse wider for Pat to inspect, Pat pushed harder to “see” more. She handled the wallet and a gum wrapper ooohing and ahhhing at both, with exaggerated praise. She unzipped pockets, unsnapped buttons and dug deeper into private areas of the purse where it’s usually considered impolite to go. Madeline watched quietly, chuckling right along with Pat. She felt uncomfortable, but not enough to say anything.
And Pat watched closely as well. She made a mental note that Madeline was an easy target as she probed on. Madeline wouldn’t stop Pat from “invading” her purse, so invading and eroding Madeline’s self esteem would be her next move. At least that would be more damaging than this small stuff.
Two days later, Madeline helped a coworker in the next cubicle with a new computer program. Pat walked by.
“You’re listening to HER? THAT’S dangerous. She can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time,” Pat lobbed in, and then darted off. There it was. Pat came in for the kill.
Ouch, I didn’t deserve that, Madeline thinks. But she says nothing in response, hoping anyone else around wouldn’t notice what just happened. Why did Pat insult her? What did SHE do?
She allowed Pat to take a “Pass by Nibble” and get away with it. She didn’t stop Pat early in the purse invasion, when it would have been much easier to be light and un-invested. Now, it may take Madeline several encounters to convince Pat that she won’t
tolerate being pushed around. And Madeline will be much angrier.
What are some other ways bullies take a test nibble to see if you’ll stand up for yourself?
– 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.
These are just a teeny sample of many ways they use to test you. But you get the idea. You’ve probably experienced others, when you paid attention. You may even pay more attention, now that you realize what’s going on.
Know that people with no mal intent can also do all of the above, too. It’s so subtle. The only way you know the difference most of the time, is by watching what happens next. Does she amp up her attacks, going in for the kill? Or does she never bother you again? No wonder a bully can slide in mean-spirited remarks without being found out. It’s so easy to hide mean feelings behind an innocent appearance.
Okay. You know you need to say or do something in response, but what do you do? Because you really don’t know exactly when a bully is testing you, or when it’s just thoughtlessness, you need to respond as unharmed and un-invested as you can muster in the moment. Being light and humorous is the absolute best way to handle any bully attack even if it is just a “nibble.” And early on, with a mild “Pass by Nibble,” it’s a lot easier to do because you aren’t mad or offended yet. Neither of you carries a deep seated grudge at this point. Try feeling and acting unoffended after she’s
taken some mean swings at you. It’s much more ifficult.
Bullies are like sharks. Both are opportunistic and deadly. The dry land versions are harder to avoid. But, understanding a little more about how bullies size you up by testing you first, will give you a leg up on dealing with them … instead of a leg off.

About the Author – Abbey Whitehall

Stop Workplace Bullying. Discover How to Speak Up to Save Your Job and Your Dignity. Visit http://www.BullyBlaster.com and sign up for a free Stop the Bullies newsletter.

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8/6/08 Comment By ABC;

Recently there was some confusion regarding who the author is of the article “What is a Bullying Passby Nibble?” When I tranferred this article from my old website, the first paragraph and the Bullyblaster logo which goes along with this article, didn’t copy over which caused the confusion. I have since corrected that error. Please know that the original source of this article is from “Bully Blaster. com” by Abbey Whitehall who is also the author of the book “Bully Blaster” whch I promote on the right side bar of this weblog. I did write about my personal experiences with passby nibbles in “Chapter 5” of my “True Stories” series. I apologize for any confusion. Sincerely, ABC

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